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NickInSac

Nervous tracking - a little twitchy riding at speed

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NickInSac

I didn't want to post this, but here it is.

 

Around 40 mph or more up and beyond the speed limit, my '06 is twitchy. Seems most twitchy when I hit little bumps at speed.

 

Bike:

2006 R1200RT, 122k miles, Wilber shocks with about 60k miles on them. These are manually adjustable and seem to respond to adjustments, but no difference to the "twitchy" feeling.

Michelin PR4 front and rear with about 5k miles on them. I have more than 1/2 tread left on both.

Checked air pressure, went form 36/38 (Front / Rear) to 40/42. No difference.

 

Checked (or tried to):

I realize the shocks may be at the end of their life, but they seem to respond to adjustments.

Checked front bearing and front end play. I don't seem to be able to make or feel movement. I am sure DR could direct me to do a proper bearing check. :)

Checked rear bearing and swingarm play. Again, I don't seem to be able to make or feel movement much beyond the ever so slight (9 and 3 o'clock rear wheel grab and a 12 and 6 oclock rear wheel grab). I didn't micrometer it, but it really doesn't feel like it is moving or otherwise anything is loose.

 

My theories

It seems twitchy in the front. I am leaning toward the ball joint thingy on the front suspension. I am not sure what it is called. I have heard these need to be lubed, but you can't. You just replace them. I heard replacing it is a PITA.

 

Rear swing arm needle bearing (or are these plastic, or bronze). How do I check this?

 

sigh

TIA

 

 

Edited by NickInSac

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1NOTRED

Front tire cross-section shape, and wear can have a major effect on steering feel and response. In general, a narrow contact patch, and more triangular shape will cause quicker steering response. Some tires become more responsive with increased wear, so take a look at the front tire.

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MikeB60

Nick,

I would start with getting the shocks rebuilt, at 60000 miles that's money well spent.

 

If there is no play and if rubber boot is ok, I doubt it's the ball joint.

 

Mike

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Dennis Andress

Amazon sells bearing and seal kits for $20, inner bearing pullers for $30. At 122K miles just do it. Check lateral and radial wheel runout too.

 

 

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NickInSac
Front tire cross-section shape, and wear can have a major effect on steering feel and response. In general, a narrow contact patch, and more triangular shape will cause quicker steering response. Some tires become more responsive with increased wear, so take a look at the front tire.

 

The tire seems normal. I have been running PR4 and PR4GTs for the last four changes. The only thing I recall that happens is these tend to HOWL when they get lower in the tread pattern leaning over.

I was initially thinking it was a tire issue as just trying to turn the handle bars seems tougher than usual. That's why I tried more tire pressure. That's also why I started to think it is a ball joint.

I do have a tire changer and a set of Metzlers ready to go. Maybe I will change them out.

 

Nick,

I would start with getting the shocks rebuilt, at 60000 miles that's money well spent.

 

If there is no play and if rubber boot is ok, I doubt it's the ball joint.

Mike

 

I am not sure how to check for no play in the ball joint. With it on the center stand, there doesn't SEEM to be any movement. I am just basically, trying to lift it up or move the tire side to side. It seems like there is a better way to check the ball joint and other parts in the front suspension.

 

TIA

 

Edited by NickInSac

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dirtrider
Front tire cross-section shape, and wear can have a major effect on steering feel and response. In general, a narrow contact patch, and more triangular shape will cause quicker steering response. Some tires become more responsive with increased wear, so take a look at the front tire.

 

The tire seems normal. I have been running PR4 and PR4GTs for the last four changes. The only thing I recall that happens is these tend to HOWL when they get lower in the tread pattern leaning over.

I was initially thinking it was a tire issue as just trying to turn the handle bars seems tougher than usual. That's why I tried more tire pressure. That's also why I started to think it is a ball joint.

I do have a tire changer and a set of Metzlers ready to go. Maybe I will change them out.

 

Nick,

I would start with getting the shocks rebuilt, at 60000 miles that's money well spent.

 

If there is no play and if rubber boot is ok, I doubt it's the ball joint.

Mike

 

I am not sure how to check for no play in the ball joint. With it on the center stand, there doesn't SEEM to be any movement. I am just basically, trying to lift it up or move the tire side to side. It seems like there is a better way to check the ball joint and other parts in the front suspension.

 

TIA

 

Morning NickInSac

 

To check that ball joint you need to have nothing more than tire/wheel weight on the front tire. Sitting on the ground that ball joint is loaded with motorcycle weight so it tests tight. Same with the front wheel in the air as now you have loading in the other direction.

 

So, either jack the engine up j-u-s-t enough to have the front wheel barely touching the ground or add weight to the rear top box until almost all the weight is off the front wheel.

 

Now with the front tire "just" touching the ground grab the front wheel & try to roll it front to rear, then rear to front, while feeling the ball joint for movement.

 

As a rule it is a tire issue for a complaint like yours but your problem seems to be more bump related & tires will do it all the time not just on bumps.

 

You might also check the fork tubes lower to upper play & the fork upper mounts for being loose & compliant. Also check the upper fork triple tree bearings for being loose.

