Front end feels wobbly and sloppy.


54 replies to this topic
  • Wicked0ne

Posted July 25, 2011 - 04:34 PM

#1

Hi everyone! About a week or two ago i was riding my 99 yz125 in the local sandpit when about halfway through the ride my front end started to feel weird and wobbly. I noticed it after doing a high speed run through the sandpit which is bumpy and does have some rocks...but i dont recall hitting any big rocks or anything out of the ordinary.

The best way to describe it...the front wheel seems to sometimes have a mind of its own now...it feels like its wobbling around but when looking at the wheel...its not obviously wobbling.

The rim seems to be ok and there doesnt seem to be excessive amounts of wobble to the front tire.

To check the front tire i had a friend hold the handle bars as tight as he could with the wheel turned all the way to both sides and i then tried to wiggle the tire...which to me did not feel bad.

What other things should i check? The bike always felt nice and tight until that day....i was litterally riding and thought "oh crap did i just get flat tire or something" it suddenly felt so different. Any help insight....like always...is greatly appreciate. Thanks!

  • MarkBYZ250

Posted July 25, 2011 - 07:25 PM

#2

Sounds like your wheel bearings are shot. I would look there first and see what's going on.

  • ttr250dude

Posted July 25, 2011 - 10:48 PM

#3

Loose spokes?

  • BDubb106

Posted July 26, 2011 - 06:32 AM

#4

Above two posters pretty much hit it on the head... check your spokes and wheel bearings as well as the torque on your axle bolt to make sure it hasnt backed out a little... next thing to check would be your stem bearings as they can cause some weird headshake when they go bad or the races get worn. Only other thing I can thing of is your spacers getting worn allowing the wheel to slide from side to side slightly.

  • MarkBYZ250

Posted July 26, 2011 - 07:59 AM

#5

I also agree with ftball it could be your steering stem bearings. I would check everything that has been listed in this thread.

  • aaronjohn20

Posted July 26, 2011 - 08:14 AM

#6

Damn it, I think all of you have already pretty much give him everything to look for! Steering stem bearings, or just loose hardward. Spokes maybe, wheel bearings, and once again, loose nuts and bolts.

  • GMO397

Posted July 26, 2011 - 09:57 AM

#7

Damn it, I think all of you have already pretty much give him everything to look for! Steering stem bearings, or just loose hardward. Spokes maybe, wheel bearings, and once again, loose nuts and bolts.


Easy bud, there will be more oppurtunities for your wisdom.

I agree with everyone above, check it all.
When spokes break they can cause some of the symptoms you describe. The broken spoke can come out of the hub while your riding, making it difficult to notice a broken spoke without a close up inspection.

  • Wicked0ne

Posted July 26, 2011 - 11:55 AM

#8

Thanks everyone! Im gonna try to work on it in the next day or two. Ill start off with the spokes and wheel bearings. To check the spokes...i just individually try to wiggle them with my fingers and make sure they are all tight and all still there? And with the wheel bearings is there any good way to check them with only one person(not sure ill be able to get a friend over to help hold the handle bars and so on...). In the past i always had my dad to help me do the work...but i dont live with him anymore so im on my own now!

  • BDubb106

Posted July 26, 2011 - 12:05 PM

#9

Im not sure about the spokes as to how loose they have to be to feel them wiggle as Ive always had a torque wrench so mine have never been loose. But as far a the wheel bearings you can use the wall to see if the wheel will wiggle but thats not very accurate. If they have never been replaced it wouldnt be a bad idea to just swap them out and get it over with as they could probably use it anyways.

  • GMO397

Posted July 26, 2011 - 12:16 PM

#10

Im not sure about the spokes as to how loose they have to be to feel them wiggle as Ive always had a torque wrench so mine have never been loose. But as far a the wheel bearings you can use the wall to see if the wheel will wiggle but thats not very accurate. If they have never been replaced it wouldnt be a bad idea to just swap them out and get it over with as they could probably use it anyways.


I believe they have to be seriously loose for most riders to feel it.

I was diailing my new suspension the other day and I snapped a couple spokes on the whoops. I wasn't done tuning, and I couldn't tell a discernable difference. I ended up snapping a few more :smirk: before the day was over and I was able to notice a difference when they broke on opposite sides of the rim.

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  • BDubb106

Posted July 26, 2011 - 12:35 PM

#11

Yea I broke a couple before and never noticed it until I went to change tires and it actually ripped the nipple out of the rim somehow so no new spokes could be installed. That was when decided to get new rims and hubs and went ahead and ordered the torque wrench so I wouldnt have that happen again and be forced to waste more money.

But prior to finding them then Id never tightened them or felt them with my hand to see if I could feel how loose they were or if I would even be able to feel it. If they were broken on opposite sides of the rim Id imagin t would cause the rim to become untrue and you would feel a definate wobble.

