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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I'm new to the boards and just looking for some insight. I've been riding an 01 F4i for the past 6 years now and I've got about 50,000km under my belt (country and city) in terms of riding experience. I've always liked the 954 I think it's time to pick one up.

I keep reading about headshakes & tankslappers on the 954 and it's really got me hesitant on picking one of these bad boys up. I've only ever had one real bad headshake on my F4i and that was from hitting a small pothole on the highway. Fortunately I've never had one since. I like to think I ride my bike pretty smart and semi-aggressive at times. I basically like to hammer some twisties and clutch some wheelies in the country.

For some reason I can't get the whole headshake/tankslapper 954 thing out of my head. If I've only ever experienced one on my F4i, are the chances much higher of experiencing them on a 954? Does a steering damper resolve this or only reduce the chances? If chances are only reduced, what % of reduction would you say for street riding? I know these may all sound like dumb questions but I'm just trying to understand and put myself at ease before buying a 954.

Thanks for your time and assistance.
 

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You get some headshake on the 929 but only if your pushing it a bit . For normal/ lively riding they are fine so dont be put off. As you said , a damper will sort it out for you . Both 929 and 954 are very easy and forgiving to ride to start with , but if you like popping wheelies then headshakes aren't the only thing to worry about.
 

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I have only ever experienced a head shake / speed wobble when I have been Wide Open Throttle and I can honestly say thats only been a handful of times since I've owned her. I don't always get it mind you, but I believe investing in a steering damper would help reduce the chance of one quite a bit.

Bladeracer should be able to shed light on this topic.

Ride Safe
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick response guys.

Floakey - The F4i is also very easy and forgiving to ride so I guess I'm hoping for the same out of a 954. I'm very comfortable with wheelies on my F4i and I've been fortunate to never experience any headshakes or tankslappers coming down so I guess I'm not too sure what you mean by headshakes aren't the only thing to worry about. I think I'm just worried about purchasing what is refferred to as a 'tankslappin' machine.

Twincam - If I do decide to pick up a 954 I will definitely pick up a steering damper just from what I've searched and read on the forum. Again I just want to make sure I am purchasing a machine that isn't knowin' for headshakes/tankslappers even with a damper. Follow me?
 

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I've only had a wobble on my 929 braking late and hard into a corner but otherwise nothing really.I suppose you can look at it as to the lmit of the bike and maybe the rider on it. I'm happy how far I can go and still stay on it.
 

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I've put about 5k miles on mine and (knock on wood) have yet to experience a tank slap. And, I don't have a steering damper on mine. I have wheelied it before and pushed it to the limits as far as accelerating and going right to the red line, and luckily no tank slap.

It can def. happen on any bike though. But, to say the 954 is more prone to it than other liter bikes manufactured during the 02-03 time period, I would disagree.
 

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No no, I havent had many encounters with that.

I don't own a steering damper either as TBH, I don't think I need it. Maybe if I did some more track days yes, but for the nice weekend blasts I havent found a need for one.

How about testing one out?
 

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go for it! i own a 929 and for the first 2 months with no damper and it wasnt too bad. i only got a little wobble over some crappy roads. however, with the damper it just feels better. i cant really comment too much about steering dampers as my previous bikes were all tanks compared to my blade and never needed one...
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
thanks a million guys. that's exactly the type of response i was looking for.

the prospect 954 i am going to take a look at this weekend is already fitted with a hyperpro damper and some new michelin pilots. i've always ridden diablos but i'm sure they'll do just fine.

i know of the basics to check over when purchasing a used bike but just wondering if there's anything to keep an eye out for when specifically looking at the 954. does the 954 also have the same issue with the f4i where the cam chain tensioner should be replaced with a manual one?

any other suggestion or things to look out for would be greatly appreciated.

thanks again!
 

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Make sure 2nd gear isn't rooted, many are hard to shift into due to serious abuse. (2nd gear is clearly the best gear).
 

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I had a 2001 929 and racked the miles on with no damper...never saw the need for it, but that's just me. We'll see how my 2003 954 is...I just bought it.
 

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I've had an 03 954 for 4 months and never had anything approaching a tank slapper or even a mild shake. Love this bike. The one your looking at has a damper on it so problem solved. Buy it!
 

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i know of the basics to check over when purchasing a used bike but just wondering if there's anything to keep an eye out for when specifically looking at the 954. does the 954 also have the same issue with the f4i where the cam chain tensioner should be replaced with a manual one?
The cam / cam chain is definitely loud on the 954, and I have researched this topic on here myself. Apparently, the cam chain tensioner has a slight tendency to go, and it isn't a bad idea to get a manual cam chain adjuster. However, the guys on here told me the stock tensioner shouldn't have any issues until you hit excess of like 30-35k miles. So, I guess its a coin toss on whether or not to get a manual one.

My bike has 14k miles now and the cam sounds, rides, feels .... the exact way it felt when I bought it.
 

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My bike has about 20k on it, so far all its needed was its 16thou mile major service (valves adjusted) and other reg services here and there but thats it.

The engine cases are very thin therefore may sound loud when comparing it to other bikes.

Just basically check everything is straight, (not sure if you guys had it over there but over here in the UK there was a recall for the front forks - if you do, make sure it was corrected), check the gearbox when riding e.g. does it shift nice and smoothly and make sure it doesn't jump out of gear when riding (would equal a worn box) and look for damage...

Does the owner look the sort of person who would red line it 24/7 or enjoys nice country lanes? You can tell a lot from the way the owner treats the bike when you go to see it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
thanks a lot for all of your help. much appreciated!

hopefully i'll have some pics of the 954 in a couple of weeks if all goes well :p
 

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Hey Veeko, I've found that I can avoid crazy headshake on my 02 954 by posturing up an putting my shoulders over the clipons when I get on it. I've changed out the rear sproket to a Rebel Gears 45 tooth. Which brings up my next observation... don't dump the clutch over 4k in 1st or 2nd or you'll be looking at the sky. Don't let the power of the 954 scare you off! This is a great bike, just respect it and stay safe.
 

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i sometimes wheelie in first just because I can power it up when I am only going 40 or 50 mph. i cant hold them too long and they come down a lot harder, but i still find them fun.
 
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