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Bent triple clamp causing crooked bars?


Jo John Johnson
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My bars are slightly crooked when riding straight. It was like this from factory so at my 600 mile maintenance I took it to the dealer and had them inspect. They said the bars were slightly off and they adjusted. Now my bars slightly crooked to the other side. I’ve been looking at the bike trying to figure out what is causing it to be crooked and I really can’t figure it out. The only thing that looks off is the triple clamp. One side of the forks might be slightly lower than the other. The actual triple clamp itself looks slightly offset at the gap for the bolts as well. 
 

Has anyone else ran into this issue? Does anyone have any advice for anything I can do my self to get the bars straight? 

I’m new to motorcycles. Sorry for the ignorance. 

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Stand over the front wheel and lock it with your legs and give the handle bars a good yank in the direction you need. The yoke is rubber mounted. 

OR

lock the steering and do it that way. It’s designed to give a bit each way

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I've had a similar steering alignment issue after crashing mine. I had some trouble getting everything lined back up properly. I'd recommend giving the front end a proper once over to get steering alignment back and rule out any fork twist which could lead to you wearing out the fork bushings:

 

1. Slacken the upper fork pinch bolts to the top triple .

2. Slacken the fork pinch bolts to the front wheel axle.

3. Loosen off the steering head top nut (you'll probable need to remove the bars and risers). 

4. With the bike on a paddock/centre-stand, cycle the front forks (this will 'relax' the front end assembly and remove any twist from the forks and upper and lower triple, and front wheel axle).

5. Re-torque the steering head nut (if my memory is correct 148Nm - so quite tight!). To do this, I remove the bars,  turn the handlebar risers around so they are on backwards, and re-fit the bars. This will give you space behind the risers to get a 27mm socket and torque wrench onto the steering top nut, you can then use the bars to hold against the wrench as you torque up the steering nut. Don't tighten  against the steering lock, you'll put twist back into the triples.

6. Re-torgue the upper fork pinch bolts.

7. Cycle the forks again (for good measure!)

8. Re-torque the wheel axle pinch bolts.

9. Refit your risers the right way around!

 

This sounds convoluted, but in my opinion this is the best way to make sure everything is correctly aligned.

 

After my crash and trailside tweak against a fence post, a couple of rides later my front end started knocking. On closer inspection I found my steering nut had come loose, probably because I inadvertently backed it off a hair when I twisted the triples back into alignment using brute force and ignorance!

 

I have to say this gap you show in this picture looks a tad suspect to me, so I'd be questioning weather you have a defective triple-clamp.

 

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Cheers, Mike

 

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I would alson suggest that it is well worth losening the brake calipers, mudguard and fork guards to really free everything up. Once all is loose a good bit of bouncing the front suspension will get things back in order.

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It is VERY unlikely that anything is bent. Just out of alignment which is easy to fix. 

 

You NEVER should have to remove the top clamps center nut unless re-greasing the steering bearings/ adjusting bearing play or something of the like. If a person were to remove both fork legs, the 2 top clamps would move individually from each other- thus not needing to remove the nut.

 

 Either your fork tubes are twisted which is easy to happen, OR your handlebar clamp stems where they are bolted to the top triple clamps are a little twisted in their rubber bushings. That's it. 

 

To get your forks in alignment, without binding them, you would need to remove the front wheel (removing brake calipers 1st helps greatly).  All you then have to do is mark the top of the left fork leg(when viewed from the front of the bike) with a pencil where it sticks above the top clamp (basically where your tape measure is sitting against). Loosen all 4 pinch bolts. Be careful not to allow the fork tube to drop out of the clamps. Have one bolt remain just tight enough to prevent this but be loose enough to allow it to twist. Give the fork tube a twist and re-tighten all 4 pinch bolts to torque spec while keeping it in the same position above the top clamp at your pencil mark.  Loosen the right fork tubes pinch bolts top and bottom. Be careful on the last one (of 4) because the fork will want to slide out again. You will need to keep the last bolt with just enough pressure on the fork to keep it from doing just that. Then put the axle back in (without the tire!) without threading it into the right fork leg. In small increments raise and lower the right loose fork tube while rotating the axle counterclockwise so it doesnt thread in, against the forks axle threads to find the the spot where the axle spins the most freely.  This is the location in which your fork tubes are the most even with each other. Ignore how even they stick out above the top triple clamp. That doesnt matter. Now lock down the fork tubes pinch bolts at that spot. Torque to spec without using lock tight. Be sure to go back and forth between the pinch bolts untill they are fully torqued because they will have a "rocking" effect when torquing them down. Do not over torque. that will distort the fork tubes and cause suspension issues. 

