Alignment issue 1150 GS

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by FourG, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Alright keyboard mechanics, I've got one for you.:*sip*

    Recently my 2000 1150 GS seems to have decided it doesn't want to ride on the straight and narrow any longer.

    Symptoms:
    • Since I've owned the bike it's always wanted to stray right when I let off the bars... It was never an issue per say as I felt the bike had tracked straight with my hands on the bars.
    • (Recently) when riding the bike in a straight line on the highway I'm noticing I need to give it a little left bar input which makes the bike lean slightly to the left when trying to go straight.

    Things I've tried (admittedly not a lot, yet)
    • I've eliminated the "crown in the road" theory by briefly riding on the opposite side with the same effect
    • Checked the haynes manual for any kind of alignment procedure. What they listed didn't seem too scientific so I haven't really tried it.
    • Loosened the fork clamps and tried to let it naturally find it's resting place, torqued them back up to spec
    • Checked the final drive for play
    • Checked tire pressure
    • Check the front tire for play
    • Checked if the spoked wheels are true
    • Visually inspected both wheels for any camber issues
    • Tried riding without the system cases

    Other things to note:
    • Two brand new tourances mounted and balanced by me
    • I ride with the system cases almost 100% of the time, although I've tried riding without them and I have the same issue.

    What should be my next steps?:ear Anyone else ever encounter this issue?
    #1
  2. Spaggy

    Spaggy Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,151
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Mine was doing that too. My windshield was cocked to one side a bit. Helped but still have a little pull with hands off.
    #2
  3. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    So your windshield was cocked enough to give you the illusion it was leaning? I've suspected a placebo effect like this... I think I might buy a cheap bubble level and attach it to the console to see what physics reports..
    #3
  4. M38A1

    M38A1 Type-A Introvert

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    348
    Location:
    Central Tejas
    Crown in the road?

    Riding in the same lane of travel for a tad bit more tire wear on one side combined with the crown?

    .
    #4
  5. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yeah, I should have put that in the "things I've tried." I know the roads are crowned but this is "new," meaning it feels different than it used to. I've also tried eliminating that variable, still happens.

    Also, brand new tires that were newly balanced and mounted by me.
    #5
  6. bdarling

    bdarling Weatherman

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    432
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Let's rule out the obvious: weight in your side cases.

    I got a new laptop at work that weighs SIGNIFICANTLY more than my old computer and I was shocked by the amount of steering input I needed to keep the bike going in a straight line with the computer bag in my right pannier. Just to verify that the computer was the culprit, I moved the bag to my left pannier and found myself correcting the other way. Solution: leave the damned electronic leash at work! :D

    I suppose your response will be that you don't ride with side cases :lol3

    -B
    #6
  7. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Actually, you've identified another line item I forgot to add to the "things I've tried." I do always ride with the side cases and a laptop in the right side... however it's a tiny little Macbook Air and I've also tried riding without the side cases to eliminate a variable... same issue.

    Keep the thoughts coming! We're narrowing in!:clap
    #7
  8. SkiFly01

    SkiFly01 Govna Racepipe

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    592
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    counterbalance, carry a bag of concrete. :D
    #8
  9. JRP

    JRP Old guy

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,562
    Location:
    Hampden, MA
    Have you checked to see if the forks were twisted in the triple clamps?
    I will assume you have ruled out a bent fork tube, you would remember if you hit anything that hard :D
    #9
  10. scooteraug02

    scooteraug02 Dog Rancher

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,555
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Brand new tires will do that until the get a flat spot then you should be able to ride hands off no problem.

    Started our AK trip with new tires and the bike was all over. I thought it was the load but after a few K miles it road hands off straight for as long as I wanted.

    If you ride hands off enough you can trim it straight with body english or a little hand in the wind.

    Do you carry more weight in one bag than the other. Maybe you have worn a groove in the tire that is noticeable when the bags are empty.

    http://www.framestraightsystem.com/Motorcycle Frame Check.htm
    http://www.ibmwr.org/otech/whelalin.html
    #10
  11. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    [​IMG]

    I'm assuming we're talking about the fork bridge(10)? Yes, I've tried that.
    #11
  12. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #12
  13. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Also, does anyone know any tricks to checking that your bars are completely straight? I'm assuming the only way is to measure with a micrometer from the bar clamps to the frame?
    #13
  14. everycredit

    everycredit Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    272
    Location:
    Tacoma
    Have someone else ride it and test for straightness. Do not contaminate his or her judgment by stating which side it drifts to. If he or she determines it is straight, assume testicular cancer. Added weight to one side or another can cause bike to drift.
    #14
  15. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    22,868
    Location:
    The Submarine Mines
    He may not. His insurance co-pay certainly would.
    #15
  16. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,052
    Location:
    so. cal.
    Quick question here:

    You say you mounted new tires, was it doing before the tires? Or did it start when you put on the new tires?

    Did it start just one day? Or, Develop over time?

    Mine feels that way sometimes, usually it is I forgot and put too much in the right side case, but you are doing it without the cases....have you tried loading the left case and minimal or empty right case to see if that changes it?

    My right system case lock is broken so it opens quickly and easily, I tend to stuff every thing it that side just because and the PTTR get way bad.
    I ride with a couple spare bottles of water in the left case just to help.
    #16
  17. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I've noticed the issue within the last week. I mounted the new tires about 2 weeks ago, so it is possible that I didn't notice it for a week and that it could have aligned with mounting the new rubber.

    It was also the first time I had ever taken the wheels off the bike since owning it.
    #17
  18. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    13,737
    Location:
    The woods and mountains of Alabama
    My 2001 BMW GS REProm shows a fixture for measuring the wheel track offset of the GS. The fixture quoted is BMW No. 36 3 920, Track Offset Guage. This would tell you if you have something bent.
    #18
  19. FourG

    FourG Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Not sure I follow. Is this something the dealer would have?
    #19
  20. boxermoose

    boxermoose Now fully goosed

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,960
    Location:
    Gulf Coast TX
    Get a couple 8" flourecent bulbs and a buddy

    Lay the down each side of the rear tire and see how they lay to the front wheel when the bars are straight
    #20