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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

I have a new to me 85' Honda Interstate (52,000 mi,). If I take my hand off the handlebars the the front end goes into a wobble. Was there ever a recall from Honda for this? Is there a cure? The steering head bearings have been replaced and I have brand new tires.

Thank you in advance for any insight.

Colin Young
Waltham, Ma.
 

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I had that problem on my 1993 GL1500 and on my 1985 LTD. The front end on the 1500 got new Bushings and seals in the front forks, a Blackwing fork brace, new Steering head bearings and new wheel bearings and a new front tire. When the front tire was about worn out it would wobble if I let go of the Handle bars slowing down. I think each and every one of the things need to be addressed to keep the front end stable. I run 41 psi in my front and rear tire's.
 

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My 85 would scare the crap out of me if I let go the bars,tightening the steering head stopped mine.
with bike on center stand,turn the bars just off center an let go,if the bars drop down its too lose,that’s what fixed mine,not saying it will fix yours.
 

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Yes there is a cure

DONT TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE BARS.
X2 on that! :)


The wobble is the result of trail changes in the front forks, trail, loading, and could be amplified by loose stem bearings. Generally, when you remove both hands from the handlebars, the throttle is closed putting the bike in a decelerating condition which slightly compresses the front forks from the weight shift, and the shorter forks are steeper as is the steering stem inclination. Trail is a measurement from the actual tire contact patch on the pavement and the intersection of an imaginary line drawn through the steering stem axis intersection with the pavement. The tire contact is always "where it is".

Less trail quickens steering at the price of less tendency to follow a straight line in the direction of momentum, more trail slows steering but it increases the caster effect or to say "it follows" the push better. It's a fine balance that the designer seeks, directional stability and willingness to turn when desired are both sought.

For 24 years I owned and rode a '85 GL1200A, it would do the hands off wobble if I took both hands off the handlebars, but not with even just one hand on the handle bar to dampen it. I tested what IO said above once, by riding at low speed with the throttle lock set to eliminate deceleration and with it unlocked so that when I released my hands, the throttle closed ... there was NO wobble when the throttle was locked, there was no force trying to make my body lean forward either. The throttle lock did not lock the throttle, it was adjustable in tension, it applied just enough friction to hold the throttle in a position by the hand. Vista Cruise on my Gold Wings, same as grubbing screw on my Britt bikes.

You can tighten steering stem bearings to dampen the forks but that is not the purpose of stem bearings. They should be just tight enough to not have any play. Damping and control is what handle bars are for.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My 85 would scare the crap out of me if I let go the bars,tightening the steering head stopped mine.
with bike on center stand,turn the bars just off center an let go,if the bars drop down its too lose,that’s what fixed mine,not saying it will fix yours.
Thanks Pure Texas. I'll try the handlebar test.
Colin
 

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Discussion Starter #9
X2 on that! :)


The wobble is the result of trail changes in the front forks, trail, loading, and could be amplified by loose stem bearings. Generally, when you remove both hands from the handlebars, the throttle is closed putting the bike in a decelerating condition which slightly compresses the front forks from the weight shift, and the shorter forks are steeper as is the steering stem inclination. Trail is a measurement from the actual tire contact patch on the pavement and the intersection of an imaginary line drawn through the steering stem axis intersection with the pavement. The tire contact is always "where it is".

Less trail quickens steering at the price of less tendency to follow a straight line in the direction of momentum, more trail slows steering but it increases the caster effect or to say "it follows" the push better. It's a fine balance that the designer seeks, directional stability and willingness to turn when desired are both sought.

For 24 years I owned and rode a '85 GL1200A, it would do the hands off wobble if I took both hands off the handlebars, but not with even just one hand on the handle bar to dampen it. I tested what IO said above once, by riding at low speed with the throttle lock set to eliminate deceleration and with it unlocked so that when I released my hands, the throttle closed ... there was NO wobble when the throttle was locked, there was no force trying to make my body lean forward either. The throttle lock did not lock the throttle, it was adjustable in tension, it applied just enough friction to hold the throttle in a position by the hand. Vista Cruise on my Gold Wings, same as grubbing screw on my Britt bikes.

