Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Front and shake/ shimmy front, ... revisited
First off: The following is MY opinion only and has nothing to do with the official opinion of ANYONE other than me.
My 06 LT had a front end problem pretty much from the day it eas delivered, or maybe starting around 3k miles, I can say exactly because the first 3k it only ran straight roads from CA to TX.I pretty much started complaining to BMW of North Houston almost the day I arrived in TX with the bike that the front end 'feels loose' and is shimmy and develops the dreaded front end shake at or around 40mph if I did not hold on to the handle bars very sternly. And the last problem was that if I had to apply front brakes hard (read ABS kicked in) the whole handlebars started shaking violently almost like a beginning of a tank slapper.
I believe it should be clear that in a situation where you have to apply emergency brake power you want to deal with the situation and not with the bike staying upright. Well, in Houston traffic I had to do that TWICE. Fighting the bike to stay upright while dealing with some idiot pulling out in front of me.
Anyhow, long story short, since the bike is not even 11 months old yet, and spent a considerable amount of days in the shop since delivery(for other problems, unrelated to the front end), and in my feeling the front end made this bike an accident waiting to happen, I tried one more thing before I was declaring it a lemon. So, even though the front tire still had life left after 13k miles I decided to change it anyways, and then our esteemed Randy told me to check the steering dampener after I bitched to him again on the phone (THANKS for being patient with me Randy!!) Basically checking the steering dampener is very easy. Put the bike on the center stand. Have someone sit on the back seat, so that the front wheel comes off the ground, and then try to move the handle bars QUICKLY left and right. You should feel the steering dampener very distinctly !! Well, I did feel my steeing dampener, but only after the outside of the handlebars traveled about 10 inches give or take. Basically the small movements of the handlebars were completely undampened.
Taking this into consideration it makes perfect sense that the bike had the shake at 40mph, that it almost developed a tank slapper when the ABS kicked in. Now that I have the new steering dampener in (wilbur) the bike is transformend into a new bike. No more shake at 40. No more shake when going into a spirited curve, no more shake with ABS (Yes I tried).
Bottom line: If you bike has a front end that shakes at 40 or any other speed, check two things:
a) Your steering dampener
b) Change your front tire
The only bad taste in my mouth was left by the quality of the techs that were bitched to MULTIPLE times and that supposedly rode the bike and did not feel anything wrong with it. And lastly with the technical understanding of the BMW area rep who also found nothing wrong with how the bike behaves. "Keep your hands on the handlebars" If you are hearing about an area rep called Richard, responsible for the souther region, you know already what to think about his technical expertise. I believe his middle name is "I" for incompetent.