F650GS Handlebar Shakes Wildly with full luggage at > 130kmh

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by peterang, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. peterang

    peterang n00b

    Nov 20, 2011
    Hope somebody can advice me how to resolve this.

    I ride a F650GS Twin on factory standard shocks with a pair of Hepco & Becker Xplorer Panniers 30/40L.

    When I ride without the panniers, I can ride up above 160kmh without any issues.

    With the Panniers fitted and loaded, preload cranked to the max, riding anything above 130kmh and the handlebar shakes wildly. I had to reduce my speed to regain control.

    I am guessing that it might be a rear shock issue - not being able to handle the load. (I'm about 68kg fully geared and the panniers with load is about 30kg total)

    Would changing my shocks solve the issue?
  2. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

    Dec 2, 2008
    I can't remember if the 650 forks can be lowered in the triple clamps. If they can, load her up and run it, then lower the front end 20mm and try it again.

    A few of us have had similar issues with F800s and that seemed to fix it.

    My F800 is significantly taller than standard, especially in the front. I think that with full knobbies as it has now it would be nearly uncontrollable without the steering damper.
  3. GH41

    GH41 Been here awhile

    Oct 19, 2011
    "with load is about 30kg " If my conversion is correct that may bepart of your problem. GH
  4. machinebuilder

    machinebuilder Long timer

    Jun 6, 2008
    East Tennessee
    After doing conversions to pounds, I see you're 150lbs and your luggage is 64lbs.

    The first thing I suggest is to check your sag, I'm not sure about the F650 specs, but it is ususally reccoomended to have sag set to 30% of the travel.

    Also check your tire pressure, it can have an effect.

    try riding with the bags empty, the wind buffeting can also effect things.

    Slow down..................:evil
  5. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

    Jul 20, 2011
    It is possible the bearings at the steering head and / or the swing arm are worn
    enough to allow slop which should not exist. Such slop can cause a high speed
    head shake which can be exciting. The change in weight distribution caused by
    adding the panniers could exacerbate the potential for head shake by shifting the
    weight bias toward the rear of the bike, thus "unloading" the front end of the
    bike and allowing the steering head a bit more freedom to move about.
    So I'd look at the steering head bearings first of all, then check the swing arm bearings.

    After that, check ride height both without a load and with a load. You may need
    a rear spring which has a higher rate to compensate for the added load of panniers.
    The shock has much less influence on ride height than the spring does, whether it
    is a high-pressure nitrogen filled shock or not.

    In any case, best to go through the entire bike and check everything, including wheel
    balance and all other suspension-related items. Adding a steering damper might mask
    the symptoms but will NOT cure the cause. You need to find the root cause because
    the safety of the bike could be compromised by whatever is causing the shake.

    And have a very close look at the front forks where the axle passes through. Some
    of the front forks on some of these bikes have had "issues" ( they fail structurally while the
    bike is under way ) and that is potentially disastrous. Look for cracks in the lower fork leg
    near where the axle passes through the lower fork leg.

    Good luck.

  6. markymcd

    markymcd Been here awhile

    Sep 18, 2008
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    You might also have a misbalance in your front wheel. BestRest has a product (i think they're called DynaBeads) that go inside your tire and go where they are needed when rolling. The misbalance will be more distinct with the luggage on the back.

    But also per a previous inmates comments, check your head bearing. Without it having it properly checked you would probably feel a clunk over big bumps if it was loose. Quite common from the factory.

    I've had the bike comfortably at 140kmh with full luggage and passenger... and even at 160kmh on gravel with full luggage (no passenger).

    good luck,
  7. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

    Apr 28, 2007
    Fresno, CA
    Your 68kg + 30 kg for luggage can't be the cause of your problem.
    I weigh 107 naked, and any pillion would weigh quite a bit more than 30kg.
    Wind resistance of the boxes may be part of it, and as others have said, check your steering head bearings. The wind input on the boxes may be unloading the front enough for looseness to cause the front end to wonder. Otherwise the rear shock would be suspect. Check it for compression while sitting still, and make sure the swingarm pivot bolt is tight.
  8. peterang

    peterang n00b

    Nov 20, 2011
    Thanks for all the advice so far. I will go through them and post back my findings.

    Anymore suggestions are most welcome.
  9. Reaver

    Reaver How Did I Get Here?

    Aug 7, 2008
    Zona Sur Costa Rica

    Dr. "Does it hurt when you do this?"

    Patient: "Yeah."

    Dr. "Then don't do that".


    I know, I know........:stfu
  10. GH41

    GH41 Been here awhile

    Oct 19, 2011
    A passengers weight would mostly be forward of the axle. His cases place the weight mostly behind the axle. GH
  11. lunaticTR

    lunaticTR Adventurer

    Oct 3, 2009
    Ankara, Türkiye
    I got the same 2008 motor. I have 45lt cases on both sides on a swinging givi mount. One side is hanging out more because of the muffler. I put at least as much load in them. However I have a 55lt topcase as well. I weigh close to you with gears. I do not increase the preload in the rear shock though, just a few turns. I do not have any shakes at 140+kms when I am going straight (not that I do it all the time, just in short burst because the milage drops drastically). At the curves it is the rear shaking thanks to the swinging mounts. Must be something wrong with your front end - I mean the bike's front end :rofl
  12. RheinGold

    RheinGold Weniger aber besser.

    Sep 6, 2006
    I've a 2012 F650. Rode it cross-country (6,000 miles) fully loaded with Jesse bags, top case, passenger, etc. I've had NO shaking problems at 70mph+, on gravel, dirt, in rain, etc.

    Suggest you look at the head bearings and tire pressure. Also, my preload is somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2. Perhaps yours being at full preload is adding to the problem.