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Discussion Starter #1
My 2004 K1200LT has developed a front end wobble or shake as I slow down and just before I stop. Its manageable when I'm alone on the bike but accentuated when I am riding with a pillion to almost scary level.
My first thought was to tighten up the rear suspension preload but this has made no difference.
Any thoughts on correcting this - could it be as easy a fix as a new front tire which the dealer has suggested. Note the current tire, a Metzeler ME 880, still looks good and handling and ride is perfect at other times and speeds. The rear has a new Bridgestone.
 

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back tyre might be flat, anyway it will be a tyre likely the front recheck both pressures. was it there before you fitted the bridgestone? is the rear the correct type approved for the LT you dont give any reference to it. tyre fitters can stretch the bead if not careful when fitting this will cause a wobble
 

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You can also check to see if the front wheel is properly installed and if the front wheel bearings are worn out.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Tyre pressures are correct and the rear tyre is correct.
Is there a quick and easy way to diagnose the front wheel bearings?
 

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on centre stand, lift front wheel off the ground with a jack either pry the pads out so they are not touching the disc or remove them and spin the wheel you will hear a rumble and feel it, I doubt though this is your problem but still worth checking, water pressure cleaners is what stuffs em. while it is free wheeling observe any movement in the tyre, you might try balance beads as well i dont recommend them but they are widely used.
 

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My 2004 K1200LT has developed a front end wobble or shake as I slow down and just before I stop. Its manageable when I'm alone on the bike but accentuated when I am riding with a pillion to almost scary level.
My first thought was to tighten up the rear suspension preload but this has made no difference.
Any thoughts on correcting this - could it be as easy a fix as a new front tire which the dealer has suggested. Note the current tire, a Metzeler ME 880, still looks good and handling and ride is perfect at other times and speeds. The rear has a new Bridgestone.
Does this happen both with brake application and without? Or only if using the front and/or rear brake?
 

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on centre stand, lift front wheel off the ground with a jack either pry the pads out so they are not touching the disc or remove them and spin the wheel you will hear a rumble and feel it, I doubt though this is your problem but still worth checking, water pressure cleaners is what stuffs em. while it is free wheeling observe any movement in the tyre, you might try balance beads as well i dont recommend them but they are widely used.
Balance beads would have no effect when riding slow and coming to a stop. Warped rotors possibly, loose wheel/bearings. Voyager asked a question I decided not to seeing the front and rear brakes are linked and I was not 100% sure that applying the rear did not apply the front brakes as an isolated test. I know applying the front does apply the rear so without knowing that, suggesting that test may not provide the desired feedback. A tire that is bad enough to cause a wobble at slow speed breaking should be visibly, oddly worn or damaged. Cupping is very visible but normally doesn't cause this type of issue in my experience. Something is loose or badly worn or possibly one of the rotors is warped if it is only when applying the brakes. A test ride and examination by someone more knowledgeable may be in order, not necessarily a dealer. If it is more of a shake than a front end wobble, possible binding in the drive shaft u-joints as a SWAG? Final drive bearing? is there any oil leakage from the FD?.

Checking the front wheel for play. Once you get it up on the center stand and have the engine blocked to keep the front elevated ( or have someone hold down the back end cautiously so not to push the bike forward off the stand while you are looking at it), as stated, gently pry the brake pads away to allow free movement or remove the brake calipers completely. Make sure the wheel is properly tightened. Loosen the pinch bolts, Loosen the axle bolt and then re-tighten in 2 steps. First to 14 Ft-Lbs, then tighten to 22 Ft-Lbs and make sure the wheel still spins freely. Then tighten the left side pinch bolt to 15.5 Ft-Lbs. Put the bike back on the ground. Apply the front brakes and pump the front forks to several times to center the axle. Tighten the right side pinch bolt to 15.5 Ft Lb then put it back on the CS with the front off the ground. Check at the top of the wheel and see if there is any noticeable movement side to side. You can do this before checking the axle tightness also. Between the forks would be the easiest place to see relational movement. Rotate the wheel some and check several times around the wheel. If there is any play, replace the wheel bearings if tightening the axle had no effect. If there is no play or grinding noise, ride it again to see if re-tightening the wheel properly had any positive effect.
 

