Sun, Feb 9, 2014 - 2:25pm

The first car I ever owned, several decades ago .... oh alright ... it was back in 1978 ... had a very funny feature. Well I suppose if I’m completely honest it had several funny features! Should I start with the sticky-slidy overlapping windows? How about the way you could see the road going by through rust holes in the floor (quickly soundproofed and covered up by a fine layer of good strong carpet!) ? My version didn’t have the wooden sides that a similar version of the same car sported, as it was the sister of the panelled countryman edition, the “estate” version! It was an Austin Mini Clubman. I have only one old black and white photo of that car left in my possession, but unfortunately I can't find it to scan as I type this.

It was painted a dark brown shade called peat, like as in the colour of wet peat from a bog. But we called it a certain more vulgar shade of brown. Hey! We were young and having fun! And that first car of mine took us fishing every week for two years until it moved on to a new owner.

It cost #350 to buy, and doing the brakes up between my Dad and myself was free, (for me, he provided the parts and the beginner lessons in motor maintenance gratis, but his customers had to pay more for his services than I did) and educational, and fun. And the insurance hurt at my tender age .... it cost about the same as my brand new (nine year old) car.

I want to share with you a certain thing that old Mini used to do, something I had first experienced to my horror on bikes, but it was somehow a little less terrifying on four wheels than two. Now when this occurs on two wheels it scares the living wits of you, and all bikers know what I’m talking about. At 55mph that Mini of mine would develop a speed wobble.

Now not everyone who reads this will know what a speed wobble is, or have experienced one, so I should clarify the subject before proceeding. They occur with cars, tractor-trailers, a high pitch vibrating-breaking crystal glass is a kind of non moving example too. But in particular, motorcyclists fear them.

* * * *

From Harley Davison forums: (https://www.hdforums.com/forum/7963398-post25.html)

High speed wobble

Speed wobbles can occur whenever something starts a vibration that matches a resonant frequency of the wheels. A resonant frequency is one at which your motorcycle will vibrate very easily; a particular motorcycle may have multiple resonant frequencies. The starting point may be a bump in the road, a rough patch in the road, or some combination of these factors. Other potential contributing factors include the small torques resulting from wheel rotation and the tiny lateral oscillations that spinning wheels make if they're not aligned with absolute perfection.
Your motorcycle will go through various "zones" of oscillatory stability and instability as it accelerates up to its highest speed. you might even compare this to musical notes or octaves of relative vibrational resonance.

Steering dampers are made to help with this problem as the main damper ( you ) cannot always handle the correction of the vibrations.
As this can be a fatal but also unavoidable occurrence, the best advice is to slow down. Even though the problem may go away with more speed, the best way to take the bike out of that particular resonance range is to back off.

The tread of your tires could also be a contributing factor.....
In addition to above, get both wheels statically and dynamically balanced. It reduces wobble, increases road holding .....
too much side play in the swing arm are sources of vibration. Check panier box lids are fitting properly and are locked. Lid 'chatter' in the wind can be one of those resonances mentioned above that sets wobble off.

Wobbling occurs when the front wheel and handlebars suddenly start shaking from side to side. This malfunction can occur at any speed. If your bike starts to wobble, remember the following instructions.

Don't try to accelerate out of a wobble, it will only make the cycle more unstable. Instead, firmly grip the handlebars; don't attempt to fight the wobble.

Gradually close the throttle to slow the motorcycle. Don't use your brakes; braking could make the wobble worse.

Adjust your weight as far forward and as low as possible.

Pull off the road as soon as it's safely possible, and try to correct the problem.

* * * *

It’s fitting in a way that I quoted from that source (Harley Davidson forum), because my grandfather was a motor cycle racer who raced with Jim Davidson 40 years before the time we are talking about here.

So now you know what a speed wobble is, in theory. But do you appreciate what one is like in reality? I seriously doubt it.

Here is the result on a longboard during a fast downhill run:


Just check the first bit of the clip. It’s kind of hard to see.

Let’s take another look, this time with more power, more weight, and a lot more speed involved:


Yes. That’s exactly what it is. And that’s how they usually end . Nothing gentle, one moment you're going at speed, in balance, the next a chaotic feedback loop of vibrational oscillation appears, increases fast, and an instant later either you survived it or you are eating dirt while your equipment, body and limbs get sanded away by the roadway surface as you slow down from the speed and bounce painfully on your ass.

Can they be survived, sometimes .... (click the play in youtube link - the embedded one won't work)


... but it takes incredible skill, with some luck. Those guys in the above video are uncanny.

So when my little car got to 55 it started to shake, by 60 it felt like it was going to fly apart into pieces (yeah I was mad enough to do it repeatedly until I could control it .. on four wheels) , and at 66 the car suddenly went all beautiful and silky smooth again, but somewhere deep inside the feeling lurked that maybe the wheels were no longer touching the road! I never dared to touch the brake pedal until below 55 again!

