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I was coming home from the Harbor Freight Store. I was about a half a mile into the trip home when I took both hands off of the bars to scratch both of my itching arms (I know that sounds weird). I was going about 40 mph when I let go. About 3 seconds later, the front end went into a crazy death wobble! Before I could grab the bars, the front wheel must have changed direction 20 times. It scared the crap out of me. Talk about a pucker moment. I have rode without any hands a quadzillion times before without any drama. I have 24 years of riding experience and race/ride dirtbikes all year long. This is the first time I have ever experience a death wobble. I have had some headshake lots of times, but this was beyond headshake. I just wanted to share my experience with you all. I'm a very confident rider, but this reminded me that anything can happen at any time. So never let your guard down and always respect the bike. ;)
 

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Clean, adjust, and torque your headrace bearings....... stopped it on my old 1100.....

and don't let go of the handlebars!

:cheeky1:
 

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Hahaha!...... Yea, tightening it up would help. I'm thinking a stabilizer too. I think the dinky forks are the culprit. There's a lot of fork flexion going on with my bike. I think I'll buy a fork brace also.
 

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Just guessing here, I got to believe that as heavy a bike that a goldwing is that there is some flex(twisting) in the front forks(especially as they age), more than most bikes,coupled with the fact that ifall nuts and bolts aren'tsnugged tight, not necessarily loose, but not quite to specs, andthe front(and maybe the rear)tire isn't new & balanced perfectly and wear ispresent(maybe slightly cupped), the dreaded wobble which seems to haunt many at 25-40 mph is just a fact of life, I had mine do this a few times, the first time freaked me out, but in time I knew when and where it would happen,it has not happened since I put the new Pilot Gton front, but then again with the experiences I've had, I just sort of instictively know to avoid those situations that could make it happen. Like I said, nothing scientific here, just a Dummies thoughts.;)
 

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All our bikes do it to some degree all the time, your arms act as the stabilizer and/or shock absorber. Removing both hands with just a bit of looseness in the head or in the forks can result in a greater resonance creating a much greater wobble. Technically, you should never release both handles at once.
 

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SpiderBob wrote:
All our bikes do it to some degree all the time, your arms act as the stabilizer and/or shock absorber. Removing both hands with just a bit of looseness in the head or in the forks can result in a greater resonance creating a much greater wobble. Technically, you should never release both handles at once.
Thanks for the advise!.......... Just to be clear, this was more than headshake. This was a violent wobble that could easily cause the bike to high side. I know what the problem is and how to fix it. I just wanted to share my story in hopes that it might help someone. Like I said, I've been riding a long time and never experienced this to this degree. So if it was new to me, then chances are that it's new to someone else also......This death wobble scared the snot out of me and I ain't scared of nothing. :coollep::p
 

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yes experienced the starts of this myself the first time i took my hands off the handlebar, in my opinion the wings do suffer from this, and if you dont catch it quick enough it just keeps building up, i have had bikes beofre that you could quite easilly let go of the handle bars and they would continue straight but not the wings, especially if the tyre has got a bit of wear on.
 

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I think all the Wings do this. If you want to experience it drive at about 30 , take your hands off, slap either grip forward hard with your palm and be prepared to grab the horns when it starts. Riding hands off and hitting a bump can be enough disturbance to start the oscillation. As the speed increases the probability of oscillating goes down. None of my Wings would do it over 45.
 

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I had this happen once on my 1200.:) Was going down hill about 30 -40 mph, hands off, then I touched the rear brake :?. What aride, the bike shook violently :cooldevil: My son who was behind me later ask what happen. :shock: He could see the bike shaking. Never did that again, never.:)
 

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Maybe it was because you bought a lift table at harbor freight and had it strapped to the back seat? Hmmmmmm
 

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txstomper67 wrote:
So did you throw the underwear away when you got home? lol
Actually I was puckered up so tight, I don't think it would have been possible to make a bowel movement. :action:
 

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I've not experienced any head shake or wobble on my dressed 79 at any speed whether fully loaded or empty, and I often ride hands off. If that happened to my bike, which appears to be set up almost exactly like yours, I'd clean, repack, and adjust the steering head bearings and front wheel bearings, checking the head bearings for any notching. I did all that a couple years ago on my bike right after I bought it.

Q
 

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I am not that familiar with the GL1000..which is not factory dressed... The factory dressed (1100s and later) used a weight attached where the head light would have been to reduce this tendency.. I don't expect that every GL1000 ownerputs one on, but it also might help.. I am surprised a 40mph, though..it usually doesn't raise its evil head until much slower even with maladjusted parts..
 

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Been there done that and yes scared the poop out of me
 

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Q wrote:
I've not experienced any head shake or wobble on my dressed 79 at any speed whether fully loaded or empty, and I often ride hands off. If that happened to my bike, which appears to be set up almost exactly like yours, I'd clean, repack, and adjust the steering head bearings and front wheel bearings, checking the head bearings for any notching. I did all that a couple years ago on my bike right after I bought it.

Q
Just be careful and keep this death wobble in mind when your go handless from now on. I've rode about a mile down the road with the cruise control on with this same bike earlier in the day (at a higher speed of course). The bearings are fine. It's all about the geometry of the bike, the road conditions and speed. I have seen highly tuned sport bikes go into a death wobble before, so it can happen to any bike. It seems as though our Wings are more susceptible to it though according to all the responses. I suspect the super weak forks (small diameter) played a large roll in my situation. I chopped the throttle at 40 mph, probably hit a small bump and that was all that was needed. I wish I had it on film, because it was violent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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sandiegobrass wrote:
I am not that familiar with the GL1000.. which is not factory dressed... The factory dressed (1100s and later) used a weight attached where the head light would have been to reduce this tendency.. I don't expect that every GL1000 owner puts one on, but it also might help..  I am surprised a 40mph, though..it usually doesn't raise its evil head until much slower even with maladjusted parts..
I was probably going a little slower than 40. I'm not exactly sure of the speed, but it was right around there. The peed limit was 35 and I went a little past the limit so I could scratch both my arms (it feels weird just saying that).
 

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My 1100 will do this , and the 1500 also . Seems to happen only on deceleration , below 40 .
 

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OnaWingandaPrayer wrote:
My 1100 will do this , and the 1500 also . Seems to happen only on deceleration , below 40 .
My 1800 will wobble on deceleration only at about 40 and right below, and only if I let go of the handle grips. I have no idea why but being that limited in scope, I suspected it to be normal. No other speeds appear to be affected.

Little thread on gl1800 wobble on the gl1800 forum here wobble.
 

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yes its a good point, it only seems to happen on deceleration, of course unless you have you cruise control on taking the hands of the handle bars will make the bike slow down
 
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