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Have you examined the tele lever, especially the end where the shock attaches?
 

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With all this careful examination, I would also look hard at the back half, final drive by trying to wiggle the rear wheel, and if it does move you have to see if it is the final drive or the rear fork on its pivot bearings. The rear fork preload is often overlooked and needs to be checked every few years.
 

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With all this careful examination, I would also look hard at the back half, final drive by trying to wiggle the rear wheel, and if it does move you have to see if it is the final drive or the rear fork on its pivot bearings. The rear fork preload is often overlooked and needs to be checked every few years.
Seems like the steering damper should be checked.
 

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I bought a '09 K1200LT in March of '17 with 9K miles. It had a new 880 on the rear and I assume the original 880 on the front. Rode it 500 miles home and didn't notice any steering problem. Immediately replaced the front 880 with a 888 and noticed a front wobble slowing down from 40mph (could not take both hands off the bars without a tank slapper). Looked here and tried different remedies with no relief. Rode the bike to Arkansas in August of '17 and found tire separation on rear 880. Only tire I could find was a Shinko and still had the wobble. In September of '18 replaced front tire with Bridgestone and rear with Shinko and no wobble. I know this is anecdotal but my solution was to get ride of the Metzler front tire (and yes the balance was checked). As long as I run at least 38lbs in front and 42lbs in rear I have no wobble what so ever.
 

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I bought my 2000 LT and rode it home from Colorado to Oregon 3 years ago. Shortly after getting home I replaced the slippery rear Metzler with a Shinko. 4000 miles later I developed the same wobble or weave you describe. I replaced the rear Shinko with the properly rated Avon storm on the back and almost have never had any issues since.
Just my 2 cents worth. In My case the rear tire was the issue.
 

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Balance beads would have no effect when riding slow and coming to a stop. Warped rotors possibly, loose wheel/bearings. Voyager asked a question I decided not to seeing the front and rear brakes are linked and I was not 100% sure that applying the rear did not apply the front brakes as an isolated test. I know applying the front does apply the rear so without knowing that, suggesting that test may not provide the desired feedback. A tire that is bad enough to cause a wobble at slow speed breaking should be visibly, oddly worn or damaged. Cupping is very visible but normally doesn't cause this type of issue in my experience. Something is loose or badly worn or possibly one of the rotors is warped if it is only when applying the brakes. A test ride and examination by someone more knowledgeable may be in order, not necessarily a dealer. If it is more of a shake than a front end wobble, possible binding in the drive shaft u-joints as a SWAG? Final drive bearing? is there any oil leakage from the FD?.

Checking the front wheel for play. Once you get it up on the center stand and have the engine blocked to keep the front elevated ( or have someone hold down the back end cautiously so not to push the bike forward off the stand while you are looking at it), as stated, gently pry the brake pads away to allow free movement or remove the brake calipers completely. Make sure the wheel is properly tightened. Loosen the pinch bolts, Loosen the axle bolt and then re-tighten in 2 steps. First to 14 Ft-Lbs, then tighten to 22 Ft-Lbs and make sure the wheel still spins freely. Then tighten the left side pinch bolt to 15.5 Ft-Lbs. Put the bike back on the ground. Apply the front brakes and pump the front forks to several times to center the axle. Tighten the right side pinch bolt to 15.5 Ft Lb then put it back on the CS with the front off the ground. Check at the top of the wheel and see if there is any noticeable movement side to side. You can do this before checking the axle tightness also. Between the forks would be the easiest place to see relational movement. Rotate the wheel some and check several times around the wheel. If there is any play, replace the wheel bearings if tightening the axle had no effect. If there is no play or grinding noise, ride it again to see if re-tightening the wheel properly had any positive effect.
I believe using the front or rear level still biases the braking towards the end in use. However, the main thing was to see if this was related to the brakes or not. If related to braking, then I would look at things like wheel bearings or FD pivot bearings where the force from braking, especially if the rotors are a little uneven, could cause the parts to slop around and cause a weave. If the problem is not related to braking, then I suspect it is a tire with belt damage or uneven tread causing the issue. Just trying to get an indicator whether to look at tires or mechanical play somewhere.
 
