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How does it work?

How to test?

How to replace the bearing?

What do I need to change my steering bearing?

Process

How to maintain?

 

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How does it work?

The steering or head bearings are one of the most important parts in your motorcycle handling. These bearings make you bike able to turn and convey all force from the front of the bike (front wheel, front brake, fork) to the frame. A faulty or not properly adjusted head bearing spoil your bike handling and could be very dangers so it’s a reason for failing MOT.

Main parts:

Dust seals: These protect the bearings from dust and wet. The condition of these seals are determinative of the bearing lifetime.

Bearing seats: These are pressed to the frame, provide smooth surface for the bearing rollers.

Bearings: These make you able to turn the handlebar nice and smoothly. Many motorbikes, especially older ones, still have ball bearings. In the ball bearing, each ball has a single small contact point, so a "notch" develops over time. It is recommended to switch to the longer-life taper roller bearings, in which the entire length of each roller has contact. Thus a much larger surface area is in contact with the bearing cup, distributing the weight better. In addition, taper roller bearings often cost less than the original ball bearings.

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How to test?

You should ideally ask a second person to help you perform the check. Place the bike on the stand so that the front wheel is off the ground (not on a front paddock stand). If you have a centre stand, your helper sits as far back as possible on the seat, while you grip the lower end of the fork with both hands and jerk it back and forth. If there is play in the bearing, it must be re-adjusted, which means undoing the clamp bolts of the sliders (lower triple tree) and the large central bolt of the upper triple tree. After adjustment, there should be no play in the bearing and it should run smoothly.


The second test concerns the condition of the bearing. Turn the fork to the straight-ahead position, then turn the handlebars as if into a gentle right-hand bend, and then into a left-hander from the straight-ahead position. If the fork is stiff, or if it sticks even slightly in certain positions, the bearing must be replaced. However, bear in mind that cables, shafts and hydraulic hoses can falsify the test result. There is often a sticking point in the straight-ahead position because it is the most heavily used.

 

Expert advice: Check and adjust your head bearing regularly as a not properly adjusted bearing go wrong much faster.

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How to replace the steering bearing?

What do I need to change my steering bearing?

First of all we are strongly recommended to have a service manual and follow it. Some motorbikes request special tools to remove the top bolt. A head bearing removal tool can help you to remove old bearing easily without damaging the frame. And of coures you need a good quality new steering bearing set.

 

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Process

Accessing the steering head bearing:

The most time-consuming part of this repair is accessing the steering head bearing in the first place. There are two ways to go about it: You can either uninstall all parts one by one (front wheel, braking system, fork legs, handlebars, fairing, instruments, etc.) or try to leave individual assemblies in place, which will save quite a lot of work. Whichever method you choose, we strongly recommend taking off the tank to prevent scratches and dents. The central bolt of the fork yoke should be loosened while the fork tubes are still on the bike, because this allows you to use the steering stop between lower triple tree and frame.

When only the two triple trees are left on the frame head, you can remove the central nut on the upper triple tree. Now you can take off the upper triple tree and you will have an unobstructed view of the adjusting nut.
Unscrew the adjusting nut with a hook wrench and hold the lower triple tree with one hand so it doesn't fall onto the floor.

Carefully drive out the bearing seats using a head bearing removal tool.

 Remove the lower bearing from the yoke with a chisel and a hammer. Be careful not to damage the yoke. You now have access to the lower dust seal. Replace it with a new one if it is damaged or broken.

Use grease on the new bearing set liberally, making sure that it goes in between the rollers. You can now fit the new parts in the right order.

 

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How to maintain?

Avoid wheelie and stoppy, if you can as these very spectacular tricks are a huge impact on your head bearing. Regularly check and adjust your bearing. Be careful with the jet washer don’t target directly to the dust seals as it could damage and release the gear and let the water and dust into the bearings. After 5 years or 20,000 miles we recommend to clean old herded dirty grease out and re-grease them.

 

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