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High Speed Wobbles – CRF250L

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we've all been there + let's face it – they WILL happen. I just thought it might be helpful to start a thread dedicated specifically to speed wobbles + the stories that come with them – the GOOD, the BAD + the UGLY. Myself personally, I took them as part of the game with buying essentially a dirt bike w/knobbies (and many of us aftermarket knobbies) + driving at highway speeds. They can be quite unsettling + downright scary at times but as I read up more on them the consensus seemed to be that bikes mostly likely WILL correct themselves + you just stay as calm as possible + chalk it up as part of earning your stripes as a bike rider. This past weekend I went dual-sport riding with a couple I had recently met + the wife shared with me her story of a recent speed-wobble crash she fell victim to at 110km/h on a very busy Toronto highway. She luckily walked away from it in one piece with just some destroyed armour + nasty bruising. And good on her for soldiering on + being back on the bike in the same situations merely a few weeks later. Myself, I can't even fathom the thought of face-planting on a highway. Anyways, obviously the dialogue regarding the dreaded speed-wobble coming from them was a lot more REAL + impactful than the message boards that sometimes glorify them as almost being 'fun'. It was a real situation with people I now know personally – and they said to never play that dance + the best way to never play that dance is to keep the bikes no higher than the 100-110km/h range. The model wasnt a crf250L specifically but an older yammy 230 dually – regardless of the specific model, we're still in the same sandbox. It did kinda scared me straight as I rode with another fella last summer (I'm only in my second summer as a rider) who taught me the ropes on the other end of the spectrum where these bikes are geared waaaay too low + the bike can/should be driven all-out as it is really meant to handle more. So with that, as I'm sure with MANY other folks on this site, pretty much all of my highway riding was full-throttle. Being new to the sport, I became comfortable having 'er pinned most of the time + was THAT person who thought the speed-wobble was only an occasional concern. After all, I find the bike runs pretty much flawless wide-open 99.9% of the time – which kinda allows you put the 0.1% of squirrellyness as an afterthought. As well, worthy of note, my pops is a seasoned harley rider (even was a well-know customs builder back in the 70-80s) + when I mentioned the wobble to him a few months back on one of our rides he told me he simple NEVER had one. Anyways, sorry about all the back-story babble, what I'm getting at is that after hearing this story from this couple, I'm possibly reconsidering my highway sensibilities. Maybe it isn't wise to be running the bike full-throttle? And even though other bike models/riders would laugh at a top-speed of 135km/h – regardless of final metrics, running any bike at its top-end is likely not the most stable/safest – period! So people, I'm opening up this forum for all to share their speed-wobble stories. Again, the GOOD the BAD + the UGLY. Nobody is right + nobody is wrong. And please, it's not about anyone being a '&%$#@!' – from my experience here everyone's been awesome so I can't see it going down that route – but if your input here or what you share is about telling others to 'toughen-up', then please don't contribute. In the end, I think as a community we might be able to gather some very valuable  + interesting information which may potentially even save someone's life – knowledge + understanding is never a bad thing. Apologies for the long message – I just wanted to provide a good launch-point. Looking forward to seeing where this goes!!! thanks guys!!!

                

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On this particular bike ... speed wobbles on the street really did not concern me but, coming from a dirt bike back ground and having experienced more than my fair share of them on several bikes off road ... I decided a Scott's Damper was a must have !!!

Check out the Scotts Damper thread to see how me and headbanger02 came up with a sub mounted solution for the CRF250L .... I really do love the thing and will never be without one again.

Edited by gnath9
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I'd like to know the cause(s). I've had mine up to 70mph BRIEFLY, and low 60s a fair amount where it seems pretty stable. I'm with the OP, running flat out just doesn't seem like a good idea, but I'm a noob, so IDK.

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Most often than not .... a high speed wobble is caused by either the front gets very light over a crest of a hill at high speeds or going very fast over rough terrain off road. Some bikes will wobble much easier than others based on suspension setups or dynamics etc. It is possible to reduce the probability of a wobble just by making sure your suspension is properly setup for the bike you own.

 

A high speed wobble is very very difficult to predict and most often happens when you least expect it. When it does happen ... letting go of the bars or having a very minimal grip at the very least seems to work best but, It is no guarantee that the bike will come out of it. It is like once the steering bounces ... it does nothing but magnify or grow in intensity. Like I said before ... I have been there on more than a couple occasions on several different bikes and they have all been dirt bikes.

 

Now days .... most of the performance bikes come stock with a damper because they know how the bike will be ridden. Also dampers are a very popular mod for the sport bikes that do not come with them. Just a simple google search on the subject will lead you to many posts about the importance of them and your search will show that it applies across all motorcycle platforms albeit dirt, street or race.  

