Low speed wobble

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  • Low speed wobble

    I have a 2012 GL1800 with about 9K miles. I have always had a low speed wobble at around 25 mph. I recently installed the Superbrace and initially thought the wobble was gone but now the bike is wobbling at about 40 mph when slowing. The dealership tells me the only fix is to replace the fork bearings. I don't want to spend the money on this if the problem might still be there. Any thoughts or solutions?

  • #2
    Your returned wobble is most likely due to tire wear. It can be the rear tire lots of times. If new tires doe not fix it, next step is the head bearings, if this does not fix it next step is better springs in the forks that slightly increase the trail.

    Tapered bearings can be secured to help with the wobble, that does cure some bikes, some it does not.

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    • #3
      Very common ailment with these bikes. The most effective cure is to not let go of the bars when slowing down around 40mph, this works great for me. I will not replace anything until I feel it is a justified repair or upgrade such as the front suspension in general.
      Dave - High up in Arizona - Black Metallic 2019 DCT

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      • #4
        Second on Check your rear tire - Your wobble will go away - If you haven't done it already Pump up your tires to 41/41 and see if that helps
        Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, never paid for a divorce


        IBA # 40576

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        • ballen12706
          ballen12706 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the air pressure suggestion, I'm going to do that tomorrow and do a road test. Mine occurs at 37 - 33, new tires the end of last year on my 2015.

      • #5
        Yup. Check the rear tire. I discovered some broken belts and it had got out of round, that caused a wobble and handlebar shake. I wish I had done that prior to fitting a brace and the all balls conversion.
        GL1800 8A - TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER 900

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        • #6
          Had a broken belt on the rear tire when I bought the bike and it wobbled at anything below 40 mph. After I replaced the tire with the new spare that came with the bike, that went away. Then I got to find out what everyone was talking about with the 35-40 mph wobble. Put on a fork brace, front end felt better but the wobble was still there. Put up with this for a few thousand miles then changed the tire on front which helped for about four thousand miles. When it began to return I greased and tightened the steering head bearings, didn't replace them with rollers just used the original ball bearings. I wrote the torque value somewhere but only took it for the heck of it. I tightened the bearings until I had a slight drag as I moved the front tire from side to side. Wobble gone for the remainder of that set of tires, gone for the new tires, and still gone about six thousand miles through these tires.

          If you know someone who knows what to do with the front end besides just replacing the bearings, you can probably get much of it eliminated. Of course as we have seen, what works on one bike doesn't work on the next five. Good luck.

          John
          Black 2008 Goldwing Level 4
          Northern Kentucky

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          • #7
            A buddy and I just pulled the handlebar and tightened the nut on top of my bearing (kind of brutal the way we used a chisel to hammer is a couple of flats tighter) and it stopped the wobble. Actually it made the steering a bit tight for a few hundred miles, and either I just got used to it or it loosened up some.

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Pappa Wheelie View Post
              The dealership tells me the only fix is to replace the fork bearings.

              Pappa Wheelie, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that the dealer that said this to you is 100 % wrong. They are parts replacers, and not good old fashioned mechanics. The vast majority of us that have a GL-1800 will experience this at least once, if not many times, during the course of ownership of these fine bikes. The issue is...and only is...the tires. Period. There are no IFs, ANDs, or BUTs about it. There will be people that will tell you to try this, and try that, but it is usually because they tried these other things before changing out the tires. Some folks swear by new steerring head bearings....and if they "believe" that, good for them. But I can tell you that the steering head bearings are NOT the problem.

              How can "I" be so definitive on this issue ? What makes me think "I" know the answer...when others have tried other things...and they believe it has helped?

              Because on my '03 Wing, and my '04 Wing (that Honda gave me), and my '06 Wing...(that Honda gave me), I had a total of about 330,000 miles on those three bikes, and yes I did experience this dreaded wobble on every one of those bikes. And the ONLY thing I ever did to change the bike to get rid of the wobble, was to change the tires. Every time that I changed the tires, the wobble was 100 % gone...until the tires were worn well enough to contribute to the front loading of the front tire, during deceleration, between 45 mph down to 35 mph, and generally with one of no hands on the handlebars.

              I never once changed...tightened...lubed...the front steering head bearings on any of those bikes. I did use a SuperBrace on 2 of the 3 bikes, but that was always in the beginning of ownership, not after I had the wobble. I am SO picky about air pressures....I will tattoo the correct air pressure onto your forehead, so you don't forget what it should be. On a full sized Wing, it should be 40 psi on the front, and 41/42 psi on the rear, dependent on load. On an F6B, ir should be 40 front, and 40 rear...period.

              How do I know this...because Dunlop used me as a test rider in 2003, and I went through sets of tires the way most LD riders go through underwear. I used up 10 "sets" of tires in 2003, ergo...the 107,781 miles in that year. My bike actually read 109,785, but the IBA gave me credit for 107,781 after all the number crunching.

              Replace all the parts you want to, but the issue is tires...worn tires. That does not mean the tires are worn OUT...but the squaring off of the rear tire does affect how the bike reacts to the shift of weight onto the front tire, during decel...specific to the 45 down to 35 mph zone.

              Keep the tire pressures where they should be....do NOT believe that everything written in the owners manual is 100 % correct, and use good tires....not the cheapest tires.

              BTW, that second picture I posted there, of the Bridgestone front tire that is worn.....that tire has 20,270 miles on it...and was worn perfectly across the entire surface...no scalloping, no bad edges. Bridgestone wanted that tire from me, as it was on my bike when I was hit by lightning, and they wanted to test the tire. They had it on display at the Bridgestone booth at the Wing Ding in Madison, WI. last month, with a large plackard telling the story about me..and this tire...getting hit by lightning.

