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Thread: Bump Steer

  1. #1
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    Default Bump Steer

    With the first 500 or so miles on my RT, bump steering has been the major negative in my early experience. The riding around here is primarily on two lane roads and highways. Most of these roads started out as gravel, then oiled gravel and then they finally got a top coat of asphalt. With no 'proper' road bed, the surfaces are irregular, aka bumpy. Unlike a motorcycle, the RT seems sensitive to these bumps and reacts in two axes; roll and yaw.

    The roll movement produces a side-to-side body movement that becomes fatiguing, but the yaw axis movement is worse. With each bump the Spyder makes a small change in direction (bump steer). I can let go of the handlebars for perhaps 2 seconds, then I have to make a correction. If I let go for 5 seconds, I'm out of the lane, and 10 seconds would put me in the ditch. It's much different than my motorcycle where you go straight down the road and the suspension just absorbs most of the bumps. The Spyder is nervous and intense by comparison and not at all relaxing to ride in bumpy conditions.

    The bottom line result is that I'm riding less and exhausted after a short (2-3 hour) ride. I find my self looking for a short route back home about 1 hours out. A long ride isn't even plausible under these conditions. Shoulder/neck/upper back fatigue are significant, and I hope the change to reduced reach bars will alleviate some of that fatigue. I pick up those bars today and plan to talk to the service manager about alignment options, since toe out can aggravate bump steer.

    It's hard to believe they're all like this.

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    Very Active Member IdahoMtnSpyder's Avatar
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    Have you read all the suggestions re: holding too tight, staying relaxed, getting a laser alignment, and several other aspects of riding the Spyder? It actually handles bumpy roads quite well so look seriously at how you are integrating yourself to the bike.

    2014 Copper RTS

    Tri-Axis bars, CB, BajaRon sway bar & shock adjusters, SpyderPop's Bumpskid, NBV peg brackets, LED headlights and modulator, Wolo trumpet air horns, trailer hitch, custom trailer harness, high mount turn signals, Custom Dynamics brake light, LED turn signal lights on mirrors, LED strip light for a dash light, garage door opener, LED lights in frunk, trunk, and saddlebags, RAM mounts and cradles for tablet (for GPS) and phone (for music), and Smooth Spyder belt tensioner.

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    Active Member kamper's Avatar
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    My world changed when I figured out that tire pressure is very very important, too much it's all over the place.

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    I understand what you're saying. I can't have less steering input than not holding the grips. Riding with my hands opened around, but not in contact with the bars there can be no input from me. That makes it dart around like a humming bird with each bump. Alignment is certainly on the list. I appreciate hearing that they are generally stable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamper View Post
    My world changed when I figured out that tire pressure is very very important, too much it's all over the place.
    With only 500 miles, I haven't had much time to experiment with things like tire pressure, so I'm at the vehicle sticker recommended 20 front, 28 rear. I'm about 190# in gear -- do you have a suggestion? From the dealer, the fronts were 16psi and the rear 22psi. I'm listening...

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    Very Active Member Grandpot's Avatar
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    Get a laser alignment from someone with experience. Bump steer or "Twitchy Steering " are common symptoms.
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    The Spyder does have bump steer because the steering tie rods are considerably longer than the suspension arms. Consequently, the arc of movement at the wheel end is not the same for each so there is some steering caused by suspension movement.

    However, good front wheel alignment is important and so is a front tyre without a tendency to wander. The OE Kenda tyres are dreadful in that respect.

    Drive alongside the centre road marking when it's safe to do so and gradually get closer to the line until the tyre contacts it, if your bike jumps over the line without input from you consider replacement front tyres.

    20lbs pressure is a wee bit high, 17 might be better, but it's not the main reason for your Spyder's twitchiness.

    With regard to how you hold the bars, the technique is to hold them but not tightly, even hold them by clipping the fingers around them without a full grip. Letting the bars go as a test is not valid, even your car won't run straight without your control of the steering wheel.
    Rule#2: Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level & then beat you with experience.
    Rule#1: Refer to rule #2.

