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Front end/tracking problems

Posted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:46 pm
by mbeerman
I have an 83 Interstate with 35,000 km. on it. I have replaced the stock fork springs with progressive springs, I have replaced the front wheel bearings and the front tire is 1 year old, approx. 5,000 k on it. I have a constant problem with the front wheel following cracks in the pavement. I have had the bike on a lift and checked for play in the steering head, and I can't detect any play. I also checked the fork brace and it seems to be installed correctly and the bolts are tight. What else can I look for?

Re: Front end/tracking problems

Posted: Thu May 10, 2012 3:33 pm
by WingAdmin
Are you sure it's a problem? My 1100 has always followed cracks and so on in the road. My 1500 however, does not as much - that said, the 1100 feels much lighter and quicker in terms of steering, particularly at low speeds. The 1500 feels more "trucklike" where the 1100 can easily dart around things.

Does it feel different than it used to? i.e. did it change since you put a new tire/springs/whatever on? Keep in mind that new tires have a more rounded profile, because the old ones have a flat spot worn in the middle, where most riding/wear takes place. The flat portion of the tire provides a much larger contact patch to the road, and causes a much more powerful castering action in the front end as a result (i.e. it wants to go straight, and is harder to diverge from going straight). When you put new tires on, the unworn, rounded middle portion of the tire presents a much smaller contact patch, and the front wheel can caster much more easily, making it follow imperfections in the road surface much easier, as well as feeling more "darty" overall.

Re: Front end/tracking problems

Posted: Thu May 10, 2012 3:41 pm
by virgilmobile
3 things I can think of....Smaller cracks,old hardened tire,too much tire pressure.
Sorry about the crack :)
If you've eliminated everything else,it may just be the tire.You know,no give to it.
I had to remove a tire from a rim I gave away.The tire looked new.It was in fact 15 years old and so hard I had to use a saw to remove it.There was just no flex any more,in the tread or sidewall.
Look at the date code on the tire.If it's over a few years old,you might replace it.
Also if your running a high tire pressure,the tire has less flex and runs like it's on rails,or cracks in your case.
Get the tire size recommended for the bike.I did have a gl1100 that someone put on a really skinny front wheel and it was horrible to handle.

Re: Front end/tracking problems

Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 12:56 pm
by mbeerman
I have owned the bike for one year now, so the tire has not been was very new when I purchased the bike. The tendency to follow cracks in the pavement has always been there. I did check the date on the tire and it is 0307, so it is over 5 years old now. Would a new tire make a difference?