Tank Slappers - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-09-2002, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Tank Slappers

What is a tank slapper?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-09-2002, 01:30 PM
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A tank slapper is what happens to Suzuki TL1000's...

It's when the vibrations cause the front steering to violently move from lock to lock. It happened to me on my TL on my way home from work on the freeway in 5:00 traffic cruising at about 65 mph. I'm lucky to be alive, and I'll never buy anothe Suzuki!!! Another one of my friends had the same thing happen to him at the same speed at the same spot on his TL. He managed to ride it out. I didn't.

I'm a Honda guy now. I'll stick with the company that actually finishes its' R&D before releasing a product.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-09-2002, 01:40 PM
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It is a viscious & FAST throwing of the f/rorks ----

--from fork stop to fork stop, often the rider actually looses one of the handlebar grips, & so often it is that violent that the rider has lost control of the bike, his weight will be moved to the forward part of the bike & sometimes up onto the petrol tank & often one or both legs will come loose of the footrests --- obvioustly by this time one is being flung off the bike. Now a light wobbled of the f/forks or even a heavy wobble is NOT a tank slapper. Can happen when one gives the twist grip a fast snap, so the f/wheel is loose from the pavement or actually a bit in the air & once one comes down on said tyre in a slight left or right direction & still a lot of thust from the rear wheel ---that is when a real tanks slapper can happen.
Sometimes one can see older m/cs that have had tank slapper & both sides of the petrol tank will be caved in by the forks going beyond the fork stop, so proof that sai fork stops were actually broken off.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-09-2002, 09:06 PM
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Think of a tuning fork. Frame oscillations cause tank slappers, or front tire problems or steering head bearing play, causing oscillations in the fork, like what happens when you hit a tuning fork.

Frequenly occur in racing, not street, situations where you hit a pavement change while accellerating out of a turn or onto a straight. If you have steering head oscillation, first have the head assembly examined by a technician. If it checks out ok, and they also ok the swing arm bearings and f/r axle bearings, THEN consider a steering dampner.


"...If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters the same....you'll be a Man, my Son!"

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2002, 10:38 AM
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Personally, I feel that a dampener only covers a bigger problem, a-la TL1000.... Fix the problem, *then* get a dampener if you feel so inclined.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2002, 05:05 PM
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I have a Scotts steering head damper on my Honda 929, because I knew this bike was loaded with power. Have a '97 Yamaha YZF600r basically in stock form. No need for a damper & this is the lst bike I haul out in the Spring & last to go away early in the winter time.
Two bikes are that different & I type with 50+ yrs of continual m/c experience which means I have had a goodly number of true tank slappers & to my knowledge only pulled out of one. Mind you a lot were in dirt comp., on m/cs of older designs.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2002, 12:52 PM
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I thought tankslappers can happen to ANY motorcycle
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2002, 09:02 PM
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Originally posted by AlwaysNewbie
I thought tankslappers can happen to ANY motorcycle
Steering oscillations occur in all motorcycles, it's just that the amplitude is normally kept in check. Extreme riding situations, mechanical deficiencies, tire problems, and poor engineering features, sometimes let the evil genie out of the bottle.

Steering dampers often keep the severity of the oscillation under control. In severe cases, the damper will buckle under the load.

Most bikes, under most conditions, don't have problems with tank slappers.

Oh, did I mention that poor riding technique, especially when cornering, can set the bars slapping? Try braking too late, then accelerating too suddenly, without letting the suspension stabilize.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-26-2002, 08:53 AM
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Originally posted by AlwaysNewbie
I thought tankslappers can happen to ANY motorcycle
They do, you just happen to have stumbled onto someone who has a vendetta against a certain bike.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-26-2002, 01:46 PM
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elo: I do NOT have a vandetta against----

----a certain bike, being my '00 Honda 929.
Simply the power of it & many Liter class bikes can get one into trouble & very reason I put a damper on my 929 & not my YZF600r. If I was to buy another Liter bike, & good chance it will be very much like a '04 Honda sportbike like my 929, I will still put a steering damper on it.
You go back in time to the normal British irons & all the Coninental bikes where ALL were with a friction steering head damper through a turn down or up knob at the steering head. That went for any 350cc to 1000cc to factory road racers. As a m/c mechanic & part owner of a m/c shop I usually took the customers bike out for a spin, just to see if what we had done was up to snuff & if I might spot something else that should be done. In this case I always told the customer to check his steering damper as I might not have put it to his exact preference.
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