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Harley guys please chime in - this article's claim is BS or not?

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by fnfalman, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-harley13.html

    Man suing Harley-Davidson over 'wobble'

    April 13, 2006

    BY STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter Advertisement


    For years, Tom Hawkinson loved nothing more than to hit the open road on his Harley-Davidson.

    But as the Oak Lawn man cruised down Archer Avenue near Lemont in 2004, the front end of his motorcycle began to wobble.

    Seconds later, the 44-year-old was thrown from his bike and left with life-changing brain injuries.

    Wednesday, Hawkinson filed suit against Harley-Davidson, claiming the company knew years earlier that there was a defect in the bike.

    Before the crash, he was a vice-president at his family's Hawkinson Ford in Oak Lawn, but today "he can't work and is unable to maintain the life he had before," said his attorney, Max Maccoby.

    "He was a successful businessman," he said. "Now he's incapacitated and has gone through a number of brain surgeries."

    The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks unspecified damages, but claims that users have filed multiple complaints with federal safety agencies and multiple negligence lawsuits because of defects on the Dyna Wide Glide and other bikes in the company's FLH series. One suit filed in Chicago in 2004 made claims similar to Hawkinson's.

    Said to begin at 50 mph

    A Harley-Davidson spokesman declined comment.

    Maccoby said the wobble when the motorcycle exceeds 50 mph is so widely known that repair shops advertise repairs specific to the problem on these models.

    Those "design or manufacturing defects," the lawsuit says, caused the crash and Hawkinson's injury.

    "A driver coming toward him saw his front light wobble back and forth for about 10 seconds before he was thrown," Maccoby said. "Now, he suffers from disorientation, he fatigues easily, and he can't multitask. He tried going back to work, but he couldn't."

    Earlier suits filed against Harley-Davidson claim the shaking and instability come from the front end of the motorcycle, as if it is off-balance from the rear tires.
     
  2. DaisyCutter

    DaisyCutter

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    I dislike Harleys myself, but I'd honestly suspect Harley Davidsons to exhibit the least amount of headshake of any post-WW2 motorcycle on the road. They appear to have a very generous steering head angle, and I suspect that they are very *ahem* stable.

    Odds are the crash contributors were 80% rider, 15% terrain, and 5% mechanical (tire/susp condition).

    EDIT: I seriously don't believe the claim that the plaintiff fought headshake for 10 continous seconds. If he didn't change speed after the first second he's an idiot. Furthermore, if the safety problem is so well known, why did he continue to ride the motorcycle? Why didn't he impliment the "well-known" stability modifications?
     

  3. hd67xlch

    hd67xlch

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    had a wobble at certain speeds, specifically a 1977 sportster I had bought new in Dllas TX. Then again I now own 4 that have no wobble problems. I never was able to figure out what caused the wobbling on that bike, at certain speeds. Most often it would occur between 50-53 mph then it always went away. It would also only happen when accelerating slowly through those speeds never on the down side.

    Of course I dont think you can use my analogy on newer models. Currently my 4 HDs are all pre 1976 models.

    I do know other people who have had the wobble syndrom also, FWIW.

    Later
     
  4. coldmcrider

    coldmcrider

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    I have a 2004 flht with about 50,000 miles. Only time it wobbles is just under 100mph. Just it's way of telling me I'm going too fast. At normal speeds it's never had any wobble.

    Had a 97 heritage that was also real stable unless I was going way too fast.

    I can't remember if my 81 FLH or my 76 sportster wobbled. That was too long ago.
     
  5. Clydeglide

    Clydeglide

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    They don't wobble unless there is a mechanical problem.

    I am not certain what bikes they're talking about. They mention a Wide Glide which is the FX series. Then they say FLH, which are the Road Kings, Electra Glides and Tour Glides.

    Both the FX and FLH are the primary chassis for the police bikes.

    I think the only defect was the one riding the bike. Combine that with Harley's deep pockets and a lawyer.

    :cool:
     
  6. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    I thought that it sounded rather suspicious as well to have headshake on a bike as long and heavy as a Harley at 50-MPH.
     
  7. jthuang

    jthuang On The Jazz

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    Is what they're describing a "tank slapper"? :dunno:
     
  8. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    If a headshake is bad enough then it will evolve into a tank slapper.
     
  9. DaisyCutter

    DaisyCutter

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    Headshake is to tank slapper, as the squirts are to explosive diarrhea.
     
  10. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

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    Wasn't there a new rear motor mount or swingarm mount/bushing thing that had a major re-design a year ago or so because of bad rear end wallow that could lead to front end wobble?
    For some reason, that sticks in my head.
    I didn't really pay attention cause I'm not a H-D guy.
     
  11. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

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  12. Clydeglide

    Clydeglide

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    I took a look at that. Without clicking on any of the links I found this...........

    "The complaint always seems to be the old Harley wobble. The thing is 9 out of 10 problems turns out to be under inflation of tyres."

    Works for me!

    I've owned several FLH's and my wife had an FXD. I had all of them at or near triple digit speeds. Unsettling, yes. Wobble, no. It wasn't anything like the shake I got on my old CB450 Honda at the same speeds.

    :cool:
     
  13. TreeTrooper

    TreeTrooper Shhhhh...

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    My Wide Glide wasn't fast enough to wobble.
     
  14. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

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    I've ridden an FLHR and FLHTCU-I and both were rock solid, and have lots of friends who ride H-D who have never had a single handling problem. I don't believe for one second that the crash was caused by any fault of Harley-Davidson.
     
  15. wolfy692005

    wolfy692005 pro tinkerer

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    actually as much as i like harley's, there were some bikes out for like 3 years, and they were FLH models, but very specific models and i dont remember now what they were, they had front end wobble.. it was around 50-60 mph mark and contiued to around 80.. once about 80 it lined out.. i dont know the problem but the problems but i know they had em..
     
  16. Motor-T

    Motor-T Windbag

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    My roomate's boss has a Screamin' Eagle Dyna that has a wicked headshake at anything over 70. He has had it at the dealer' shop for months. If anybody knows one of these shops in the Houston area that specializes in fixing this particular malady please let me know.
     
  17. Clydeglide

    Clydeglide

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    Square tire.......

    It'll balance. I can balance a box but I can't make it ride like a wheel.

    :cool:
     
  18. Motor-T

    Motor-T Windbag

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    He's replaced the entire wheel (tire included) already. No joy.
     
  19. Clydeglide

    Clydeglide

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    They're replacing the victim, not the culprit.

    ......think outside the box.

    :cool:
     
  20. Motor-T

    Motor-T Windbag

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    Man, my Harley knowledge would fit on the inside of a matchbook written in crayon.