Recommendations for surviving the feedback loop of a speed wobble, once it has started, differ. Some say add more power and accelerate through it, and then back off very gently down again after stability is found. Others say ease off right away, the power is causing it, try to decelerate out of it. So there is conflict on the right thing to do. You can see a wheelie exit from one wobble in the YT video just above, but backing off is probably safer.

The reality of it is that most victims end up in pain in seconds, and because they “erupt” so suddenly, time to react is infinitismally short.

Your bike don't give you any warnings. That's the scary part. It comes on out of nowhere at high speed, ....... and the bars literally feel like they want to slap the sides of your tank!
I'm not sure I've ever been that scared before, and I twice jumped out of a perfectly good airplane

So at this point I’d like to get back to the economy, the Fed and the price of gold. I won’t take long to connect the dots.

When we have a bull market, number of participants rises, the number of stocks sold is increased, and IPOd, optioned, new issued, margined, and leveraged to death. You might say the power and speed increases dramatically, if you choose to look at it in a certain way.

Up goes the price:

So the power or momentum reaches a certain threshold and if you hit a little bump and things are not perfectly in balance this happens:


or (please put on mental 3D glasses now!) it can look like this:

Now either you're a pro rider AND lucky, with split second reflexes or you aren't and you're in for a painful hard fall.

Which is it?

Now consider this: when the stock market and economy hit the wall in 2000, leverage was at highs. When the next arc of the speed wobble arrived in 2008-2009, the western /Japanese Central Banks leveraged up printing trillions more, and creating ever more debt. They opened the throttle to power through into the clear above. Decelleration never occurred. We are not out of the wobble loop, though tricking about near it's top. So how good are the CB colleague group at hanging onto a bucking bronco global economy after it gets shaking and until it damps (settles down)? Much remains to be seen on that.

Exercise for the day:

Take the gold price since about 2010 and trial fit the speed wobble corkscrew structure onto the weekly price to see if it fits. I think you'll be surprised.

The challenge is to somehow hang on to gold through the potential "splat phase"! shown in red above in terms of the Dow, and ride it out into the following catapult phase (not shown but I'm sure you can picture it!)

Stay cool folks. The next few weeks are going to be exciting!


Argentus Maximus

The author posts daily commentary on the gold and silver markets in the TFMR forum: The Setup For The Big Trade. More information about the author & his work can be found here: RhythmNPrice.

About the Author


Feb 9, 2014 - 2:31pm

Can't be arsed

to say furst!

Feb 9, 2014 - 2:34pm


This is how I think USA will manage its debt until it gets enough control over gold to move on gold standard:

This is where banker and USA and West hopes lie - to shift debt to emerging economies by depressing them via tightening. The capacity of emerging markets for more public debt in absolute numbers is not too big but will suffice for 3 years of tightening in the West, esp USA UK Japan Swiss with oil inflation. EU is something in the middle between emerging and advanced as there are both types of economies in EU; Latvia is emerging and will be loaded with more debt; Germany will unload its debt.

https://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock If I am correct in nominal USD GDP of emerging markets is about 45% of total now,forex reserves 75% of worlds total, but public sector debt <= 25%; If they are thrown into depression or just slow growth their private debts will default so that bailouts will require going into higher public debt; or just to maintain short term political stability; According to these numbers, their public debt is only 25/45 or 0,6 of what it could be to be equal in proportion to developed economies, so there is about ( the total public debt in 2011 was 52 trillion, of which 13 trillion (25%) emerging)) 0,4*0,45*52 = 0,18*52= 10 trillion space to add in emerging countries public debt to put them in as bad debt situation as developed ones are today. Of course emerging economies will have to pay very high rates for the new public debt they will take on as capital flows are reversed towards developed nations via creation of geopolitical internal or external instability in emerging countries ( Bosnia, Ukraine, Turkey, Middle East, North Africa, Thailand and possibly more to come) and simultaneous tightening in the USA, UK, Japan, Swiss; EU is in more difficult situation as tightening will throw it into deflation; so one more component to global debt shift is oil price increase, engineered via Israel attack on Iran and Saudi involvement. I am sure this opportunity to unload some of Western public debt onto less indebted countries will be done now. That may buy few-3 years- for USD to allow tightening. So finally I understand the rationale behind Arab Spring etc. Developing countries must be pushed into instability to require more public debt as there is space; If MENA is instable, oil prices will create instability in all other developing countries. I wonder when the plan for instability in Latvia will be executed. Possibly after our Autumn parliamentary elections where Russian party will get biggest share of votes but will not be included in the government; preparations to increase tensions should start ASAP though.
Feb 9, 2014 - 2:36pm

That was great

The Speed Wobble. A true classic!

