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'09 K1200LT. Ok, don't try this at home. I've only had the bike a few weeks and I picked it up from the shop after some warranty work. Sometimes driving I'll take both hands off the bars and stretch them a little. This time I just happen to be going exactly 45 mph. As soon as I took both hands off the bars, the bike almost immediately began to shimmy and shake violently. Had I not grabbed the bars quickly we would have gone down. I've done this hundreds of times before with no problems but I guess this was the first time at exactly 45 mph. I did a test after that at various speeds and she kept straight with no shake at all when I took both hands off. At 45 mph, shake. If I put just 1 finger on the bars with very light pressure at 45 mph, zero shake. I only have a little over 3,000 total miles on the bike and the tires still look good. Any ideas?
 

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This is often a sign that Metzler 880s are worn and need to be replaced. However, other tires with even minor cupping or uneven wear will do the same. Also, be sure that your tires are inflated properly. The pressure settings on the left hand side case on an LT are for the Bridgestone Radial tires that were OE on the K1200LT, but which are no longer made for the LT's weight range.

If you have Metzler 880s, I would suggest 40 in front and 46 in back for 1 up, no load, and 42 front - 50 rear for 2 up or full bag loads, or both.

I had a pretty severe near tank slapper until my last tire change.

Bill
 

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I have been riding motorcycles for almost 50 yrs. and just two years ago I learned to never take both hands off the bars unless testing for wobble and then hands are around the bars but not touching. I believe a wobble which can turn into a tank slapper can happen at anytime on any bike with no known cause. FTW I have had a low speed wobble on my LT since I installed the last new front tire. I believe the tire is bad but I added Ride-On to try to stop the wobble. Wobble is still there but the tire wants to last forever now!
 

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Well now, if BMW could convert this bike to a "front wheel drive", maybe the shakes would go away ? ;)
 

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Its an undocumented Feature, my 09 has done that from day one, hasn't mattered in the slightest what tire I use or how much wear are on them.
 

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My sense is that the '99's through '04s which had the earlier front end geometry aren't so prone to hands off head shake. Is that just so much B* or what others with more saddle time on both early and late LT's than I have experienced?

JD
 

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I had a low speed wobble like you described and it was because my rear tire was low. I could speed up and it would go away.

Also check the steering damper (sp!).
 

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I have had it come and go over the course of the last 8 years. It has always been tire related. On time the new tire did not fix it and that tire was actually slightly out of round. Another time I had installed a smartire system and remounted and balance an existing wobbly front tire and the issue went away. Just learned to not let go during decelleration from 50 on down.
 

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Is it a quirk of this fine beast or is It a safety feature built in by BMW so you stay on your toes otherwise the bike is so smooth and sweeeeet to ride you may get to complacent. In reality all of them will do it when the stars align so just don't let go of the bars!!!!!! :histerica
 

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mwnahas said:
Don't let go.
+1....shake one hand/arm at a time! You also mentioned "we" ......hopefully you don't make this a practice with two up!

I attempted to replicate this, as others claimed the same thing in the past, and found that my older 880's did do it, not so much with the new ones.....I did what budzee did....hands barely off just to see what all the fuss is about....quickly learned and just don't tempt a bad fate.

I ride 42 front and 48 rear. FWIW....I just had my rear tire replaced and state with an absolute fact that once your rear tire hits the wear indicator/mark, you better replace it within the next 400 miles....I went almost 500 miles and had lots of cord showing!

:bmw:
 

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I had this happen to me with slightly worn, slightly cupped front tire. I checked the balance, add dyna beads, checked inflation nothing helped. Between 38 and 42 mph the wobble was there. It went away when I put a new tire on. Haven't had it since until the other day around 40 mph it did it again.I've got 8000 miles on the front tire. I think it had to do with the tire wearing out
 

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Try Dynabeads for balancing and I would wager the shake will go away. At least that is what happened for my on my 99. I am running the Metzlers since I have been using the Dynabeads "No More Shake".

There are many opinions on the Dynabeads, but I would think you should try them prior to dismissing them and if they work or not.

