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Front wheel/fork alignment?

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by grue, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Just got slightly clipped by a car (didn't even go down), the front wheel of the bike is now ever so slightly out of alignment, to the point where I had to look really closely to even see it and only found it because when the bike was going straight, the bars are perhaps 2-3 degrees to the right. When I centre the bars when it's parked and look at the front, sure enough the front wheel is ever so slightly to the left.

    Does this sort of thing mean replacement parts and shitloads of time/money, or is it just a matter of having an alignment done?

    Secondarily, is there any reason the bike wouldn't be safe to use in the meantime?
  2. Get a mate to stand with the front wheel between his knees, loosen off the top triple clamp bolts slightly and nudge the bars till they are straight ahead again. You're unlikely to have done serious damage with just a light touch on a car.....
  3. That's what I figured. I was pulling out from a petrol station and she pulled out of the stopped lane and decided to go into the turning lane that I was just about to cross, and my front wheel hit her… I don't know what you'd call the part, but the part below the doors? Anyway, just brushed against it hard enough to jerk the handlebars a bit, caught the bike before it fell, pulled across and we had a look. Looked like just a scruff on her car (maybe a small dent), and I could tell something didn't look "quite" right with the front wheel, but I thought it was just the front fender at first, until I got a couple blocks away.

    SOOOOOOO, anyone mechanically minded in Melbourne wanna take a look with me? :)
  4. Ok, here's how much of a nerd I am: I digitally "connected" two of the fairing bolts to get a straight line, and then compared to a perfectly level line to get the bike "straight" in photoshop. Then I laid down a vertical line to check the alignment of the wheel against the front end. Here we have it:


    Clearly it's slightly out, and interesting the plastic fender looks somewhat twisted. Odd…
  5. The twisted mudguard is normal if the forks are out of line. As Hornet said, its easy to fix yourself. You don't even need the mate, you can just loosen the clamps and put the side of the tyre against a tree or wall and push on the bars till they're straight.
    DONT FORGET to tighten the clamps again before you test ride it!
    Its okay to ride it like that, but it will increase fork wear as they'll be binding a bit. There's no need to anyway, its a 10 minute fix if you include the time to make a coffee afterwards!
  6. There is a far more accurate way than that. Loosen the fork crown bolts, in a top to bottom sequence, bouncing the bike from time to time, then loosen the axle, before the final bounce. if you do it properly, the forks will run straight in the crowns.