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Poor slow ride in traffic.

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by VCM, May 17, 2008.

  1. I've noticed recently that when in bumper to bumper traffic, ( single lane when spiltting is not either possible or desirable ), riding at walking pace is extremely difficult. The bike just doesn't want to keep upright, and I begin 'wobbling' in my lane trying to keep a constant line ( embarrassing ) :oops:
    Had someone take a look at it, he suspected my head-stem bearings were shot. ( i had checked em a while ago and they seemed ok to me .. no notchiness ). He also said the same, however after he rode it he said " yep .. you're right, it feels like it wants to fall" :?
    He stated that perhaps under load, the steering head bearings may not be as 'good' as first indicated. I have also dropped my front forks around 5-6mm, which he stated would alter the 'rake' and perhaps add to the problem.
    I'm doing my fork seals next week, ( right one's leaking ), and figured seeing as I gotta remove the forks, I may as well do my steering head bearings as well.
    Can anyone either confirm, or add an opinion here ?? Can a steering head bearing act differently when under load? Will 5mm make THAT much difference to the rake?

    Thanks in Advance :)
  2. Simple experiment to try.

    Put the forks back where they are supposed to be and try it.

    Dropping the forks that much makes a huge difference to my old FZR's
    low speed handling.
  3. As for u-turns. Feather the clutch slightly and apply limited rear brake. It does get tiring after a while.
    Filtering is the best option. When not possible, let the traffic get a decent distance ahead of you before moving forward. Might piss off some behind you but at least you won't get carpal tunnel effects!
  4. Hawklord: Just done it now .. will test it on the way home.
    ( assuming I can find a line of slow-moving traffic )

    PP: Yep, that's how I'm doing the "U"s.
    I filter 80% of the time, however it's those times I can't or don't want to that I am stuck moving at a snail's pace :mad:
    Was caught in a single lane of slow moving traffic, in the rain, last night. Trying to keep her moving straight and slow was a "Pain"
  5. Are you drinking before riding?

    If not, another possibility is that the steering head races have been done up too tightly.

    With the front wheel in the air (not while you are doing a mono, on a stand!) will the wheel fall readily to either side?

    You might have to nudge it ever so slightly off centre, otherwise the stiffness of any wiring or cables can make it a little hard to start by itself.

    The head races need to be tightened enough so that there is no fore-aft movement of the forks as you grip them on the lowers and try to move them from front to back. There might be a little flex in the legs themselves if you apply a lot of pressure - what you don't want is movement, through looseness, at the upper or lower races themselves.

    Stiff races are just as bad as notchy ones. Sometimes it is easier to feel the notches if you tip the bike over on the sidestand until the front wheel is in the air - but for this you will need assistance.


    Trevor G

    PS Also check your front tyre pressure when cold. A flat tyre (or one with less pressure than recommended), can also make low speed steering difficult. The rated pressure is for when the tyres are cold - even riding justr a few hundred metres will warm them up.

    If you can only check them warm, add at least 2 psi to the recommended pressure.

    I'm gonna vote for a flat front tyre...
  6. Just tested it with the forks raised back up to where they were 'standard'
    It feels 75% better than yesterday !!! amazing what effect raising the front 5-6mm can do... or should I say how bad lowering the front can be.
    Thanks hawklord !!

    :LOL: :LOL: no mate .. had to laugh tho

    Checked per your instructions
    .... all is good there :LOL: @mono

    Fine there too ...

    :shock: Specs are 36PSI I've recently set mine to 32PSI figuring it would grip better in the winter months. You may have :nail:

    Will set em back to man. specs and try it out.

    Thanks Trev !
  7. Also look at front and rear wheel bearings and swingarm pivot for solutions. And on stressed member engines, look closely at engine mounting bolts.

    Regards, Andrew.
  9. When you start moving away from the factory settings your bike can feel like its doing some strange stuff.
  10. mmm just throwing this one out there, I was messing around with tyre size and psi awhile back and found that if you drop 2-4psi from your tyre the low speed control improves because the steering is heavier and the bike becomes harder to lean over.
    just 2c worth considering