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    Active Member Baron14y's Avatar
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    Get a BajaRon roll bar also. Assuming you have Kenda tires, when they wear out and you switch to auto tires, you will feel a great improvement.

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    Active Member redrazor's Avatar
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    Default Very true

    Twitchy Steering and Bump Steer are common issues
    Last edited by redrazor; 09-15-2020 at 01:46 PM. Reason: forgot quote

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    Very Active Member Gwolf's Avatar
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    Look down the road, not at the road.

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    Buttersmooth

    I understand what you are saying because I often ride similar roads. I installed a BaJa Ron Sway bar which helped and installed passenger BRP armrests which also helped. My wife is happy overall with the ride of the spyder and long rides are more pleasant even though she is happier on smooth and less curvy roads.

    However, the rocking motion may be a factor of having three wheels. My trike friends also experience this as well.
    I would like to say that somewhere around 3500 miles I found myself not noticing this swaying near as much. It’s still there but my body and riding technique must have adjusted to the bike. I still do notice this movement but it seems to now be a secondary issue instead of something which was previously at the forefront of every ride.
    Poasttown

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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkRosePetal View Post
    20lbs pressure is a wee bit high, 17 might be better, but it's not the main reason for your Spyder's twitchiness.
    I appreciate the concrete pressure advice. kamper also made a similar suggestion and I hadn't thought of it as an issue before. Today I rode about 100 miles to pick up my reduced reach bars. Before I left, the tires were all reduced by 2#, so 18 front and 26 rear. It was like slipping the Spyder a quaalude before riding. Much calmer. When delivered, the fronts were set to 16# and now I see there may be a reason for that, rather than a dealer faux pas.

    With the new bars my arms won't be fully (or almost fully) extended and will have more elasticity, so some of my inadvertent bar tweaking will go away. Hopefully the sore neck and shoulders will go away too. Tomorrow's ride will answer some questions, I hope.

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    Very Active Member trikermutha's Avatar
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    Tire pressure and the alignment is a good start.

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    I was very disappointed with the handling on the '11 RT we got earlier this year. Walked and wandered on bumps, in addition to feeling darting around on high-speed curves. I got a laser alignment performed, installed Vredesteins (19 PSI), and added a tiny bit of preload on the front coil-overs, and the problems have been minimized to the point of being barely noticeable. I'm convinced the previous toe-out condition (Spyder should be slightly toe-in) and puny Kenda carcasses were at fault. I'll be adding a BajaRon bar and links to further improve the behavior in corners.

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    I will agree with your assessment of the handling in the first few miles. When we picked up ours earlier this year, I did more test riding than my wife did, even though it's HER bike. The bike seemed like it had two-stage steering. When I moved the bars a bit to initiate a lane change, the bike seemed to move a bit, then it acted like it suddenly realized I wanted to do a lane change, so it turned MORE. Of course, that required some steering in the other direction to counteract that. I might have looked a bit drunk bouncing between the lines. In fact, I pretty much restricted my riding to city streets here in the suburbs. Even the 45 and 50 mph roads made me nervous. Had the dealer check the alignment (they don't do a laser alignment there), he pronounced it "good".

    The rear tire was nearing the end of useful life, and I have been reading a bunch of posts here on tire choice. Replaced the original tires (sorry, I just can't bring myself to even type the name) and installed Vredestein Q5s. The difference in handling was more than just "night and day". My next test ride got up to 55-60 mph very comfortably. My wife went to visit her sister, which involves some freeway miles. She noticed the difference, too. Had a laser alignment check at the SE oHIo rally in June, they verified the alignment is good.

    The two of us have now added just over 4100 miles to the odometer and have both gotten aclimated to the differences from two-wheel riding. She is now asking about adding a BajaRon sway bar, so we might have one installed at Maggie Valley.

