Hmmm...for some reason I've been instictively shifting my weight forward, sometimes way forward when I've been in similar situations...he's right, though. I've noticed a bit of front end jitter when hitting severe headwinds with my bags on. Shifting my weight forward seemed to help. Just thought it was me...
I had the bike loaded with the side hard bags on and a very large duffel bag over the luggage rack. I thought I'd test the theory of letting go of the handle bars, thinking the bike would steer in a straight line. (Gyroscopic Affect). As soon as I let go of the handle bars the bike started osicillating. I immediatly grab the bars and it stopped. Leasons learned: If you carry a bag on the back have it as far forward towards the passenger seat as possible and as Woofy says get your balls on the tank.
Based on Scooter's experience, I did a little comparison test since I have two styles of Givi side cases for my 'Strom: Givi E360s and the much narrower E21 sport bike/cruiser cases.
It was immediately apparent that the front end of the 'Strom was a LOT more planted at higher speeds when I had the E21 cases on the bike versus the E360 cases. The smaller cases present about half the surface area to the wind compared to the larger model. By the way the E21s are great for in-town driving since they keep the width of the bike fairly narrow AND best of all, they cost under $165 US for the pair. Yes, that's for both cases.
I think it may be prudent to make more use of my RevPack Jr. Tour Pack (cleverly straddles the passenger seat AND makes an excellent back rest, by the way) and the narrower bags if I'm going to be doing much high speed touring.
There's a few factors going on. Some of the common ones are how the bike is loaded with gear, which can put less weight on the front tire. Wind gusts or turbulence off large vehicles can also start this. The large bags do cause problems. Yes it's more likely to happen at higher speeds. Make sure the steering head bearings are adjusted correctly. I think lowering the fork tubes will put more weight on the front tire reducing the likely hood of this occurring.
Also, don't forget adjust your preload up a ways when you load it up...that's what that big knob is for. <grin>
A good precautionary measure is to make sure your suspension has been adjusted to compensate for loading. Rider Warehouse and some other vendors have a bubble level that attaches to your handle bars. You adjust it to be level when your bike is bag and gear free, then once loaded, you adjust the preload to return the bike to the original position. While it's not a cure, just keeping the bike level should make a big difference in stability.
Check your steering head bearings periodically. I have 22,000km on my bike and need a third adjustment on the thrust of the bearings.
The way you check this is lift the front tire off the ground. Push the forks front to back. You should feel no play. Rotate the forks to feel for any roughness in the bearings. Turn the wheel slightly off center and see if the tire wants to rotate back to center. If you have any concerns take the bike to a shop and have them check the bearings out. I think this should be checked every time you check the chain tension.
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