Tank slapping - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 8th, 2006, 5:37 pm Thread Starter
 
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Tank slapping

I have a seen a couple of videos on the web that show various bikes going into an uncontrolled front end wobble that eventually results in, what appears to be, the rider bailing off the bike after 5 or six pretty powerful tank slaps. It looks like there is no way to save it.

Could someone explain to me how that happens? And if it does happen, how do you make it stop? Or is your only recourse to bail? I have never had this happen and hope it never does. It looks very scary.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 5:28 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jebnash
I have a seen a couple of videos on the web that show various bikes going into an uncontrolled front end wobble that eventually results in, what appears to be, the rider bailing off the bike after 5 or six pretty powerful tank slaps. It looks like there is no way to save it.

Could someone explain to me how that happens? And if it does happen, how do you make it stop? Or is your only recourse to bail? I have never had this happen and hope it never does. It looks very scary.
Never happend to me but I heard that the best thing to do is to accelerate (i.e. give it some throttle). Opposite to what you normally would do.

/Michael
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 8:56 am
 
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I've noticed that it occurs mostly after landing a wheelie too hard. I would assume that ratemut's advice would work, as it would take weight off of the wheel. I'm not planning on trying that theory anytime soon though.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 9:01 am
 
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Here's a better description than I can write:

http://www.joe250.com/motorcycles/ride/tankslapper.htm

To prevent them- try to avoid provoking them and consider installing a steering damper.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 9:15 am
 
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Well, now I at least know what I'm talking about! Great article. And nice to know that bailing isn't the only option
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 9:37 am
 
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I just read the liked article. While the author does a great job of explaining how this can happen when the front tire is off the ground, he fails to mention the other equally frequent reason - low front tire pressure.

Several years ago, I was on the wrong end of a 'slapper. When I woke up, I was in the ditch of the local highway with an obviously dislocated shoulder and some other broken broken bones. After careful review, I was victim of a 'slapper caused by low front tire pressure and a bump on the road. Fortunately I do not remember much of it, because what I do remember is some of the scariest moments in my life and at times adversely affect my riding pleasure to this day.

Brian
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 10:56 am Thread Starter
 
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Great info

Thanks loads for the input. Steve, that article is exactly what I was looking for.
I was wondering if the people I was watching were actually fighting to regain control and adding to the problem.
Bottom-line, I hope this never happens but if it does I need to RFL(refrigginlax) and give her a little throttle. Mostly RFL.

I haven't looked at the owners manual as much as I probably should but, did I hear someplace that the k1200GT actually has a steering damper. Can anyone confirm that?
If not I think a steering damper will be my next investment.

I understand and sympathize with Brian. A tank-slapper looks like an absolutely terrifying experience. Hopefully this information will help us all.

Thank you everyone for your input.

Tire Pressure
RFL
Throttle
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 3:56 pm
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You'll probably never see a tank-slapper on the K-RS / GT. The wheelbase is very long, and I'd guess rake / trail also set up for stability. Plus there is a steering damper (look above front fender).

Sierra Cement: Good for skis, bad for knees.

www.rhhall.smugmug.com
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 4:21 pm Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhhall
You'll probably never see a tank-slapper ).
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2006, 5:12 pm
 
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Wobbles

There can be quite a few things that will contribute to wobbles leading to slappers. As mentioned, front tire pressure is one as well as road surface conditions (grooving, bumps, etc.) Worn or loose steering head bearings are another also most anything loose in the forks/steering. What I recently found out though is that REAR tire pressure being low and/or a worn rear shock can contribute to the dynamics that lead to the wobble. HTH
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