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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi All,

another question from a newbie getting to grips with the niceties of motorbike mechanics....

explored some trails with the alp yesterday (06 xl650v) and realized that over some of the rougher spots i was feeling a slight jolt/shudder coming through the handlebar...no noise i could make out...It also happened under heavy braking

back in the batcave, i tried holding on to the front brakes and pumping up and down on the suspension as hard as i could. Indeed I occasionally could feel the jolt/shudder/vibration coming through the handlebar, slightly before the forks bottomed out...again just a slight " one time vibration" through the bar... no noise. it feels for all the world as if something is sliding over something else and finding a bump :confused:

i checked the obvious things - wheel rotates freely and is true, no fork oil leaks, no loose bolts or fasteners, bike runs in a straight line without my holding on the bars and on a smooth road no wobble to the handlebars (again hands free:toothy7:)...tyre pressure normal, tyre rotation normal as far as i could see...

any ideas whether this is just me being paranoid about my "new" toy or maybe whether it is worth taking the hassle of dismantling the forks?:confused:

Reuben
 

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Don't recognise your symptoms really but if you have been riding only on smooth surfaces so far maybe you are discovering the standard transalp fork which tends to dive a few inches at the slightest grab on the front brake then feels like its locked, same goes for hitting a sharp bump.

There's alot about this on previous threads thats worth a read, might help before you start examining the forks.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
to be honest its quite baffling, because
1. i cant really replicate it
2. there is nothing loose i can identify
3. the bike performs exactly as it should in terms of driving


guess i will just put this down to my "proud father syndrome" and forget it till it either blends into the background, or gets worse!!

thanks though

R
 

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Had I felt this on the road, I would put this down to a warped brake disc.
That can cause juddering through the grip.
You can check this with the bike on main stand, spin the front wheel best you can whilst applying more and more front brake.
Hopefully, it was just the rough ground and the forks working on their maximum.
 

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From the symptoms you describe, it sounds as if it could be a little bit of play in the steering head bearings - which might (maybe) need adjusting. How many miles (or km) has the bike done?

Adjustment is an easy job for a dealer, and if it is that, it will save your bearings from getting damaged by being run too loose.
 

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I would get the steering head checked as it sounds like the head bearings are loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
well, that sort of makes sense as the honda manual says that the head bearings should have been checked twice by now...and I am sure that the previous owner did none of all this:mad:...my questions now become

1. is it at all feasible that i do it...i have little mechanical experience and changing the oil on the alp was a major undertaking

2. can it wait for approximately 300 miles more as i will be off the bike for some days in december and I already have an appointment at the service centre booked for the middle of december...i mostly use the bike on weekends anyway. i know of course that the more i leave it the more i degrade the bearings and the higher the chance of having to replace them, what i am worried about is the bike falling apart with me on top of it :(
 

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for what its worth the original steering head bearings in Alps are like "putty" I`ve adjusted mine 3 times know and in the new year its time for new bearings of the "stronger" type.

But its a garage job as even wit hmechanical aptitude its a pig of a job , many on here to testify to that, I`d get new ones fitted then your safe in the knowledge the rough stuff wont cause probs.
 

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If you have a centre stand or other means of getting the front wheel off the ground checking head bearings is easy:

Check 1.....Squat at the front of the bike so you can grab the bottom of the forks with each hand. (With the front wheel off the ground), Now push/pull the forks back and forth. There should be no real movement. If there is you will feel it as a distinct clonk.

Check 2..... stand to one side of the bike or even sit on it (with the front wheel off the ground) and slowly rotate the bars from lock to lock. It should be smooth with no roughness or notchiness. The notchy bit is most likley to be in the straight ahead position.

3. With bike back on its wheels, pull the front brake on and push/pull the bike forwards and back. There should be no knocks or movement of the head bearing (obviously forks go up and down). If you think you have a knock put a finger between headstock and the top yoke and you should feel it there.

Tightening them is also fairly straightforward if you have the tools. Replacing them is, in my opinion and experince, a job for a bike shop.

Good luck, but I don't think from what you have said its head bearings as these would clonk all the time and not just at the extreme of suspension movement. I would just monitor it for getting worse as it could be any number of slightly loose things in the fairing or tank, tool box, or anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
well, i contacted my mechanic and explained the problem to him and he smiled a knowing smile (you know the one which says it all;)) and said that it was the head bearings..i explained that there was no side to side looseness or fore and aft looseness but a looseness on pumping the suspension with the brakes on (pushing the bike back and forth) and he replied that the bearings needed tightening and that it was a matter of adjustment. he confirmed that it could wait till the bike was scheduled for maintainance in a couple of weeks time

sorry i must have misled everybody with my description, but the jolt i was feeling can also be described very well as a looseness

so for now you wont hear any more from me about the subject...i`ll put a post up when i actually take the bike in for servicing...


thanks once again guys...it`s fun learning this stuff with all the input i get on here...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
so update guys....

had the handlebar bearings checked out and tightened...all up to spec.
brakes have been checked and again all up to spec
but the jolt remains....upon heavy braking the bike dives (as we all know) and just before it bottoms out you hear the jolt/noise/shudder...

forks are straight and working properly, with the proper amount of fork oil. the only thing we could identify is that the springs seem weak, in that there is little "spring back" when the top bolt of the forks is loosened....

any hints? my mechanic friend is looking this up too, but frankly we are baffled?

should the forks be dismantled?

