Sidewind Instability

by Clark Fairchild
(Sioux Falls SD USA)

A word of caution to Harley-Davidson riders. My 2000 Ultra Classic does not like the Michelin Commander 2 tires at interstate speed in moderate to strong crosswind and/or in and around the 'wash' from semi trucks.

The first time out with these tires I attempted to pass a semi on the interstate at 80 mph. As I neared the left rear corner of the truck and was in the 'wash', my bike started to wobble. I backed out of the pass, checked my tires in motion, then tried twice more to pass that semi but years of riding experience told me something was wrong.

Took the bike to my local H-D dealer and they went over it with a fine toothed comb....nothing wrong with the bike. It acts like the Michelin sidewalls have too much flex and when a thousand pound motorcycle is being buffeted by the sidewinds a wobble is the result. I feel 100% safe on Dunlop 402s and maybe 70% safe on the Michelins.

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