    .
    HER rides:
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    1982 Suzuki GS850GL

    My rides:
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    1980 Suzuki GS850G

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    Very Active Member RICZ's Avatar
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    The tire pressures you mention are too high IMO. Try 17 front, 24 rear.
    I can empathize with what you are going through - it's called a learning curve and it can be a steep one. When I got mine, I was told it will take 1K miles to just begin to feels though you are in control - he was right. Then he said it will take another 1K to really be with the program. He was right again. Give yourself time, your body and brain are getting wired to the inputs a Spyder has. When you no longer feel those things you are complaining about, you are over the top of that curve. Stay with it, have faith in yourself and the bike. The bike ain't gonna fall over.
    Ours is a red, black and chrome 2017 F3 Limited. Bought new in 2/2019. The avatar is my first bike back in 1952, a Simplex Servi-Cycle. Photo taken at the Barber Museum.

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    I very seldom use the cruise control so I normally ride with 1 hand lightly gripping the throttle and the other resting on the left grip. On my 2014, after the laser alignment, I could set the cruise control then drop my arms for 5 to 10 seconds at speed and hardly drift. So, in my opinion, the spyder is very stable. LOL I could NEVER do that on my HD Road King.

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    Very Active Member RICZ's Avatar
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    Straight line tracking greatly improves with car tires, especially the front.
    Ours is a red, black and chrome 2017 F3 Limited. Bought new in 2/2019. The avatar is my first bike back in 1952, a Simplex Servi-Cycle. Photo taken at the Barber Museum.

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    I agree with many of the comments. New tires - car tires - make a difference. The Baja Ron sway bar eliminated most of my jerking around. Not having a death grip on the handlebars, etc. I posted a few months back of the learning curve from two to three wheels and thought I made a big mistake buying the Spyder...scared myself several times on the road And even pulled off a couple of times contemplating why I bought this thing. 1000 miles later I’m in the grove...fear is gone...jerkiness gone...and loving the ride. I’ve adapted to the nuances of three wheels and it’s a joy to ride now.

    Don’t give up yet - there is a steep learning curve from two to three wheels for many (not for everyone though) and you will get the hang of it. With the change of tires and Baja Ron sway bar I can take my hands off and move straight down the road. The wife loves it and she wouldn’t ride on the back of the two wheeler at all - too scary for her. She lounges on the back of the RTL and has no fear.

  20. #20
    SpyderLovers Sponsor BajaRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W. View Post
    I will agree with your assessment of the handling in the first few miles. When we picked up ours earlier this year, I did more test riding than my wife did, even though it's HER bike. The bike seemed like it had two-stage steering. When I moved the bars a bit to initiate a lane change, the bike seemed to move a bit, then it acted like it suddenly realized I wanted to do a lane change, so it turned MORE. Of course, that required some steering in the other direction to counteract that. I might have looked a bit drunk bouncing between the lines. In fact, I pretty much restricted my riding to city streets here in the suburbs. Even the 45 and 50 mph roads made me nervous. Had the dealer check the alignment (they don't do a laser alignment there), he pronounced it "good".

    The rear tire was nearing the end of useful life, and I have been reading a bunch of posts here on tire choice. Replaced the original tires (sorry, I just can't bring myself to even type the name) and installed Vredestein Q5s. The difference in handling was more than just "night and day". My next test ride got up to 55-60 mph very comfortably. My wife went to visit her sister, which involves some freeway miles. She noticed the difference, too. Had a laser alignment check at the SE oHIo rally in June, they verified the alignment is good.

    The two of us have now added just over 4100 miles to the odometer and have both gotten aclimated to the differences from two-wheel riding. She is now asking about adding a BajaRon sway bar, so we might have one installed at Maggie Valley.

    .
    The dealer pronouncing your alignment 'Good', is about as valuable as a $3.00 bill. I would definitely get that checked by a reputable ROLO Laser Alignment tech. It is very likely that you'll find your dealer's assessment to be incorrect.

