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Too tight?

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by ._., May 18, 2011.

  1. I adjusted my head stem bearing yesterday after noticing some head shake at high speed and the front end click under braking. After the tightening the bars seemed to turn from side to side reasonably easliy but this morning it felt noticibly harder. Not super stiff, but not quite as free as it used to be. It feels like there is a steering damper installed (I don't have one). The bike doesn't feel drunk at low speed and goes straight with only the odd bit of side to side movement, but I'm wondering if this means it is too tight.

    Did some research and some people think this steering damper feeling is right, and others think it should be a little bit looser.

    Also, how long is too long to ride a bike with a head stem bearing that is too tight (if it is too tight)?

    I ask because I ordered a steering nut wrench to make the job easier to do as using a locking wrench thingy was a huge pain in the balls and it wont arrive for another week at least.

    The bike is an 01 R1.
  2. get the front wheel off the ground.

    grab the forks at the bottom and pull them towards you when you are standing at the front of the bike. is there any play? if there is, they are too loose.

    now while the front wheel is in the air, give the bars a little touch in either direction to get the bars to turn. do they easily go to full lock? or do they not make it? it should not feel like the bike has a steering dampner. its should feel free but not loose.

    if the bars do not make it from straight ahead to full lock with a slight tap then they are too tight.

    i am unsure with an 01 R1 but did you tighten the right nut (the adjustor nut under the top triple clamp (i'm guessing it has one there, not just the nut on the top).

    riding a bike with tight steering head bearings (or seized ones) is a recipe for disaster.
  3. Yeah, I took the top nut off and adjusted from the bottom one.
    It seems it is too tight then.

    I will loosen it a bit when I get home from work tonight.
  4. From memory.. so don't bloody quote me the steering head adjuster nut should be about 25n-m. So about as tight as you would have your oil filter. Or a wee bit less. Not too tight.
    Over tighten and there goes your bearings.
  5. The nut was actually really hard to turn, which I just put down to the bike being 10 years old and having years of dirt and crap in it making it tough to turn, so I have no idea how tight it is. Even with the right tools it would be hard to tell as getting it to turn required a fair grip. I do know that I didn't tighten it up all that much (from a noobs perspective). Maybe less than a quarter turn in total at MOST. That might be a lot, I'm not sure. Either way I will loosen it a bit tonight.

    Perhaps it's time to replace the bearing all together. Had a look online and they don't seem to be too expensive and the majority of the cost seems to come from labor.

    Is it a hard job to replace? Or do I need some sort of machine to do it right?
  6. This thread is not what I thought it would be about :( Moving on...
  7. Absolute pain in the ass job. And yup all labor.
    Just wondering how the thread is if it was hard to turn..
    I would say if they are original they need doing. Specially if the previous owner liked doing mono's.
    Have you ever thought of having the forks resprung or shimmed... gold valves ??? That's when I would get stem head bearing done as most of the bits would have to be pulled off anyway.
  8. ...It's an R1 - didn't realise the front wheel was ever on the ground!

  9. I'm actually thinking the opposite. It is not uncommon to have the lower (maybe even the upper) bearing seat after riding a bit. It only takes a couple of thou.

    It's a good idea to pull the top tripple clamp after a couple of days and nip up the nut.
  10. Loosened it last night. I took the top bearing out and regreased it. The top one was not scored at all and looked in good condition. No idea about the bottom one though as I didn't have the time to get to it.
    Also gave the nuts a good clean and the nut became a bit easier to turn after that.

    Seems to be riding better now. The front forks don't move when I pull them witht he front wheel off the ground, however the click from the front end is present from time to time when braking. Might need to tighten it just a smidge more.

    Will do it on the weekend. Now that I've taken the thing apart a bunch of times I should be able to do it in about 30 minutes. Too easy. Hopefully a slight tightening will get it right and I wont need new bearings.
  11. Do that, but it could be you are now noticing a brake disc a bit loose on the spools.

    Also are they taper rollers or angular contact ball bearings in there?

    Brett might be right regarding pre-load for ball bearings but tapper rollers need a fair bit of pre-load.
  12. On my bike you need to hold the bottom nut as you tighten the top nut or both will turn,
    this adjustment is more art than scieance,if the bearings are not stuffed it usualy takes a few goes
  13. They are angular contact bearings (I'm pretty sure. Had to wiki the difference.)
    Hopefully it isn't the discs. Did change them over not long ago and they are a huge pain due to locktight. Will check those on the weekend too.

    Thanks for all the help guys.
  14. Get a torque wrench, it sounds like you need one.
  15. It doesn't take much. Put a spanner on it and move the end of the spanner 5mm and try it. Small adjustments do make a difference. A change in the tension you put on the lock nut will change the tension in the bearing, for example. They are fiddly.

    R1s are pretty fussy about their steering head bearings, especially the older ones, and they tend to damage or flog them out pretty easy and early. If you like doing monos, get used to changing head bearings a lot, especially the bottom one.
  16. Have ordered a torque wrench off ebay for future work. Will definitely come in handy.

    No mono's from me. The highest the front wheel comes off the ground is maybe a couple of centremetres under hard acceleration, and under those circumstances the wheel doesn't come back down hard.

    Interesting story. I may have tightened the handlebar bolts in the wrong order, because one of them came loose and pinged off on my way home last night. Stopped to try and find it, but it was impossible in the dark, and I was doing 60km/h so who knows how far it went.

    Either way, I've put a bolt through it with a nut on the other end for the time being until the new of bolts arrive, which I ordered as soon as I got home. Kept a close eye on it this morning on my way to work and double checked when I arrived. Still nice and tight and no movement in the handles.

    So a note to anyone who is going to adjust their head stem bearing. Make sure you triple check the tightness of all the bolts when re-assembling the clip ons. You tighten one and another is bound to loosen a little =D>

    You live and you learn I suppose.
  17. Get a copy of the service manual and tighten using a torque wrench to the tightness specified in the manual.. Same for the handlebar bolts.

    My 10c :)