Handlebar shake


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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moneypit
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:43 pm
Location: Grand Haven Mi
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Handlebar shake

Postby moneypit » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:53 am



What is the cause of handlebar shake upon slowing down .



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virgilmobile
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Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
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81 GL1100
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83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:21 pm

It's called "slow speed wobble"or death wobble.
Type that in the search section at the top.
There's plenty of info about it and what may be the cause.
Lots to check...
Bearings,tire pressure,steering head bearings,etc.
Keep us posted.

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HawkeyeGL1200
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Location: Courtland, Va.
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate
1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:05 pm

I watched a very informative and fairly old video related to the "death wobble" in motorcycles. The narrator of the video states that because of the "rake and trail" in the front end of a motorcycle frame, wobble is inevitable. Some people, me included, tend to believe that the wobble is exacerbated by the type of frame the motorcycle is built around. Older, welded frame motorcycles seem more likely to have a noticeable wobble (low speed especially) than the newer, more rigid frames built out of aluminum often seen in new bikes.

The placement of the front wheel, relative to the point ahead of the wheel (straight line down the fork tubes to the ground) where the weight of the machine "wants" to be applied, has an affect on the front end that induces the wobble. Think of hos a shopping cart's front wheel shake as you push the cart at certain speeds, and you'll kind of get the idea of how the forces are trying to make your motorcycle front wheel act in the same way.

"Loose" steering head bearings, worn fork tubes, improper tire inflation, and other factors (I can't recall from memory) can have an increased potential for the wheel to wobble. Riding along at a speed above or below this "critical" speed at which the effect is its worst, will cause the bike to behave normally. Passing through that "critical" speed (mine seems to be worst at about 35 mph) and you'll feel the wobble in your hands, but as long as you keep both hands on the grips, the wobble is generally manageable.

Some designs add weight (I think the 1100 with fairing is supposed to have a "counterweight" to offset the additional mass of the fairing) to the front end to counteract the wobble. The addition of fork tube stiffeners can also have a dampening effect. Regardless of how the designers try, there is only one way to eliminate the wobble, and that is to construct a motorcycle with forks that are completely perpendicular to the ground... or in other words, build a bike we can't steer.

There also exists a high speed wobble that occurs at between 75-80 MPH. I have never felt this one, thank goodness, as the video I referred to showed several bikes being ridden to induce the high speed wobble, and it is scary as I don't know what...

So, the cure for low speed wobble seems to be a "tight" front end. Steering head bearings in good condition, properly lubricated and torqued are a good place to start, followed by checking proper fork oil levels, bushings and installed height (if one fork is installed in the triple tree clamp higher than the other it is really bad). Verify that if a counterweight was designed to be used that it is installed and tightly attached to the front end. Check for loose fairing bolting, wheel bearing condition, axle tightness and that the axle clamps are correctly spaced and tight... basically anything out of spec as the bike was originally designed and built.

Lastly, once aware of the speed(s) at which the wobble occurs, try to always keep both hands on the bars at critical speeds to dampen or offset the wobble helps.

I'm sure someone will tell a different tale, that we don't have to have wobble, and I would agree that is partially true. We can do many things to mask the wobble, but the forces that cause it are always at work, regardless of what we do to make it disappear. I've ridden many bikes that I couldn't feel the wobble, but the physics of how the front end of a motorcycle work indicate the possibility always exists and the best thing we can do to eliminate wobble are to keep the front end in excellent shape at all times.

Again, just the opinion of one guy who probably reads too much.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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redial
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Location: Kapunda, SouthAustralia
Motorcycle: 1997 GL1500 Spectre Red Aspencade

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby redial » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:10 pm

And, may I add to the previous posting, check your wheels and tyres. The wheels may be "buckled" - even slightly; or, "out-of-round", even. The tyres may be giving the appearance of "buckling" which will give you an interesting ride, at times; again, if it is a bad tyre or mis-worn, then it may appear to be "out-of-round".

