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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I'm a new DL650 owner. I have a question concerning handling. The steering feel very light, overly sensitive to the smallest input when going in straight line, at cruising speed ( 45 mph and up). It have tendency to wander a bit over bumps, and follow road defect like cracks and tar snakes. I looked at the steering to detect play at the bearing and find none. Handlebar will not flop to the stop on their own they need a little push to move, and rest where they are when I stop pushing. So I think bearing are ok. What else can cause this? Or maybe the bike is perfectly normal and I just need to ride it more to gaining in confidence?
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Everything you mentioned indicates the steering head bearing is too tight. With the front wheel off the ground, you can push the outside end of a grip with the surface of the nail on your pinkie finger with the finger pointed vertically. The rule of pinkie (thumb is not appropriate here) says moving the handlebar should cause the joint closest to the nail to move and only that joint closest to the nail. If you have a spring scale, it should read between 200-500 grams.
 

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Got to disagree with all the recent posts indicating loose steering head bearings as the cause of certain symptoms. I've ridden more than one bike that was loose and what I experienced was nothing like what I've read here. Believe me that if they are loose, the last thing you'll notice is sensitive steering or 30-50 mph wobbles.

The only cases I'm aware of with loose bearings in a low mileage bike was after a dealer service.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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The common report is too loose causes wobbling and too tight causes weaving.
 

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My wee benefited greatly from correctly tightening the steering stem bearings. It was very unstable in cross winds, especially when going downhill at speed.

About too tight bearings--we need to keep in mind that a motorcycle never goes exactly straight. The trail of the front end is constantly correcting small changes in direction. What we think of as straight running is actually very small weaves returned to center or slightly beyond center by the trail or caster, the horizontal distance from where the steering axis intersects the ground to where the front wheel touches the ground. Too tight bearings or other restriction does not allow the trail to correct the direction, and the bike goes where it's pointed even if we don't know and didn't intend that we (or a road imperfection) pointed it that way.

(Positive trail is where the front tire contact point is behind where the steering axis intersects the ground. More trail = more stability. Negative trail = unrideable bike.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Previous bike was a 2005 Katana 750, sure is a different handling bike but I have a KLR 650 too. The wee seems tramlining a lot more. Borrowed a friend spring scale, I've got about 15 ounces of pull. That translate by 425 grams. Previous owner have installed a fork brace. I have a tiny wooble between 45 and 35 with hand off, but I do not think it's a problem. May try different tires next season, any suggestion ? 100% road, KLR will do the offroad.
 

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Check your fork alignment. Raise the front wheel, loosen pinch bolt, fender, fork brace triple tree bolt, and retorque all to spec. Triple tree bolt and pinch bolt 16.5 ft lbs, axle 47 ft lbs. 425 grams preload sounds right, but you can try tighten it a bit more and see if it help. The Suzuki procedure is to torque the adjuster nut to 32.5 ft lbs, then loosen 1/4 to 1/2 turn, then torque upper nut to 58 ft lbs. Note that torquing the upper nut will add preload too.
 

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The common report is too loose causes wobbling and too tight causes weaving.
I rode a bike that had been tightened too much and weaving is right, it's hard to hold a line, if not impossible.
When loose, the wobble is present at all speeds. When really loose, it feels like there's something wrong with the rear wheel, like it's bent or warped.
 
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