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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I have a new 2011 DL 650, only 500km (300 miles). I have noticed an handlebar wobble/shimmy under deceleration, mostly between 90 to 60 km/h (50 to 35 mph). If I let go the bars, wobble is very evident start at 45-50 mph and stop at 35. Even with the hands on the bar, I can feel it vibrate. I have checked tire pressure, 32psi front 36 psi rear. Is it normal for that bike? I owned a lot of different bike, and the only one that had shimmy like that was my old VFR with worn steering stem bearings. I do not think it's dangerous but it's annoying, especially when all the other aspect of this bike are perfect. Bike is doing that since mile 0, had it since thursday July 21 only. Is there a simple adjustment that I can do, or I'm due for a trip to the dealer?
Thank you.
Matt
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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The steering head bearings may be loose. It is not normal.
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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Your steering head bearings ARE too loose. Go back to your dealer and ask the them to tighten them up for you.

At some point, you may want to consider replacing the original bearings, (It is too soon yet though.) Here is some reading that may be of interest to you: http://www.stromtrooper.com/mainten...w-replace-upgrade-steering-stem-bearings.html

To the other rider / readers who have listened to my passionate plea about tightening up, or replacing your steering head bearings, I would like you to take note that this is a brand new motorcycle with brand new tires on it.

The type of tire, or the wear of the tire does not make the difference as to whether the wobble is there. They can "enhance" the issue, but they do not cause the issue. Decel - wobble is caused by loose steering head bearings.

B.L.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, this forum is awesome, very fast response! I'm going to see my dealer anyway for the 600 miles service, i'm going to ask them to look at the steering, since it's obviously not normal for a new bike. I assume steering stem bearing play/tightening is part of the 600 miles service right? Maybe bearings was not fully seated and now after a few hundred km, they have take some slack. Anyway, I'm going to let you know. Thank you for your great support, I will be a member of this forum for a long time!
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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They won't look at it unless you ask them to.
 

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And if you don't challenge them on it, they will probably charge you extra to do so. This is something that wasn't done correctly when the bike was assembled, and that they should take care of.
 

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And it really should go in sooner, rather than wait another 300 miles. This will damage the bearings if left alone. Then tightening them up won't fix it. :fineprint:
 

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You might want to get them to check rear wheel alignment while you're at it. The marks on the swing-arm are not always accurate, so they need to use a different method. Misalignment could aggravate the shimmy.
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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I recently had the opportunity to take a short riding trip with forum member "footloose". She rode east from her home in Southwestern Ontario to Maine. When she got to Maine, I rode out to meet her to give her a quick tour of some of the areas that I like to ride in.

Ironically, one of those areas is NOT in Maine, but in Québec; specifically the Cantons-de-l'Est area. This is where Mont Mégantic, and its famous observatory is located.

It is a nice ride to both summits of the mountain. There are some steep grades and a couple of switch back turns on the road to the summits. Of course, what goes up, must come down!

Below is a photograph of me that footloose took during our downward journey. My motorcycle is loaded with the usual tools and camping gear that I carry during one my typical trip weekends. I am STANDING upright on my footpegs and my hands are definitely NOT touching the handlebars! By using my footbrake and shifting my weight back and forth from footpeg to footpeg, I rode my bike back down the mountain. The tires I had on my bike were Shinko 705s with nearly 9,000 miles on both of them. The rear was long overdue for a change. The front is just beginning to scallop.

Tighten, or replace your steering head bearings. You will be much happier with your motorcycle.

(footloose, did you take any photographs of me doing this coming off of the summit of Cadillac Mountain? That was my best attempt yet!)

 

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Hi bought my 2011 in april and also had the decel shimmy under 30mph.
At the 600 mile "warranty" service I mentioned it to the service manager and he mentioned loose steering bearing.

I am closing in on 4000 miles and be honest I had completely forgotten about it until I saw your post.

Would not hurt to have them look at it congrats also!
 

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At the 600 mile "warranty" service I mentioned it to the service manager and he mentioned loose steering bearing.

Thanks for mentioning this.


B.L.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
i'm going to recheck tire pressure, rear wheel alignement. If nothing improve, I will go to the dealer to have bearing checked. I've read that sometimes the races of the bearings stem are not fully seated on a new bike, and after a few miles things loosen up a bit. Will keep you informed. thanks a lot!
 

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I have a question of degrees:

If I decel under 30mph and take my hands off the handlebars, I can see a SLIGHT shimmy. Is that what you are describing?
 

