What To Do When Motorcycle Speed Wobbles? (Explained)

When someone is riding a three-wheeler or a motorcycle with two wheels, experiencing a tank slapper or speed wobble can be a terrifying experience.

When the handlebars are moving quickly in an oscillatory motion from side to side, a rider may get the impression that they are about to lose control of the motorcycle at any moment.

Whether someone has dealt with speed wobbles before or not, it is important to understand why they occur and how to prevent them on a motorcycle in order to remain safe on the road.

What Is a Speed Wobble?

When riding a bike, a speed wobble occurs when the handlebars move rapidly from side to side. On a motorcycle, the speed wobble is also known as a headshake or tank slapper.

In most cases, the tank slapper begins when the driver accelerates, runs, or performs a wheelie into the pothole, causing the front wheel to lift off the ground.

It is assumed that the wheel will return to its previous position in the straight position once the front wheels of the bike have settled back down on the road at an angle.

Although there are times when the effort required to adjust the forks is so great that it prevents the bike from overextending a straight line and landing on the opposite side, this is not always the case.

After that, the handlebars are going to begin swinging back and forth at significant frequencies, much like a pendulum.

At low speeds, the motorcycle will never experience a speed wobble.

This is a phenomenon that never occurs. In fact, this occurrence typically takes place only when the motorcycle is moving at extremely high speeds and the rider experiences a speed wobble.

The intensity of this risk is unknown.

What Causes Speed Wobbles?

The primary sections of the motorcycles are the rear and the front. From either end, the wobble can begin.

What happens to the front of the bike is called an oscillation, while what happens to the back is called fishtailing.

If you add weight to either section of the motorcycle at any time, it will affect its swaying rate.

The weight of the bike can be moved in a number of ways, including, but not limited to, hitting a pothole, doing a wheelie, or speeding up quickly.

When the ride starts to shake, the outside forces get stronger, which can make the situation get so bad that the ride operator loses control.

Whenever it does happen, there is a good chance that it will lead to a collision. Other common factors that can contribute to wobbles on a motorcycle include the following:

1. Speed:

It’s possible that a motorcycle won’t be able to function once it reaches a certain speed because certain makes and models of bikes aren’t designed to do so.

But every motorcycle, and especially when turning corners, puts more pressure on the different parts of the bike, which can make the bike wobble.

2. Wheel Bearings:

In the event that the bearings on a bike wear out, the bike may experience wobbling as a result of the lateral axle movement that this can cause.

The cost of a brand-new wheel bearing can range anywhere from ten to sixty dollars.

3. Swingarm:

But if the swingarm moves too much, especially in the case of sportbike suspensions, the bike might wobble because the swingarm has too much play.

4. Lateral Axle Movement:

When the front or back wheel moves too much side to side or front to back, the vehicle will wobble. This issue may be caused by worn wheel bearings or another issue.

Most of the time, it is easier to fix a wobble in the speed of the back wheels than a wobble in the speed of the front wheels, which could quickly lead to a crash if it gets out of hand.

5. Uneven Load:

If you load heavily on the rear and lightly on the front, this will be sufficient to cause an imbalance.

When you accelerate your vehicle quickly, the front tire may lose traction with the ground, cau sing your bike to begin to wobble.

It is important to know how the motorcycle works when it is empty and when it is carrying a heavy load. Once you become familiar with it, your bike will feel both loaded and unloaded. You can also eliminate wobbles before the situation deteriorates.

What To Do When Motorcycle Speed Wobbles?

It is very challenging, and it will most likely result in a crash whenever you find yourself in a situation in which heavy speed wobble is occurring in its entirety.

Even if the rider is unable to steer the motorcycle, it will keep going in the same direction it was going before the wobble started.

You need to follow the given instructions, as mentioned below, to stop wobbling.

Ease Off The Throttle

If you ever find yourself in a predicament like this, the first thing you need to do is back off the gas and hold your acceleration until you are in a position where you will be stable.

Increasing the speed may make the situation even more difficult rather than calming it down.

Hold The Handles Firmly

When you have brought the rate of acceleration to a stop, then firmly grasp the handlebars. Do not attempt to correct the alignments; rather, allow them to do so on their own. Your additional efforts might make a bad situation even worse.

