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Thread: Fu@#ing death wobble

  1. #1
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    Fu@#ing death wobble

    I work at a MC shop..typically jap bikes and very rare see any buells dropping in. I made a super move and bought my first Buell and threw away over 10yrs of experience riding and wrenching jap bikes. So im basically a squid again. When i get a customer that rides in complaining about front end wobble, its always tough to diagnose when nothing is visibly wrong. So the first time i took my 04xb12 on the highway and noticed a horrific wobble, almost a SWAY like the way a shark swims, i knew it was going to be a bitch. Neck bearings, f and r wheel bearings, fork rebuild 3 different front tires, and it still untrustworthy at high speeds. I did convert my stock bars to a renthal setup and replace clamps...but it wobbled before this conversion. So big question to my ranting..if i have done everything to the front end..what could cause the wobble??? Rearend maybe?

  2. #2
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
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    Sir: see PM i sent you. revise your personal info for your own well-being.

    a high-speed WEAVE is always rear-end related.
    a high-speed WOBBLE is always front-end related.
    read the below article. though H-D specific it is the finest i've ever come across. often over-looked on rubber mounted driveline type bikes(all XB's) are the engine fasteners/mounts/rubber donuts. your solution will be found in this article.

    https://ridermagazine.com/2009/11/17...eal-with-them/

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chicknstripn's Avatar
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    Come on Lunatic! You know people don’t like to read these days!
    I thought the article was spot on.
    The things I would check, on my Buell if it was having stability issues:

    1) tires are they the EXACT factory size and a known good brand for a Buell? I mention this because I’m a cheap a$$ and put Shinko ravens on my bike ONCE. Had issues with wobbling anytime I went over 90mph.

    2) Bearings. Are the steering head bearing, wheel bearings(front and rear) in good order?

    3) Axels and spacers. Are the wheel axels in good serviceable shape? If they are slightly bent or have a gouge from a bearing seizing this could cause stability issues. Same goes for the spacers.

    4) Engine mounts and related links. Check the front and the rear main engine mounts. Any issue with either of these and the bike is bound to have stability issues.

    5) Swing arm pivot bolt. If it’s loose or worn your entire rear end will have stability issues.

    6) Suspension(this should have been mentioned after tires). Is your suspension in good working order? All clamps and mounts good and tight? Do the rear or front seals leak any fluid? Have you set up the suspension for your weight and riding style?

    I’m sure there are other things I could mention or have missed but the truth is, it doesn’t matter what bike or type of bike you’ve worked on for your life time. The basic geometry and mechanics are the same across all the major brands. It’s time to systematically trouble shoot.

    Make your own list and check items off only once you’ve physically inspected them.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Senior Member BuellyBagger's Avatar
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    Wow, great article John. I nearly had to decide to "bail off" one time on ye ole Ulysses. Good thing I was wearing my brown pants. Couldn't blame the bike for that one, she was tight... the dumbass on top of it was the issue

  5. #5
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    I had a bad high speed wobble in the front on my Triumph when it was new ! Ended up being the tires, which were also new. Changed out the tires and have had no problems since. I'm not saying it's your tires, especially since you already tried different tires on the bike. Since you initially took the front end apart due to the problem, I would rule out that it was installed wrong. Did you check the rim for run out or possibly being bent ?

  6. #6
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    Chiknstripin Ya both neck bearings and wheel bearings replaced..but that #4. You said "bound" to have problems. Is that just theoretical or its been known to cause issues? Ive asked this question before thinking it could be the issue and was told it wouldnt be related. I should just replace them anyways just for up-keep. I just dont want false hope thinking it will fix my issue lol.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chicknstripn's Avatar
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    Download a service manual from www.buellmods.com
    There should be a procedure in the service manual for checking serviceability of said parts.
    Please check parts before you replace them otherwise this issue could get REALLY expensive.
    Also check swing arm pivot bolt.

    And Njloco had a good suggestion with checking that your rims are true.

    Think about the way the swing arm is attached to the bike. It is literally bolted to the back of the lower engine case. If ANY of the structure that is suppose to hold the engine in place is loose, you’re going to have a handling issue.
    Last edited by Chicknstripn; 04-27-2019 at 06:43 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wickedchop's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good area to steal a Buell and grab some Chinese........

  9. #9
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    Mine did that too, after replacing all the same parts I raised front forks by 1 mm. Bike ran a lot better, then I raised it 0.5mm more and it completely stopped.
    Last edited by cossack84; 04-28-2019 at 12:46 AM.

  10. #10
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    So cossack, are you saying that someone lowered the front forks for some reason or it came from the factory like that ^^^^^^^^^^ ?



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