01 Classic; Frontend wobble - possible cause - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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01 Classic; Frontend wobble - possible cause

So the bike has a wobble on decel, most noticeable from 40ish down to 35ish (on the inaccurate dial!).

I know there can be a gazillion different causes... but...

Something I've noticed a lot, low speed left cornering, it feels like the headlight has been replaced with a cement block. Meaning I have to exert more pressure than should be needed to keep the wheel from turning further to the left. It does not do this when turning to the right.

I finally just got a jack and chuckster's adapter and got the bike up in the air. From the best that I could tell, the bike sits perfectly straight up and down, meaning it doesn't seem to either side, left or right. With bars dead straight, they fall hard to the left. An inch to the right, two inches to the right, they fall hard to the left. Only once the bars are turned probably about of a third of the distance from center to right, will they stay put. At no point do they fall to the right. The lines and cables, although you can hear them creaking, do not "appear" to be binding. I did install temporary wire ties in several locations to try to alter the behavior of the steering and nothing really seemed to change it "much". There were some very minor differences but usually only by slowing down the speed that they fall to the left.

There appears to be no lateral movement in either front wheel bearings or the head bearings.

1. Is it more likely to be lines and wires?
2. Is it more likely to be loose head bearings?
3. Is it more likely to be worn head bearings?

I also read somewhere that the bearing races can travel in their seats over time that can affect steering and there's a method of repositioning them by over-torquing them, moving the bars back and forth repeatedly, loosening them again and then torquing them properly (or some variation of this rough sequence.. I don't remember the exact details). Has anyone ever heard of this?

2001 Kawasaki VN1500 Classic FI
(purchased 2/8/19)

1992 Yamaha XV1100
(purchased 2010)
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 03:06 PM
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Have you checked the lower legs to see if they're still square with one another.If everything else is centered, you dont really think it's the cables and the bearings at least aren't loose, although could be worn and warped....You're bound to have hit some bumps here and there and twisting your forks or having them move on you is pretty common.Matbe that's why superbrace is waxing people for 200 bucks for their product. Anyway , something to check out.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.W.Ogg View Post
Have you checked the lower legs to see if they're still square with one another.If everything else is centered, you dont really think it's the cables and the bearings at least aren't loose, although could be worn and warped....You're bound to have hit some bumps here and there and twisting your forks or having them move on you is pretty common.Matbe that's why superbrace is waxing people for 200 bucks for their product. Anyway , something to check out.
No, I haven't checked that. I got so focused on trying to figure out why it swings so easily to the left even when facing a good distance to the right that I didn't really think of anything else (other than to check the wheel bearings).

Any idea how one would go about checking the forks? Would I have to remove all the extras to do it? Windshield and lowers, fork covers, light bar, etc. All these things seem to hide the upper forks pretty good.

2001 Kawasaki VN1500 Classic FI
(purchased 2/8/19)

1992 Yamaha XV1100
(purchased 2010)
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 09:13 PM
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Generally up around the triple trees it's nearly impossible to get too far outta whack....your lowers are what I'm talking about. If you put your bike on a jack or stand so your totally balanced and the bike looks straight from front to back...look at your front end from the side. With the bars sitting totally even , look through your front wheel by the axle. Does on leg set any further forward than the other? That will cause the bike to be bias badly in corners and will cause it to wobble.Check out YouTube and search wobble/ fork alignment.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 09:18 PM
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The video is titled. 'Delboy's garage...realigning forks the easy way"
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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It's impossible to tell if the bottom of the forks are straight or not. It's also impossible to tell if the bars are slightly cocked going down the road (visually, everything is rounded and nothing guaranteed to be symmetrical... and I can't go by feel because half my body's smaller than the other half... all bikes feel crooked, unbalanced, misaligned, etc. Even chairs feel that way!)

It also wobbles while leaning through some corners. The front tire is very good condition, smooth, no scallop.

I watched the video you told me about but I don't have a wheel chock and I don't know how else I'd be able to do that... and I'm sick of spending money .

2001 Kawasaki VN1500 Classic FI
(purchased 2/8/19)

1992 Yamaha XV1100
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thought I'd give an update. When riding, I started to really analyze the position of the bars trying to ignore my different length arms and began to suspect that they are in fact turned to the right a bit (which makes sense as my right arm is the shorter one and therefore the bars felt straight... straight bars usually feel cocked to the left a bit because I have to reach further with my shorter right arm! Yay!)

So in the garage on the side stand, I got down in front of the bike and sighted back across the front to back edge of the front tire lining it up with the rear tire until I could see an equal amount of the rear tire on each side of the front. Once dead straight, I walked behind the bike to look at the bars and sure enough, they were very noticeably cocked to the right! Just to be sure the bars aren't bent/asymmetrical (which I actually think they are, one side is higher than the other), I checked the top of the tree versus the tank and it was definitely pointing toward the right.

Long story longer I loosened up all the necessary components and straightened them out... which was rather difficult for some reason. But I got the bars straight, tightened it all up and took it for a ride. It was awful! The thing would not go straight especially under 25-30 mph. Then I realized I never loosened the big nut on top of the triple tree! DUH.

So I did the entire process again. Re-tightened. Retested. Unfortunately, my blood sugar was a bit low so I'm not sure how reliable my judgement was, but wow. It rode waaaaay better than ever. Still has a wobble, but handling-wise, it was awesome. A nasty storm was blowing in so I couldn't get my sugar up and go back out. But I will today.

I'll also jack it up and do the fall away test again today. I'm curious to see if it's any different. I also intend to tighten the head bearings a smidge.

I also have a new Commander II for the back coming in today! (I've put ~4k miles on a like new Dunlop and it's totally flat across already. Which could also be contributing to wobble.)

2001 Kawasaki VN1500 Classic FI
(purchased 2/8/19)

1992 Yamaha XV1100
(purchased 2010)

Last edited by stupidName; 07-12-2019 at 08:57 AM. Reason: fix typos
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a video of the "fall away" test. The bike seems to be perfectly vertical.


2001 Kawasaki VN1500 Classic FI
(purchased 2/8/19)

1992 Yamaha XV1100
(purchased 2010)
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 11:45 AM
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I had a minor wobble, but at pretty much All speeds over say 15 miles per hour. Brand new tires too, but it's a balance issue with the front wheel, sure as shit....?! Anyway, fixed my problem with beads instead of the traditional tire weights. I was skeptical, but I like them ...I'm converted for life
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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So I just tightened the bearings a little bit, maybe 3/8" turn on the nut, just enough to make the bars a little less free. Just for giggles, before lowering the bike I thought I'd get a two foot level, straighten the front wheel by sighting it to the back and hold the level to it to see if the bike is actually straight up and down. So as I'm there layin' on the floor lining the tire up, which I was prepared to hold in place while checking the level because it falls to the left, I noticed there was no pressure on the wheel. I didn't have to hold it there... what the ???? So I nudged it and it fell to the left. Moved it back toward the right and it still fell left... Sonuva... Line it up dead center and viola... stayed put again. Move it ever so slightly to either side and yep, there it is, a very small detent in the bearings at dead center.



The last thing I want to do is get into dealing with pressed bearings and I sure as $4!T can't afford $1k to have the dealer do it, so I loosened the nut up back to where it was and I'll ride it 'till it's dangerous then I'll have to do the job out of desperation.

I guess now I know why the guy sold it. Damn.

2001 Kawasaki VN1500 Classic FI
(purchased 2/8/19)

1992 Yamaha XV1100
(purchased 2010)
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