Hit The Brakes Slowly

To stop your bike in a calm and collected manner when someone has sufficient space and time to do so, hit the rear brake.

You have to realize that applying the brake could make the bike wobble more, but you also have to keep in mind that it will slow the bike down significantly.

Once your speed is reduced, the wobble will stop occurring at a faster rate than it did when it first appeared.

Lean Down Over The Tank

The very last thing that should be done is for you to lean forward because it is the most effective method for adjusting the alignments.

Because of the way in which you are positioning yourself over the tank, the aerodynamics of the situation will be significantly improved as a result of this action.

What Can You Do To Avoid Speed Wobbles?

The best way to stop your motorcycle from wobbling at high speeds is to give it regular maintenance before you ride it.

When someone buys a used bike, it’s especially important to keep a regular inspection schedule for the bike’s different parts, like its aerodynamics, wheels, steering damping, and suspension.

In addition, one can conduct a vehicle search, which is a valuable way that can be used to determine the value of a motorcycle.

Someone could, for example, look into how many times the motorcycle has been in accidents, which would show what problems are caused by the way it is built.

One can have a trained mechanic look at their vehicle on a regular basis to make sure that all of the important parts are in good working order.

Also, because of this, the chance of getting the danger wobbles will go down.

What Is a Death Wobble And How To Prevent It?

As was already said, we have learned more about the speed wobble that a motorcycle has.

Now that we have reached this point, we will be aware of the most significant aspect of this. In this lesson, you will learn about the death wobble.

What Is Death Wobble?

The term “death wobble” refers to an oscillation or shaking that is almost impossible to control and that affects the front wheel of a bike or motorcycle.

This oscillation or the shaking that cannot be controlled could be caused by either the rider or the motorcycle.

There are a lot of riders who have been forced to deal with this unfortunate circumstance and who, in most cases, are unable to avoid going low.

Despite this, there are precautions that can be taken to avoid any unfortunate outcomes.

How To Avoid Death Wobble?

There are a few hints or strategies that you can use to improve your chances of avoiding the wobble and dealing with the death wobbles.

1. Keep Sturdy or Firm Grip:

As the bike begins to tremble uncontrollably or wobble, you check to make sure that you have maintained a firm grip on it.

The involuntary shaking will become increasingly difficult to control as the person slows down.

When you grip the handlebars too firmly, your body becomes a steering damper, and this can lead to an increase in oscillations.

It’s possible that the effect can be decreased by bending the elbows or letting go of the grip.

Because of this, you shouldn’t use the brakes or downshift while the motorcycle is slowing down on its own.

2. Never Hit the Brakes Immediately:

As soon as you notice that the motorcycle is shaking uncontrollably, the very first thing you should do is try to slow down by applying the brakes.

In fact, it will do nothing but make the situation even more dreadful.

Because more of the bike’s weight will shift onto the front wheel, the effect of the wobble will be enhanced, and the bike’s grip will be improved.

Riders who have ever experienced the death wobble will advise other riders to minimize the impact of the landing when they crash.

3. Basic Motorcycle Maintenance:

To stay ahead of any problems that may arise with the bike, you need to make regular checks to ensure that its maintenance is up to date.

This will keep death wobble from happening. Additionally, it will guarantee that the steering bearings do not become loose.

4. Adjusted Steering Damper:

Adjusting the steering damper is also an important factor because having the damper set incorrectly can make it more difficult to maintain a straight line or turn corners.

Additionally, it may result in high-speed weaving. When it comes to certain motorcycles, you might want to think about installing a steering damper so that it can limit the effect it has on the bike and act more like a shock absorber.

5. Ride Properly:

Death wobble can happen even if the bike is in good shape because of how it is ridden. Therefore, in order to protect your own safety, you should always ride in the correct manner.

On a road that is bumpy, you should never attempt to perform any movements such as wheelies or harsh acceleration.


We have provided important information about the wobble problem in motorcycles in this article. Speed wobble and death wobble are prominently mentioned.

I hope you have liked this information. If you liked this article and have any queries related to this issue, feel free to ask them in the comment section.