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Old 06-04-2015, 12:44 AM   #1
BlackPanther OP
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Bent bars, crooked wheel, wtf is going on

So we've all been there. You're riding your KLXRTZ650S down a fire road and you're really cooking along. You gas it over a blind rise and expect the road to be fairly straight ahead like the last dozen or so, but no, there's a sharp lefthander 50 ft from you. You get on the brakes, start to get her turned, but those damn 50-50 tires are so worn you don't get any bite front or rear so she slides closer and closer to the edge of the road till you bin it and lay her down. She bounces along on her handlebar for about 10 feet before you get up, dust yourself off, pick her up and apologize profusely. All seems to be well, maybe you have a little bruising on its way, you pick up a broken off sidecover and stick it in your jacket or pack, you remind yourself to tape up that stupid turn signal when you get home, and you get back on. She fires up after you give her another quiet, "Sorry girl," and a pat on the tank.
You pop into first, pull away, but wtf, your bar isn't quite right. When you're going straight, it's pointing to the right, and when you point it straight, you're turning. You examine the bar, doesn't look bent, you look at the wheel and forks, they LOOK straight, the triple clamp seems square, but clearly something is bent.
For the nearly two decades I've been riding, I've just taken her over to a tree or rock, pressed the wheel against it, and bumped the handlebars until I feel I've corrected the issue. Test for straightness, adjust as needed, ride away, problem solved.
What the hell am I bending/tweaking/twerking out of line?
On bikes with rubber mounted handlebars I can at least tell myself it's the mounts getting a bit of play from being smacked around all the damn time, but this happens on bikes with solid clamps as well. The fork lowers rotate independently of the uppers...are the lowers getting slightly turned against the axle, binding it or twisting it slightly? That doesn't make a lot of sense, given the area of flat planes between your forks, spacers, and wheel, but maybe it allows just enough movement one way or the other to get you askew?
Or am I looking at this all wrong with my dick on backwards? When we install new front wheels, we usually move the fork sliders around a bit to make sure everything is straight before tightening it all down. Do I just need to stop and do that and quit whacking my bikes against trees?
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:21 AM   #2
PeterW
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The forks legs are twisting inside the triple clamps.

Sounds stupid - the fork legs are round right ?. But think a twist top to bottom which moves the two sets of mounting points out of line.

Pete
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:12 AM   #3
JRP
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The top and bottom fork triple clamps get out of line, whack it against a tree or rock, problem solved. You might want to invest in a fork brace.
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:22 AM   #4
Snowbird
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Quote:
my dick on backwards
Sounds painful
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Old 06-04-2015, 05:21 AM   #5
dwizum
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Sounds painful
Also, hard to do by accident
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Old 06-04-2015, 05:27 AM   #6
NJ-Brett
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I would stop riding that way (fast into blind turns on bald tires) before you hit something solid.
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:51 AM   #7
BadKarma
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Well he did apologize to the ol' girl..
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:24 AM   #8
bwalsh
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Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
I would stop riding that way (fast into blind turns on bald tires) before you hit something solid.

Best advise so far!
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:51 AM   #9
BlackPanther OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterW View Post
The forks legs are twisting inside the triple clamps.

Sounds stupid - the fork legs are round right ?. But think a twist top to bottom which moves the two sets of mounting points out of line.

Pete
I had to draw this to get it, but thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRP View Post
The top and bottom fork triple clamps get out of line, whack it against a tree or rock, problem solved. You might want to invest in a fork brace.
THAT'S the best advice so far. Explains why so many people run them on these heavier pigs...
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:56 AM   #10
CopaMundial
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Front wheel being straight is vastly over rated. Just wheelie it the rest of the way home.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:57 AM   #11
windblown101
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Originally Posted by PeterW View Post
The forks legs are twisting inside the triple clamps.

Sounds stupid - the fork legs are round right ?. But think a twist top to bottom which moves the two sets of mounting points out of line.

Pete
*Ding* Winner.

If I had a dime for every time I've had to true up a set of forks after an off I'm pretty sure I could at least buy a cup of coffee. ;)

If they are twisting really easy you may want to check the torque on your fork clamp bolts. I usually use the front fenders relation to the front tire as a rough guide when doing a field fix. Close is close enough till I get back home.
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:59 AM   #12
OrangeYZ
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Originally Posted by BlackPanther View Post
quit whacking my bikes against trees?
That's probably not going to happen, so just get used to grabbing the front tire between your knees and twisting the bars straight.
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:59 AM   #13
shovelstrokeed
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Remember the mounting points that determine alignment.

They are:
Front axle
Lower triple clamp
Upper triple clamp

All three should, properly, be loosened to realign the front end. In fact, so long as nothing is bent, just loosening everything, with the front wheel propped off the ground, should restore alignment. Now tighten from the bottom up, starting out just snug and then using a torque wrench to get it all correct.

A bent fork leg can easily mess this up but, with everything loose, you can spin the upper leg in the trees and look for movement around the axle to check.
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:07 PM   #14
CopaMundial
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Originally Posted by shovelstrokeed View Post
Now tighten from the bottom up
Hmm, I've always set everything in finger tight, then torqued from top down.
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:18 PM   #15
LittleRedToyota
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Originally Posted by CopaMundial View Post
Hmm, I've always set everything in finger tight, then torqued from top down.
+1.

you should either bounce front tire or spin it and hit the brake hard or something to align the right fork leg on the axle on many bikes before tightening the right side pinch bolts.

you couldn't do that if you tightened from the bottom up (as the forks would move up/down in the triple if the triple clamps weren't torqued first).

my sequence is: torque top triple clamp...then bottom triple clamp...then the axle...then left fork pinch bolts. then spin the front wheel and hit the front brake hard 3 times. then torque the right leg pinch bolts.
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