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I've heard this term passed around a lot and as a new rider was wondering exactly what it means. Sometimes the context seems to indicate hitting the tank when coming down off a wheelie or when hitting a big bump in the road.

However I also hear it used when people are talking about thier track experiences. In this case are they just hitting the tank when the bike is rocking under hard acceleration or braking?
 

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Tankslapper - An unwanted sudden lack of control over the steering system. Handlebars "SLAP" back and forth from lock to lock rapidly. Thus imitating rapid "SLAPPING ON THE SIDES OF THE TANK" thats uncontrolable. Oftens happens when coming down wrong, or hitting something at high speed. Most offen having been the cause of terrible disaster and troubling unwanted stress. Also causes pain in the wallet area. So as you can see, tankslappers are bad, Mmmkay.
 

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Head wobble is what most assume is--

--- a tank slapper & can usually be brought under control by body balance, handeling of the throttle, bit of muscle & such.
A true tank slapper is VIOLENT in that one will SUDDENLY start to loose control of the handlebars so often one is gripping the bars like death, so throttle is opening & closing as bars go from extreme left & right. OFTEN one loose part of the bar, their body wt is throwen to the front & often their feet come off the footrests.
UNKOWEN to them the front wheel/forks are SNAPPING to the extreme left & extreme right in a fast & violent fashion to where one of both STEERING HEAD STOPS will be damaged or toren off.
The front forks will actually SLAM into the fuel tank & start to ding in the tank (so the defination of the saying 'tank slapper') & just about this time one is simply flung off the bike.
The above can come about when one has the f/end become a bit loose or is actually in the air & possibly lands on the pavement a bit to the left or right.
That should be a bit closer to the defination from the normal front end or forks wobbling to a true 'tank slapper'. I have had a lot of them in my yrs of riding & comp., & only recovered from one, how I do not know.
 

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When you have one you'll know exactly what it is. Last one I had came cresting a hill at about 80mph. An unseen smooth pothole set em slappin. Luckily I was able to recover. Thax to the rock solid stability of my Ducati. On my yammie I'd a been sliding.
 
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