What’s the reason for motorcycle vibration at different speeds? This guide will explore the different reasons behind the motorcycle vibrations and see what you can do to eliminate them.
Various motorcycle conditions cause your motorcycle to shake and wobble at different speeds. Any components that rotate or move can cause vibrations. These may include driveline, transmission, tires, and even the motor mounts that have moving sports inside them.
Your tires and wheels are the easiest to draw attention because they are the most prominent parts. This brief but comprehensive guide will discuss different vibrations and shakes caused by tires. We will also discuss some balancing and its types, so keep reading.
What Causes Motorcycle Vibration at Certain Speeds?
So, what are the causes of these vibrations? Different moving parts can cause vibrations in your motorcycle at different speeds. Your tire is the reason for motorcycle vibration at different speeds. Because it’s the most significant moving part of your motorbike, and it’s directly in contact with the surface beneath, plus, there are two of them. But not your tire causes every wobble or shake.
Shakes due to the tires
First of all, you need to look for any flat spots or cupping in your tires. For cupping, you need to run a simple test. Just run your hand right along the face of your tire, and you will feel there is a slight dent in your tires if it’s worn out.
If your tire is flat, that’s comparatively better. If you feel there are small waves, the tire has cupping. This can occur due to alignment issues or even inherent design problems to cause.
And then there are flat spots as well. These spots are caused by locking up your brakes. This issue won’t be there if you have anti-lock brakes. But at times, you have to press your brakes a lot harder for an immediate stop.
You might end up locking your brakes and causing the fault spots to occur. If you end up sliding a long way, there will be flat spots for sure. You will notice that your tires don’t feature a round profile anymore.
Shakes not caused by tires
One of the shakes that you frequently experience when you hit your brakes. This is especially when you are braking hard. But it is not caused by your tires. The cause here is your brake rotors which are warped. These rotors are part of your disc brakes.
Another wobble occurs when you are riding at a certain speed, and your motorbike’s front end starts to shake. But you don’t ride at that particular speed all the time. This occurs due to the loose suspension. Your motorbike also wobbles when you accelerate and going up a steep hill. The worn-out motor mounts cause this.
Internal and External Factors of Motorcycle Vibrations
Have you heard about the motorbike shimmy phenomenon? It also is the reason for motorcycle vibration at different speeds. High-speed wobble, tank slapper, tail wag, shimmy, whatever you may call occurs exactly because of these unwanted vibrations in your motorcycle.
Your motorbike is designed to be inherently stable on the two wheels. When there is an oscillation or vibration caused by the road conditions, off-balancing, or any part in your motorcycle, it can quickly turn into a shimmy or a tank slapper. And the chances are even higher if you are going at high speed.
But in most cases, this wobble happens at a particular speed. You can get rid of it by increasing or reducing speed. Tires are very consistent in their wobbles, and you will notice the wobble will take place at a certain speed. Bumpy road conditions also contribute to this issue.
Let’s have a brief look at all the internal and external factors that can cause these vibrations.
The uneven road surface is one of the primary external reasons why motorbikes wobble. Uneven surfaces can interfere with the harmonic frequency of your motorbike. And when it combines with a defect in your motorbike, this will become the reason for motorcycle vibration at different speeds.
Road conditions are not the only external factors to cause motorbike vibrations and wobbles. Environmental conditions also have a significant role here. For instance, a sudden gust of wind or crosswind from a more significant vehicle passing by can also cause your motorbike to go off balance and cause a tail-wag.
One of the primary internal factors that can cause a tank slapper is your tires. Faulty tires can easily trigger this shimmy. Therefore, you need to be very careful with your tires and tire pressure, and mounting.
Wheels also have a significant contribution. These wheels can go out of shape, or maybe they’re not centered properly. Aluminum and wired wheels can all get deformed and cause your motorcycle to wobble.
