Front End Wobble and Vibration - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Front End Wobble and Vibration

It's me again guys. Sorry. I'm trying to learn as much as I can on this bike on my own and I have found a ton of info but like usual there are a few things I can't get my hands on.

It may be in my head but since our 250 mile 2 up trip this weekend, somewhere along the journey I started feeling or think I started feeling some additional and what I would consider excessive vibration through the handle bars. It is especially noticed when going over slow speed small bumps.

Also, and i'll start by saying I never make a habit of doing this, but if I take my hands off the handle bars it immediately goes into what I would call a death wobble, especially when decelerating and there is weight on the front end. As soon as I grab the bars it stops but I still feel it through my hands and arms a little.

I have ridden many motorcycles and I have never had one I can't take my hands off the bars and feel comfortable doing it. Even the vibration is a little scary. Makes me feel uneasy likes somethings up with the front end.

I was watching a review on a Goldwing one time and the guy mentioned it had this problem and there was something he said probably needed to be replaced up front that was more then likely wore out. It was years ago when I watched it and I cant find it now.

Anybody know what the part is called or if this bike has it at all.

I've put down many hard miles carving corners, but now it's time to just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds like my issue could be from steering bearings. I am not a mechanic and have very basic skills and surely not the correct tools to do this job. I think it may be too large of a task for myself. I'm going to price at least checking them at the dealer and see where that goes.

I've put down many hard miles carving corners, but now it's time to just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery!
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 10:19 AM
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There are a number of things which can cause this, but it's fairly common to all makes and manufacturers. It's a function of geometry.

1. Make sure your tire pressures are correct.
2. If your tires are worn and cupped, it can contribute to this issue.
3. Add in some preload to the rear shocks. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but what goes on in back affects the front.

Finally:

Jack up the front end of the bike from under the motor, getting the front tire off the ground. Make sure the bike is steady and solid - then go around front and push/pull the front wheel/fork assembly back and forth along the centerline of the bike. There should be zero play.

Now move the handlebars back and forth from stop to stop. They should move freely with minimal resistance. Worn headset bearing races will often brinnell (dimple) in the straight forward position; as you go through the harmonic speed for a steering wobble (usually 15-25 MPH, depending on the bike) the dimple amplifies the wobble. The dimple will fell like a detent for the straight forward position. Bearings MUST be replaced if they are brinnelled - it is unsafe to ride a bike when the bearings are worn like this.

My guess, based on mileage, is that it's a combination of the first three things, unless the previous owner was a big guy doing lots of interstate miles. Headset bearings are pretty robust these days - not at all like the stuff we had back in the 60's.

Trust this helps.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for this response! I will check all three of these items tonight. To the eye the tires look fine but i'll check them more closely. They don't look bad but i'm pretty sure they are the tires that were on the bike when the previous owner purchased it. He put less then 1000 miles on the bike so there is a chance they have went bad from sitting.

As for the preload, would I be correct in that you are referring to how much air pressure is in the rear shocks? I'm pretty sure you are. I know this sounds silly but I am pretty nervous about adjusting the pressures back there which is why I haven't done it yet. I know you can royally screw up the bike if you get those pressures wrong or uneven. I am going to have to figure out and invest in the proper tools to both check and fill them up or release air depending on what the issue may be.

I will definitely look into all this very soon! thanks again!
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I've put down many hard miles carving corners, but now it's time to just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery!
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 02:00 PM
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If I had to place a bet - it would be shocks. Geometry changes when you're 2 up. You could probably ride it now and not have any wobble. A fully laden bike will be less stable - especially if there's quite a bit a weight over the rear wheel. I built a motorized bike as a kid - but the motor over the rear wheel and it was damned near unrideable.

And you're welcome!
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Wow I bet lol. I hope it is something simple in my case. I'm going to take a good look at it all tonight. Wish me luck lol.

I've put down many hard miles carving corners, but now it's time to just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2016, 01:45 PM
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Same problem with letting go of bars at low speed. First time after getting new Metzler tires, was told to raise tire pressure to 42,that worked but now going very slow wheel goes back n forth like going over groves in road,put on 700 miles no problem but tire pressure 32.will raise to 42 again n try.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 08:11 PM
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My wobble problems on my 08 Nomad turned out to be a lack of grease on the lower steering head bearing from the factory. Cleaned the bearing, thoroughly greased the bearings and races and reassembled per the service manual. No wobbles at any speed, hands on or off.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 10:42 PM
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I had that problem on my 07 Nomad; slowing down, light touch on the handle bars and the front would wobble. It went away when I put new tires on the bike.

2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel DiMaggio View Post
It's me again guys. Sorry. I'm trying to learn as much as I can on this bike on my own and I have found a ton of info but like usual there are a few things I can't get my hands on.

It may be in my head but since our 250 mile 2 up trip this weekend, somewhere along the journey I started feeling or think I started feeling some additional and what I would consider excessive vibration through the handle bars. It is especially noticed when going over slow speed small bumps.

Also, and i'll start by saying I never make a habit of doing this, but if I take my hands off the handle bars it immediately goes into what I would call a death wobble, especially when decelerating and there is weight on the front end. As soon as I grab the bars it stops but I still feel it through my hands and arms a little.

I have ridden many motorcycles and I have never had one I can't take my hands off the bars and feel comfortable doing it. Even the vibration is a little scary. Makes me feel uneasy likes somethings up with the front end.

I was watching a review on a Goldwing one time and the guy mentioned it had this problem and there was something he said probably needed to be replaced up front that was more then likely wore out. It was years ago when I watched it and I cant find it now.

Anybody know what the part is called or if this bike has it at all.
Dude, my 900 had the exact same symptoms! Find a way to get your front end off the ground and do the bounce test. Once the front tire is up, center your bar and let gravity pull it one way. If they bounce back from full lock, the steering head bearing is too loose! Mine bounced and swung to the other side. I then read up on how to tighten the bearing. Once that was done, the vibration was virtually gone! The grips were not shaking in my hands anymore! It took a few attempts to get it right; but once it was done, the bar would just fall to full lock and stay there.

Hope this helps!
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