R.
 

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are both springs the same? were both fitted correctly.

i had the same thing with a carb spring a while back when i didn't put it in the kidney properly and every time i opened the throttle all the way i felt/heard a click/ping as the spring buckled rather than compressed.

if you have a mate who's done forks befor and will help you out, may as well have a look. does sound dodgey tho :s
 

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Hi Benhur,

when the top fork bolt/cap is removed you will find a cap as standard:mad: a few of us have replace this with a plastic packer or washers [in my case] to lessen the front fork dive and raise the height a little bit.

If your forks are compressing fully could be the spring moving slightly? a lot depends on how old the bike is how many miles and your weight;).

mines a 2004 with 35,ooo mls and all is well especially with 10w fork oil,have you thought of removing the springs to check for a broken spring . But youd need to do th oil as well to make sure the levels are correct afterwards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
the bike has 15000miles on the clock (but i bought it second hand so it could have a bit more maybe 18000 miles)... it does sound like the spring is compressing fully in the fork when the sound happens....i somehow feel it is related to the springs, but when we took them out they "seemed" fine...maybe if we pack somewashers in it could solve the problem...but what type of washers are used? and how big do they need to be?

R.
 

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It might also be worth checking that the oil in the forks is the correct grade.

The mileage of the bike means nothing, so don't let this distract you from exploring all components for wear, looseness. A bike thats done 15,000 miles off-road will probably be as worn as a bike that's done 60,000 miles on the road!!

When your mechanic tightened up/adjusted the steering head bearings, did he actually drop the yokes out to see if the bearings in there still had grease on them, or re-grease them?? I bet he didn't!!!
The bearings are lightly greased from the factory, and I'll bet my left testicle that they are bone dry (with the Maltese heat) and even when adjusted are just wearing away the races immediately. If the case hardening of the bearings has gone, all the adjustment and grease in the world wont stop them getting worse.

For peace of mind, I'd get tapered roller bearings fitted and the whole lot re-packed with grease. Bearing kits are available from Wemoto.



Good Luck



Bob :thumbup:
 

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here you go......

http://www.xrv.org.uk/forums/transalp/46505-bottomed-out.html

http://www.xrv.org.uk/forums/transalp/34236-looking-ideas-pics-improve-my-03-transalp-off-road.html

the way i did it was remove one of the top caps and get a washer that fits without being to tight but not to sloopy, I used stainless ones then get about 10 well enough for 1 inch[ 25mm] in each fork legs.

Add a few to each side in turn so the forks dont drop:( then have a test ride to see if it works add or subtract to get the result you want.

the bike will feel transformed.
 

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so update guys....

had the handlebar bearings checked out and tightened...all up to spec.
brakes have been checked and again all up to spec
but the jolt remains....upon heavy braking the bike dives (as we all know) and just before it bottoms out you hear the jolt/noise/shudder...

forks are straight and working properly, with the proper amount of fork oil. the only thing we could identify is that the springs seem weak, in that there is little "spring back" when the top bolt of the forks is loosened....

any hints? my mechanic friend is looking this up too, but frankly we are baffled?

should the forks be dismantled?

R.
With the standard fork setup, and when the stanchions are at full extension you can remove the fork cap nuts and there will be very little further extension of the spring the slightest push will reconnect the fork cap nut in its thread.

If the play has been taken out of the head bearings it should not matter if they are worn or not in respect to feeling movement when the forks are compressed (of course if they are worn they need replacing)

When you say the forks are straight do you actually know that the stanchions are 100% straight? If you are feeling a judder just before they bottom out it could be that if one or both stanchions are very slightly bent they could be starting to bind in the sliders the further in that they travel.

Chris
 

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With the standard fork setup, and when the stanchions are at full extension you can remove the fork cap nuts and there will be very little further extension of the spring the slightest push will reconnect the fork cap nut in its thread.

If the play has been taken out of the head bearings it should not matter if they are worn or not in respect to feeling movement when the forks are compressed (of course if they are worn they need replacing)

When you say the forks are straight do you actually know that the stanchions are 100% straight? if you are feeling a judder just before they bottom out it could be that if one or both stanchions are very slightly bent they could be starting to bind in the sliders the further in that they travel.

Chris
thanks for the advice Chris...

i am thinking along your lines...the stearing head bearings were tight to start off with, and any adjustment was minor...so its not them...stanchions should be straight, but i will double check....i dont think the problem lies there however because the bike handles very well and you can actually drive it without your hands on the bars with just knee pressure (straight line running with not a hint of a wobble)...surely if the stanchions were bent, it would show up in the handling wouldnt it?

sound wise it seems as if something internal to the shocks is jumping out of place at the end of the movement of the fork and then going back into place again
 
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