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Discussion Starter #1
Well, it happened to me yesterday.
I was riding at a good clip on a straight road when I hit a hole in the street and next thing I know, the handle-bars are going crazy on me. It must not have been a real tankslapper bc I managed to keep her upright, but what do I know, this is the first time something like this happened with the little Sv and I'm just happy I could ride away with my heart going boinkers and sincerely hope this will never happen again. However, considering the condition of some of our roads here, it's a rather difficult task to avoid all the holes and bumps when riding. I've already changed the front stock suspension with WP's but a friend who was riding with me suggested to put a steering damper on the SV. For some reason I always associate those with bigger bikes than the SV, so I was wondering if any of you have any experience with this.
 

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before I got heavier fork oil up front, i never had a tankslapper, but now, the bike does get a bit more upset over bumps than before. My bike still steers better than before.

if i understand it correctly, trying to save it by grabbing the bars harder just makes it worse. Tankslappers happen so fast.
 

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The wisdom I've heard is that you need to relax your grip and let the oscillation settle itself.

Sometimes it does - sometimes it doesn't. My guess is that you were holding the bars too tightly and that played a part in it happening at all.

I've gone with heavier oil and springs as well as Traxxion rods and emulators. I've also got the back end jacked up over and inch with the forks slid 10mm up in the triples. Compared to stock - the bike is in a very forward or 'stink-bug' attitude.

All that - and I still don't get slappers of any appreciable sort. Heck - if it's less stable, I'm too dumb (or numb?) to notice. I love the handling, though. ;D

Seriously - try relaxing your grip.
 

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I've had wee wobbles from time to time but I didn't get a real slapper until a couple of weeks ago- proper lock to lock stuff. I just let it get on with it and it sorted itself out :) But I know exactly what caused it- doing a daft full-bore overtake on a bumpy road with too much rear rebound damping, basically. My bike's better at its job than I am so as soon as I stopped provoking it it just settled back down. Thanks, bike! But I swear, I've felt more in control during actual crashes than I did in that near miss.
 

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I was in the middle of a discussion last year about the need for steering dampers... a few had said that the SV doesn't need one on the street and to which i somewhat agree. Depends on your riding style. IF you are aggressive rider... then maybe steering damper is needed. I say this because I have learned I am a bit of an aggressive rider at times and have found many times my front end floating on acceleration or while cresting a hill only to have the bars do a wiggle for me. I have progressive springs with 15wt oil and no drop in triples (but that may come soon).

Nothing bad ever happened and it always lined back up but... have thought many times I wish I had one of the dampers that mounts on top of the triples with a dial to let you adjust the dampening affect. I remember seeing a video of someone on an SV that had one of these and he bumped his up a nothc before winding the sV out and cresting some hills... you could see the damper doing its job keep the bars in control.

So, I think average rider probably doesn't need a damper for the street but... I don't think it could hurt especially if you ride more aggressive than average rider... and yes some may say this just means you need to slow down on the street but... I didn't get an SV to ride a Winger's pace hehe

and yes... keeping a light grip on bars is best when they wiggle... heck... this works good in a car too. I have had a 79 Trans Am that did same thing once... crested a hill on slight curve once about 70 and the front got light and loose and steering wheel went from side to side.... I just keep loose grip and tried to reduce the side to side motion slowly without forcing it to do anything and it straightened out... works same on a bike. Don't want to do anything suddenly and don't want a death grip... just let it do its thing as you slow the motion of the bars slowly until it straightens up.
 

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I reckon spending the cash to put a damper on a stock or near-stock bike is a total waste of money, personally, unless you ride daily in Bumpy Hell. Far better to take the cash and put it towards better suspension, which if set up right will reduce the risk of a slapper and have many other benefits.
 
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I have just made a custom bracket to attach a dampener to my Lil sv. It is not so much for the tank slappers as it is for the head shake i get when doing 100+. I never had a problem with the stock bike so if your bike is stock i would try something else first like relaxing the riding style or sorting out the suspension. However with the weight reduction, extra power, and jacked up rear suspension (gsxr shock and dog bones) i think it will improve my bikes over all ride at the cost of some extra weight up front. I will post how it works when i finally get it all sorted and painted correctly.
 

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At one time I had too much preload dialed in at the rear and was getting a fair amount of tank slappers. The shock wasn't compressing correctly and was making the front go light under hard acceleration. I backed off the rear preload a bit and it fixed it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the replies !
Headshakes and wobbles don't bother me much, you let the bike do her job and she will sort them out for you and get on with the ride.
I've also read that letting the bike do what it's been designed to do is the only way to go and really consciously try to relax my grip on the handle bars but maybe I was keeping too a tight grip when overtaking those cars. Two of the friends I was riding with were behind me and both said it was a very nice safe bc they thought I was gonna go flying over the handlebars for sure. Thing is that the only thing you can do is try to hold on and keep your balance.
The front suspension has already been given a heavier oil and progressive springs bc I was dissatisfied with its light feeling so maybe it is time to take a look at the rear.
 

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Seems like a lot of tankslappers originate from the rear- certianly a lot of the really bad ones do. Mine did :) And you just have to look at the TLS to see it happen. So probably a new shock would help- but a simple shock swap with bad damping ranges for you might still not be all that good if you're riding it that hard...
 

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Unless your bike has some serious suspension problems, misaligned rear wheel, bad head bearings or wheel bearings, there is NO need for a damper on an SV.

I race on a VERY bumpy track with high speed ripples, high speed bumps and bumps over accerleration and hard direction changes. I guarantee that my SV gets ridden A LOT harder than any street bike.

My experience with the SV is it will shake the bars very mildly at best and I have yet to see a hard wobble or real tank slapper.

The key to stopping the head shake is a light touch on the bars. Let the front end do its thing and it will stop there. While you let the bars shake, grip the tank with your knees to keep your body in position.

I think one of the problems with this discussion is everyone has a different interpretation of what a "tank slapper" is and what constitutes acceptable headshake. A tank slapper is a full lock to lock occilation where you are simply along for the ride. This is a terribly frightening experience, one you won't ever forget.

Mild headshake is a slight wobble of the bars not more than a few inches each way at the bar ends. This is the more common effect of hitting a bump when on the gas.
 

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no one brought up steering head bearings. If loose they can cause a mild head shake. and raising the back of the bike up will decrease fork angle and can cause head shake. :eek:
 
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