Heavy Steering. Am I crazy or did something change on my bike?


18 replies to this topic
  • condor74

Posted March 31, 2015 - 06:13 PM

#1

I rode my WR a month ago or so and noticed that the steering felt very heavy. The last serious ride I had on the bike was on presidents weekend and it seemed ok then. I During that ride on Presidents Day I did lay it over once and broke the starter button. I fixed it and after that is when I noticed the overly heavy feeling in the bars. I stopped several times to see if I had a flat front tire. That is what it feels like. The next ride I rode my Kx250 which felt normal on the steering. Today I briefly rode the Wr after work and it was almost unrideable. I added air to the front tire and it helped a little but it is over inflated now. I put it on my bike stand and there is no drag when turning the bars. Maybe I am making this up in my head but it does not feel good to ride now. Any ideas?

  • RMK800

Posted March 31, 2015 - 08:15 PM

#2

No your not crazy, but I can't help you :) I have had the same thing happen. I decided to lower my forks because I got a bigger front tire 90, lowered about 4mm. I had this same feeling like a flat. I raise them up some. The issue has come and gone with me before and after in raising and lowering the forks. At this time I was also removing my front tire because of an annoying sound when the bike was coasting down hill. Not sure if the forks were binding or what. At the start of this year I did regrease my steering bearings. My 07 has never felt better for steering, hopefully I don't run into it again. Let us know if you figure it out.

  • condor74

Posted March 31, 2015 - 09:11 PM

#3

The bike is equipped with a MX51 front tire. I know people have complained about hem but I thought it was a vague feeling or lack of traction. It feels like when you turn the bars the steering takes a lot of effort or when you come out of a turn ypu have to use a lot of effort to bring them back strait. .

  • condor74

Posted March 31, 2015 - 09:14 PM

#4

I will try regreasing my steering head bearing. The last time I rode it was in te desert and I went through over 30 miles of deep desert woops. Maybe something moved then.

  • toten

Posted April 01, 2015 - 06:22 AM

#5

Unlikely that it's steering head bearings if it moves fine on a stand. I'd make sure the fork settings are all correct and that the forks are the same height. 



  • Pooley

Posted April 01, 2015 - 07:55 AM

#6

I think you may have twisted/moved the forks in the clamps and something is just out of whack.  This has happened to me on my WR426 and my wife on her TTR-125 after a decent crash.  The steering is generally heavy to one side but extremely light to the other, and would want to pull to the light direction too.  The suspension doesn't feel right either.  Loosen/remove everything from the top nut on the steering stem down to the axle and pinch bolts,  reinstalling and tightening everything to spec.  I never found anything loose, or glaringly out of alignment that caused the same feeling, but just making sure everything was aligned/installed properly solved it.


Edited by Pooley, April 01, 2015 - 07:57 AM.


  • Hooty

Posted April 05, 2015 - 11:29 PM

#7

I rode my WR a month ago or so and noticed that the steering felt very heavy. The last serious ride I had on the bike was on presidents weekend and it seemed ok then. I During that ride on Presidents Day I did lay it over once and broke the starter button. I fixed it and after that is when I noticed the overly heavy feeling in the bars. I stopped several times to see if I had a flat front tire. That is what it feels like. The next ride I rode my Kx250 which felt normal on the steering. Today I briefly rode the Wr after work and it was almost unrideable. I added air to the front tire and it helped a little but it is over inflated now. I put it on my bike stand and there is no drag when turning the bars. Maybe I am making this up in my head but it does not feel good to ride now. Any ideas?

 

Interesting post - I've just bought a 2014 WR after riding a KTM EXC for years - I was startled by how planted the WR felt by comparison - I've ordered a steering damper (essential for EXCs) but I don't think this bike needs one - it just ploughs on in a straight line - no deflections - no skittishness in loose gravel etc - that said, it also feels quite heavy at the front end, as you describe - and reading around the internet reviews I notice that this is a comment that pops up a lot - I've decided that it's a good thing on the whole

 

This notwithstanding, your bike may have an issue if it's been laid down recently

 

EDIT: TT inserted a hyperlink to Scotts Steering dampers, without my asking it to - only complaining as I've gone with Ralle Moto / MSC Moto again - have had others in the past, and they're beautifully made products - superior to Scotts IMO


Edited by Hooty, April 05, 2015 - 11:31 PM.


  • bobpara

Posted April 06, 2015 - 05:48 AM

#8

I agree with Pooley above. Put it up on a stand. Check the obvious like is the rim bent? Axle bearing have friction? Perhaps a bent/warped rotor? spin the front wheel and see that everything is true

If the bars swing left to right with no friction on the stand you should be OK with head bearing

take a look at both fork tubes straight from the side and see that one is not 'ahead' of the other.

loosen upper and lower triple clamps and give everything a slight tug here and there are re-tighten

 

lastly, you COULD (emphasis on could) have one fork tube that has a bad seal or stiction and one does not

Only way to tell is to remove both and qualitatively 'pogo' them and see that they are both OK



