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Thread: Bike wanders, feels heavy in turns

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    Checking air pressures on hot tires is essentially meaningless as tire temperatures vary for several reasons (type of riding ranging from stop and go to triple digit touring, ambient temperatures, tire composition, load, etc.). Also, in diagnosing the problem, it helps to know approximately how many miles are on the tires.

    I agree that if the onset of handling issues isn't immediate, the problem may not originate with the tires. However, it's easier and much less expensive to ensure the tires are properly inflated at the start of the day. It may be there's a slow leak that only shows up after extended riding. Only when the tires can definitely ruled out would I investigate the front suspension.

    As a starting point, try 38 PSI in the front and 42 PSI in the back. Check the pressure at the end of the day, after the tires have had time to cool; at least a couple of hours after parking the bike.

    As I've found too often, after spending time and money on hard, expensive procedures, it's the simple, inexpensive procedures that get the job done.
    Agreed - sort of. Specified "cold" tire pressures are for a tire at 20 degrees Celcius. That equates to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. That is air at 68F inside the tire. If you have a TPMS that displayes internal tire temperature you can mentally adjust, or if you have a TPMS such as the Smartire brand that displays temperature corrected pressure you can adjust. Otherwise ..... good luck.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  2. #17
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if the OP has verified his ball joints are worn for sure or not. It is easy to do; just jack the front end to get the weight off the tire, then see if there is any play in the suspension. In my case, the play in the lower ball joint was easy to feel by moving the wheel carrier.

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    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2019 F850GSA

  3. #18
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Slight derail.

    I rode a 13GT with my older sister hanging on several hours today...it was wandering all over the place


    Had a front blow thru this morning and was gusting 30 all day, no bad ball joint, just dang killer side blasts. The GT seems to really catch wind to me, I think our S' s handle better in the wind.
    I have ridden several models in some crazy wind and just wasn't feeling in control at all on the GT. My sister has been on back before on other bikes in similar conditions and she even commented on the handling or lack of

    New tires with recommended two up pressures and ESA set for two ( I tried several settings)
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and SABMWRA Prez

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    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  4. #19
    Registered User Petvet's Avatar
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    Very common issue. I got a crashed 2008 GT with 44 000 mi last summer. Did take apart and upgraded the bike before I rode. The ball joint were worn out for sure. You need about 150 $ investment in socked wrenches before you start.

  5. #20
    I'm sure this is not the case, but just in case...
    This sounds a bit like the symptoms described by BMW for the damaged rear wheel hub. Just a thought...

  6. #21
    DrPaul DrPaul's Avatar
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    Well, 10 months later and I have not again noted the symptoms described in my original post. Took bike into BMW-Tulsa a couple of weeks ago for the rear wheel flange replacement and tech could find no problem with front end. I'm suspecting rider fatigue may have been the problem! 4,000 mile trip coming up next month. Should know for sure afterwards. Thanks to all who have opined. Cheers!
    DrPaul - 2008 K1200GT, 1973 R75/5
    2004 R1150RT - sold,1974 R90/6 - sold
    2002 R1150RT - sold,1987 K75S - sold

  7. #22
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    I took my bike down to the Kansas City shop two times to have them check the ball joints on my bike after dealing with the problem for two years. Each time they took the bike for a test ride and said the bike was fine.
    It was getting to the point where it was no fun to ride my bike and if I wanted to go for a day ride I would hop on my wife's bike.
    Last month I called the Iowa City shop and and asked them to replace the ball joints. Don't bother checking them, just replace them.
    I now enjoy riding my bike again
    After dealing with this problem for two years I'm interested with going back to conventional forks.
    Last edited by Lee; 07-28-2015 at 04:42 PM.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  8. #23
    DrPaul DrPaul's Avatar
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    Just returned from 4K mile trip out to Glacier NP and back. Had similar experience beginning several days into the trip - bike wanted to wander a bit at slow speed and seemed to wallow some in turns. I honestly didn't notice any problems until 2-3K miles into the trip. Would failing ball joint symptoms only appear like this? Same tires as last year; they have ~11K miles on them now and will replace soon. That should answer the question about whether it's the tires or something else. Unfortunately, I won't be absolutely certain until my next big trip next year.
    DrPaul - 2008 K1200GT, 1973 R75/5
    2004 R1150RT - sold,1974 R90/6 - sold
    2002 R1150RT - sold,1987 K75S - sold