  • Wicked0ne

Posted July 26, 2011 - 04:26 PM

#12

when you guys are saying you broke the spokes...are you meaning that the spoke actually came all the way out of the rim. If so i suppose that would be relatively easy to spot if you where looking for it. Ive been googling around like mad trying to find out as much info on doing the wheel bearings and checking the spokes....i must say i hope its just a wheel bearing as they are cheap and easy(or so it looks that way)....Im unemployed still and very tight on money so im trying to get it back up and safe with as little money as possible. I hope tomorrow i will have time to go out and inspect the bike closer.

For the front wheel bearing...is it best to test by moving the wheel from left to right with the handlebars held in place? Or would it be better to do a vertical test...like see if the wheel moves up and down at all?...I remember seeing my friend check a wheel bearing in a car by jacking up the tire until it was off the groung then sticking a pry bar under the tire and lifting it up.....he did not fully explain what it should and shouldnt do...but i assumed that any movement would mean a shot bearing....and i assume the same would be said for dirt bike/motorcycle bearings.

You guys rock and i appreciate all your feedback and information. :smirk:

  • arnego2

Posted July 26, 2011 - 04:48 PM

#13

Most of the time when having that wobbly feeling on the front wheel it is the bearing(s) I exchange both of them as they are available here at a hardware store. Something around 2 to 3 Dollar each. Getting them out, per hammer and in I use the old bearing to hammer them carefully back in.

  • Wicked0ne

Posted July 26, 2011 - 10:32 PM

#14

Ah damn. I didn't know your could get them that cheap. I priced some front wheel bearing + seals kit from the local shop for about 20-30$. Are you buying actual wheel bearings or some kinda general purpose industrial bearings?

  • arnego2

Posted July 27, 2011 - 03:04 AM

#15

I have to pull those bearings out and take them to the bearing and seal seller in town. They normally have them. If I'd buy them of Yamaha I would have to wait about 3 days and pay about double to triple the amount you have to pay.

  • BDubb106

Posted July 27, 2011 - 07:25 AM

#16

Ah damn. I didn't know your could get them that cheap. I priced some front wheel bearing + seals kit from the local shop for about 20-30$. Are you buying actual wheel bearings or some kinda general purpose industrial bearings?


Just pull the bearing and go to a store that sells bearings, they will match it for you. We have one about 30 mins away and I went and got just about every bearing on the bike for about 25-30 bucks. :smirk:

  • Wicked0ne

Posted July 27, 2011 - 01:39 PM

#17

Just got in from taking a look at the bike...the spokes all appear to be ok...none where wiggly loose and all where there. As best i can tell there does not seem to be play in the front wheel...though i was doing this by myself so its kinda hard to say for sure...but to me....there did not appear to be any play in the front tire. While pushing the bike outside(had to hose it down from riding on monday) i noticed when i hit the front brake it felt kinda weird. Its kinda hard to describe but i will try: When at a stop and i hold down the front brake and push forward there feels like there is a bit of play....right before the suspension compresses... Like something has some kinda movement. While doing this i was observing the brake rotors/calipers and there was no movement in them. There also did not appear to be moment in the steering stem that i could see. Everything from observing looked tight and didnt move.

Also if i did the same thing but instead of pushing forward...i pulled backwards...i did not feel anything.

I did notice that the front forks are both not in the same exact position....like the markings to show softer/harder are not both at the 12oclock position. The right shock has it 12oclock and the left one has it around 9oclock...im not sure this would make a difference...and im fairly sure they have always been like this...ive never messed with the front shocks.
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  • aaronjohn20

Posted July 27, 2011 - 02:16 PM

#18

Get the front tire off the ground and check the wheel bearings and the steering stem out. TO me what your describing sounds like the steering stem

  • Wicked0ne

Posted July 27, 2011 - 06:53 PM

#19

Is there a suggested way to check the steering stem bearing? Ive never done it and im not finding a good solution via google. Is it something you can check as is? Or do you have to take everything apart and inspect? Ive never done anything related to the steering stem before so im not very familiar with all the parts and how they work. I looked around for a ball bearing place and actually found one in the same industrial park where i ride..go figure...but it appears to be a manufacturing plant and im not sure its open to the public to walk in. Im gonna try and contact them tomorrow to see if i could bring down a bearing for them to match...if they can and its cheap enough im just gonna go ahead and do the front wheel bearings anyways...they have never been done to my recollection.

Now that all costs of parts and all labor are on me...im nervous about attempting to take apart stuff ive never done before...was always so much easier when i could just blame it on my dad! lol

  • Wicked0ne

Posted July 28, 2011 - 12:10 PM

#20

So ive now got the wheel of the bike and got the dust seals off and im staring at the bearings. For my yz125 is there anyway to get the bearings out other then a bearing puller? I dont own one...and the bearing spacer makes it so i cant stick something through and hammer out the other side. Is there any kinda tricks im not thinking of?...googling around now like crazy trying to find any tips or tricks....as i called and talked to the guys at the bearing place and they said they would most likely be able to match the bearings....even asked if i had a number for the bearings(which im now also trying to find).





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