And then there is motorbike compliance which is relative movement in between the physical components of your bike. Manufacturers keep some flexibility between these components, and they work like free sliding or springing motion for easier handling. This compliance can also contribute towards motorbike shimmy, and similar is the case with vehicle assembly and design.
7 Techniques for Reducing Motorcycle Vibration
Smooth riding is the entire goal here. Nobody likes to deal with vibrations as they not only mess the joy of the ride and jeopardize safety. Too much engine vibrations also cause hand numbness.
You need to reduce these vibrations by identifying the reason for motorcycle vibration at different speeds, and going for the solution is another. Not everything is directly associated with the mechanics of your motorcycle.
Wear anti-vibration gloves
You can go for anti-vibration gloves made of adjustable gel and significantly reduce hand numbness. You will feel very comfortable, and it will significantly improve your overall riding experience.
Fill engine oil
As the mileage of your motorcycle increases, the heat level and friction increase, and your engine becomes crankier. Therefore, you need to perform regular checks on your oil to ensure that all the moving parts in your motorcycle work at their best.
Changing the engine oil
You also need to change the engine oil when it’s old. It is essential for the proper lubrication of all the parts. With time, your engine oil gets dirtier and thicker. It will result in making your engine dirty and dry, which will cause more vibrations.
Disc brake configuration
Brakes tend to lose their grip over time, so an engaged motorbike will run hot, and it will also increase your motorcycle vibrations. Make sure your alignments and brakes are correct. This will help in reducing the shake significantly.
Valve tappet settings
Whenever you go for a service, you need to have a look at your valve tappet. A common fitting problem can cause motorbike vibrations. If the setting is too tight or too loose, you have a problem, which is the reason for motorcycle vibration at different speeds. For proper engine performance, this needs to be set right.
Air filter changing
You also need to change your air filters because they can directly cause your engine to develop dirt over time. Clogged filters can cause your motorbike to vibrate because they are all gunked up and are not allowing the engine to perform at its best.
Checking wheel chains
These wheel chains are for transferring the power from your engine to your wheels. The wheel chain needs to be adequately lubricated. Any additional load is going to cause your engine to vibrate as well. Therefore, you need to oil and adjust your chains frequently to make sure you don’t end up in a motorcycle wobble.
Steering wheel weights
There are special weights that you can apply to your steering wheel. In order to reduce vibration, weights on your motorcycle steering wheel may help. This is a common practice for e.g. BMW S1000XR machines that vibrate (2015 model) at revs of around 5’000 RpM.
Can bad shocks cause vibration at high speeds?
Yes, bad shocks can also cause vibrations at higher speeds. Your motorbikebike is not in the position to tackle any bumps effectively. It will result in an off-balance, and ultimately your bike will start vibrating, resulting in a bike shimmy.
Can overinflated tires cause vibration?
You need to choose the tires carefully and inflate them using the recommended pressure. If you over-inflate your tires, they will act like bouncing balls. Motorcycle vibrations will be caused by tread rigidity and sidewall stiffness. Your bike will have less tire-to-road contact, and this will result in fast tread wearing. If your tread wears out in this manner, then your tires are more prone to blowouts and damage.
Can low air in tires cause shaking?
If your tires have lower pressure, there is a lower frequency of resonance. When cornering your bike is not going to be a straightforward thing to handle and will throw you off balance, causing a massive wobble. So, you need to keep the tire pressure at an optimal level as well.
What’s the reason for motorcycle vibration at different speeds might be different in various scenarios. Maybe your motorcycle is not maintained correctly, or perhaps the environmental and road conditions are not appropriate?
Either way, motorbike wobble is inevitable. But you need to provide yourself with the best chance to keep the causes well in control. When your motorcycle is in proper shape, you will be able to get out of a wobble either by increasing the speed or decreasing it.
It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it can be as easy as adding weights to your steering wheel.
But you need to keep your motorcycle in top condition at all times. Keep the engine properly clean and lubricated and the tires adequately inflated. It will allow you to be in more control of your ride at all times.