The death wobble is one of the scariest scenarios you could encounter while riding your motorcycle. 

It comes completely out of nowhere, for seemingly no reason.

But there is a reason why it happens, and often, it comes down to something mechanical-related.

In this blog post, you’ll discover:

  • What death wobble is, and what causes it
  • The 6 most common reasons for death wobble
  • What you can do to deal with death wobble before it even happens – and what you can do if it happens anyway

What Is the “Death Wobble” on a Motorcycle?

Picture the scene. You’re out riding on the motorway or the interstate.

Suddenly, your handlebars and your motorcycle begin to shake, almost for no reason.

It might look something like this:

 

You’ve just experienced what the “death wobble” is first-hand. 

It can happen without warning, but often, there are reasons why motorcycle death wobble happens.

Want to get better at motorcycle mechanics?

Fill out the form to your right to receive the My 8 Tips to Become a Better Motorcycle Mechanic guide straight to your inbox.
    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    5 Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk of Motorcycle Death Wobble

    1. Check your tire pressure and adjust if necessary

    image of valve cap
     Properly inflated tires don’t keep you on the road, they also keep the bike stable.

    Therefore, check your tires with a tire pressure gauge regularly, and inflate or deflate them if you need to.

    2. Replace bald tires

    But tire pressure is just part of the equation. Did you check the rest of the tire as well?

    Because it doesn’t matter if you’ve got properly inflated tires – if you’re riding on bald tires, you’re just as likely to experience death wobble (not to mention poor traction).

    3. Ensure that your cargo load is balanced 

    image of cruiser motorcycle with saddlebags in wyoming
    Do you carry cargo on your bike regularly (like if you do a lot of motorcycle travel)? Then, pay attention to how you pack.

    Distribute the weight in your saddlebags evenly, keeping your heaviest items close to the area between your head and the axles – also known as the “load triangle.

    But the load isn’t just any cargo you might be carrying. If you’re taking a pillion passenger along for the ride, they must sit as close to you as possible.

    Otherwise, it’s just as bad as an imbalanced cargo load.

    4. Tighten your wheel spokes 

    image of spoked wheel and wrench
    Spoked wheels are known for being sturdy – as long as they’re tightened properly.

    If one or even several spokes are loose- they won’t be able to support all the weight put on it from:

    • The wheel itself
    • The bike
    • Your weight

    If you’re riding a dirt bike, a cruiser, or a two-wheeler with spoked wheels, remember to check their tightness and tighten them with a spoke wrench if you need to.

    5. Refit any loose fairing pieces

    Fairings are designed to protect you from the wind and make your motorcycle more aerodynamic.

    But just like spokes, the bike’s aerodynamics are massively reduced if a piece of fairing isn’t fitted correctly.

    Take a walk along your bike, look for loose fairings, and retighten them if necessary.

     

    Like to know more about motorcycle fairings? Check out the blog post about it here on the Dual Wheel Journey.

    What Do You Do If You Experience Death Wobble While Riding?

    If you’ve taken all the steps above, you’ve reduced the likelihood of experiencing death wobble – well done! 

    But how do you deal with death wobble while it’s happening? It’s not like you can inflate your tires or adjust your fairings while the motorcycle is wobbling.

    By then, it’s too late – there are still a few things you can do to get out of the situation safe and sound, something which this video from the MCRider YouTube channel talks more about: