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Feels funny when turning.

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by Bluespawn, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. Hi all, now, I'm not quite sure how to describe what I'm going to describe so I'll see how I go. I have been riding to work for a month or so now. I noticed at the start of last week that all of a sudden, the steering felt a whole lot looser? i.e when I'm going below 60, it almost feels like I could very easily oversteer the bike and loose it. Now, this doesn't seem to be a bad thing, as I am finding my turning to feel much easier, but it does concern me that it did seem to change all of a sudden.

    In my 4 weeks I've done easily over 1000kms commuting to work so I'm getting quite a bit of experience.

    I was thinking is this what a flat tire feels like? but no, I checked and they are nicely sitting at 41psi as the tire instructs. Is this because the tires are 'scrubbed in' (They looked pretty new when I got the bike), something wrong with susspension or front axle bolts? Nope, it all feels quite tight when I try to move anything and the steering shaft has no slack in it at all.

    So it comes down to this, is there something wrong with the bike I could be missing, or is it possible that my riding just got better overnight and I'm just able to move the bike more easily than before?

    Any suggestions or advice would be great, I just want to make sure there's nothing wrong.

  2. The steering should be quite loose. ie. When you lift the front wheel off the ground (if you have a centrestand or a penchant for wheelies) you should be able to move it back from lock to lock with the lightest pressure from one finger. It should not be notchy or difficult to move.

    I'm not sure what has caused the sudden difference in your bike. But it's probably worth checking the torque on your steering head bolt, as if that's too tight or too loose, it can affect your steering.

    Having flat tyres feels kind of like your bike won't countersteer at low speeds. The front wheel starts tracking to the right in a right turn.

    Squared-off tyres respond much more harshly to ruts and ridges in the road. A new tyre will track over these without incident, but a squared one will respond to angles in the road by wanting to turn with them and you'll feel the bike moving beneath you as it does.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Thanks for the reply, the tips about the tires is helpful. I'll have a look at the head bolt as soon as I can. Thanks.
  4. did you increase the tire pressure to 41psi when this started to happen? I dont know if this could be the cause but just because the tire says 41psi it may be too much for you and your bike. I use 36 in the front and 34 in the rear on my 250 as told by my mechanic. (Note: i could be wrong and mislead)
  5. Hmm...

    I doubt that the bike has become easier to turn, perhaps you've just had more experience at higher speeds recently?

    Because of gyroscopic forces (ever spun a pushbike wheel in your hands?), the steering will always be lighter at a lower given speed. Perhaps you are just referring to the extra effort it takes to steer when over 100km/h or so? At 200km/h, it requires muscle to turn in.

    You can oversteer a bike at 60km/h and crash, just as you can a pushbike, and also a car. Answer: Don't turn the bars so much!

    It would take a conscious effort to oversteer it so much that the bike would crash. Bikes are most happiest tracking straight and upright, this is what it will want to do naturally.

    Keep clocking up those km's!
  6. Correct, the tyre pressures written on your swingarm are usually too high for Aussie riding conditions. Instead of 36 front, 42 rear, I use about 32 front, 38 rear. You can put in a bit more with luggage and/or pillions.

    I think this is because the tyre pressures are recommended for european conditions, which are often colder.
  7. The tire preasure is what I had read off not the swing arm but the tire itself. Is this not right either?
    I have had plenty of experience at 110 riding on the freeway every day, feeling much better about that, plus my neck muscles are handling the wind much better. I guess I've just got better at riding. Hopefully that's all this is and it's all good. Or perhaps also as mentioned by Cammo, by using my muscles at higher speed, it now feels much easier to turn at lower speeds. :)
  8. It kinda sounds like maybe there was a bit too much tension on the steering head bolt which has now eased off a bit, but I don't like the sound of it happening suddenly, either.
    Sit on the bike, apply the front brake hard, and rock the bike backwards and forwards. If you can feel any play or movement from the front end (other than normal suspension movement), you need to get the bearing seen to straight away!.
    But then again, it could just as easily be tyre pressures...
  9. Sounds like a Steering Head change to me.

    Was the steering head bearing repacked with grease recently? It could be the the grease has just softened up with use and the recent heat wave. If you bought the bike reconditioned that could be the issue. Maybe you used to ride to work on cold early mornings, and now they are woarm early mornings, so the grease is softer. :)

    Definitely check for free play in any case, especially if the head was reconditioned.
  10. Thanks for all your advice guys, I'll have a check for any play when I leave work today. I admit that i hadn't noticed any, but you never know. I'm not aware that the bike was reconditioned so I doubt any work was done but it may have been done before it was sold. So I'll check it all out and see how I go.