    The other real problem is that the stock Spyder leans way too much. The way the steering (tracking) geometry is designed, lean creates an over-steer condition. This is why you get the 2 stage reaction in a lane change. You start the turn with a level Spyder and neutral tracking. The lane change introduces lean and over-steer, which kicks in that 2nd stage you feel. The progression is logarithmic, not linear. In other words, the amount of over-steer gets worse at an ever increasing rate as more lean is introduced. A little lean gives you almost no over-steer. But as more lean is added. Over-steer gets much worse in a hurry.

    In a long sweeping turn or curve, you get this same over-steer condition. You must then correct for the over-steer to stay in your lane. This unloads the suspension some, creating under-steer. You then correct for this and the cycle repeats. Each cycle is less severe and if the curve is long enough, you will eventually settle in and need no more correction. On a windy road, this multiple correction exercise for each turn can fatigue you. Many don't notice that they are having to do this multiple correction scenario. And they are surprised at how tiring riding the Spyder on back roads can be.

    This condition is exaggerated if you are riding 2-up because of the added inertia created by the 2nd rider.

    Controlling excessive lean is the key. It will improve handling and stability by virtually eliminating the over-steer, under-steer oscillation problem.
    Last edited by BajaRon; 09-16-2020 at 09:49 AM.
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  21. #21
    Active Member kamper's Avatar
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    I 20 all the way around, but i run 2up most of the time. About 400 total for us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BajaRon View Post
    The dealer pronouncing your alignment 'Good', is about as valuable as a $3.00 bill. I would definitely get that checked by a reputable ROLO Laser Alignment tech. It is very likely that you'll find your dealer's assessment to be incorrect.
    As I mentioned near the end of the story, it was checked at the SE oHIo rally by Netzley (sp?).

    I like your description of the lean-induced additional steering. I have long subscribed to (anti-) sway bars on my 4-wheeled vehicles, but that was primarily to control body roll. Your bar also controls roll, but that roll has more effect on the vehicle than on my cars.

    I have been holding off a bit on spending more (and more) money on this new-to-us machine, allowing us to acclimate ourselves to each change. It also goes along with my philosophy of "change only ONE thing at a time". That way, you will know which change has helped (or not). My wife was actually asking about installing one of your bars. I believe Netzley will be at Maggie Valley, we will have one installed there.

    .
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    1982 Suzuki GS850GL

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    1980 Suzuki GS850G

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W. View Post
    ...
    I have been holding off a bit on spending more (and more) money on this new-to-us machine, allowing us to acclimate ourselves to each change. It also goes along with my philosophy of "change only ONE thing at a time". That way, you will know which change has helped (or not). ...
    Yes, one change at a time. Oops, today's ride featured 17/24 pressures and newly installed reduced reach bars. Handling was greatly improved and there was no shoulder/neck/back pain. I'm sure the bars affected the handling, since I was no longer pushing on the bars trying to sit upright, so the improvements came from mixed sources. But, results are results. I agree with your approach, but Summer is fading fast... Very enjoyable ride today -- there may be a future for this...

  24. #24
    SpyderLovers Sponsor BajaRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W. View Post
    As I mentioned near the end of the story, it was checked at the SE oHIo rally by Netzley (sp?).

    I like your description of the lean-induced additional steering. I have long subscribed to (anti-) sway bars on my 4-wheeled vehicles, but that was primarily to control body roll. Your bar also controls roll, but that roll has more effect on the vehicle than on my cars.

    I have been holding off a bit on spending more (and more) money on this new-to-us machine, allowing us to acclimate ourselves to each change. It also goes along with my philosophy of "change only ONE thing at a time". That way, you will know which change has helped (or not). My wife was actually asking about installing one of your bars. I believe Netzley will be at Maggie Valley, we will have one installed there.

    .
    A good way to go. Throwing money and new parts at problems isn't always the best course. Getting used to the machine not only helps you hone in on the problem and the appropriate 'Fix'. It also helps you to appreciate the improvement. And you know what you got for your money.
    Only SLOW people have to leave on time...





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