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Front wheel/handlebar shimmy P-38 Voyager

I am experiencing what seems to be a lot of frame flex with quick inputs in steering. Also, at speed, if I momentarily take my hands off the handlebars, there is immediate shimmying in the front wheel/handlebar which transmits throughout the whole frame. (I don't take my hands off the bars for long at all as the shimmy is quite scary.) The S&S fittings are tight. Is this a headset issue?

Hi Terrycat -

Sometimes a loose headset can cause problems of the sort you describe. Try sitting on the bike and pulling the brake levers tight while not moving. Now try rocking the bike forward and backwards. If the bike does not rock, your headset is probably OK. If you can detect significant rocking forward / backward motion with the wheels locked, you likely have a headset problem. That is the first thing I would explore. If you do not have much experience working on bikes yourself, find a recumbent-friendly mechanic to go over this stuff for you. Some bike mechanics hate anything unfamiliar. Others like the prospect of working on something they have not done a thousand times before. The P-38 frame is definitely NOT flexy. Though I do not have any experience at all with S&S couplers. Could something be wrong with the couplers? Beats me. You will need to find a person who has previous experience with them. I do not take my hands off any of my recumbent bikes at speed. Especially not a P-38, which has very quick handling qualities. A small nudge on the handlebar has a big influence on the bike's direction. If you like this, you call it "nimble". If you are used to riding a Tour Easy or another long bike that handles like a Greyhound bus, you will call it "nervous". Me, I like it.

It is tricky to diagnose bike mechanical problems over the internet. Sounds like a trip to a trusted bike mechanic would be best. If you get this sorted out - and you definitely should - write back and tell us what was going on.

Safe riding,
These three prevent most accidents: seeing, being seen, & (usually) common sense.

I've had similar problems with tire-liners and bursted tire belts (bubbled tires) also carefully check the welds around the head-tube & tightness of QRs in wheels but my money is on loose headset. Where you?


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