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Old 06-05-2013, 09:46 AM   #61
bradrh
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tank slapper

Wow, I just read this thread. Serious bummer.

I would like to know what really causes tank slapper behavior, it really seems like a serious design flaw. I have a DR650 and read the DR thread & don't recall any issues like that with the DR, but here I see several folks have experienced this with a KLR. Previous to reading this I was kinda wondering if I should sell my DR and get a KLR since it is 'better on the road', & I have a better off pave bike now (WRR).
I could see frame flex factoring into this. Are KLR's flexier than DR650s?
I have the big front fender and handguards and a windscreen on the DR and don't hesitate to go 75 and it feels pretty solid. I do go wide when passing semis though, & strong crosswinds take all the fun out of riding.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #62
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Keep us current on how it's going,shit your probably already tied up over in the Orange Crush and forgot all about us.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:28 AM   #63
DutchVDub OP
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Originally Posted by bradrh View Post
Wow, I just read this thread. Serious bummer.

I would like to know what really causes tank slapper behavior, it really seems like a serious design flaw. I have a DR650 and read the DR thread & don't recall any issues like that with the DR, but here I see several folks have experienced this with a KLR. Previous to reading this I was kinda wondering if I should sell my DR and get a KLR since it is 'better on the road', & I have a better off pave bike now (WRR).
I could see frame flex factoring into this. Are KLR's flexier than DR650s?
I have the big front fender and handguards and a windscreen on the DR and don't hesitate to go 75 and it feels pretty solid. I do go wide when passing semis though, & strong crosswinds take all the fun out of riding.
I was already in front of him when it started wobbling. It seems like there are a lot of things that can cause it and its not just a KLR thing at all. I think the KLR-A's super soft suspension is what lends it to wobbles once people start loading it up. I'm failry certain the primary factor in mine was having mounted those ammo cans onto it as far back as I did and not adjusting the pre-load on the suspension higher, assuming it wasn't already maxed out. That made it more susceptible to wobble and the high cross winds, knobby tires, and bumps in the road compunded to make for a bad scenario.

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Originally Posted by 8lives View Post
Keep us current on how it's going,shit your probably already tied up over in the Orange Crush and forgot all about us.
Who are you again? I'll probably start a thread in one of the forums relating to the new bike and stuff I do to it. On all the Jeep/Off-road forums I'm on I don't necessarily do seperate threads for every trip or mod. Just 1 long build thread where I'll post up trip pictures as well. Easier to follow along that way IMHO.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:12 PM   #64
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Thanks guys. I'm not sure what caused the wobble. It just barely did it on 287 when I got over zealous on a straight away but it went away when I slid up against the tank and put more weight up front. My panniers didn't have much in them but I'm wondering if their weight too far back led to is. Looking back I'm thinking I should have use the rear brakes only to slow down. The wobble got worse as I slowed down and the worse it got the more front brake I squeezed.

It was a used bike with over 21,000 miles on it soba mechanical issue might have been a factor but I had been going over the bike the last 11 days since I bought it.

I definitely want another adventure-tourer/dual sport. I honesty don't think a heavier bike would've made much difference but if it'll make the wife happy and let me keep riding w/o having to get a divorce then so be it. An 08+ KLR is high on my radar but I doubt she'll go for it.
I have the same exact wobble problem on my 2012 KLR. It seemed to diminish a little after putting on a cee bailey windscreen, the tallest one, but it still has it. It mostly occurs when passing big vehicles like semi trucks at fast speed. Well, speeds over 70 mph. Never had that happen with any other of the many motorcycles I have owned. I still have the same stock front tire, and I am know physics major, but I honestly believe that the stock tire (Dunlop) has something to do with it. Don't really know, but if you are ever in that situation again either gun it (if you have anything left, doubtful on a KLR 650, lol) lower your head down as much as possible while doing it, or let off the throttle and do the same with your head.
Doug

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Old 07-16-2013, 08:32 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Tsotsie View Post
I posted the following on another thread. It may be of interest to some readers here too.