 

Now your fork tubes are good and aligned without binding. Next is the axle bolt without binding. 

 

Put your tire back on, thread in the axle bolt. Tighten to spec. Put your brake calipers back on after you clean their bolts and use blue thread locker. Without tightening the axle pinch bolts, get the bike back on the ground and roll it forward and hit the front brakes hard. Do it a few times. Get the bike either back on a stand or the center stand (should be kept upright and not leaning on the kickstand at this point) and torque the front axle pinch bolts to spec. 

 

This should do the trick with your alignment.  If it's still out of alignment then your issue Is at the handlebar clamp-to triple clamp rubber bushings. I haven't looked on this bike yet but all other bikes usually have a large nut on the backside that holds them to the triple clamp. If so you can loosen those just a little, put your front tire against its stop, pull the handle bars into aligned position and re-tighten the 2 bolts. 

 

This process is easy to do but hard to explain how to do it. If your not confident doing it yourself bring it to someone (not the dealer IMO) who is. Preferably someone/ company who is involved with racing off-road. Off road racers have to do this all the time and are usually comfortable with it.

 

 

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13 hours ago, DT675 said:

You NEVER should have to remove the top clamps center nut unless re-greasing the steering bearings/ adjusting bearing play or something of the like.

I said slacken, not remove!

 

On the T7 steering bearing pre-load is set by a pair of castellated lock-nuts with a locking tab washer below the top triple, so bearings and free-play adjustment will not be affected even if you took the top triple off completely.

 

13 hours ago, DT675 said:

If a person were to remove both fork legs, the 2 top clamps would move individually from each other- thus not needing to remove the nut.

If centre nut is torqued to spec (148Nm) they won't move freely of each other.

 

It's prudent to check and re-torque as part of the alignment anyway. Unless you want it to start knocking in a few rides like mine did!

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When tightening every thing back up be sure to use what ever torque specs that Yamaha gives (and a torque wrench) It is beyond easy to strip the threads out by over tightening the bolts.  Also, there are some good videos on Tube showing how to align up the forks and tighten everything back up if you were having a hard time follow what CReamflourish posted. I use the same method he describes....

Edited by JohnfromDP
left out some info
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3 hours ago, CReamflourish said:

I said slacken, not remove!

 

On the T7 steering bearing pre-load is set by a pair of castellated lock-nuts with a locking tab washer below the top triple, so bearings and free-play adjustment will not be affected even if you took the top triple off completely.

 

Your right on both accounts.  My comment was only “half” aimed at you, but more importantly i was making the general point that you don't need to remove the top clamp nut “unless” you have to get to adjusting bearing play etc.  

 

99% of the time you really do not need to slacken the top nut.  The system will align right up just dealing with the fork and axle pinch bolts.  It’s a pain in the butt to have to remove the bars and loosen the top clamp nut In addition to everything else and its usually just not necessary- as long as your slackening all the fork leg and axle pinch bolts to address both alignment and bind, because they go hand in hand.  The point I’m trying to make Is that most people are unaware of fork and axle bind. Without properly aligning the forks to the axle and each other you get binding. That’s why in my description i have to slide one fork up and down with the other one stationary to find the non-bind point.  I’m sure your way works well for for alignment only with the handlebars but it doesn’t address the common bind issue. Almost every bike I've ever purchased From new The forks are at least slightly bound and off from the factory (surprise, surprise) not necessarily at the handlebars but within the forks themselves- that you cannon see. A bound fork has worse suspension action, can affect stability and prematurely wear out internal components. 

 

 

 

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So, I absolutely love suspension talk. Back when I was racing I spent lots of hours fine-tuning and perfecting suspensions performance.  The subject is near and dear to me enough that it's caused me to spend a bit of time talking with a couple of my ex- racing buddies over this subject.  We came up with three different scenarios in which a suspension can twist and/or cause handlebar misalignment. And thus more than one different way of correction.  Each method of Correction may or may not address the issue without knowing exactly which part in the system has come misaligned. Your method of doing this was very intriguing to me and definitely made sense in the scenario of the top clamps being Twisted from each other, but I felt didn't address the bind issues.

 

Anyway, I think we at least, concluded without knowing exactly where the twist lies, that we feel the most comfortable just loosening the whole front end up and kind of starting over, that way you're sure to address any one of the possible misalignment issues regardless of which one it is. IMO. 😉

 

 

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