Whoa Nelly!! Steering whoes. - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 13 Old 08-14-2017, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Whoa Nelly!! Steering whoes.

Okay!
There I was getting on down the I-80 after a round of where does this go?
Cruising 75 mph and no cares other than I ran out of time!! Grr.
Ahead of me an object drops out of a trailer and I put the pressure on the bars to avoid.
The bike acted as it should except when I tried to straighten it up as rapid as I put her down and the rodeo was on!
She wobbled a few times but settled down after a very long 2 seconds.
Only has 10k. Tires were on pressure and I don't seem to have any looseness.
I've never had to press her nimbleness like this before so it may have been there the whole time.
But I can repeat it consistently. So if I figure it out I'll know I did.
Where do I go with this problem? Any other victims of the OSWJH'd?
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-14-2017, 03:24 PM
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I was on a two-lane road last year on my 06 (now have a 2017) and hit a piece road with a bump from a tree root...total tank slapper, three or four full slaps each side. Then back to normal.

Google will give you a bunch of info on issue...lots of places suggest a dampener for prevention. Not sure I've seen these on the KLR. I'm confident those in the know will be in shortly to suggest items on the bike to inspect (psi, front forks, head bearing, etc)
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-14-2017, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outdoorgb View Post
I was on a two-lane road last year on my 06 (now have a 2017) and hit a piece road with a bump from a tree root...total tank slapper, three or four full slaps each side. Then back to normal.

Google will give you a bunch of info on issue...lots of places suggest a dampener for prevention. Not sure I've seen these on the KLR. I'm confident those in the know will be in shortly to suggest items on the bike to inspect (psi, front forks, head bearing, etc)
I've hit a few good bumps. Didn't see it straight on. Certainly caught me off guard. Your phrase tank slapper, I'd go with underwear eater!!
And your right. I've not see steering dampers for KLRs.
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-14-2017, 05:04 PM
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What is your tire pressure and weight distribution?

Paul advocates 2psi more in the front than the rear. I run about 36/34 on the highway.I've never had tankslapper problems with mine, but if I did I'd try dropping the pressure in the front a couple of pounds, but I'd still keep it +2psi over the rear.

I may not know shit from Shinola (imagine how the man from Shinola feels about that) but I believe that too many folks put too much weight on the rear. I naturally travel pretty light and don't load the back up much, even for a two-week trip. I carry as much weight forward as I can on a tank vest. A front end that is too light can't stay planted and track correctly.

Once the front end starts to oscillate it will continue to do so, perhaps indefinitely. One way to get out of it is to apply a little rear brake to transfer some weight forward. Gently backing off on the throttle can work, too, because wight is transferred forward as well. Applying the front brake can be bad.

Try, with some help, weighing your bike on a bathroom scale with you sitting on it. Weigh the front tire, then the back. For this exercise it isn't really important to keep the bike truly level. What's important is understanding the weight distribution.

Try this, then we can talk about head bearings.

Tom [email protected]

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 08-14-2017 at 05:13 PM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-15-2017, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
What is your tire pressure and weight distribution?

Paul advocates 2psi more in the front than the rear. I run about 36/34 on the highway.I've never had tankslapper problems with mine, but if I did I'd try dropping the pressure in the front a couple of pounds, but I'd still keep it +2psi over the rear.

Try, with some help, weighing your bike on a bathroom scale with you sitting on it. Weigh the front tire, then the back. For this exercise it isn't really important to keep the bike truly level. What's important is understanding the weight distribution.

Try this, then we can talk about head bearings.
I got the tire pressure right! (Paul's Law). I may not be able to ride after I ride the bike into the house to get to the scale and the wife finds out! I know the curtain rod would make a great balance point.
If I'm still alive and can type I'll let you know what I found. Good thought!!!
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-15-2017, 12:33 PM
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My standard death wobble post:

Way too many people think that addressing the symptoms by dealing with handguards, fenders, fork braces, etc. are the answer rather than dealing with the real issue which is related to suspension setup and loading. I'm not convinced that the KLR is any more susceptible to instability than any other bike with long travel, lightly damped suspension and the Owner's have a propensity for severe and uneven loading.

There are some problems that need to be checked;
- bad/lose head bearings
- condition of wheel bearings and suspension bushings
- wheel and tire condition and appropriate tire pressures.

.....beyond that, It's settings;
- proper sag settings and adequate dampening
- proper bike loading
- avoiding inappropriately un-aerodynamic loads

addressing the symptoms rather than the cause can help but IMO shouldn't be done until all the aforementioned items are checked and corrected if necessary. Nonetheless these can help stability;

- fork brace
- smaller fender or lowered fender (I use a polisport as I hate both the supermoto and low mounted fenders)
- consider tank bags instead of putting everything in huge panniers which affects both weight loading and aerodynamics.


My 2001 had some high speed issues that went away as soon as the sag was set properly....and after my Cogent suspension was installed, both my KLR's have been rock steady.....even with full knobbies and low tire pressures (20 - 22PSI). Lastly, as others have mentioned, the rider also plays a part; keep a relaxed light grip on the bars and don't tighten up. Changing your position (move forward/lean forward) can help too.

2 cents,
Dave
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-15-2017, 03:51 PM
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The old death wobble. It can happen on any bike. Usually the problem is you're neither on the brake or on the gas at the time that it happens. It happened to me once on a Quick Lane change on the KLR at about 80 mile an hour. It has happened on most of the bikes I have owned one time or another. I have always gotten out of it by hitting the gas. Whatever you do don't hit the front brake LOL

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Last edited by Ghost Rider; 08-15-2017 at 03:54 PM.
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-15-2017, 05:34 PM
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Steering head bearings too tight will also cause a speed wobble.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-15-2017, 06:56 PM
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If steering head bearings are too loose they can allow a speed wobble.

The square profile of the Kenda K270 on the front of my bike currently causes a speed wobble above 70-75 mph.

Sometimes loosening the grip of the Left Hand can relax the wobble. Could be jacket induced?

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

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post #10 of 13 Old 08-15-2017, 07:49 PM
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Removing the big stock elephant ear handguards helped reduce wobble on mine. If I have a straight on head wind, wobble is almost non existent but get in around the buffeting of other vehicles ahead it may come on heavy at any instant. Mostly over 70 mph. My experiences are NOT a tank slapper. All occurrences have been a weave (or wobble) that I can duplicate by bouncing either foot on the peg.

2016 KLR 650
2017 BMW S1000RR (traded in for
2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
2017 Yamaha R1
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