 

I have stressed the importance of a damper here in this forum on many occasions and while it is true it may not be the cheapest mod you can do .... It is a very good insurance policy to have. The more we mod our bikes and the faster they go and the better grip we get with tires and the better suspension we add ... the more important it is to consider a damper. 

 

A little known fact and even less talked about is ... just as it helps prevent high speed wobbles and reduces arm fatigue off road ... it also helps the bike track straighter when in the mud or sand and while crossing ruts and trenches etc .... it truly is a win win situation and adds traction in gnarly situations ...  :thumbsup:

 

For someone to try to imagine what happens during a high speed wobble is almost impossible .... It will instill fear into the toughest of men and truly is a frightening experience that one will never fully recover from ....  :eek:

 

Here is a pic of my install that is in the forward position .... 

 

post-327736-13943046656973.jpg

 

Headbanger02 did the reverse sub mount position ... both give the same results 

 

I made this little video from his install pics .... 

 

 

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I experienced the death/speed wobble on an R1 today, not even my bike yet keyword but was considering purchasing it, anyway hit the brakes and glanced down @ the speedo and the bike was still going a buck thirty four, so I must have been doing 140+, needless to say will probably get an R6 instead. On the CRF speed wobble just seems cheesy, what I do is let off the throttle and either push on the handle bars or pull them in simultaneously and the bike will right itself. Sorry for being a bit off topic, just my experience.

Edited by creefr

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Before  you get all crazy trying to figure it out  take off the front fender and try it  worked for me replaced with a white motard fender-- FIXED

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Before  you get all crazy trying to figure it out  take off the front fender and try it  worked for me replaced with a white motard fender-- FIXED

I second this as a good idea. I've been running a motard fender pretty much since day 1, and fortunately I haven't had any speed wobbles. Even at 75 to 80 mph it was stable.

Edited by JohnnyUtah787
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I have never had any wobbles with the stock fender either even tho I could feel it catching air  .... I got the damper for the dirt and only because I have had too many wicked @$$ tank slappers in the past and I am just too dang old to be flopped around like a rag doll ....  :lol:

 

I also got it for the added traction and how the rear is way less squirrelly ...  :thumbsup:   .... I know ... I know ...  wrong thread to be preachin the damper ... or is it ....  :thinking:

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I got a very slight wobble on the L when I was at 12psi in the front tire with TR8's , it was managable

 

heres a wobble story,,,

late 70's,,, H1 500 kawi two stroke 3 cylinder ,,,,

takeing a long right hand sweeper at about 50 mph,, almost draging a knee,,, then come the wobble ,, (and them bikes were like a hinge in corners),,,

anyway,,, the bike hinged across the road all the way to the left ,, right to the curb , on the other side of the curb was a guard rail and a cliff and I was heading for it.

good thing I was stoned or I may have freeked tried to stop. the only option was to gas it out,,, I wound up letting the bike drive into the curb and I actually used the curb as a berm and railed the bike on the curb untill we slowed enough to come down on the road surface, I about shit my pants as now I was seeing oncomming traffic about a quarter mile away. this would not have been a problem except the road now had a center divider and I was on the wrong side, about 100 yards away was an opening for a turn lane so now I had to play chicken with the oncomming traffic, so I had to drag race then hit the binders so I could cut over to the right,, I made it but I lost my buzz

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great stuff guys. That sounds like a real doozy ducky dog – now you got a GREAT story to share on message boards like this!!! So back to the wobbles – I just want to add that any wobbles I have encountered have been on the mild side + completely manageable. But in saying that, with the experience I do have + what I've read, it's these 'mild' wobbles that can quickly escalate/gain momentum + then it gets ugly. Everytime one comes on it seems to be when I have 'er pinned + I come across a little uneven temperament in the highway – can be as small as one of those road worms or just some natural change in grade of the road itself. I let my hands off the bars and throttle in a smooth motion and use a feather grip with knees tight to the tank. I also gently tuck down to lower the centre of gravity but that's just something I made up – mainly I think I do it 'cause in my head it makes me feel better being in a lower position. Again, I used to just take this 'wobbling' as part of the dual-sport highway experience until I heard that wipeout story first-hand this past weekend. And again to gnath, as I've mentioned in our posts on other threads, if something like a dampener would be an excellent solution to something like this then why the heck does it not come on the bike stock in the first place??? There's been a couple concrete instances where it seems like honda could've built this bike a little better. I'm going to guess cost but a dampener sounds like it should almost be a mandatory safety feature. I don't know. Not here to slag the bike – I love 'er. Thanks for all your stories guys – it's great to hear!!!       

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also to mention, as gnath kinda touched on it – I thought that adding the stage 1 exhaust would help with the wobble as it would provide more power to push through but I'm kinda guessing now that mods like that may have a bit of an opposite effect as they change the original engineering dynamics of the bike + push it in different ways.

