Steering head bearings – inspection & replacement

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    To replace or clean and repack the bearings you will need to remove the front wheel and on some bikes the tank then the top triple clamp or steering to fork top clamp. This is shown at the top of the picture needs to be removed to do this varies on bikes and depends on bar mounting and instrumentation. But most top clamps can be removed by undoing the centre steering nut and the top fork clamps or top caps if they retain the top clamp then slip it off the top with the bars and instruments all still attached to the top. With the tank removed rest it in place on the frame and use a rubber strap to hold them in place.


    Once you have the top clamp off you can then undo the main preload lock ring on the bearing top shown in the picture once this is off let the lower assembly down. If it is a ball type hold a container underneath for the balls to fall into then lower until you can clear the frame steering tube this may require unplugging the speedo drive from the front guard or similar fittings.

    Once you have all the bearings out wash them up and inspect the balls, or rollers and the races for corrosion and pitting or marking from wear if they are not in good condition replace them they are not too expensive. To replace them you will need to get a punch or drift and knock the old races out of the steering head. Be careful not to gouge or gash the steering head bearing seat as you use the drift to remove it. You may prefer to use a slide hammer if available then refit the new races and reassemble in the reverse of above repacking the new races and as adjust as per previous inspection adjustment above once that’s done ride it and recheck the tension after a day or so.

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