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I believe using the front or rear level still biases the braking towards the end in use. However, the main thing was to see if this was related to the brakes or not. If related to braking, then I would look at things like wheel bearings or FD pivot bearings where the force from braking, especially if the rotors are a little uneven, could cause the parts to slop around and cause a weave. If the problem is not related to braking, then I suspect it is a tire with belt damage or uneven tread causing the issue. Just trying to get an indicator whether to look at tires or mechanical play somewhere.
I agree with all of that, just not ever owning or riding a servo brake model, I wasn't going to venture there not being able to clearly distinguish if the front or rear brake exacerbates the issue separately. There are others on this forum like you that have a better feel for that particular system and how to address it. I will add if I feel I can to what is discovered relating to that aspect. I knew someone would ask the question though.
 

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Steering damper has no affect on this problem. It only comes into play during rapid rotation of the steering, not slow oscillations.
Voyager is correct that steering damper does not inhibit left-right turns of wheel during normal turning, but only dampens rapid oscillation of steering (speed wobble/tank slapper.) It sounds like that may be what Ian is experiencing, though--rapid, scary oscillation, and that's exactly what the dampening is designed to prevent. It's easy to check if the dampener works--review the video--and pretty easy to fix if it doesn't work.

Of course, one should always review what, if any, changes have been made to the machine prior to the issue developing. Clearly, if you change the tire(s) and then get a wobble, checking the tire(s) should be first on the list. If you didn't change anything and the issue developed, it's likely due to deterioration or failure of something on the machine. It sounds like it's been riding fine for a while, and only recently manifested this wobble on slowing to a stop.

Reviewing this forum, I see several lengthy discussions of the issue going back to the mid-2000s. Frequently tires, tire wear, tire balancing, tire pressure, are implicated. Also common is the steering damper, and less common are steering rake (2005+ models), rear drive alignment, etc.

If you trust your mechanic, seems like changing the tire is best guess. I'd still check the damper.
 

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Don't narrow your thinking to just looking at one thing. This can be a combination of several problems that just group together to cause the bike to start handling poorly. Also with tank slappers do not discount what was mentioned in the thread...hard/firm grip on the handle bars. Riders need to relax, relax shoulders, arms and have an easy grip on the hand grips. Let the bike do its thing. (California Superbike School).
 
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Don't narrow your thinking to just looking at one thing. This can be a combination of several problems that just group together to cause the bike to start handling poorly. Also with tank slappers do not discount what was mentioned in the thread...hard/firm grip on the handle bars. Riders need to relax, relax shoulders, arms and have an easy grip on the hand grips. Let the bike do its thing. (California Superbike School).
Looks like we are reading the problem statement differently. I heard nothing that sounded like tank slapper. I heard a wobble or shake that occurs right before he stops. Sounds like we need the OP to describe the problem more specifically with actual speeds. If the problem is occurring right before he stops, then it isn’t a tank slapper and the steering damper is not a factor unless it is binding such that the steering can't move freely.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you everyone for your posts and support. Just to clarify what is most bewildering is that at any other time the handling is perfect. It’s just as I’m slowing to a stop and accentuated when I have a pillion. I can’t see any wear or cupping on the front tire. I am aware that rear tire wear causes this problem but my rear tire is brand new and looks fine. It’s not linked to braking have checked that out. I have ordered a new front metzeler 888 seems 880 no longer available. I’m summary what would you sugggest I instruct the workshop to check prior to fitting a new tire. Could it have anything to do with my Wilber’s suspension and why is a pillion accentuating the wobble ?
 

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Thank you everyone for your posts and support. Just to clarify what is most bewildering is that at any other time the handling is perfect. It’s just as I’m slowing to a stop and accentuated when I have a pillion. I can’t see any wear or cupping on the front tire. I am aware that rear tire wear causes this problem but my rear tire is brand new and looks fine. It’s not linked to braking have checked that out. I have ordered a new front metzeler 888 seems 880 no longer available. I’m summary what would you sugggest I instruct the workshop to check prior to fitting a new tire. Could it have anything to do with my Wilber’s suspension and why is a pillion accentuating the wobble ?
Have you checked to see if one of your wheels is bent? Can you have someone hang out the window of a car and follow taking a video of the back and the front when it is wobbling. That may reveal something.
 
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