Dont ignore the obvious, first, but check thoroughly all of the components. The back tyre and wheel may be the initiator of the shake, so dont rule that out too quickly.
Len in Kapunda

The world is not going to finish today, as it is already tomorrow in Australia and New Zealand, and other islands of foreign nations such as Guam and Samoa.

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Oldbear
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Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100A Aspencade

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby Oldbear » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:02 pm

Riding through the high speed wobble means you get to come back through it as you slow down...

As for the slow speed wobble. Steering head bearings, bent/warped rotors, out of balance tire (running Dyna-beads or the 'from-the-future" ones that wingadmon uses can help this), or damaged tires or rims.
My wife is the greatest - she won't let me sell my bike - I'm less grumpy when I ride...

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mrtwowheel
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Motorcycle: 1986 GL1200I

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby mrtwowheel » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:15 pm

My experience has been, in general, that the slow speed wobble is more noticable on heavier bikes than lighter bikes.

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Oldbear
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby Oldbear » Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:47 pm

mrtwowheel wrote:My experience has been, in general, that the slow speed wobble is more noticable on heavier bikes than lighter bikes.


Where you have your "cargo" can cause a wobble too. One saddle bag overloaded can cause a "shake". We all carry too much stuff - but that's why I ride a touring bike...
My wife is the greatest - she won't let me sell my bike - I'm less grumpy when I ride...

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mrtwowheel
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby mrtwowheel » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:25 am

On various bikes known to have the slow speed wobble, I've witnessed the wobbles disappear with a new tire and then reappear. I've seen them disappear when a tire reaches midwear, and I've also seen them disappear when a tire reaches maximum wear.

Scott

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Oldbear
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby Oldbear » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:56 am

mrtwowheel wrote:On various bikes known to have the slow speed wobble, I've witnessed the wobbles disappear with a new tire and then reappear. I've seen them disappear when a tire reaches midwear, and I've also seen them disappear when a tire reaches maximum wear.

Scott


That's where the balancing beads come into play.
My wife is the greatest - she won't let me sell my bike - I'm less grumpy when I ride...

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jherndon
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby jherndon » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:03 am

I use beads in my tires and i change my front wheel barrings with every other tire change they are cheep and you have the tire off so its no big deal .
keep tire at the right psi for your load and if the bike has a lot of miles on it or has sat for a long time replace head barring
and check the rear axle i have seen them lose and that cam make for a wobble that is hard to fined hope this helps

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mrtwowheel
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby mrtwowheel » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:40 am

I just got an early 1100 plastic fender to replace the chrome fender on my '75 GL1000. So, the fork braces have come to my attention lately. The 1000's had a stamped fork brace, the early 1100's had virtually no fork brace, the later 1100's and thereafter had substantial fork braces that spanned between the tops of the lowers and over the fenders with four large bolts. With the wobbles in mind I cut the fork brace out of my chrome fender and fit it under the newer fender, It's a close fit under there and I have a slight clearance problem with the tire that I think I can still solve. OK now, knowing these Wings reputation for wobble, I'm not really sure that the fork brace will make a difference at all or if the brace is even needed.

Edit, So, what do ya'll think? With the wobbles in mind, brace or no brace with this fender?

Scott

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HawkeyeGL1200
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1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:07 pm

I think a fork brace will definitely stiffen up the front end, and I don't know any reason not to try it.

One of the other gentlemen mentioned weight in the side bags. That video I mentioned in my first post demonstrated how weight distribution can have a definite effect on wobble. During high speed wobble, the rider could get the wobble to go away, simply by laying flat on the tank. So I can see how adding weight to the rear can influence the front end.

When riding through corners (particularly) at higher speeds, I have always shifted my weight forward. I guess it has become habit, as I still find myself doing it on the Oldwing.

