Causes of motorcycle tire wobble

Updated February 21, 2017

When a wheel goes bad on a motorcycle, the rider could be in serious danger. A wheel that wobbles repeatedly without moving the handlebars could indicate a major problem. Besides being dangerous, the wobbling could indicate a problem with the wheel, suspension or steering, all of which could lead to damage to the motorcycle or personal injury. Several things can cause a wheel to wobble.

Wheel Damage

Under-inflation or over-inflation causes the tire to slowly become damaged. The stress on the sidewalls causes internal tire cords to begin to fray and fracture. A broken cord or belt in a tire is visible through a bump on the tire, which would cause the tire to wobble.


A tire must be properly balanced in order to operate safely on a motorcycle. Imbalance in a tire causes the tire to bounce either up and down or side to side, or both. The bouncing, while driving, is visible as a wobble in the tire, which can also be felt in the handlebars.


Most front tires on a motorcycle do not need alignment as they have limited front to rear motion on the front forks. Rear tires, however, can be misaligned. Take great care when manipulating a rear tyre's location in relation to the frame since misalignment will cause the tire to wobble during operation.

Rim and Brake Rotors

Metal warps over time. The tyre's rim and brake rotors are made of metal, which can warp in time, especially in extreme heat and cold. This warping causes waves in the metal, which translates into wobbling. The wobbling could also be caused by damaged rims or brake rotors. A dented rim or rotor will cause the tire to jump when that damaged section of the rim is closest to the road or the damaged part of the rotor hits the brake shoes and caliper.

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