Good Luck
 

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First welcome to the LT community with your bike. When I bought my LT several years ago, I did the same thing...took my hands off the grips to test how straight th bike would go...since I took my hands off the grips, the bike decelerated. This was when I got the violent shaking -- it seems prevalent when the bike decelerates. And yes, it did not happen to any other bike I rode.

Shortly after this happening, and not for the reason of the shaking, I replaced my tires as the bike had about 9000 miles on the original tires -- the front tire was badly cupped and the rear was close to needing replacement. By the way, I never took my hands off the grips to test if the new tires cured this issue.

Here is what I found out since that time...big bikes like the LT, including the Goldwing, experience this phenomenon due to their weight and geometry. Although it doesn't happen to all LTs, it is normal and you should not worry; there seems to be no permanent fixes to this issue.

If your tires need replacement, get the replaced -- I added Dyna Beads to my tires. I will tell you this was the single most impressive thing I did to the bike. Not only did the bike handle better by a factor of 50%, the ride was soooo much quieter.

I hope this helps and what you learned is that you don't take your hands off the grips -- especially when coasting and the bike decelerates.

Glenn
 

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If you need a damper, let me know. I have fully serviced ones available for $40 shipped, plus yours for exchange. I can ship first so no down time required! :D
 

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WVUandVT2 said:
'09 K1200LT. Ok, don't try this at home. I've only had the bike a few weeks and I picked it up from the shop after some warranty work. Sometimes driving I'll take both hands off the bars and stretch them a little. This time I just happen to be going exactly 45 mph. As soon as I took both hands off the bars, the bike almost immediately began to shimmy and shake violently. Had I not grabbed the bars quickly we would have gone down. I've done this hundreds of times before with no problems but I guess this was the first time at exactly 45 mph. I did a test after that at various speeds and she kept straight with no shake at all when I took both hands off. At 45 mph, shake. If I put just 1 finger on the bars with very light pressure at 45 mph, zero shake. I only have a little over 3,000 total miles on the bike and the tires still look good. Any ideas?
Don't worry too much.
If you know the speed when it happens, make sure to keep your hand on at that speed.
It happens on mine at the same speed. Worls perfectly fine otherwise.

BJ
 

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I used to own a Yamaha Venture, another heavy touring bike and it also had the wobble you are describing. Yes scary the first time; I learned to keep my hands on the handlebars. I never gave it a thought after that or on my LT.
 

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bjedruszczak said:
Don't worry too much.
If you know the speed when it happens, make sure to keep your hand on at that speed.
It happens on mine at the same speed. Worls perfectly fine otherwise.

BJ
:wack: Why would you want to continue with such a dangerous known flaw?
Anything that could compromise safety in ANY way is a bad thing.
Fix it. The bike is not designed to operate that way, it's not normal, and more importantly, it's not safe.
 

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Problem with trying to "fix it" is that even with a trusted dealer throwing a new set of tyres on, the problem can still be there (search the threads from a few years back... I had a hell of time getting to the bottom of the cause of the shake with 2 new sets of ME880's... either some sort of "fault" with tyres when new from manufacture, or the way they were fitted....)
When the problem does disappear with a new set of tyres, its like riding a new bike, and the trust comes back.
Its the first thing I test when I get new tyres mounted now... do they track straight without the front-end shake... for the last few sets they have and I'm very grateful for it.
The wobble will likely appear after some wear on the tyres.. but I've found not as bad when its there from day1 of a new set being faulty.

I also run Slime (or similar) in both tyres, and I'm reasonably convinced this has helped maintain the balance and longevity of the tyres.

cheers
 

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I picked up my new to me 07 last August. On the return ride from DC to Louisiana I experienced the dreaded head shake. The first time it happened I was braking in a downhill curve and just about $%!) myself.

When I got home I looked it up on this forum and found it to be a common issue with no precisely definative solution. I replaced both tires and the problem went away.

I've been maintaining the correct air pressure in the tires and so far, so good. I also installed Wilbers and although the problem went away with the new tires, the Wilbers make the bike feel tremendously more stable and I believe will contribute to the solution of the problem.
 
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