Indian Motorcycle Forum banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter HERE for September's Ride of the Month Challenge!
1 - 20 of 52 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
362 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two separate motorcycle crashes, one resulting in a fatality, were reported on the same nearby highway this past Saturday and Sunday. The newspaper article does't mention the brand of the bikes, but I suspect they were Harleys based on what I've read and seen elsewhere. The article does actually use the phrase "death wobble".

I know there was a class action lawsuit against Ford a few years ago for a death wobble on some of their pickups, but I've never seen any lawsuits against any motorcycle company. Is anyone aware of any? Anyone here ever experience a death wobble?
 

·
Registered
2019 Chieftain Classic
Joined
·
476 Posts
I used to have a Dyna. They had a bit of a reputation for the death rattle kicking in at really high speeds (>80). I never put it to the test, although I did put a steering stabilizer on it.
 

·
Founding Member / Distinguished
Joined
·
5,033 Posts
I'm on 6th Harley and have never experienced the "Death Wobble". I've seen the video of the CHP officer experiencing it but I believe that was before the new frame design released in 2009.
 

·
Founding Member / Distinguished
Joined
·
5,033 Posts
Two separate motorcycle crashes, one resulting in a fatality, were reported on the same nearby highway this past Saturday and Sunday. The newspaper article does't mention the brand of the bikes, but I suspect they were Harleys based on what I've read and seen elsewhere. The article does actually use the phrase "death wobble".

I know there was a class action lawsuit against Ford a few years ago for a death wobble on some of their pickups, but I've never seen any lawsuits against any motorcycle company. Is anyone aware of any? Anyone here ever experience a death wobble?
Can you give a link to the article?
 

·
Founding member / Distinguished
2021 Indian Challenger Limited Deepwater Metalic
Joined
·
6,095 Posts

·
Founding Member / Distinguished
Joined
·
5,033 Posts

·
Registered
Soon to be 22’ scout bobbet
Joined
·
63 Posts
My buddies ninja 600 went nuts on me. Thankfully the road was empty and I reigned it it. Talking to him after it had never seen service other than one oil change, I wonder if it was a maintenance issue?
 

·
Founding member / Distinguished
2019 Roadmaster matte black and gray
Joined
·
3,077 Posts
I've never experienced it, but from what I understand, the most common cause of death wobble is uneven compression between the two front forks. I wonder if changing the springs or fluid change could prevent it?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
362 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oldie but still 100% relevant on weave and wobble.


Thanks for that video! Looks like many factors can cause a wobble. Good maintenance, regular attention to tire wear and pressure, and how you load the bike are obviously important. Good tip in there about lying down on the tank to stop the wobble.

I have experienced slight head shake on some bikes when I was younger and going very fast. Never a really bad weave or wobble though .Like Dochardtail, I have since added extra weight to my middle so I should be good. :)
 

·
Rider
March 2022 ROTM Winner
Joined
·
2,365 Posts
Of the 9 Harley touring's I had 6 of the had bad front wheel wobbles. Multiple dealer explanation, we can't find anything wrong. Can't think of a better reason to switch brands.
Interesting comment at the end. It happens on Indians too apparently! Cut and paste from the FTR Forum.

Had a violent tank slapper on the FTR last Monday on my 100-mile commute to work. Was riding at 80mph with cruise control set, kinda leaned over the tank... right hand on the throttle and left arm over the top of the tank. Hit a rough section of interstate which caused the bars to shake back and forth a bit. Before I could disengage cruise control or get my left hand back to the bars the slight head-shake turned into a full fledged tank slapper from lock to lock (worst I've ever had in 15+ years of riding). Lasted almost 10 seconds before settling back down, and I'm still amazed it didn't throw me or go down. I pulled over on the side of I44 and checked the bike out. Forks smacked the radiator (small ding in right fork, ruined finish) and the powder-coating was peeling off the frame at the fork locks.

My wrist was hyper extended backwards and at that point I was feeling a shooting pain from my wrist to my elbow along with numb fingers. Had my wife come pick me up and a friend limped the FTR back to the house. Went to local urgent care facility and got checked out, bruising and sprained. Got back to the house and checked the tire pressure, tread wear, rear axle alignment, etc. Only thing I didn't check was the fall-away of the forks and the neck bearings. I had been looking at Yamaha MT10's before purchasing the FTR1200 S... naturally I went to "LOOK" at one they had locally and was after a few hours of haggling back and forth on the deal - we came to an agreement.

Subsequent post analyzing what the cause may have been.

I believe it to be a combination of all the right/wrong things. Suspension settings and/or geometry mixed with cruise control set at just the right speed, and road-to-bridge then back to road segments caused some instability that just all went from bad to worse in less than a second. I checked the usual suspect (tire pressure) and it was spot on. I've been able to accelerate out of slappers in the past on other bikes, never had one that got violent like this while cruise control was active. Definitely won't be running cruise in that section of highway in the future - I40 is a toll road, yet one of the worst condition in the state. Not sure if it was the guardian bell that saved me, my guardian angel (dad), or the good Lord above... but I feel someone/something was definitely watching over me. Nothing like the moment of clarity before feeling like your life is gonna be taken away - it's good to be alive! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
My 2017 Springfield is known for wobbles. So much so that Indian and Dunlop recommended unique tire pressure values for both the front and rear tires. 46 PSI on the front and 41 rear. Their explanation was that the increased tire pressure would firm up the tire side wall and eliminate the wobbles. Dunlop authorized this for the OEM tires that came on the bike - Dunlop Elite 3s. No one has said what tire or tire pressure to use when replacing these E3s.
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
Top