This is one of most common causes of accidents among motorcyclists and surely most of you must have experienced this while riding. The tank slapper or the death wobble can happen with any two-wheeler, making it go out of control. It can happen with most experienced riders and to the people who have recently started riding.
Here is what you should know about these deadly wobbles that haunt the riders and ways to avoid it.
What is tank slapper?
The wobble is caused by many reasons but the basic fundamental is the front tyre goes out of alignment with the rear tyre. When it happens, the front tyre tries to get back into alignment with the rear quickly and in the process, the wobble starts.
If the wobble could not be controlled in time, it becomes very strong and finally the rider is thrown away from the bike in an instant.
What is the cause?
There are many. Anything that makes the front tyre go out of the alignment with the rear tyre can cause tank slapper. We bring you the few common ones.
A sudden shake to the handle can send it the death wobble trap. If you’re riding on a bumpy road at high speed, a small deflection on the front tyre caused by a bump or pebble can put the motorcycle on wobble mode.
It can happen even during cornering. If the corner is taken at a high speed, the motorcycle leans at an angle, if the transition during coming out of the corner to the straight road is not smooth, the slapper will hit the motorcycle.
If the rider is not being smooth while accelerating or gear changes, the jerks may also induce speed wobble to the motorcycle.
Also, soft front suspension and hard rear suspension can trigger the wobble at slightest of the deflection on the road. At the same time, big difference between the size of the front and rear tyres can cause the problem. Slippery patch on a dry road is another cause of the tank slapper.
How to prevent and escape it unhurt?
Most modern motorcycles come with dampers installed on the handlebar to prevent the wobble. The damper prevents the oscillations and keeps the motorcycle under control.
If there is no damper in the motorcycle, the way to come out of it is not to fight it. If the rider tries to make it right by applying opposite force on the handlebar, it becomes way worse. The motorcycle is trying to come in straight line by itself. Keep the throttle at the same position and hold the handlebar lightly, the motorcycle will come back in a straight line soon. Sudden deceleration can also increase the wobble so brakes and release of the throttle suddenly are not recommended.
Also, be smooth with your riding, if you have a habit of changing gears aggressively and the motorcycle shakes with every shift, be careful as the motorcycle may enter the wobble trap any time.
The tank slapper has sent many legendary riders into the air, injuring them seriously. It can happen to anyone who is not being careful while riding.