You can tighten steering stem bearings to dampen the forks but that is not the purpose of stem bearings. They should be just tight enough to not have any play. Damping and control is what handle bars are for.
Thanks X2. I'm going to have to re-read your post few times. Is there a simple fix?
Colin
 

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Thanks X2. I'm going to have to re-read your post few times. Is there a simple fix?
Colin
It is the nature of the beast. Just like the front wheels of a shopping cart. Not sure if anyone makes a steering damper (stabilizer) for a GL1200 but could be retrofitted. Problem is then the steering is more heavy all the time. Tightening the head bearing preload a bit higher than suggested can help some.
 

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It has always been due to tires on mine. Metzlers were the worst and Dunlops a close second. Bridgestones were pretty good but for the wobble relief Pirelli M66 seem to be king. No wobble even when near worn out. Down side to the Pirellis they don't last very long. 13 to 15 K and they're pretty much worn out. They handle okay too.

One thing that seems to get overlooked is that front end wobble is often/usually due to problems with the rear tire or wheel. I read that 40 years ago in Cycle magazine and, pretty much, it has proven to be the case on all my bikes. Knowing that, my first look would be the tires. Are they a matched set and are the pressures correct? Low pressure in either tire can cause handling issues. Any chance the rear wheel has issues?

Now that's not to say other stuff can't cause a wobble, but...
 

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I am enjoying the Avon’s on my 1500,good handling,grooves in the road doesn’t bother them and mileage is great too.
 

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Thanks X2. I'm going to have to re-read your post few times. Is there a simple fix?
Colin
Yes Sir! Just keep hands on the handlebars ... they support you sitting back in the seat and they dampen any oscilations. It was never intended that we ride motorcycles with no hands on the handlebars. I've ridden some mighty fine handling motorcycles but not sitting up with no hands on the handlebars in a deceleration mode or otherwise for more than a few seconds. You complaint is not a fault to be fixed mechanically, it is a fault of the rider's actions. You can mask some of it with dampers, overtightened bearings, etc ... but taking hands off is not a fault of the bike.

I used to ride a 15-20 pound bicycle with no hands, I was pre-teen or teen then, but when doing so I could sit straight up without putting weight on the front because there was no engine braking and the forks were solid, not compressable. I could steer by simply putting one knee out into the wind a little. The Gold Wing is no such animal, not by light years.
 

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When you replaced the steering head bearings, did you follow the procedure in the factory manual? If you have ridden it a bit since then, I found mine needed readjusting after about 500 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you for the suggestion. I had an independent motorcycle shop do the work. He's been in business for about 35 years and is familiar with Goldwings. But, I'll run this by the shop owner.
Thanks Again,
Colin
 

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Hello Everyone,

I have a new to me 85' Honda Interstate (52,000 mi,). If I take my hand off the handlebars the the front end goes into a wobble. Was there ever a recall from Honda for this? Is there a cure? The steering head bearings have been replaced and I have brand new tires.

Thank you in advance for any insight.

Colin Young
Waltham, Ma.
My 1986 Interstate does that but I figured out how to fix it, I just keep my hands on the handlebars, and I have no problem at all...113,000 miles and still running fine , bought it new in 1986.
 

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Hello Everyone,

I have a new to me 85' Honda Interstate (52,000 mi,). If I take my hand off the handlebars the the front end goes into a wobble. Was there ever a recall from Honda for this? Is there a cure? The steering head bearings have been replaced and I have brand new tires.

Thank you in advance for any insight.

Colin Young
Waltham, Ma.
I put a set of tapered neck bearings in my 1800 to solve that problem. My1500 never did it.
 
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