As I wrote previously, I believe the fairing equipped models of GL1100 came with a counterweight... I can't be sure, but I think it is designed to help dampen the offset of weight in the fairing to dampen wobble.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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mrtwowheel
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby mrtwowheel » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:52 pm

Hawkeye may just have solved that puzzle for me. That counter weight has been a mystery to a lot of people for a very long time now.

Scott

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moneypit
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Location: Grand Haven Mi
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby moneypit » Sun Jul 27, 2014 2:03 pm

Well friends it has been very interesting reading all of the reply's to my post . I did a lot of checking on mine, it does have a fairing weight, tire psi is on, tires are in new condition, bags are empty. Torqued steering head nut to specs. Guess what, mine still wobbles like crazy. I did learn one way to eliminate it and that is upon slowing down to around 40 mph KEEP BOTH HANDS ON THE BARS.... Thank You all ..

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jherndon
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby jherndon » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:01 pm

my 1500 did the same thing untill i put the new front weal baring in now its fine if you have a chance id change them just for $hits and giggles :D i think i got them on ebay for $12 and they seem to be good ones

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WingAdmin
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:35 pm

It's all down to resonant frequency. Have a look at these topics:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=11648

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=14161

So many things affect the natural resonant frequency of the bike - tire pressure, fork tightness, steering bearing wear and tightness, shock damping and preload, wheel bearing wear, frame stiffness, swingarm stiffness, swingarm bearing wear and tightness, final drive wear...so basically, just about anything on the bike that can move.

On my 1100, after I put new tires on it, I suddenly had a dangerous speed wobble that developed at over 65 mph or so. The cause turned out to be incorrectly installed swingarm pivot pins. Once I removed them, installed them correctly, and torqued the swingarm bearings correctly, the speed wobble disappeared.

SakiPat
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83 standard/interstate wing

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby SakiPat » Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:12 pm

I had the low speed wobble and I followed the instructions for "Shucking the shakes" on a site called motorcycleproject.com. In a nutshell you reseat the steering bearings and using a fish scale set the nut so that you end up with 6-7 lbs. of pull with the front wheel off the ground and the fish scale tied to one fork. It worked for me, my steering was on the loose side. I did have the wobble come back but found out my chrome front "bumper" had broken on one side and had to reweld it back together wobble gone. I have since put on Avons with beads and still no low speed wobble. Shucking the shakes is an article worth reading as are many other articles on that site. Pat

Bray20
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Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 Ltd.

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby Bray20 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:15 pm

I also had a low speed wobble on my 85 Ltd. I put new tires on and installed progressive springs in the forks. The wobble disappeared and the handling of the bike improved by one hundred percent. Putting the progressive springs in is the best improvement I have made to my Goldwing. For the price and the ease of installation I would recommend the progressive springs. I am convinced that is what took away the wobble.

WalterM817
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby WalterM817 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:55 pm

Mine was all in the tires. Front to be specific. I replaced headstock bearing and added progressive springs, replaced swing arm bearings. Even borrowed a superbrace from my brothers bike. All did nada till the tire was replaced.

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HawkeyeGL1200
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1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:49 pm

WalterM817 wrote:Mine was all in the tires. Front to be specific. I replaced headstock bearing and added progressive springs, replaced swing arm bearings. Even borrowed a superbrace from my brothers bike. All did nada till the tire was replaced.


What tire(s) did you have and what were they replaced with?
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

WalterM817
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Re: Handlebar shake

Postby WalterM817 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:01 pm

Dunlop K491s I believe . I'm not around the bike right now. I know they were Dunlops. Worn a bit but not horribly. I got rid of them after they hit 10 years or so on them and was getting on the highway more with it after it was resurrected somewhat. The front tire showed light cupping. I replaced them with the same tires. No shaking now.

f1xrupr
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Motorcycle: 1980 gl 1100 Std. Vetter

Re: Handlebar shake

Postby f1xrupr » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:42 am

VARY well said Hawkeye!!! Look up "resonance"


My exercise bike is a goldwing.


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