Understanding how to keep a motorcycle from doing a wheel wobble can be the difference between a great afternoon ride and a trip to the hospital. Diligent maintenance is your best ally in prevention but wheel wobbles can actually occur at any time. The worse part is they can also occur at any speed.
To keep a motorcycle from doing a wheel wobble, you will need:
- A well maintained motorcycle
- A properly balanced motorcycle
- Prevention. Wheel wobbles can occur at any time but more often than not, it is a maintenance issue. If your motorcycle has too many accessories like saddle bags or storage boxes, the balance of your bike could be severely affected. An unbalanced motorcycle could become unstable which leads to wobbling. Tires that are not properly inflated or the correct size can also lead to wheel wobbles. Other things to keep an eye out for are bent wheels, incorrectly aligned steering columns, loose bearings and loose spokes. New windshields that are not installed properly can also lead to wheel wobbles.
- Stupidity. There is something about motorcycles that attracts the dumbest of the dumb and spurns them on to new heights of dumbness. Being on public roads and trying out tricks you have seen on ESPN or in a video game is, believe it or not, quite dangerous. The one that sends more idiots to the emergency room is the wheelie. The problem occurs when the wheel slams back down to earth. The impact can cause severe wheel wobbling. Any stunts that include slamming your bike can compromise your wheel structure, toss you to the asphalt and sandpaper the cool tattoos right off your body.
- What you can do. When you feel your handlebars start to shake, grab them tightly to hold on but do not fight the motion. Do not accelerate or slam on your breaks. Slowly close the throttle and lean forward. Basically you are trying to ride it out. As soon as you have control, pull over to the side.
Tips: If you notice slight wobbling at any speed, it is definitely time to inspect your motorcycle. This is not the sort of problem that just goes away.