So Argentus, you have somehow made me think it is OK to post something I posted in the DOTS forum this morning. It was not quite a speed wobble, it was more like a missile. Here is a paragraph from the post:

My sled took off like a rocket, smashed over a snow bank went across the road, smashed into another snow bank, and was stopped by 3 small trees about 40 ft away from my neighbor’s 550 gallon propane tank. So now, throttle still wide open, I go over toward my sled which is on a 45 degree angle on the opposite side of the plowed snow on the side of the road. I jump into the deep snow and try to reach the kill switch, but with all of the shit flying out from under my sled, I realize that I can’t safely reach it from where I am in the snow, as I am trying to maneuver to the other side of the sled where I am opposite the track and much safer, I hear the engine blow up, and an eerie silence suddenly descended over me. I live in the middle of nowhere, and it is very, very quiet when there isn’t a riderless snowmobile on the loose.


Check it out, and please read the very thoughtful comments that follow.

Feb 9, 2014 - 2:38pm

Orange is tired

Wow, what a wedding. I am told my speech was the best.

The celebratory dance was another thing, everybody could notice me wiping tears from my eyes and smiling as a result.

I thank everybody for their advice and look forward to catching up with Turdville tomorrow.

Feb 9, 2014 - 2:53pm


I had many bikes, for about 12 years until a drunk driver pulled straight in front of me when I was doing about 50mph. I spent the next 3 years in and out of hospital, having 3 operations to fix my knackered left knee.

We used to call those speed wobbles "tank slappers". I had a few in my time, in the early years, but always just about managed to get out of them without coming off.

They are very very scary when they occur (but that's what happens when you're pushing things to the edge, which I often did when I was an insane 17-20 year old).

(edit: happy to report I'm still insane, just not 17-20 any more).

Feb 9, 2014 - 2:58pm

Bollocks:I did my share of


I did my share of getting out and coming off while riding on two wheels. Youth and wide and open roads were the reason I experimented with them on 4 wheels, though my brother wasn't so lucky. He wiped out my Dad's jeep and trailer on a UK motorway jacknife incident years later. The old man wasn't pleased, but was glad he was ok of course.

AG1969: Good post, and a close shave! You might have lost a few body parts. It's the lack of time is the trouble. These things hit suddenly. I'll post one that I had in DOTS.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:00pm


Great article! And timely.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:07pm


How dare you re-hypothecate without a licence. I remember you posted up that story on the SGS blog a few years ago.

Tut tut.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:12pm


That is just not true! It just happened last night and has never happened to me before. I don't know what you are remembering, but there is no way I have ever posted that before.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:25pm


Congrats! Was your speech videotaped? We all want to see it.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:33pm


Oh, ok. That's odd. Must be thinking of something else then.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:35pm

Those instructions on how to get out of a speed wobble

are written by someone who doesn't know himself, I mean he hasn't observed how the memory works and how his consciousness - his being in this moment, right now - is infinitely swifter and it's that that does the job.

"Don't try to accelerate out of a wobble, it will only make the cycle more unstable. Instead, firmly grip the handlebars; don't attempt to fight the wobble.

Gradually close the throttle to slow the motorcycle. Don't use your brakes; braking could make the wobble worse.

Adjust your weight as far forward and as low as possible."

When a speed wobble occurs it is so fast the memory is far too slow to respond. It's the body that naturally does those things - so what he says is absolutely right - but the correction of the wobble is a natural occurrence and not the response of the memory - from reading instructions and applying what you've read.

The body naturally shuts off the throttle and instinctively knows where to position itself (this positioning is the most important thing, having shut off the throttle).

Getting out of a speed wobble is a natural response of body-consciousness. It's like when you trip whilst walking - your body instinctively knows what to do. This response doesn't come from memory and so can't be taught.

So the writer of those instructions, in trying to intruct, doesn't know himself - however he describes what the body automatically does - perfectly.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:41pm

great post

i really liked the idea of the added dynamic in the chart 'wobble'. reminds me of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jHsq36_NTU ...things are not always as they seem.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:43pm

Yeah, it's odd alright...

...some proof would be nice. Oh hey, wasn't it you that used to comment about being a cross dresser and watching PeeWee's Big Adventure from a jello tub? Or was that someone else?

Whitecastle123 Bollocks
Feb 9, 2014 - 3:45pm

The wobble

I had one of those back in the late 70's on my brand new shiny 750 Suzuki. Just had to crank it to see what it would do. I was doing between 110-115 and laying down on the bike, shins resting on the rear turn signals when it happened. I think I crapped my pants. Scary stuff.

Brings back a lot of memories of why should I still be alive.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:52pm
Feb 9, 2014 - 3:56pm


The GT750 "kettle" by any chance? That was a short time before I got into bikes but it was a great looking one eh? Fat meaty water-cooled triple that sounded like a tin of nails.

