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I should start by saying I love my 2012 Bonneville (base model, mag wheels) and it's been the perfect commuter and back road bomber, always reliable and typically a blast to ride. My problem is the highway manners though; I feel like I'm fighting the bike at anything above 60mph. It feels twitchy and like it just wants to jump around the lane. I've checked all the bearings in the front end, torqued to spec, done everything I can think of. Is this just the expected behavior of the smaller 17" wheels?

I don't remember by old Dayton 500 being this way, but that was a whole different ride.

Am I just being a wimp?
 

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I have a 2015 Bonnie mag wheel and even when I flirted with "doing the ton" (100mph) with a large, loaded Givi V47 top box and two full saddlebags it was never twitchy as you describe. All that weight up high and in the rear ought to have made for a light and twitchy front end, but she was dead stable. That said, I have found the bike to be the twitchiest I've ever owned in higher winds and I won't even take her out of the garage when winds are 15-20 and above - I'll ride my other fully-faired bike then (strangely it is far less affected by winds despite the large expanse of plastic that can be blown by the wind). If you are experiencing this twitchiness on windless days, though, I'm gonna suggest your situation is abnormal. I'd offer the following possibilities: has the bike ever been down, which may have tweaked the frame? Was the bike bought used, and if so is there a chance the bike has a tweaked frame from a get-off by the previous owner? The wheel bearings were checked? You didn't mention tires - are they the original tires that came on it new and are now 7-8 years old and maybe having issues? What tires are they?? You have a matched set of tires front & rear?

Beyond that I can't be of much help, but I hope you resolve the issue to your satisfaction. Good luck!
 

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I have a 2014 mag wheel bonne and with the exception to the original tires I have never experienced anything like what you described. And even with the original tires the only thing that really gave me any difficulties were the tar snakes and anytime driving over roads that were ground off before they apply new asphalt(they'd have groves in the road that my tires tried to follow. As someone before me said, I've pushed mine to the Ton and never experienced any irregularities.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'd offer the following possibilities: has the bike ever been down, which may have tweaked the frame? Was the bike bought used, and if so is there a chance the bike has a tweaked frame from a get-off by the previous owner? The wheel bearings were checked? You didn't mention tires - are they the original tires that came on it new and are now 7-8 years old and maybe having issues? What tires are they?? You have a matched set of tires front & rear?
The tires are a matched pair of Avon Roadriders, about three years old. I bought the bike used, but it's in good shape and has not been down, and though I can't say for certain that the frame is straight and true I'd bet that it is. Wheel bearings and steering head bearings are in great shape.

Similar to your experience, the bike is truly terrible on the highway on really windy days, but that I can live with. My old KLR sucked on those days too. But I just wish it was good on the calm days too!
 

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I've got a pair of Avon RoadRiders on my '12 T100. It handles fine, but if I'm on grooved highway, it dances around at anything over 60mph. I've had some tires that do this, but not to the degree of these Avons. I just ride through it. Are you on grooved pavement?
 

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I have an 09 mag wheel SE. it handles and rides flawlessly at high speeds.
My only complaint is I do get pushed around a bit when encountering an 18 wheeler.
I realize it’s because of how light it is, and I am comparing it to my much heavier bikes.
The only time I have experienced what you are describing is on my spoked wheel bikes, when I in my own stupidity didn’t bother to check my air pressure.
I actually hate to admit that I have done this.
Bikes can get pretty darn squirrelly with low tire pressure.
 

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In reference to the grooved pavement issue. I have also had this experience many times and it can be pretty bad.
I have only experienced it with tires that are brand new, once the tires get a few hundred miles on them.. it gets much better.
It also seemed to be tire specific, much worse with a certain Dunlop tire.
 

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You're right, TB, it was worse when my Avons were new, now they've got about 4,000 miles on them, it's still enough to make you pay attention, still feels like someone else is driving at high speeds.
 