"Sorry to hear this. You put a lot of time and love into that ride!

This is the 3rd such event I have heard of. The other two were air-lifted out!

Soon after getting my KLR in 08 I nearly sold it in disgust. I aborted a 1500m ride after 200miles due to the instability. I was comparing it to my rock solid BMW.

The advice given on the various sites were all related to bearing adjustment, pre-load front anbd back, sag, tire pressures, tire types, front fender, wings on the bars and on and on. They may all be contributors to some degree and I modified and adjusted it accordingly - although nothing was out at the time. I beleived that there was something else more fundamentally wrong.

Here are the eventual conclusions I came too;
1. The frame flexes excessively from the head backwards. Loaded with heavy panniers, standing still you can simulate the 'tank slapper', tail wag and frame flexability by moving the bars quickly,
2. In certain wind conditions, direction and speeds an unstable set of vortices comes off the back of the bike. These create pulsing forward that then plays into # 1.

Over the last 50K's, through the very windy and thermal laden West Texas, the 50-60 mph side winds approaching Glacia NP in upper Montana-as examples, this is how I manage the above;

1. Know and understand when these conditions exist or can be created. Winds and side winds over 20mph. Speeds at or approaching 80mph. Large vehicles moving at speed create a large bow wave and or corresponding low pressure area in the lee.
2. If overtaking a vehicle move over and away as far as you can and then some to get out of their wake.
3. If the occilations begin, slowly back off.
4. Avoid a deathgrip or the temptaion to try to steer out of it.
5. Move your body weigh as far forward on the seat in anticipation that you can.
6. Understand and anticipate the possibility and ride accordingly before it begins.

While not as solid as other makes in windly conditions, the fact that I still have the KLR , do many 800m+ days and it is my choice for long distance riding is testament that I now have it manageable and stable enough."
I don't agree with your assessment of the cause of the death wobble. As stated earlier, I have the same problem with my 2012 KLR650, and that is with absolutely nothing attached to the bike, no cases or sidebags hard or soft. So, that is definitely not what causes it. The first time it happen to me it totally freaked me out. I was passing a semi at 75 MPH, and I didn't know WTF was going on. I just let off the gas and put my helmet down, and that seemed to make it subside. I also put my helmet down and accelerated through a bunch of other times. I has happened too me numerous times, this death wobble has. It is scary as hell I will admit. It could possibly be the height of the rider's helmet, the type of helmet, something that is affected by the wind. Just not the cases, like I said I don't have any. I wish I would have never bought this bike. I hate it for the most part, and it is by far the worst motorcycle I have ever owned. It ranks last in comfort (although the DR 650s were close) and on road stability, and I don't need to tell you that it handles like a pig on the dirt roads. The absolute worst thing about the bike is the extreme vibration in the handlebars. I can't wait to get the WR250R. After test riding one, it is a smooth motorcycle, absolutely no vibration in the handlebars whatsoever, and the high reving low maintenance engine will hall my fat arse around just fine. Sorry if the KLR faithful are offended by my assessment, but listening to them are the reason I bought it in the first place. Just don't see the quality in the bike as they do. My worst fear is that I will end up keeping it indefinitely, and not be able to replace it with a better bike.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:25 PM   #66
DutchVDub OP
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Wow, this thread came back out of nowhere.

Oh yeah, and I'm still alive and kicking it on my 950 Adventure after 2300 miles.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:38 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by RACINGTHESUN View Post
death wobble
It's not a death wobble unless it takes you down, otherwise it's just a wobble. On a new bike with nothing added to it I would suspect loose steering head bearings. There are reports of them being dry of grease or really loose right of the showroom floor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RACINGTHESUN View Post
The absolute worst thing about the bike is the extreme vibration in the handlebars.
What qualifies for 'extreme' vibration is a matter of opinion, but I'd also check for a mechanical issue. The cure for vibration issues on a KLR is the 685 kit. It only added a little bit of power to mine, but made it incredibly more smooth running.

