Kiwi Biker forums FAQ

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A violent oscillation of the front steering. All steering systems on motorcycles have a natural frequency (or speed) where, given an initiating disturbance, they will tend to oscillate quickly from side to side, each oscillation bigger than the previous. At its worst, the steering will be hitting the stops very rapidly—thus the term “tank slapper.” Damping prevents this from happening, by the rider’s arms and sometimes helped by a hydraulic steering damper. The newer sport bikes with their steeper steering geometry are more susceptible.

The most common slapper scenario is to be accelerating rapidly from a corner over broken pavement where the front wheel is barely touching the ground. A combination of bumps in the pavement and the rider attempting to steer the bike while the front wheel is slightly off the ground can cause an initial disturbance that is exactly at the natural oscillating frequency of the steering and overwhelm whatever damping the rider or bike is providing. Most people, however, seem to be able to ride them out.

Of course, worn steering bearings, worn tires, accident misalignment, poor suspension setup, etc. can all make the bike more susceptible to this problem.

Cage driver

If it's got four wheels, it's a cage.

Avoid Volvos, SUVs, mini-vans, and people talking on cell phones.

  • People in Volvos drive as if they were in the safest cars in the world and seem to be disproportionately dimwitted on the road.
  • People in SUVs drive as if they have super powers, the right of way, and diplomatic immunity.
  • People in mini-vans drive as if they were in little sports cars.
  • People talking on a cell phone drive as though they are talking to the President and nothing else matters.

None of them can see you—or would care if they did.

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