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Discussion Starter #1
Starting a new thread on the subject to try to zero-in on the best strategy for solving the issue.

Situation is new Michelin Commander IIs (front and back) on a 1700 Nomad have generated front end vibration that is intolerable. Recognize that the Commander II is a much harder tire than the stock Bridgestone it replaced. Lowered front pressure a bit (to soften the tire a bit), and it helped a little, but no cigar. Tire was dynamically balanced before installation.

Possibilities include:

1. Bad tire
2. Wrong tire
3. Bad front wheel bearings
4. Bad steering bearings
5. Bad balance
6. ?

I read on another thread that putting a Bridgestone Exedra on the front might cure the problem, or the Allballs steering bearings might help. I hate to buy a new tire as the first fix given that I just bought this one. And the steering bearing replacement is $270 in labor alone. Is it really likely to work?

Would it make sense to first have the tire rebalanced and replace the wheel bearings while its off? If that doesn't work, what is the next thing to do? Is some other strategy better?

I've read that there's an aftermarket fork stabilizer that might help, as the forks on the 1700 apparently aren't stellar. That seems like a last resort, as it looks to me like that would require moving my lightbar.

Any thoughts on how to proceed appreciated.
 

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How long since the tire was installed? If you bought the tire where it was installed, I'd take it back and have them attempt to re-balance it and check out the tire. Could be a bad balance or a bad tire. Several folks have had problems with MC IIs with belt separation. You could have a bad tire.

Basic troubleshooting: what was the last thing changed in the trouble area? If putting on a new tire caused the problem, the problem is most likely with the tire. Eliminate the tire as the problem first before worrying about bearings, etc.
 

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What product did you use for the dynamic balancing. I've been using beads for a long time and have moved to using stainless beads. The
Dyna beads and other ceramic ones will self destruct over time and you can lose balance. Stainless deform but at .060 the don't break down.

I would have the tire mechanically balanced and if that did not help swap it out.
 

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Had a vibration issue years ago after having the front tire replaced on a Gold Wing. The bead wasn't properly seated all the way around. Something to check.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How long since the tire was installed? If you bought the tire where it was installed, I'd take it back and have them attempt to re-balance it and check out the tire. Could be a bad balance or a bad tire. Several folks have had problems with MC IIs with belt separation. You could have a bad tire.

Basic troubleshooting: what was the last thing changed in the trouble area? If putting on a new tire caused the problem, the problem is most likely with the tire. Eliminate the tire as the problem first before worrying about bearings, etc.
Tire is now a month old. How do you know if you have belt separation?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Had a vibration issue years ago after having the front tire replaced on a Gold Wing. The bead wasn't properly seated all the way around. Something to check.
Can one tell this by looking? It does look a little uneven to me, but what do I know. I assume the guys at the shop would be able to tell, right?
 

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I would take it back to the tire shop, have them look at it. Even new in the box stuff is faulty.
what do you have to lose?
 

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Tire is now a month old. How do you know if you have belt separation?
Check for uneven wear spots, especially on one side or the other. This tire is so new that you may not see any yet. The best way is to have it put on a balancing unit and spin it. Look for out of round spots watching the tread as it goes around. There may not be anything that you can find just looking at the tire on the bike.

Can one tell this by looking? It does look a little uneven to me, but what do I know. I assume the guys at the shop would be able to tell, right?
The bead should be right up against the rim lip and even all the way around. If there is any doubt, have them break the bead and re-set it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Went to the shop today.

1. Bead is fine
2. Had the tire rebalanced. It was off ever so slightly, a small enough amount that the shop felt that I wouldn't notice the adjustment.
3. Replaced the front whee bearings. There was no obvious problem with the bearings, but I replaced them anyway. It was bad enough that I felt I had to try something.

It is marginally better, but still not optimal. It is tempting to conclude that it's a bad tire, but it's not obvious that that's the case. It could just be that the harder Commander II is bringing out weaknesses in the front end, no?

It would cost 3 hours of labor to install allballs bearings in the steering mechanism ($270 in labor alone), and I am reluctant to buy a new Bridgestone Exedra for the front and trash the Commander II, as that's about $150. I think I may just live with it being a bit squirrelly, knowing that the next time I replace the tires, I will will put a softer tire on the front.

My conclusion is that the Commander II is not a great front tire for this bike. Is that fair? Anyone disagree? I wish I had bought a softer tire.

Happy and safe riding,
Dan
 

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Went to the shop today.

1. Bead is fine
2. Had the tire rebalanced. It was off ever so slightly, a small enough amount that the shop felt that I wouldn't notice the adjustment.
3. Replaced the front whee bearings. There was no obvious problem with the bearings, but I replaced them anyway. It was bad enough that I felt I had to try something.

It is marginally better, but still not optimal. It is tempting to conclude that it's a bad tire, but it's not obvious that that's the case. It could just be that the harder Commander II is bringing out weaknesses in the front end, no?

It would cost 3 hours of labor to install allballs bearings in the steering mechanism ($270 in labor alone), and I am reluctant to buy a new Bridgestone Exedra for the front and trash the Commander II, as that's about $150. I think I may just live with it being a bit squirrelly, knowing that the next time I replace the tires, I will will put a softer tire on the front.

My conclusion is that the Commander II is not a great front tire for this bike. Is that fair? Anyone disagree? I wish I had bought a softer tire.