              To pull more than 20K out of a Bridegstone front tire, you have to keep the tire pressue correct, all the time.
              Attached Files

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              • #9
                Tires here for me too never had any luck with Dunlop the wobble also came back around 7000 miles. I but a CT on very early after buying my wing went threw two dunlop E3s don't thing they work well with CTs. Plus tire pressure is very important check prior to each ride. I am running a BT45 now what a difference over 3000 miles on it and it still looks like new. Read some post on other sites that centramtics will also help with the wobble. But i do agree a full monty front fork upgrade is the best way to deal with the wobble.
                2018 DCT non tour, Pearl Stallion Brown, Double Darksider #856, Live To Ride, Love my Wing, IBA Member# 63744 Yellowbird Alias Coppertone

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                • #10
                  As MMR already stated, bearings are not the problem, but they can mask the system if preloaded enough to create a damping effect. I also have over 350,000 miles on four different GL1800's and have only experienced wobble once and that was a tire that was bad from the rack. It was taken off immediately and everything was back to normal. I'm not going to say that it is always the tires, but I will say that if you pay attention to the tire pressure tag in the trunk, you are more likely to experience wobble, tire cupping and shorter tire life. I am on my 17th set of E3's running them at 41 & 42 and go 18 to 20k without any wobble or cupping. And regarding pressures. There is no one pressure that is right for everyone. Weight, riding style, trailer towing, tire brand and type all are factors. Hondas recommended pressures are primarily to absorb some of the harshness of this bikes suspension, not to contribute to even tire wear.

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                  • #11
                    Maybe the head bearings and tire wear are related causes for the wobble. If there is too much play in the bearings would this cause the tire to wear faster.
                    '08 Level 3 Wing Pearl White
                    Progressive front springs
                    All Balls with Traxxion triple tree
                    '12 rear shock with Progressive spring
                    F 4 windshield
                    Wingsoft seat

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                    • #12
                      I had a low speed deceleration wobble. It disappeared after I replaced the front tire, a Dunlop E3 with a new Dunlop E3. Other experienced riders on a forum that will go unnamed warned me the wobble would return as the tire wore. The tire wore, but the wobble never returned. I have Progressive springs in the front forks and a disabled anti-dive valve. Everything else on the suspension is stock.

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                      • #13
                        There are actually a number of things that can cause wobble. Anything that excites a low-speed oscillation in the frame can get the wobble going. Tires can certainly do it, but loose swing arm bearings can also do it. It is very widely accepted that the tapered steering head bearings do not really "fix" the problem, but in some cases, they may mask the symptoms by increasing the dampening in the system.
                        Terry

                        DS# 1595
                        2008 Honda GL1800
                        1980 Suzuki GS850G
                        1972 Suzuki GT750
                        1973 Honda CB350

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                        • #14
                          I had the wobble at about 35 mph since I bought my '12. Didn't change with tires or a Super brace. Last week I got the Traxxion full monty and it is now gone. I got the AK-20 cartidges, triple clamp, tapered bearings & rear shock. Don't know which one fixed it, or if it was a combination of things. The wobble didn't bother me too much because I never really noticed it unless I let go of bars. If my installer was closer, or if I did the install myself, I might have done one thing at a time to see how each component affected the ride. Spendy if all your doing is getting rid of the wobble.
                          Mike Harrison
                          '12 Blue GL1800 level 3
                          '06 Moto Guzzi Breva 1100

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Slygrin View Post
                            I had the wobble at about 35 mph since I bought my '12. Didn't change with tires or a Super brace. Last week I got the Traxxion full monty and it is now gone. I got the AK-20 cartidges, triple clamp, tapered bearings & rear shock. Don't know which one fixed it, or if it was a combination of things. The wobble didn't bother me too much because I never really noticed it unless I let go of bars. If my installer was closer, or if I did the install myself, I might have done one thing at a time to see how each component affected the ride. Spendy if all your doing is getting rid of the wobble.
                            That is the problem with doing so many things at once. You just never know what fixed it.
                            I think that it is pretty widely known that core issue is that the geometry of the frame and suspension is right on the edge of allowing the wobble to develop, so any number of things can wear and put it over the edge.

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                            • #16
                              MMR thanks for the info and taking the time to share it.
                              We as a society will pay a price for allowing our government to control us. That price will be determined not by us but by the these same people that we elected and watched systematically ignore our constitution and destroy our republic.

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                              • #17
                                Originally posted by MountainMan View Post
                                MMR thanks for the info and taking the time to share it.

                                I really like your avatar MountainMan.........:toast:
                                I agree MMR knows what he's talking about. Thanks MMR.
                                '12 GL1800 Level 4 & '08 FLHX Darksider #1378

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                                • #18
                                  This bike has had a history of decel wobble around 40 MPH since the first one went into service. Some bikes will wobble with good tires others with bad cupping. There has been much discussion on this, and several class action law suits. The best way to eliminate it is changing the bearings from roller to taper. I have been working on these bikes for years and tried about everything on my own and this is the only thing I found that works.

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                                  • #19
                                    The tapered bearings merely serve as a damper. They do not address the problem.
                                    2007 Crucible Orange Metallic
                                    2009 Kawasaki Red Concours 14
                                    AMA Life Member 0672853
                                    IBA Member 8846 Premier
                                    NRA Life Member

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                                    • #20
                                      I know my owners manual says 36 in front on my 2005 can i run 40 in the front tire ? Just put on a new set of elite 3 and I have the wobble on its new tire maiden voyage

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