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Old 04-05-2014, 07:26 AM   #1
RedMenace OP
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Head Shake

My Triumph rig had developed a severe head shake and I was at the point of looking at steering dampers ( a solution I loathe). It came and went, no particular speed, accelerating and decelerating and even steady throttle. If I took one hand off the handlebars it would start a tank slapper.

I just replaced the nearly bald front tire with a new Conti TKC80. Presto change-O! No more head shake, back to almost effortless handling.

I was well aware that tread and tire pressure issues can do this, but it has been awhile since I'd had such a dramatic demonstration.

Last night I replaced the rear tire with a new Shinko Trail. Crossing my fingers that the treads will work well together and not add some new quirk to the mix! The Kenda K270 I took off still had plenty of tread left but it has 100+ screws in the knobs and the fine for running studded tires after March is something like $190 I'm told...
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:53 AM   #2
davide
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As soon as I read your first lines, I immediately thought front tire...

I had the same issue about 30 years ago touring around Scotland on a borrowed Royal Enfield rig. The mechanic in the motor pool (I was in the army back then) told me "Let's start with the front tire and if that doesn't fix it we will move on to the steering head bearings..." Sure enough it was fixed with new rubber.

Years later, in Italy, I had a Honda CX 650 (no sidecar) and if the front tire was low on pressure or worn, it would shake its head like crazy...

Since then I learned to check my tire pressures before every ride and I got into the habit of replacing my tires several hundred clicks short of the limit. It might have cost me a few bucks over almost 40 years in the saddle, but I believe it also saved me from a lot of aggravation...
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:12 AM   #3
mikejjmay
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Interesting, my first thought was "steering bearings" just goes to show you should always start with the simpler stuff..
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:24 AM   #4
Ivan Rider
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My R1200CLC/Ural rig does the same thing when the front tire (ME880)wears down. I don't dare take one hand off when it's in that condition. It hasn't happened since I switched brand of tire.
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:36 AM   #5
Wolfgang55
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Never know about your passengers

I get a serious case of ''the head shake'' when the grand kids want to eat ice cream in the sidecar…..no matter how old or brand the front tire…..
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfgang55 View Post
I get a serious case of ''the head shake'' when the grand kids want to eat ice cream in the sidecar…..no matter how old or brand the front tire…..
LOL
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:12 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by davide View Post
As soon as I read your first lines, I immediately thought front tire...

I had the same issue about 30 years ago touring around Scotland on a borrowed Royal Enfield rig. The mechanic in the motor pool (I was in the army back then) told me "Let's start with the front tire and if that doesn't fix it we will move on to the steering head bearings..." Sure enough it was fixed with new rubber.

Years later, in Italy, I had a Honda CX 650 (no sidecar) and if the front tire was low on pressure or worn, it would shake its head like crazy...

Since then I learned to check my tire pressures before every ride and I got into the habit of replacing my tires several hundred clicks short of the limit. It might have cost me a few bucks over almost 40 years in the saddle, but I believe it also saved me from a lot of aggravation...

my old /2 did this with REAR wheel problems: worn tread, bad wheel bearings or low tire pressure. Over the years I have seen it with mis matched tread or either the front or rear tires being much more worn than the other or a with a big difference in tire pressure front and rear.

I'd been meaning to change the front tire on the Scrambler for months, but the weather has been so cold I didn't feel like wrestling with stiff rubber. Glad I finally got around to it...
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:30 AM   #8
davide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedMenace View Post
my old /2 did this with REAR wheel problems: worn tread, bad wheel bearings or low tire pressure. Over the years I have seen it with mis matched tread or either the front or rear tires being much more worn than the other or a with a big difference in tire pressure front and rear.

I'd been meaning to change the front tire on the Scrambler for months, but the weather has been so cold I didn't feel like wrestling with stiff rubber. Glad I finally got around to it...
Well, you are a very experienced hack pilot, so you can certainly "experiment" a little while still being safe then share your feedback for the benefit of the less seasoned ones (like me, because I have spent my life on 2, not 3 wheels...)
There is a lot to learn by listening to the ones that blaze the trail with an eye on collecting experience vs. simply plowing forward...

davide screwed with this post 04-06-2014 at 12:17 PM
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Old 04-06-2014, 04:49 PM   #9
Motoblag
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I've been remembering and forgetting to mention that. With a knobby Shinko out front on my Scrambler outfit I got headshake I couldn't get rid of with any amounts of toe-in. Swapping out to a different front tire fixed it.

Glad it's squared away, RedMenace!
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan Rider View Post
My R1200CLC/Ural rig does the same thing when the front tire (ME880)wears down. I don't dare take one hand off when it's in that condition. It hasn't happened since I switched brand of tire.


I was looking at my ME880 rubber today. What did you switch to?
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:58 AM   #11
etingelefunts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfgang55 View Post
I get a serious case of ''the head shake'' when the grand kids want to eat ice cream in the sidecar…..no matter how old or brand the front tire…..
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:53 PM   #12
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This thread is very timely. Last week I emailed Jay asking his thoughts about a steering damper because I was getting some head shake with the front end at low speeds or when applying the throttle. Well, after reading this I went outside and looked at my tire:



Here's what a newer one looks like (off my other GS):



So yeah, that might be my problem. I've got an appointment to take it in for the 42k mile service and a new front tire is high on the list of what I need (along with both headlight bulbs and new grips, the latter is starting to crack and melt under my hand).
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