Feb 9, 2014 - 3:57pm


wasn't it you that used to comment about being a cross dresser and watching PeeWee's Big Adventure from a jello tub? Or was that someone else?

no, that was me.

Don't forget the rabid-dog aftershave.

Feb 9, 2014 - 4:02pm

tyberious just asked where the gold is - HAHAHA

Wrong forum tyberious. Sort yourself out.

Whitecastle123 Bollocks
Feb 9, 2014 - 4:05pm


They called that 2-stroke the water buffalo. I think mine was a 1978 model and they had gone to a 4 cylinder 4-stroke.

Those 2-strokes were very fast, but sounded like crap.

Feb 9, 2014 - 4:12pm


Ok. That was the GS750 then...

The GT750 was nicknamed the kettle in the UK. Aye, water buffalo in the US.

Feb 9, 2014 - 4:16pm

750 Suzy Uki Triple

Bollocks, on this side I think I recall, we called those Suzy Uki , "750 Water Buffalo"

edit; opps you are fast!

Whitecastle123 abguy4
Feb 9, 2014 - 4:26pm

That's it Bollocks

Looks like a re-do but mine was black with blue pinstriping and wheels were a little different.

Back then in my early 20's I room mated with a bike nut. This guy was the spitting image of Father Guido Sarducci from Saturday Night Live.

I could ride anything he had and he owned a nice Triumph Trident 750, a Triumph 500 Trophy (enduro style), 750 Moto Guzzi (cafe style), and I think there was a 500 Montessa. But that Guzzi was the bomb for handling.

Mr. Fix
Feb 9, 2014 - 4:45pm

“The splat phase”

I got a good laugh out of that “technical terminology”. Nice article, although mostly I could relate to the wobbly cars and bikes, and coming to the realization as a youth, that I'd be much safer with four wheels under me, (long story, not going there), it did bring up a treasure trove of memories.

Of course, if I'm looking for a picture of my first car, I'll go out to my driveway and take one.

I still expect sideways markets until they implode, nothing has shaken my belief in that for the past couple years.

But I did love the article.

Feb 9, 2014 - 4:49pm


Nice. I always wanted a Moto Guzzi but couldn't afford one in my biking days - they cost shit-loads then (maybe still now?).

One of the most wanted bikes in those days for me was a Laverda Jota. I got to ride one, just once (I never owned one - they were way more expensive even than a Moto Guzzi).

A truly wild beast. Not particularly pretty, but utterly raw, untamed power. An epitome of what the thrill of biking is all about, for those who love bikes .

boomer sooner
Feb 9, 2014 - 5:17pm

A financial scenario that I

A financial scenario that I can relate to.

In college, borrowed a buds Honda CB900 to do a short trip to the fraternity house. Gunned that baby, front wheel came down, bars played army drill and a car pulled out of a lot at the same time. Road rash especial, all i had on was shorts, tank top and loafers. Roommate said I looked like a pizza with the cheese and toppings pulled off, chin to toes.

Current Jeep I own had same problem. We spent hours and $ changing parts, finally found a control arm was cracked. It would scare the crap out of you. Smooth till a slight change in pavement or pothole, 52 mph was the number. Jump the gas and smooth back out at 56-7. If you slowed, would get crazy down to 40 mph. Had to smooth out before slowing, even with manual trans.

Now if I can figure out where in the loop to take a bite, may save myself some pain.

Urban Roman
Feb 9, 2014 - 5:19pm

Those wobbles

It looks like the pilots of those motorcycles were participating. Little wobble, followed by great effort, followed by overcorrection.

Same thing can happen when you're pulling a trailer, and the trailer doesn't have (or has insufficient) brakes. Noobs will step on the brakes when that happens, and the trailer will just push their car off into the ditch. Do not ask how I know this.

But, yeah, those wobbles in the "market" are pretty impressive too! Good analogy.

Feb 9, 2014 - 5:24pm


Hey Turd...

Time you re-named this place to Turd Ferguson Motorcycle Report methinks.

Just saying.

Silver Danny
Feb 9, 2014 - 5:28pm

I Tried!

"Exercise for the day:

Take the gold price since about 2010 and trial fit the speed wobble corkscrew structure onto the weekly price to see if it fits. I think you'll be surprised.

The challenge is to somehow hang on to gold through the potential "splat phase! shown in red above in terms of the Dow, and ride it out into the following catapult phase (not shown but I'm sure you can picture it!)

Stay cool folks. The next few weeks are going to be exciting!"

Whitecastle123 Silver Danny
Feb 9, 2014 - 5:33pm


The last bike I owned and regrettably sold two years ago was an 04' Honda Rune. Look that one up, it was a beast.


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