You Have The Mother Of All Tank Slappers

We're not talking about a gentle headshake here, we're talking a full-on, oh-my-fucking-god, lock-to-lock tankslapper with vicious intent and lightning action. Although a science in themselves, tankslappers tend to happen as you get on the power over a bumpy surface. The physics dictate that this is where they're most likely, but they can occur elsewhere, of course. Steering-dampers should soak up the resonance, but if you haven't got one, or it's set too low. then you might still have to deal with a terrible 'slapper.

There's no forgetting your first tankslapper. But, seeing as you're alive reading this, you must have survived it. Do you know how? I bet you don't. So here are some tips for surviving your next one. Described simply, a tankslapper is rapid oscillations of your front wheel, caused by a bump in the road that suddenly generates lots of energy. You may get a 'slapper from landing a wheelie crossed-up, or by gassing hard over some painted chevrons, cats-eyes, or just down a bumpy back lane.

The sheer violence of a tankslapper makes it difficult to know what to do. Initially, the things you should not do are more important. You shouldn't try and control the slapper with your hands - your reactions are too slow and may amplify the furious flapping. Tensing up only makes a tankslapper worse, as there's no way your arms can soak up the forces quick enough, and you may end up making the oscillations worse. Braking isn't a good idea either, as the last thing the front-end needs is more weight on it. Off-road experience helps, because gassing a bike through the slapper, thereby transferring weight to the rear of the bike, to the point at which the front wheel is lifted off the ground, is the tried-and-tested method of escaping. After it's all finished, make sure to pump your brakes because there's a strong chance that your pads will have been knocked out of their calipers. And we don't want another unfortunate act of unexpectedness to befall us, do we?

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