What does it feel like when your steering bearings start to wear - CBR Forum - Enthusiast forums for Honda CBR Owners


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Old 05-25-2011, 01:07 PM
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Post What does it feel like when your steering bearings start to wear

It's been a very very long time since I've even had to ask myself this question so it seems appropriate to share it amongst the learned brethren here.

Since I fitted the new tyres three weeks ago I've started to notice a very slight amount of wander at the front when cornering fairly hard. There's a slight noise sometimes, a kind of faint rattle, though that would be overstating what hits my ears, more of a feel/ feedback sensation.

I can't work out whether this is being caused by either the head bearings or maybe the fork bushes starting to wear.

There's no play that I can feel with the bike up on the stand and the front wheel off the ground although the steering turns so easily it's almost as if the steering just floating. No friction feedback as you'd expect from tight new bearings. But mine aren't new. At least 25 K miles on her since I've had her and no knowledge of if or when they ever been changed.
I think I'll change them as soon as I have time but I'd be interested to know what experiences others have had on their Canes prior to biting the bullet in this department. What did it feel like?
Advice please guys.
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:00 PM
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You should be able to pull the wheel off and turn them with a finger. You should know quickly if they don't feel smooth without play. Usually when they go they just go.
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:03 PM
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That's the dilemma. Steering feels smooth without play when I check it stationary. On the road cornering hard, there's that.... um.... je ne cest quoi! Not quite right. But could it be the fork bushes? Wheel bearings are brand new by the way.
Thanks Tim.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:41 PM
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If there is no play in the wheel or stem bearings, you could try changing the fork oil (and seals while you're at it, maybe even uprated springs?)
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:29 PM
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If the steering head bearings are going, You'll notice it on hard braking. You'll hear/feel a 'klunk'. The stem is shifting forward under heavy loads and rocking. You can get on the bike, grab the front brakes firmly and rock it forward and back. Watch the stem-nut/collar at the triple tree. If you see ANY movement, either loose stem nut or worn bearings.

From your description, I would double check the front/rear wheel bearings. They are more likely to cause a wobble than the steering head, I believe.

Bike up, load off respective wheel (front get someone to steady the bars), grab sides of wheel and try rocking it off-axis. Again, ANY movement bearings are bad.

If you do need to replace them, upgrade to roller bearings. It's a great bang-for-the-buck.

Ern
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:25 PM
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Check your alignment , forks (as in not twisted) & front to rear wheel ,then the fork fluid levels Henry.

As for the steering stem they just make a big clunk on braking as was previously mentioned. My 1990 is
doing it now but it will have to wait until the snow returns

Last edited by Sprock; 05-26-2011 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 05-27-2011, 03:31 AM
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This morning while riding to work I noticed that I have a bad wobble on the steering while going round left hand corners. Really weird and not at all nice. R/H cornering is fine.
I have no knocking or noises coming from the head bearings under hard braking and can't detect anything that feels abnormal whilst trying all the test methods you guys have suggested.
Both sets of wheel bearings front and rear are only three weeks old and have only covered about 2000 miles. Tyres new too. Pressures correct.
Forks were overhauled last August. No oil leaks.

As I'm off on holiday tomorrow I think I'm going to take her to the local bike shop and let them have a look. Sometimes, when the opportunity arises, it's just plain sensible to have someone else do the work. Don't have to wait for winter that way Mark.
If they can't suss it out then springs will be the next move.

I'll post back on my return to let you know what they found but thanks for all your feedback anyway. I knew I could count on some learned opinion.
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:48 AM
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Hey:

You stated that you had new front wheel bearings, are you sure they were seated correctly?
If any angle on them they will grab under pressure and cause a wobble. Also check rear wheel alignment as it can multiply front end problems. A bent rotor or axle also does this but with the rotor you would notice more after braking and should be able to hear it. Hope this helps before you get it to the shop as it will also cut down on their trouble shooting labour hours as well, if you can give them some good data to start with. If you can't shake the front end when elevated and no clunk or indent feeling (like a ratchet) when moving from lock to lock, look elsewhere as the steering bearings should be okay. This is also assuming no overfilled forks, to heavy an oil, or recent damage and is from a previous correctly functioning motorbike before this wobble showed up and no other maintenance performed just prior to this issue showing up. 89 newer Cartridge type forks don't usually show this kind of symptom, even with thousands of miles and over loaded. So springs probally are not it either. Hope this helps.

Dub

Last edited by CBR1988; 05-27-2011 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:32 AM
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Take the time to check the front tire to see if the bead is seated evenly. Maybe lift the front tire and spin it and feel for uneven surface. The tire may have to be re-seated.
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadHattr059 View Post
If the steering head bearings are going, You'll notice it on hard braking. You'll hear/feel a 'klunk'. The stem is shifting forward under heavy loads and rocking. You can get on the bike, grab the front brakes firmly and rock it forward and back. Watch the stem-nut/collar at the triple tree. If you see ANY movement, either loose stem nut or worn bearings.



Ern
I put a post up about exactly this problem last year.... I've experienced this on mine, ever since I first bought it! It also "wanders" when riding in a straight line! I tried to check for play in the headstock, but couldnt find any when the bike was at rest ... it is only noticable under hard breaking. It's a very definate "clunk, clunk, clunk"

Looks like I'll be changing the headstock bearings while I've got the front end stripped for the fork rebuild!

Thanks for posting, that's given me new hope!
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