  9. #24
    DrPaul DrPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I took my bike down to the Kansas City shop two times to have them check the ball joints on my bike after dealing with the problem for two years. Each time they took the bike for a test ride and said the bike was fine.
    It was getting to the point where it was no fun to ride my bike and if I wanted to go for a day ride I would hop on my wife's bike.
    Last month I called the Iowa City shop and and asked them to replace the ball joints. Don't bother checking them, just replace them.
    I now enjoy riding my bike again
    After dealing with this problem for two years I'm interested with going back to conventional forks.
    Were your ball joint symptoms present all the time or only after several miles/hours of riding?
    DrPaul - 2008 K1200GT, 1973 R75/5
    2004 R1150RT - sold,1974 R90/6 - sold
    2002 R1150RT - sold,1987 K75S - sold

  10. #25
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPaul View Post
    Were your ball joint symptoms present all the time or only after several miles/hours of riding?
    Not all the time but most of the time.
    Reading your post #23 makes it sound like worn tires are the problem.

    Were you slabing it the first few days or on two lane roads where you had to slow down off and on during the day.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  11. #26
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    My 08 GT is feeling a bit loose again and I am thinking its the tires this time. I checked the ball joints and everything seems tight still with the replacements. The tires, PR4s, are nearly worn out and the front looks quite scalloped. I'll be able to run them out for the rest of this year and will change them before spring. I'm not as happy with the PR4s as I had been with the previous PR3s and PR2s. These ones did not last the same mileage and the odd front wear pattern is a concern so not sure what I'll put on this time.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2019 F850GSA

  12. #27
    DrPaul DrPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Were you slabing it the first few days or on two lane roads where you had to slow down off and on during the day.
    YES! I am meticulous about tire pressure and these tires had roughly 4K miles on them when the problem began. There was no visible signs of abnormal wear and I've never experienced this phenomenon before. Anyway, new PR4s are on the way! I'm hoping it is tires and not a suspension issue. Thanks for the info.
    DrPaul - 2008 K1200GT, 1973 R75/5
    2004 R1150RT - sold,1974 R90/6 - sold
    2002 R1150RT - sold,1987 K75S - sold

  13. #28
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPaul View Post
    YES! I am meticulous about tire pressure and these tires had roughly 4K miles on them when the problem began.
    I misread your post, I was thinking your tires were near the end of their life.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  14. #29

    Determine if you have bad ball joints

    In this whole thread I have not read whether or not you have actually ruled out your ball joints. With the bike on the center stand, just grab your wheel carrier on both sides and give it a back and forth tug. If you feel any movement, at all, your ball joints are bad. In my experience, it is the bottom one that goes before the top one, and that's the one that keeps you really steady in slow cornering. I have just replaced mine and it feels like a new motorcycle in the turns. I can really lean it now and it will hold a nice steady straight line. That's just my 2 cents
    Brian Hinton
    2007 R1200R
    2007 K1200GT
    2016 R1200GS

  15. #30
    DrPaul DrPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianhinton View Post
    In this whole thread I have not read whether or not you have actually ruled out your ball joints. With the bike on the center stand, just grab your wheel carrier on both sides and give it a back and forth tug. If you feel any movement, at all, your ball joints are bad. In my experience, it is the bottom one that goes before the top one, and that's the one that keeps you really steady in slow cornering. I have just replaced mine and it feels like a new motorcycle in the turns. I can really lean it now and it will hold a nice steady straight line. That's just my 2 cents
    Yes, I did exactly what you described shortly after my original post. I could detect no play. I also had the tech at the dealer in Tulsa check it when I had it in for the rear wheel flange replacement in July. He reported no problems. I will check it again. Thanks.
    DrPaul - 2008 K1200GT, 1973 R75/5
    2004 R1150RT - sold,1974 R90/6 - sold
    2002 R1150RT - sold,1987 K75S - sold

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