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The tires are a matched pair of Avon Roadriders, about three years old. I bought the bike used, but it's in good shape and has not been down, and though I can't say for certain that the frame is straight and true I'd bet that it is. Wheel bearings and steering head bearings are in great shape.

Similar to your experience, the bike is truly terrible on the highway on really windy days, but that I can live with. My old KLR sucked on those days too. But I just wish it was good on the calm days too!
There have been a lot of posts about problems with Avon Roadriders and shaking the front end. I don't know which forum to send you to, but search for problems with Avon tires. You'll see some people have shaking problems and some don't.
But if like you say your tires are 3 years old, I'd be sending them to tire heaven and replacing them with something else.
Personally I use Michelin Pilot Activ's in stock sizes, but then I have a T100 with spokes.
 

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+1 on Michelin Pilot Activ's. I have a T100 and it used to track rain grooves like crazy on the Metzlers, but it is completely stable on the Michelins at highway speeds, on rain grooves, tar snakes, whatever. I've had them for 2 years and over 5k miles and they are great. Can't comment on the Avons, but if you think the problem could be your tires, I highly recommend Michelin Pilot Activ's.
 

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I've got a 2013 Bonneville. It was delivered last Thursday evening (great timing, as I literally just passed my Mod 2 in the morning).

I took her out for her first ride Saturday, 130 mile round trip from London to my hometown to visit my family. While on the A10 and A1 I was usually cruising around 60mph and she felt fine. A couple of times I had her up to 70mph and would have gone faster, but too much gusty wind while wearing an open face helmet meant it wasn't doable. However, in terms of handling she was absolutely fine; no issues at all.

She has Metzler tyres on (not sure exactly which ones) so that could be the difference in handling.
 

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I've got a 2013 Bonneville. It was delivered last Thursday evening (great timing, as I literally just passed my Mod 2 in the morning).

I took her out for her first ride Saturday, 130 mile round trip from London to my hometown to visit my family. While on the A10 and A1 I was usually cruising around 60mph and she felt fine. A couple of times I had her up to 70mph and would have gone faster, but too much gusty wind while wearing an open face helmet meant it wasn't doable. However, in terms of handling she was absolutely fine; no issues at all.

She has Metzler tyres on (not sure exactly which ones) so that could be the difference in handling.
I mentioned my T100 and tires. Forgot to mention, my wife has a 2014 mag wheel Bonneville with original Metzlers, and its been fine. No tracking on rain groves, and I've had it up above 85 without issues. Different Metzlers than what the T100 had, completely different tread pattern on the front tire.
 

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Man, I had the full monty this morning on this subject - Avon tires, grooved freeway, and a 40mph Santa Ana cross wind. That commute sure woke me up!
 

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My Thruxton was a nervous Nellie when I first acquired it. Highway driving in gusty conditions was stressful. The biggest improvement was changing to Avon 3D XM tires, these alone cured almost all my issues. Since then I have replaced shocks (rides much better), fork springs & oil (rides much better), installed steering damper (no easily discernable change), tapered steering head bearings (no change at all). I have gone through all the wheel alignment and tire pressure scenarios but at 110-130 kmh on a windy day my bike will still sometimes wobble. I think the only way to fix it is get a different bike.
 

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If you run the Avon Roadrider AM26's in both front and rear, you will get what you described. The Avon Roadrider AM26's are bias ply tires. For years I just rode with that problem. Eventually, I stumbled upon the solution. I've found the solution to this is to run radials at least in the rear. My 2007 Bonnie (spoked wheels with 19 inch front wheels) had this problem as you described for years. It wasn't until I started running my Ninja 250 racebike's rear tire take-offs on my Bonneville that the problem went away. (Especially since it is hard to find a radial tire in 100/90/19 or similar size).

Since you have the mag wheel, I assume you have 17 inch wheels both front and rear. I suggest just running radials such as Pirelli Diablo Rosso II in 110/70/17 front and 140/70/17 rear
 
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