Can You Control Speed Wobbles

Daniel Brown
• Tuesday, 10 November, 2020
• 9 min read

When you experience a speed wobble or tank slapper while riding your 3 wheel motorcycle or 2 wheeler, it can be downright terrifying. Whether you’ve dealt with a speed wobble before or not, it’s vital to understand why it happens and how to prevent speed wobbles on a motorcycle to stay safe when you hit rubber to the road.

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A speed wobble typically starts when the front wheel elevates from the ground when you accelerate, do a wheelie, or run into a pothole. However, sometimes the effort of aligning the forks is so great that your bike will overextend the straight line and land on the opposite side.

Rapid acceleration, hitting potholes, or doing a wheelie all have the potential to displace the weight of your bike. After the wobble starts, the external forces increase and can worsen to the point where the ride loses control.

However, any motorcycle, especially when you corner, puts increased strain on the parts and could lead to wobbling. Touring motorcycles can be particularly vulnerable to rear-wheel wobbles if the weight they carry isn’t properly distributed across the bike.

Once you are familiar with how your bike should feel both empty and loaded, toucan take care of any wobbles right away before the situation spirals. Now, if your bike is heading towards a wall or another dangerous obstacle, and it becomes apparent that a crash is imminent, it your best choice is to bail off.

Typically, a motorcycle that is speed wobbling will slow down at a rate of one-eighth g. A sliding biker will slow at a rate of approximately 1 g. The point is, even if the worst case scenario happens, and you have to bail, you’ll come to a stop more quickly and in a shorter distance than your bike. Finally, understand that speed wobbling is greatly dependent on the rate of speed you operate your bike at.

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Frequently check components of your bike such as its suspension, aerodynamics, steering damping, and wheels, especially if you purchase used motorcycles. Toucan find out if the bike has a history of accidents that could reveal particular mechanical vulnerabilities.

Have your bike regularly checked by a professional, to confirm that the main components are in optimal working order and reduce the likelihood that you’ll experience dangerous wobbles. CJ: For starters, speed jobs can be caused by a number of different reasons.

Loose trucks can give you too much turning ability, making your set up hyper-responsive for any speed over 10-20mph. Its very natural for the human body to lean back when going an uncomfortable speed.

Place your front foot as far forward as possible without hanging your toes or heel over the railing. Sam: Before we get in to the nitty-gritty details on how to eliminate the horrible fishtailing known as speed wobbles, you must first understand the primary cause of speed wobble.

Speed wobble occurs when the rear of the board begins turning before the front of the board, the front truck will stay relatively straight while the back truck will turn back and forth violently resulting in a hefty amount of road rash. One of the most common mistakes that beginners encounter when learning how to ride is putting all the weight on the back truck of the board.

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When riding make sure to keep your knees bent and most of your weight on your front foot. Sudden movements make speed wobbles worse, so when you shift your weight, do so with caution and confidence.

Lower angles will cause the truck to turn even less which will make for a more stable ride. A lot of us here at Motion Board shop ride with 184 mm Caliber Trucks with 44 degree baseplates.

It’s easier said than done when you’re bombing a hill and start to wobble, but relaxing your body will go a long way. Bending your knees will lower your center of gravity and give you much more stability, but it won’t always get rid of speed wobbles.

Get low, relax your legs and focus on keeping your upper body over your board and positioned slightly forward. Attack the hill and if your board starts to wobble, stay relaxed and confident.

It’s much easier to feel relaxed while bombing a hill if you know you could throw a speed check or slide to a stop at any time. Learning various stopping techniques and being comfortable doing them is one of the most important skills any long boarder can have.

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I will stress I mean on standard set up skateboards not long boards because they are a lot more sturdy and are custom build for this sort of speedy stuff. As mentioned by latetojoin, tightening your trucks and using bushings with a higher barometer will increase resistance to turning.