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In my experience, tires definitely can cause a wobble. As soon as I changed the stock tires to Tourances I got a decel wobble at 35mph. Took the wheels off and had them computer balanced at a different place and they were already dead on. I bought the Tourances for the longevity, and the do last a long time, but when I checked online lots of other people complained about the new wobble also.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Tourances and Continental Road or Trail Attacks have often been reported to wobble. The OP has a new bike which means it has Trail Wings and they do not cause wobbles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have a question of degrees:

If I decel under 30mph and take my hands off the handlebars, I can see a SLIGHT shimmy. Is that what you are describing?
I can describe it as a moderate shimmy. What is annoying is that I can feel it, even if I do not let the bar off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have done some adjustment to my bike, first, I have adjusted steering stem bearing preload, torqued to 32.5 lbs/ft, loosen 1/4 turn. That put the preload at 600-700 gram on the spring scale, a bit more than specified. No change still have the wobble. Checked rear wheel alignment, and done some experiment (bit more to left, or right) no change. Loosen all triple tree bolt, axle bolt and pinch bolt and retorqued in sequence hoping to align front end, tried different tire pressure from 25 psi to 45 psi, no change. Played a lot with suspension preload front and rear. Shimmy still start at 80 kph to 60kph, in decel it's worst, but it's present at steady speed, might be present on acceleration but it's hard to difference it from engine vibration. I can feel it also when leaning in a curve. I have removed weight and put Ride-On in tires in attempt to balance them better, no improvement. Dealer have called Suzuki, and they told that there's nothing wrong with the bike, and I should never ride with hands off the handlebar! So I told them that I can feel it vibrate with hands on bar, but try to argue with a dealer when they do not want to hear about you... I'm gonna live with it, it's not catastrophic, but when you pay high $$ for a new bike, it should be flawless! That's my opinion. I'm hoping to not have a major issue with it, considering the dealer, Suzuki and their service...
 

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Is there another dealer you could try? If it's a warranty repair I think you can take it to any Suzuki dealer, not just the dealer you bought the bike from. I'd also contact Suzuki directly (not through the dealer) and report your problem to them and ask what they suggest you do about it. If it's a safety related defect and you have an accident due to that defect after reporting it, they (and the dealer) might be liable if they don't attempt to fix it. Remind them of that.

You might want to get another rider (with Wee strom experience) to ride the bike and see what they feel.

Just about the only thing you haven't tried is repacing the tires. I suppose it could be some sort of tire defect. Unlikely but possible. I've seen it reported that both front and rear tire issues can induce steering wobble.

There are some bikes that will shimmy more easily than others if you let go of the bars, but normally if you don't let go you don't feel it. While not exactly 'normal' it's not entirely unexpected either. Again, feeling a definite steering shimmy while you still have both hands on the bars is not really normal. They don't "all do that", whatever the dealer tells you. Your hands on the bars should provide enough damping to prevent steering oscillation. With hands off the bars you can probably get most bikes to exhibit some sort of steering wobble under the right (wrong) conditions, especially on deceleration at moderate speeds.

Here's an academic paper on front end shimmy

http://www.dinamoto.it/dinamoto/7_M...stability of a two wheeled vehicle MODENA.pdf

As you can see, to some degree it's almost an inherent process given the geometry of a bike's steering and it depends on a bunch of factors including speed, tire pressure, inherent steering damping, frame and fork flexing and tire design.

I wonder if it's possible that a fork brace might help?

As a last resort, you can get a Scott's steering damper for around $450. That should cure the problem (plus any high speed steering wobbles you have not yet found!)



Good Luck.
 

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I have done some adjustment to my bike, first, I have adjusted steering stem bearing preload, torqued to 32.5 lbs/ft, loosen 1/4 turn. That put the preload at 600-700 gram on the spring scale, a bit more than specified. No change still have the wobble. Checked rear wheel alignment, and done some experiment (bit more to left, or right) no change. Loosen all triple tree bolt, axle bolt and pinch bolt and retorqued in sequence hoping to align front end, tried different tire pressure from 25 psi to 45 psi, no change. Played a lot with suspension preload front and rear. Shimmy still start at 80 kph to 60kph, in decel it's worst, but it's present at steady speed, might be present on acceleration but it's hard to difference it from engine vibration. I can feel it also when leaning in a curve. I have removed weight and put Ride-On in tires in attempt to balance them better, no improvement. Dealer have called Suzuki, and they told that there's nothing wrong with the bike, and I should never ride with hands off the handlebar! So I told them that I can feel it vibrate with hands on bar, but try to argue with a dealer when they do not want to hear about you... I'm gonna live with it, it's not catastrophic, but when you pay high $$ for a new bike, it should be flawless! That's my opinion. I'm hoping to not have a major issue with it, considering the dealer, Suzuki and their service...
They certainly "don't all do it" - anyway, one more thing to check.

IF you have a centre stand :) - it's worth checking the fork oil level.

Put the bike on the centre stand, car jack under the engine and lift until the front wheel just comes off the floor.

Loosen the top two triple clamp bolts - loosen the fork preload adjusters right off, remove the fork caps. Look down with a torch and check that the oil level is the same both sides.

Note: Be careful with the preload adjusters and caps, very soft alloy.

If it's more than a 1/2" or so different, balance it out. (Not sure what weight oil the bikes use stock) but removing from the high side and adding to the low should be enough.

The distance down to the oil should be ~140-150mm (The info. should be online somewhere).

Put the fork caps back on CAREFULLY , retighten the clamp bolts, adjust the preload.

I'm suggesting this only because a friend with a new bike had a horrible shimmy and when we got desperate and checked - almost no oil in one fork. FWIW. Wasn't a Suzuki ;) - a much more expensive bike.

Pete
 
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