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I had got the wobbles when I first got my bike. But now I don't get them any more I think my riding has gotten better but one thing I've noticed is when I change lanes really fast or weaving in the lanes going to work cuz I'm board ( 5miles strait and no hills on a part of the road) I can feel them a little. I feel for me anyways is that I'm stiff on the bike and with the bike not weighting that much it responds really quick, this Kansas wind will make you learn quick. With this bike I'm having to lean the bike into the cross wind and keep my self upright it's the only way to keep the bike strait in cross winds of 35mph doing 60. Now with heavier bikes you can do what ever. A little off topic sorry about this but going home one night on a vt500c doing 70 about two miles from exit there wasn't any wind the last two miles I soon realize a down draft of 70mph ( it was so cool not having any south wind but I had to get off the exit and go west the fastest I could go was 55 in that cross wind but it didn't last long. But any way I feel the heavier the bike the more stable. That's just my 2 cents on it

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i hate sounding like a broken record, but i have 11,800 miles on my bike...  if i have experienced a speed wobble, i didn't notice and it just seems normal to me...  i am on a "almost" dirt bike on the rode, ripping 80mph on knobbies...   i have been racing jet skiies most of my life and riding a cr250 on the beach for about the other half...  i don't notice when she wobbles because its normal to me...  to me the bike is supposed to move and dance... i just follow her lead under all circumstances and i always end up on top...  like i said, i am at 70-85mph on a constant...  an hour at a time... stock fender...  well just changed out my fender, but to a MX fender also..  vented int the back cause i believe its the back side causing the wash, not the front..  but either way, i don't notice any with either the stock front or the aftermarket one that is vented...  idk...

 

am i stupid or something???

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great stuff guys. That sounds like a real doozy ducky dog – now you got a GREAT story to share on message boards like this!!! So back to the wobbles – I just want to add that any wobbles I have encountered have been on the mild side + completely manageable. But in saying that, with the experience I do have + what I've read, it's these 'mild' wobbles that can quickly escalate/gain momentum + then it gets ugly. Everytime one comes on it seems to be when I have 'er pinned + I come across a little uneven temperament in the highway – can be as small as one of those road worms or just some natural change in grade of the road itself. I let my hands off the bars and throttle in a smooth motion and use a feather grip with knees tight to the tank. I also gently tuck down to lower the centre of gravity but that's just something I made up – mainly I think I do it 'cause in my head it makes me feel better being in a lower position. Again, I used to just take this 'wobbling' as part of the dual-sport highway experience until I heard that wipeout story first-hand this past weekend. And again to gnath, as I've mentioned in our posts on other threads, if something like a dampener would be an excellent solution to something like this then why the heck does it not come on the bike stock in the first place??? There's been a couple concrete instances where it seems like honda could've built this bike a little better. I'm going to guess cost but a dampener sounds like it should almost be a mandatory safety feature. I don't know. Not here to slag the bike – I love 'er. Thanks for all your stories guys – it's great to hear!!!       

 

I for one ... think a damper should be on all bikes. But, that adds to the cost just as suspension does.

Speaking of suspension maybe you should try to crank up your rear preload a little ... a soft suspension will tend to wobble easier than a stiff one. Also an under inflated front tire can add to a wobble as soft springs and we all know how soft the front springs are on a CRF250L Also, I should mention for the people who lower their forks in the triple...... that can also cause or increase the probability of a tank slapper as I like to call them ...  :lol:

Honda could have built this bike better but, not at the price point they were after. I for one love the fact that Honda sold this bike so cheap and allowed up to mod to our hearts content ....  :thumbsup:

Race Tech suspension and a Scotts Damper will set you back $1500.00 but, I doubt very much you will ever be surprised by a sudden tank slapper ...  :prof:

 

I bet this guy has a damper to be able to do this ....  :smirk:

 

PhotoWeek.jpg

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am i stupid or something???

 

No you are not ....  :bonk:

 

I have also never experienced it on this bike even in its stock form .... I just know the possibility is there as it is with most bikes. I also believe how we react to it in the early stages has a big effect on what happens and the severity of it. You are a very experienced rider and know what to expect when and where ...  :thumbsup:

 

But, I know you would love a damper ....  :p

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when the going gets tuff, i act like a girl... i take my hands off the bars and cover my eyes...  maybe that's my saving grace...  lmao!!!

 

Funny you should say that ..... I had a buddy with a 1976 IT400 and man that thing was fast down the straights and sucked everywhere else .....  :lol:  But, it was a tank slapping fool of a machine .... we used to laugh at all the people it bucked off .... I learned very quickly that if I let go of the bars and rode it like I was on a bronco that she would settle and slow down .....  :facepalm:  she did throw me a couple times before I learned tho ....  :banghead:  That bikes engine was way ahead of its time in terms of its suspension and brakes   ...  :shocked:  I love remembering the good ole days ...  :cheers:

 

12471756823_039c212557.jpg

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