This will increase the critical speed at which the force of your velocity will exceed the point of self-exciting oscillation. The natural physical response to the loss of control stemming from speed wobbles is to tighten up in an attempt to stay on the board.

Fellow bicycle expert John Allen doesn’t completely agree with Brandt’s views. “Gyroscopic forces may play a part, but the mechanism is the inverse of how a fish propels itself through the water,” says Allen.

The video above shows someone purposely induces speed wobble (don't try this at home, kids! However, a shimmy can strike without all of these conditions being met; toucan be pedaling along with both hands on the bars, for example.

Some people say that speed wobbles are related to lose headset bearings or poor frame alignment, but we’ve seen no evidence to suggest that either are involved. If you’re going downhill and this requires braking, gently squeeze the levers, don’t lock up the front wheel.

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Some people have success by just laying one leg against the top tube rather than gripping it between their knees. That might mean something as major as swapping the frame, but altering your own response in line with what we've suggested above when you feel a shimmy start is the logical first step.

Every long boarder faces speed wobbles at some time, and for unaware beginners it happens unexpectedly and may have discouraging consequences. Hopefully, in the end you’ll be much more prepared for speed wobbles and will know the techniques to stop them.

In the sense of physics, it’s a quick oscillation (4-10 Hz) of your rear truck. It starts with a minor sideways movement quickly increasing in amplitude until you lose control.

Here’s my recommended instructional video on the ‘tuck’ position, which is absolutely necessary when riding at high speed : When you start a turn, you counter the subconscious corrective movements which increase the wobble amplitude.

Your legs should be as relaxed as possible in order to dampen the movement and stop overcorrecting. There are a few things toucan adjust on your board to reduce wobble risk.

All three options won’t help you to completely prevent speed wobbles and when it happens, you might crash harder. It’s better to practice and get used to this issue with a normal setup as wobbles will trigger at a lower speed.

In my opinion, when it comes to speed wobbles it’s always better to work on improving your technique rather than cutting corners by cranking down the bushings or lowering your deck and reducing maneuverability. And when you start feeling that wobbling in your rear truck, just keep calm, double check if you’re in a proper tuck and begin a slow turn.

It occurs when the long board reaches higher speeds, making the board shake or osculate. Once you think you have mastered the skills of long boarding, then the speed wobbles may happen and knock you down in seconds.

It suddenly hit you so fast, and you end up flying off the long board without knowing what happened. When there are small imperfections, inexperienced long boarders try to compensate or correct which makes the problem worse.

Adjusting angle baseplate is seen as the next thing toucan do to stop speed wobbles on a long board. Set it at a lower angle to slow down the speed of the deck and reduce your center of gravity.

The longer wheelbase also helps you reduce the risk of speed wobbles. The first one is to buy a long board and the second one is to adjust the wheels at the further position on your current long board.

A lot of deadly speed wobbles are caused by the improper stance that leads to the loss of balance when you ride a long board. This tip will prevent the speed wobbles in the first place before you reach higher speeds and face a dangerous situation.

This tip will prevent you from compensating or countering the speed wobbles and avoid it getting worse. The key for this method is slow speed because doing it too fast, you will end up flying off the board and falling onto the ground.

Your legs and muscle should be fluid and relaxed, which not only keeps you from over correcting the wobbles but also makes your mind calm especially when the board starts to shake. Do not feel panic when you are about to have speed wobbles because that only makes the situation worse and leads to an unwanted crash.

Keeping your mind open and wise, you are able to use your skills and techniques to slow down the board and stop speed wobbles. Nothing is better than building good habits, improving your long boarding skills and mastering the techniques on how to control the speed.

These are the tips and techniques on how to prevent deadly speed wobbles on a long board I would like to share with you. After that, you should try to shift your weight to the front, make a slow carve and relax your muscles.

Of course, toucan set up your board, but it is not a recommended way because it only helps delay the problem but at top speeds, the speed wobbles still happen.

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