A motorcycle feels unstable at high speed due to low tire pressure, uneven weight distribution in the saddlebag, misaligned wheels, wrong riding posture, bad front wheel bearings, mechanical failure, and road potholes.
Being a rider for years, I have faced many scary situations where my motorcycle starts feeling unstable, and I slowly lose control.
It’s very dangerous if you’re riding an unstable motorcycle at high speed. In fact, motorcycle instability is the major cause of road accidents and crashes across the country.
In this guide, we’ll discover why a motorcycle feels unstable at high speed and how you can handle that dangerous situation.
Table of Contents
6 Reasons a Motorcycle Feels Unstable At High Speed
The motorcycles are aerodynamically designed to be stable and easily maneuvered at high speed.
However, some external factors and mechanical failures make them feel unstable at higher speeds.
Here are six major causes of motorcycle instability at high speed:
1. Low Tire Pressure
The front tire pressure should be between 32-35 Psi, whereas the rear tire pressure should be between 40-45 Psi for a stable riding experience and better fuel economy.
Being a responsible rider, regularly checking the front and rear tire pressure should be your routine.
If the tire pressure is low, it misbalances the center of mass, making your motorcycle unstable at higher speeds.
If any nail or sharp object punctures the tire, you’ll lose control of the motorcycle. It’s better to slow down the speed and repair the puncture in that situation.
If your motorcycle has more than three punctures, you must replace the tire immediately. Otherwise, it may lead to major road accidents someday.
2. Uneven Weight Distribution
The center of gravity is the factor that decides the stability of any vehicle. If you learned physics, you must know that the center of gravity changes by adding extra weights.
Many riders have installed saddlebags on the rear to carry riding gear. In fact, some riders set gear on the fuel tank without thinking of the motorcycle’s center of mass.
This uneven weight distribution in the saddlebags shifts the center of gravity, making the motorcycle unstable at higher speeds.
So, while carrying anything extra, ensure to evenly distribute that weight across the front and rear of the motorcycle.
Otherwise, the uneven weight distribution in saddlebags makes the motorcycle unstable during the ride.
3. Misaligned Wheels
The front and rear wheels should be aligned to stabilize the motorcycle at high speed. If any of the wheels are misaligned, it intermittently changes the direction of inertia force and makes the motorcycle unstable, which could lead to major road crashes.
You can visually inspect the front and rear wheel alignment by parking it on the center stand. If you notice any misalignment, take it to a mechanic workshop and get your wheels aligned professionally.
4. Bad Wheel Bearings
The bearings hold the entire weight without restricting its rotational motion. Over time, the rollers of bearings wear and allow axial movement of the wheel.
If your front or rear wheel bearings are bad, your motorcycle will feel unstable and shaky at higher speeds.
So, you must check your wheels before every ride. Just hold the wheels near the suspension fork and try to move axially.
If there is axial movement between wheels, it clearly indicates your bearings are bad and should be replaced immediately.
Also, if your wheels are making noise, you should replace the wheel bearings.
5. Mechanical Failure
Every mechanical part on your motorcycle starts to wear over time. The nuts and bolts must have caught rust if your motorcycle is old and has already done too many miles.
Loose hardware and mechanical failure in the wheels, forks, handlebars, suspension, swingarm, and steering head components can make your motorcycle unstable while riding.
If your motorcycle has done too many miles, it’s time for a full inspection. Bring your bike to a mechanic workshop, and the mechanic will replace any parts that are starting to fall apart or degrade.
6. Road Potholes
American roads are world-class; however, you may spot potholes in some places. Being a two-wheel rider, you must be trained to handle all road conditions.
If there are potholes on the roads, your bike may feel unstable at higher speeds. So, decreasing your speed and bringing it under a controlled limit is safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Inflated tires, rusted or worn-out nuts and blots, uneven weight distribution, and bad riding posture are the major causes of unstable motorcycles on the turning.
If the tire grip on a motorcycle has worn out, it will slide when you press the brake lever. I advise you to check your front and rear tire grip and replace them if they’ve excessive wear.
Low tire pressure, bad wheel bearings, uneven weight distribution, and excessive swingarm movement are the major reasons your motorcycle feels wobbly. To recover from death wobble, release the throttle bar and try to go straight for a few meters.
If your motorcycle feels unstable while riding, follow the above-mentioned inspection. Start with tire pressure, wheel lateral-axle movement, and any hardware failure. If it’s already done too many miles, I advise you to take it to a mechanic workshop for a full inspection.
It’s dangerous to ride an unstable motorcycle. So, don’t fight unnecessarily. It’s a matter of life and death.