Happy and safe riding,
Dan
I really don't think the hardness or softness of the tire is going to change anything. All that dictates is traction and lifespan of tire. Harder tires will last longer, but have less traction than comparable softer tire.

A couple things to check before replacing bearings and such. Get the front end off the ground. Get it high enough to allow the handlebar to swing freely. Now you can do a "bounce test". Basically, center the bar and let gravity take over. If it falls freely to one side and bounces back from full lock, the steering head bearing is too loose. I had this on my VN900. Once the bearing was tightened up, the vibration in the handlebar went away.

Another way to test for what I call "death wobble", is when you're cruising. Loosen up your grip some. Does the handle bar pulse back and forth in your hand? If so, see the above paragraph. Also, my mirrors were virtually unusable because the the vibrations.

Now, since I fixed my "death wobble", I do get this slight side-to-side vibration for a moment when walking the bike and coming to a stop. I haven't figured that out yet, but it's not causing any problems either while I ride.

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I really don't think the hardness or softness of the tire is going to change anything. All that dictates is traction and lifespan of tire. Harder tires will last longer, but have less traction than comparable softer tire.
Thanks for the responses.

Others have said that the fork is not great and that harder tires expose the issue while the softer stock tire keeps it in check. I'm not in a position to judge one way or another, but it is interesting to me that different folks have different thoughts on this.[/QUOTE]

A couple things to check before replacing bearings and such. Get the front end off the ground. Get it high enough to allow the handlebar to swing freely. Now you can do a "bounce test". Basically, center the bar and let gravity take over. If it falls freely to one side and bounces back from full lock, the steering head bearing is too loose. I had this on my VN900. Once the bearing was tightened up, the vibration in the handlebar went away.
That sounds like a test to try.

Another way to test for what I call "death wobble", is when you're cruising. Loosen up your grip some. Does the handle bar pulse back and forth in your hand? If so, see the above paragraph. Also, my mirrors were virtually unusable because the the vibrations.
My wobble isn't anything like a death wobble. It is just an annoying small vibration and slight wobble (especially on left turns) that was not there before the tire replacement. Rode my buddy's Valkrie last weekend -- smooth as a baby's butt. Both he and I notice the vibes on the Vulcan after the tire change. So it goes. I'll try your steering bearing test.
 

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I love the MCIIs, front and rear. I installed them myself and used beads to balance. Much better feel and control in curves.
 

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I put a CII on the front ever since I did that I got the death wobble at 40mph. I may go back to bridgestones if that will get rid of it. I'd rather change a tire in 10k than deal with the wobble.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Well, I took the Commander II off the front and put on a new Bridgestone Exedra. The wobble on the left turn (and generally) is GONE. Either the Commander II I had on was bad, or this bike likes a softer tire in the front. I can't be sure which conclusion is right, but one of them is.

Happy and safe riding,
Dan
 

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The most important thing is the wobble is gone. Hopefully it will not return. Do you know what the expected mileage is from the Bridgestone Exedra?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Did some more riding after work (took the long way home), and with the new Bridgestone on the front, it rides smooth as a baby's butt, like it should. I won't be trying a Commander II on the front again. The one I put on the back seems great, though, just like on my 900.

The stock Bridgstone on the back was shot at about 9500 miles. The front had another couple thousand left, but I chose to do both at once, and both Commander IIs, which I understand last much longer. However, I'd rather have the bike ride the way it does now---with a soft Bridgestone on the front that will be gone in 10,000 miles---than ride with the wobble I had. Maybe I just had bad luck with a bad Michelin. Whatever the case, the result of that change was a month long odyssey ($$$) to figure out why I was getting significant wobble on left turns and wobble generally. I think there is a good chance I got stuck with a bad tire. Internet buyers, beware.

All is now well. Perhaps I've found the ideal tire combination.
 

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I had terrible luck with Bridgestones on the back. I was barely able to get 4000-4500 miles from one. Now I use a Bridgestone Exedra Max on the front (about 20K) and a Dunlop American Elite on the back (about 12K) and the handling is great.
 

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I'm about to change the MCII on the front of my Voyager... Just a tick short of 29k KM's, and I'd get another long trip out of it if I had to. Might as well change now though, at the start of our riding season.

I got the wobble when I put this tire on, All Balls head bearings fixed that permanently. I've changed over to a Metz ME888 on the rear after 23k KM's on the MCII back there, so I'll probably match that on the front just for the sake of comparing them. The rear got cupped badly as a result of a day's riding at low pressure from a slow leak, but it had plenty of tread left. The front has worn nice & even, with no sign of cupping at all.
 

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I'm about to change the MCII on the front of my Voyager... Just a tick short of 29k KM's, and I'd get another long trip out of it if I had to. Might as well change now though, at the start of our riding season.

I got the wobble when I put this tire on, All Balls head bearings fixed that permanently. I've changed over to a Metz ME888 on the rear after 23k KM's on the MCII back there, so I'll probably match that on the front just for the sake of comparing them. The rear got cupped badly as a result of a day's riding at low pressure from a slow leak, but it had plenty of tread left. The front has worn nice & even, with no sign of cupping at all.
Hi Peg
What tire pressures did you run on the MCII's?
WEG
 

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The 1700's aren't so temperamental that they can't handle a different make or model tire. There are loads of people running CII's on 1700's and plenty of other bikes with no issues at all. Chances are you recieved a bad tire or it was damaged while being mounted. These things happen. It sucks but not the end of the world.
Glad you got it sorted out. Now go wear those new tires out! lol
 
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