Bottom line is the KLR is a bargain bike. It's cheap and shows it. And that's why even with it's known flaws and shortcoming it remains popular and relevant.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:22 AM   #68
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Bottom line is the KLR is a bargain bike. It's cheap and shows it. And that's why even with it's known flaws and shortcoming it remains popular and relevant.
I agree, and I'd definitely like to get another one later on as my "end of the world" bike. Stupid simple to work on, very reliable, and more than capable of a wide variety of uses as long as you are aware of and respect its limitations.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:20 PM   #69
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I am impressed with your mental toughness dammer boy. However I have to say I rode a KLR in every state of Mexico 1999 model bought it new and it never ever did anything bad to me? I did pavement, did Mikes Sky Ranch in the Baja off road (only way to get to Mikes off road) and everything in between. I rode it empty, loaded, stock shield, + shield soft bags, tank bag, top box so I don't think it is an inherent design problem with the KLR. I even out ran a H.D. 1340 one day leaving the Peoria T.T. (102 mph hawr) and it just ran straight as a string that day............ Anyway damn glad you are OK again I love your attitude my man.


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Old 08-13-2013, 02:49 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by DutchVDub View Post
Unfortunately about 15 miles down the road as I was passing a tractor trailer at 75 MPH I caught a huge gust of wind and started getting very bad wobble in my front tire/handle bars. If it had been my jeep I'd have called it death wobble. I tried slowing down and moved to the side of the road so the truck driver wouldn't hit me but the wobble got worse and worse. Feeling I was about to lose it I aimed for the field and started praying.

Here is the result of that experience.


The same truck drive pulled over and helped me up. He also called 911 for me. By the time the EMT's rolled up I was walking around and gathering bits of bike. They looked me over and said I was good enough to where they wouldn't force me to go to the hospital. The WY Highway Patrol officer then gave me a ride to the Petro Truck Stop in Laramie, WY where I'm waiting on the wife. I've got some road rash on my lower back and my left shin, I'm also really stiff and sore but otherwise fine.

I had full coverage on the bike and will be getting another one. It'll be a dual sport although to be honest it might not be another KLR. I enjoyed the hell out of it while I had it, and definitely don't blame the bike at all. I just know the people I ride with and where I want to go a more highway friendly bike would be best. I've been contemplating the V-Strom, F800GS, or similar. I'm not looking for a fast bike, just something more street biased. Still, I haven't fully given up on the old girl yet. It was running great up until the wreck and while I know I'm very lucky it's obviously a sad day for me.

Oh, wife just got here and said I have to get a bigger bike. Hey, at least she said I can get one. :)
thats called a tank slapper. slowing down will only make it worse, all the weight will move forward and add to the wheel that is hunting for traction.
grab some throttle and lighten the front wheel. even out the steering, then back off the throttle. pull over and take a break. you'll need it.
anyway, thats how i get out of tank slappers. hasn't failed me ever.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:31 PM   #71
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But what happens when you throttle it and it doesn't get better?
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:47 AM   #72
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But what happens when you throttle it and it doesn't get better?
never had it get worse.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:20 AM   #73
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I have, basically same situation, on a klr. Maintain speed or accelerate it steadily gets worse, slow down and it rapidly gets worse. KLRs at highway speed don't have much power to lighten the front end.
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:11 AM   #74
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I've found it's best to hit rear brake although it will still put weight on front but not as bad as front brake.I just try to get it slowed down with rear brake as fast as I can so the crash is not as bad.
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:31 AM   #75
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Yeah, to keep bringing up an old thread the KLR doing 80mph on the interstate doesn't have anything left.

My KTM 950 would get a slight wobble going into 3rd gear when accelerating full throttle. I would ease off the throttle and up shift to bring the rpm's back down and it would go away. That was with knobbies on it, now with the Scorpions it's never done it.
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