>> Thursday, March 01, 2007
The "Harley Wobble" is perhaps familiar to those who ride Harleys and ride them at high speeds. It's when the front end starts wobbling on you, and you can't make it stop without slowing down.
A search for "Harley Wobble" on Google brings up a multitude of documents covering this topic, as well as law firms that offers legal services and companies offering kits to fix the problem. There's also several news reports of people suing Harley for injuries.
Here's an article written by a California Highway Patrol officer that talks about Harley Wobble, among other interesting experiences.
I've experienced the Harley Wobble many times, but never while riding in a straight line. It's only when I hit a curve really hot, when there's a lot of G-force at work.
For example, I was riding south along Hwy 62, outside of Yucca Valley, CA, going down the grade through the curves. I think the posted signs measured the curves at 55mph, but I was hitting them at 80mph. At one point, the front end on my Ultra Classic was wobbling so bad I was convinced I was going to lose control unless I eased off on the throttle. That's what I did. A buddy of mine following behind me later told me that I was wobbling really bad and that he thought I was going to lose it.
I usually take a curve between 15-20mph above the posted recommendation, and most of the time I experience some wobble, but it's almost always slight enough not to worry about.
And it's not just FLH models that have this. A friend of mine has a 1200 Sportster, and has the same wobble. I know of a guy with a Softail Springer who has wobble at high speeds, even going in a straight line. Another guy has a Dyna Wide Glide with exactly the same problem.
I suppose most people would say that I shouldn't be riding an Ultra Classic Electra Glide as if it were a sport bike. True. But then again, I don't have this problem on my Yamaha Road Star. That bike is smooth as glass on the curves.