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Motorcyclists should avoid experiencing a high-speed wobble on their motorcycles. They are incredibly dangerous, especially if they aren’t handled right. They can happen at any time, and they are often not obvious.
Even if you’ve never found yourself in a high speed wobble on a motorcycle, you’ll want to know how to handle one if it ever does happen to you.
How do you stop a motorcycle’s high-speed wobble? To stop a high speed wobble on a motorcycle, you’ll first need to ease off the acceleration. Do not accelerate nor apply the brakes. Hold on to the handlebars with firm grip, but don’t try to correct wobbles. You might consider leaning forward to the tank of your motorcycle.
It could save your life from serious harm if you know how to stop a high-speed wobble. There is a certain way to handle it and it’s a good idea to know how to avoid it in the first place so you don’t ever have to know what it’s like. This article will explain everything about high-speed wobbles.
Stopping High Speed Wobble
Whether you’ve already experienced a high speed wobble on your motorcycle or you’ve seen the scary videos of others doing it, it’s obvious that it’s something you never want to encounter. High speed wobbles can cause panic and make it difficult to control.
They’re especially dangerous when you’re surrounded by other vehicles going high speeds. It is crucial to be prepared. This will make the difference between serious injury or just a bruised ego.
The handlebars move quickly from one side to the other when there is a high speed wobble. This makes it difficult for the rider to control the bike. If you are to find yourself in this situation, you’ll first need to east off the throttle and cease any type of acceleration. Increasing speed could make the situation much worse because high speed wobbles occur when you’re already going fast.
You can let go of your throttle and let the motorcycle cruise. Do not apply brakes. Grab onto the handle bars. Do not attempt to correct them because you’ll likely do the opposite of what you’re trying to do and make the situation worse. It’s a good idea in many cases to lean forward towards the tank, to help the motorcycle achieve the best aerodynamics.
Let’s recap the steps. You should be aware of your surroundings if you find yourself in a high-speed wobble.
- Take the pressure off of the throttle
- Don’t apply the brakes
- Hold the handle bars firmly but don’t attempt to correct them
- Over the tank, lean forward
This method is not guaranteed to work. This is the exact way that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends. However, high speed wobbles can occur at such a fast pace that even if you follow all of the steps correctly, it may still cause a crash. Abiding by these steps will decrease your chances of a crash, but it’s not promised. That’s why it’s important to stop yourself from getting into one in the first place.
Why Do You Have a Wobble at High Speed?
There’s a simple science behind the idea of a high speed wobble and it’s important for every motorcycle rider to understand it if they’re going to ride a motorcycle at all. Fluid dynamics is called oscillating turbulentence. Although there are many names for this phenomenon it is most commonly referred to as oscillating turbulent.
If you’ve ever stuck a stick or a board in a river or stream, you can see that as water goes around it there are swirls that form behind. The swirl is technically called an eddy. It happens the same way whether you’re riding a bike or driving a car. Air is pushed around, and eddys can form behind you. That’s why items in the back of trucks gets thrown around going high speeds; there is a turbulence zone that those objects are caught in it.
These turbulent zones are usually pretty uniform; half of it goes to the right side of you while the other half goes to the left side of you while you’re riding a motorcycle. They tend to go back and get sucked in by the wind.
This frequency can occasionally occur where a bigger eddy on the right will form and swirl around. You then get sucked in and another one forms on the Left. The left and right side of your motorcycle will see the speed increase.
These eddys can cause your motorcycle to move back and forth as they form and break. This will cause your motorcycle to wobble and your handlebars to move rapidly back and forth.
These uneven eddys behind motorcycles can be caused by oscillating Turbulence. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. Wind frequency is the first. High winds can cause aerodynamic problems and wobble in the outside. These can also be caused by high winds that are mixed with natural wind at high speeds.
Large trucks can create deep grooves on high-traffic roads over time. The road has two 13-inch grooves on its outer side. If you manage to hit one of these grooves just right, your tires will bounce from one side to the next which can throw off your natural turbulent zone.
Rider error may also lead to a wobbling motorcycle at high speeds. A motorcyclist may hit a bump in the road or a hole and then overcorrect themselves. They may feel a sudden wobble.
Also, a loose front axle bolt could be the reason for a wobble at high speeds. If your front tire isn’t tightly put in it’s place, the tire can eventually wobble from side to side especially at high speeds and cause your whole motorcycle to wobble. This is especially dangerous on the front tire since it’s what helps you steer.
How your motorcycle rides can be affected greatly by the tires on it. They can also cause a high speed wobble if they’re placed in the wrong situation at the wrong time. Incorrect tire pressure can lead to a motorcycle wobbling at high speeds and bald spots.
How to Prevent the High Speed Wobble
Understanding the causes of high speed wobbles can help you to reduce the likelihood of being in one on your bike. Take these following safety measures and you’ll be at a much lower risk of becoming a victim of the dreaded high speed wobble on your motorcycle.
You can avoid this terrifying situation by adhering to speed limits and accelerating at a moderate rate. It can be incredibly tempting, especially if you have a faster motorcycle, to test out it’s ability and see how fast you can get to (or get over) 100 MPH. This increases your chances of a wobble at high speeds.
You’ll notice that most YouTube videos of motorcyclists getting themselves in a high speed wobble are going way too fast and are accelerating to an unnecessary speed.
Ride your motorcycle in the middle if it is dry. This will keep you from getting stuck in the same tracks that trucks leave in the roads. You’ll be riding on better, less compressed asphalt that can help with traction on your motorcycle. Other drivers will see you better if you ride in the middle lane.
Routine maintenance of your motorcycle is key to avoiding many problems down the road. A high-speed wobble can also be prevented by proper maintenance. Such maintenance that’s important specific to this problem is maintaining your tires, keeping the proper air pressure in them, and getting new ones when they are breaking down.
Wobbling at high speeds vs. low speeds
We’ve touched up on the fact that high speed wobbles usually happen at, well, high speeds. Even though this is when they most often occur, motorcycle wobbles can also happen at lower speeds. As scary as low speed wobbles can be, they’re actually a bit easier to get out of compared to high speed wobbles.
Low speed wobbles can be caused by mechanical problems. This is the biggest difference between high and low speed wobbles. It happens at a lower speed so it’s less dangerous than wobbles at high speeds.
You’ll feel the same sensation during a low speed wobble as you would during a high speed wobble. You will feel panic as the handlebars whip around. The way to handle a low speed wobble is the same as a high speed wobble: cease acceleration, do not apply the brakes, hold the handlebars tightly but don’t correct the wobble, and lean over the tank.
Tire issues, such as an imbalance, bald spot or incorrect tire pressure, are the main causes of low speed wobble. Suspension may also factor into low speed wobbles, so if you’ve noticed your motorcycle wobbling at lower speeds it’s a good idea to have the tires and suspension checked out.
Uneven weight distribution can also cause low speed wobbles. Consider the weight of heavier cargo when you are riding a motorcycle with a smaller engine or on a smaller motorcycle.
What should you do when your motorcycle tire blows off? If you’re out for a ride and one of your tires blow, cease any acceleration. You can use the brake of the other tire to slow yourself down. Then, ride as straight as you can to an area where it is safe to stop. For more information, see my article.