Tank slappers - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Tank slappers

I haven't been able to find a dedicated thread to tank slappers but I would like to hear from all of you who have had them and stayed up. I've heard conflicting comments about this and really would be at a loss as to how to get the bike back under control. Some say speed up and other say slow down...etc.
All comments appreciated!

DL650k9 Orange
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 07:41 PM
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To oversimplify, there are two possible responses to a developing tankslapper.

1) Do nothing. Maintain a loose grip on the bars and keep doing whatever it is you're doing. Relax and it should stop. Overreacting will increase your problem.

2) Do something different. Whatever caused your tankslapper -- acceleration or deceleration -- do the opposite. Change the state of the system and the behavior should change. Shifting your weight helps, too.

I believe the usual school of thought is that gentle acceleration is the safest response in general (assuming you're pointed toward a reasonably clear space... ).

Chopping the throttle or nailing the brakes is right out. Strong deceleration will plant the front wheel, and if it's not pointed straight when it happens to settle down, you got worse problems.

Again, all the above is a drastic oversimplification.

Once you've stopped and purchased new underwear, you might want to redistribute all the crap you're carrying on on the back of the bike. Overloaded luggage and inadequate rear suspension is a common root cause of handling problems, at least on a V-Strom. Some say the aerodynamics of a top case contribute to this as well.

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post #3 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 07:43 PM
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Had a mild one at 115 with the top case onGot a Scotts and fork brace and all is good!

'05 Silver Wee, Givi crash bars, Scotts dampener, JC top box, Battlewings, Homemade fork brace, GSXR calipers with homemade brackets. TCI Outback luggage System, Mr. Eds Moto custom seat
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 07:43 PM
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The only one I ever experienced was on a '66 Yamaha Big Bear Scrambler at about 80 MPH, which was just about topped out.

I slid up on the tank as far as I could and slowly rolled the throttle off, but it continued to oscillate all the way down to about 30 MPH. Never rode that bike faster than 60 MPH again. Don't know to this day why I did not go down. I was 20 years old and stupid. Did not have on a helmet, jacket, gloves or anything. It would have been ugly had I hit the asphalt.

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post #5 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 07:58 PM
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A lot of times it will solve itself. If the oscillations start getting worse though. you have to take control quickly. That will probably take your big muscle groups. Your arms may not cut it. Grip the tank tightly with your knees and pull back equally with both arms straight like you are rowing a boat. That puts your leg and back muscles on the job. I would also pull in the clutch and avoid braking so the engine power and the bike's kinetic energy are not feeding the beast. A Scotts steering stabilizer will prevent a slapper from starting. I tried using my arms to stop oscillations that started after closing the throttle at an indicated 119mph. Letting go of the bars and hoping the thing would resolve itself wasn't so much a choice as a necessity as I couldn't hold on any more. Broken bones, a separated shoulder and a totalled DL650 were the result. I ordered a Scotts six months before I could ride again.

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Last edited by greywolf; 05-17-2010 at 08:03 PM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Undershorts and tank slappers.

I like your undershorts comment!:biggrinjester: I'll probably need more than that if it ever happens to me high speeds though.

So it sounds like what I'm hearing from you is keep a light touch and from Greywolf if that doesn't work then try a heavy grip to stabilize.

As far as speed is everybody in agreement to NOT slow down radically? Maybe ease off a bit? Or speed up a bit?

Not hard braking makes sense too unless the wheel is straight which in a tank slapper is never is for long anyway.

DL650k9 Orange
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 10:07 PM
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I simply backed off the throttle very slowly and it worked, that time at least. I hit a series of washboard ripples about 75 feet long at 80MPH and that is what started the slapper. I moved up onto the tank a little because in my mind, I thought I needed to get more weight on the front end. Right or wrong, that is what I did.

You gotta have big cajones to accelerate if you already nearing triple digits and the front end is slapping! Even if that is the right thing to do, it is going to go against the grain for most folks who are already in survival mode.

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post #8 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 10:31 PM
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The only real tankslapper I've had was on an H1 Kawasaki triple back in the early 70's. Don't recall how fast I was going, but it happened after a slight right hand corner going uphill and encountered the seam where the road and a bridge met. The bridge was flat and both wheels left the road. The tank slapper started on landing with the bike still in a slight lean. The best I remember, it ripped my grip from the bars and almost sent me over them. I have no idea how I got through it without going down or what I did, but I do know it scared the beejees outta me.
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 01:37 PM
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I have had a few bikes that would do a tank slapper and one that was successful in pitching my azz off the bike and what I have developed as a means to stop it is this, apply equal parts throttle and rear brake. Keep adding more brake but, keep enough power in it that the weight of the bike doesn't shift toward the front wheel. Using this method I can keep the front end from overpowering me and yet decrease my speed to the point where the wobble will stop. I have used this on BMW's and Honda's and Harley's and have been able to get the bike back under control. Can't say it will work every time for every one but, it is what I have taught myself to get rid of a strong head shake.

Any time any bike of mine has done this I immediately start what ever is necessary to fix the wobble or I get rid of the bike. The time that I didn't know what to do was the summer of 1978 and I have the pictures hanging on the wall in the garage of what I looked liked after a 65 mph slide down the highway with no ATTGAT what so ever. Lotta scabs all over every where on that one. Interesting side note on this incident is that I was running a Dunlop Gold Star TT tire on the front of a 750 Honda single cammer and I had a brand new tire and tube leaning against the couch but, the guys called and said cmon man we're going riding and instead of taking the 20 or 30 minutes to spoon the old tire off and the new one on and do a little spin balance on the screw driver trick, I paid the price for that decision.

I no longer take a chance on running any tire that isn't fresh enough to ride safely. The trouble is that it isn't always one thing that contributes to a speed wobble but, can be many single things or more than one thing coupled with something else. From the dialogs that I read on here and the events I have experienced personally it seems that the one biggest factor on the Strom is having a set of slab sided bags and running them up to and beyond a speed that is aerodynamically prudent? My bike has given me a little wiggle one time and it happened when I was in a strong Wyoming cross wind and I was a little over zealous in hammering the throttle. The wiggle never became violent but, I took action as soon as it started and managed to get my speed down and it stopped.

In 2001 I bought a brand new from the dealer BMW K1200 LT and it came with a small stabilizer mounted on the front end to control wobble and yet at about 40 or so if you let go of the bars it would just kinda veer back and forth. It is a topic of conversation on BMW Luxury Touring.com and has been for years.

My DL seems to be fine up to 95 and I generally ride at a speed lower than that so I seem to be ok on the wobble issue but, I think the bags are the culprit in my case since if I take all the bags off and just go ride the bike I have never had any kind of wobble at speeds well over the posted.


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post #10 of 21 Old 10-03-2014, 12:09 AM
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Anyone ever had tank slapper while carrying a passenger. How much is that Scott's stabalizer and how hard is it to install?
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