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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Yall, (texan)

I am a new BMW LT rider, been used to an HD bagger for years.

I noticed a few times at 15-20 mph that I get a shimmy (like mini-tank slapping) when I am loosley holding the handle bars. The bike has about 16K miles on it. Is this normal? is sure does not feel normal.
 

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Don't worry, thats your bike slapping you around for going so damn slow!! :rotf:
 

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It could be your front tire. If it's got some miles on it and it's become cupped it will do that. My front has a little over 16,000 and has some cupping and my bike does that.
 

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Wrencher Extraordinaire
2005 K1200LT
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On top of the fork bridge there is a ball joint that connects to the telelever arm. Just make sure there is no slop in that, but I suspect a cupped tire as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had the dealer check the tire when I took it in to have the rear tire replaced and a break system flush. He made a comment about the cupping but said the tire was fine. i will take it back to the dealer on Monday and have thenm check the ball joint thing. That sounds like them problemo. Anybody know what that cost to fix?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
i checked the steering damper..... there is movement left to right of about 3/4" each way (no up and down just left to right.) This movemnt is allowed by the spherical bearing. I assume that is normal. How much movement does your have?
 

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My 02 did that more frequently. 07 just started. Check the balance on the front . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I checked the steering damper and you can move it to the left and to the right about 3/4" each direction. Not up and down but side to side. Is it the same for your LT? anybody?
 

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Keithkmb said:
I checked the steering damper and you can move it to the left and to the right about 3/4" each direction. Not up and down but side to side. Is it the same for your LT? anybody?
Same here. That rubber bushing near the front of the damper has lotsa give - moreso after 130K! ;)
 

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Just got back from a 2700 mile ride last week. My "09" does it also. Only have 7100 miles on the clock. Going to replace the tires when I go for service later in the week.
 

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Greetings there

The solution is an easy one. Get rid of those late model LT's and get yourself a 1999 or a 2000 model. The front-end geometry was quite different and has much better manners at all speeds. Totally rock solid as they all should have been until BMW stuffed them right up. Try one...you won't be disappointed.

Cheers and kindest regards

Paul Harrington
AU.
 

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Tire ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My tire was 6 lbs short on air. (36 lbs not 42lbs) could this make a diff?
 

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My approach would be:
1) check the tire, no unusual wear, properly inflated?
2) check tire for proper mounting, there is generally a line on the tire next to the rim. Is the line equidistant from the rim all the way around? If not the the tire bead may have been damaged (stretched) during installation. (On tube type rims/tires it is possible to have the tire mounted improperly so that it isn't symmetrically mounted, this is harder to do with a tubeless tire unless the tire is damaged or defective).
3) Tire balanced properly? This is probably the most common cause of front end oscillation.
4) Has the wheel been damaged? Check the rim for axial and radial runout. Within specs? Wheel bearings okay?
5) After eliminating tire and wheel as the problem check for wear or damage to bike's front end suspension, including bearings and ball joint as mentioned above. IIRC some have been reported broken or loose.
6) Rear wheel and tire, unusual I think, because you'd probably sense/feel that something is wrong in back, but problems with the rear wheel can contribute to front end oscillation.
7) Beyond the above, oscillation can be caused by a bike frame out of alignment secondary to a crash.

Steering damper and post 2005 front end geometry: A defective or missing steering damper won't cause oscillation, it just won't help to limit the oscillation which is why it is there in the first place. Under normal circumstances, the damper is just along for the ride.
The post 2005 change in front end geometry likewise doesn't cause oscillation, it does seem to make a bike a little more sensitive to other things like wheel balance, etc. There do seem to be more reports of front end oscillation in the post 2005 bikes, but that's just because improper wheel, tire setup is more noticeable on these bikes.

That what I think I know about troubleshooting oscillation problems. HTH
 

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This low speed wobble or uneasiness is also a trait of a MC with a high center of gravity. HD's are a very low CG bike so it's handling is quite different at low speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I just came form the dealer, he road the bike (again) checked the tire and still said everthing is OK.

He said I could put a new tire on and it would stop the woble for about 700 miles but it would come back.

In other words. he bascially said all was normal.
 

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I'd bet there is a dynamic (and not static) balance problem. Find someone who can spin balance the entire wheel & that puts different weights on both sides (L & R) of the rim & at slightly different positions.
 

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Keithkmb said:
I just came form the dealer, he road the bike (again) checked the tire and still said everthing is OK.

He said I could put a new tire on and it would stop the woble for about 700 miles but it would come back.

In other words. he bascially said all was normal.
Holy crap! Front end wobble is normal ?!? Holy crap!
Sure wish I was as smart as all those BMW Service guys. I mean, dismissing a fundamental flaw in a motorcycle as "normal". Jeez.

When I mount and balance a new front tire on any of my bikes I'll do the following test.
With the cruise control or throttle lock set to maintain about 30 mph, I take both hands off the bars, keeping hands close above the grips to grab the bars if any wobble occurs. If all is normal I'll give the end of one of the bars a good firm push to try and induce a wobble. If all is correct the bike will damp out the oscillation. If it gets progressively worse, I know there is a problem with mounting or balance. If it passes the test I'll hit the bar a little harder. Then I do the same test at differing speeds. Lastly, I'd do the hands off, bar bump with the bike decelerating from 50-60 mph on a downhill grade. Again, the wobble should damp itself out relatively quickly.
Not that I recommend it, but a properly set up bike should be able to be ridden for miles with hands off the bars, using only weight shift for steering.
For those who consider such a wobble "normal", all I can say is "well, that's convenient."
Wobbles, oscillation, tank slappers, can be dangerous. I wouldn't accept the condition as "normal".
 
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