 

 

 

 

 

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NickInSac

 

 

Morning NickInSac

 

To check that ball joint you need to have nothing more than tire/wheel weight on the front tire. Sitting on the ground that ball joint is loaded with motorcycle weight so it tests tight. Same with the front wheel in the air as now you have loading in the other direction.

 

So, either jack the engine up j-u-s-t enough to have the front wheel barely touching the ground or add weight to the rear top box until almost all the weight is off the front wheel.

 

Now with the front tire "just" touching the ground grab the front wheel & try to roll it front to rear, then rear to front, while feeling the ball joint for movement.

 

As a rule it is a tire issue for a complaint like yours but your problem seems to be more bump related & tires will do it all the time not just on bumps.

 

You might also check the fork tubes lower to upper play & the fork upper mounts for being loose & compliant. Also check the upper fork triple tree bearings for being loose.

 

 

Thank you so much DR! I will check the ball joint tonight along with the fork tubes and triple tree bearing (not sure where these are, somewhere in the triple). :o

 

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sardineone

AND if all that doesn't result in a fix???? Get rid of the PR4's and smile again! :wave:

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NickInSac
AND if all that doesn't result in a fix???? Get rid of the PR4's and smile again! :wave:

:thumbsup:

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w2ge

+2.

 

 

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NickInSac

The front end seems very solid. The rear end does have a very slight movement from 12-6, no movement (none that I can tell) from 9-3.

 

I can't get any movement with the front wheel off the ground and I tried moving the wheel back and forth while feeling the ball joint for play. I can't seem to get any play from the front end at all. Maybe if I got a crow bar in there somehow (just kidding).

 

I tried checking all the suspension points on the front end. I couldn't get to see the canter-lever front piece that seems to mount on the engine...? I can't really tell where it is mounting unless I take the plastic off. The front end handlebars and fork assembly moves freely. It doesn't seem tight like it does when the bike is on the ground.

 

I turned the shocks down, and I will take a ride (hopefully) tomorrow and see.

 

I looked at the tires again, they don't look they are even at the half way wear mark. Nothing unusual all around the tires too.

 

Not sure what else to do... :(

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RobinW

I had the same issue on an 1100. It didn't want to track right, felt twitchy.

I put the bike on the centre stand and got some help.

We got the front wheel bouncing and I put my hand over the front ball joint.

Sure enough I felt some movement there, replaced it and fixed it.

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NickInSac
I had the same issue on an 1100. It didn't want to track right, felt twitchy.

I put the bike on the centre stand and got some help.

We got the front wheel bouncing and I put my hand over the front ball joint.

Sure enough I felt some movement there, replaced it and fixed it.

 

Cool. I’ll have my GF help me with that one.

 

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NickInSac
I had the same issue on an 1100. It didn't want to track right, felt twitchy.

I put the bike on the centre stand and got some help.

We got the front wheel bouncing and I put my hand over the front ball joint.

Sure enough I felt some movement there, replaced it and fixed it.

 

SOOooo, did this. Doesn't seem to be a significant amount of movement. I would equate it to a slightly worn shock bushing kind of movement. That's the whole front end, not just the ball joint.

 

ugg

 

Perhaps, I will just deal with it and wait for it to get worse and check the suspension play again.

 

There seems to be no wheel run-out at all on the front or rear. Just a slight wiggle when it hits a bump (small bumps) at that.

 

Nick

Edited by NickInSac

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Bernie
I had the same issue on an 1100. It didn't want to track right, felt twitchy.

I put the bike on the centre stand and got some help.

We got the front wheel bouncing and I put my hand over the front ball joint.

Sure enough I felt some movement there, replaced it and fixed it.

 

SOOooo, did this. Doesn't seem to be a significant amount of movement. I would equate it to a slightly worn shock bushing kind of movement. That's the whole front end, not just the ball joint.

 

ugg

 

Perhaps, I will just deal with it and wait for it to get worse and check the suspension play again.

 

There seems to be no wheel run-out at all on the front or rear. Just a slight wiggle when it hits a bump (small bumps) at that.

 

Nick

 

You may want to check you top front shock rubber bushing, it may have separated and is inducing some play into the front end.

Also shocks like Wilburs or Ohlins should be reconditioned every 25-30K Miles. It really improves the handling.

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NickInSac

 

You may want to check you top front shock rubber bushing, it may have separated and is inducing some play into the front end.

Also shocks like Wilburs or Ohlins should be reconditioned every 25-30K Miles. It really improves the handling.

 

I’ll check the top of shock mount.

 

Thanks

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Bernie

While you at it, you may just want to also check the bottom rear shock mount, a few folks had the bolt break somehow. That would maybe also cause some sort of problem.

 

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tallman

Past time to rebuild the shocks.

Start there.

Then new shoes.

 

If after that issues persist then dig deeper.

Of course 122 is a fair number of miles and doing the other work

won't hurt.

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NickInSac

SOOOOOOooo, I turned down the front shock two steps. It tracks and rides MUCH better now. The bike seems a little soft for "spririted" riding though. Tomorrow (when this rain let's up), I will turn the front and rear up on notch and see how it goes. I do recall the shocks seem to get stiffer in the cold (less than 45 degrees, I know, that's not cold to most of you). :)

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