  • bobpara

Posted April 06, 2015 - 05:50 AM

#9

or a super low front tire....check the easy and obvious first



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  • condor74

Posted June 11, 2015 - 06:06 PM

#10

I have not gotten to ride near as much as I have wanted to.  The last ride I went on was either early May or late April.  Needless to say the bike has been sitting quite a bit.  Family work and school have taken up all my time.  That being said, I went out to the garage today to replace the mount for the ignition module on the bike that was on back order for the last month.  With the bike on the stand and no weight on the front wheel, the steering stem was bound up.   I had to pull hard with both hands to move the bars and once it moved a little it moved free back and forth.  I am thinking this is the problem with steering that I have been feeling.  I am hoping I can take it apart and grease the bearings with out replacing them.  I know this is neglect and I should have greased them a long time ago.  One thing that may have contributed to the sticktion in the steering is about 6 months before this I went for a ride near Lake Isabella and I gassed the bike up before I left.  I accidentally overfilled the gas tank and as it got warmer the gas expanded and started leaking out of the vent tube on the fuel tank which was plumbed into the steering stem.  Basically I was filling my steering stem with gasoline.  I have since changed tanks and now run a stubby vented cap that vents to open air on my IMS tank.  Anyway, hopefully this weekend it wont be too hot to work on the bike and I will take some pictures as I am repairing it.  Any advice on types of grease?  I was going to use wheel bearing grease. 



  • Krannie McKranface

Posted June 11, 2015 - 06:20 PM

#11

Lithium high-temp grease for motorcycles

 

https://www.google.c...3.0.ClN9obQfwrQ

 

 

You should replace both bearings, and inspect the races for grooves.

Running them nearly dry usually grooves the races.........


Edited by KRANNIE, June 11, 2015 - 06:21 PM.


  • condor74

Posted June 11, 2015 - 06:27 PM

#12

I will inspect them as soon as I get them apart.  I am not sure if they are dry.  I think they may be sticking because of old gas.  Similar to what you find in carburetor that has been sitting full for a long time.  I noticed the bottom bearing had some grease coming out of the rubber dust cover.  If there is any visible damage at all, it will be getting new races and bearings.  If they clean up, then I will just crease them and reassemble. 



  • Krannie McKranface

Posted June 11, 2015 - 08:03 PM

#13

I will inspect them as soon as I get them apart.  I am not sure if they are dry.  I think they may be sticking because of old gas.  Similar to what you find in carburetor that has been sitting full for a long time.  I noticed the bottom bearing had some grease coming out of the rubber dust cover.  If there is any visible damage at all, it will be getting new races and bearings.  If they clean up, then I will just crease them and reassemble. 

 

The grease is gone or there would not be resistance.

It comes with the factory with about 10% of the grease needed, to prevent drips in the cargo containers, that might get them a hold up from an EPA inspection......

Any 'varnish' that might be there because of old gas would easily be overcome by the leverage and weight of the front end.



  • condor74

Posted June 12, 2015 - 05:13 PM

#14

Once it is broke free there is no resistance. It sticks after sitting. If. It were more consistent I would tend to agree with you. I will let you know when I have it apart.

  • condor74

Posted June 12, 2015 - 06:26 PM

#15

I took the steering stem apart just now.  I took a few pictures.  I wouldn't say they were dry at all but the lubrication qualities of what ever grease was in there was severely  compromised.  I did my best to clean the bearings up with brake clean and repack them with grease but they are basically junk at this point.  I could not set the preload properly because with the proper preload on the bearings, they made a crunchy stiff feeling when you turn the bars.  They are set up a little loose but I am not planning on any rides on this bike at the moment.  I put it back together mainly so I can roll it back into my garage and move it if I need to.  Looks like I will be buying some new bearings and races.  I have the luxury or owning 3 bikes so any rides will be on my KX or CRF until I get the WR repaired.  Sounds like a good time to go through all the bikes bearings with some grease.



  • condor74

Posted June 16, 2015 - 08:30 PM

#16

Here are some pictures from my bike.  There is a big gouge just above the lower bearing on the steering stem.  I dont think this will be an issue but it is disconcerting none the less. It looks like maybe someone damaged it changing the bearing before.  I managed to damage the wiring to the speed sensor on the front wheel when I removed the forks from the triple clamps. [/URL]">http://DSC_1233_zpsmnpqh98t.jpg [/URL]">http://DSC_1236_zpstdna4x74.jpg [/URL]">http://DSC_1238_zpsp4arw8lw.jpg


Edited by condor74, June 16, 2015 - 08:37 PM.


  • condor74

Posted June 17, 2015 - 06:56 PM

#17

Any tips on how to get the bearing races out of the the steering head.  There is not much of any lip to get a punch on it.  Every time i try to hit it, it slides off the edge.  I have tried every punch, pipe, implement that I have. 



  • guru

Posted June 19, 2015 - 05:57 AM

#18

I used a Dremmel and got it to crack in two pieces with a few hits from a punch.

  • condor74

Posted June 23, 2015 - 10:55 PM

#19

I finally got the races replaced. I used a dye grinder and a grinding bit to grind away a small section of the lip. I manages to get the punch on the bottom one and drive it out. Re top bearing race was more difficult. After grinding and I got my punch to hit the race but it still was slipping off. I put a pipe into the head to hold the punch from slipping off. I managed to drive it out then. It went back together with out a problem. I adjusted the preload and out it all back together. I rode it behind my house and it is much better. Thanks for the help guys!




 
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