Another handlebar wobble thread - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-15-2019, 1:45 PM Thread Starter
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Another handlebar wobble thread

Been looking through the old threads to see if I could figure out whats causing mine. Cant seem to get to the bottom of it.


Symptoms:

Wobble at moderate speeds- Around 30-60mph Handlebar begins to shake back and forth.


What I've inspected:

Wheel alignment - I check the distance from the rear axle to the swingarm pivot to verify the rear wheel is tracking straight and then verify the alignment marks on the swingarm are equal on both sides. Honestly, I spend all day trying to do that string thing and find there are just too many variables to throw the string off track, I don't bother with it.

Fork alignment - Flat plate of glass sits flush without rocking on the forks. Forks spin freely in the triple trees when unbolted.

Head bearings - replaced about a year ago. No play when I try to rock the forks back and forward. Handlebars don't bind when tracking side to side.

Wheel bearings - I feel no play when trying to shift the wheels side to side while raised off the ground.

Swingarm bearings - This is the only thing that seemed a bit iffy to me. With the rear wheel off the ground, I get a maybe a half an inch or so of vertical movement at the swingarm pivot. Not sure if this is normal or not.

Wheels/Tires - Replaced and balanced by a shop within last 300 miles.



I'm not sure what else to check here....bike has not been crashed and the head wobble kind of just showed up randomly a month ago. I've just been ignoring it for the most part. Ideas?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-15-2019, 2:06 PM
fog
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Well the STRING THING is what's going to fix it. your problem is still wheel alignment the frame and the frame marks are worthless. be sure to do the vertical component of the front as well.

The string thing compares with BMD's
Ccomputrac measurements without all the MumBO Jumbo

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-15-2019, 4:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fog View Post
Well the STRING THING is what's going to fix it. your problem is still wheel alignment the frame and the frame marks are worthless. be sure to do the vertical component of the front as well.

The string thing compares with BMD's
Ccomputrac measurements without all the MumBO Jumbo

FOG
I adjusted the rear wheel to measure the same on both sides from the axle to the swingarm pivot point with a tape measure. It should be in correct alignment with the frame.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-15-2019, 6:31 PM
fog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrock205 View Post
I adjusted the rear wheel to measure the same on both sides from the axle to the swingarm pivot point with a tape measure. It should be in correct alignment with the frame.
That don't count and it may be the worst thing.
You want the two gyros to agree on the same path the frame will come along. You must get both wheels aligned and tilted in the same direction. Even the string thing is not enough gif the front wheel tilt on the vertical axis is different from the rear.

This is not my opinion just the facts

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-15-2019, 8:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrock205 View Post

Swingarm bearings - This is the only thing that seemed a bit iffy to me. With the rear wheel off the ground, I get a maybe a half an inch or so of vertical movement at the swingarm pivot. Not sure if this is normal or not.
I know fog already mentioned this. This is not normal at all.

2006 Ninja500R Purchased new July 2006; 0 miles. Miles as of January 2019; 102,137. It's a GO bike, not a SHOW bike.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-16-2019, 7:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpe View Post
I know fog already mentioned this. This is not normal at all.
Can you confirm this? There should be zero play whatsoever at the rear swing arm vertically? Iím not sure if it is perhaps some of the rear shock absorber maybe giving a bit of play.


Going to do the string thing this weekend. Probably will take me all day to get it right
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-17-2019, 4:32 AM
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Where is play on swingarm? With rear up in air, should be ZERO play anywhere on rear suspension. Only vertical movement of back-wheel if you push it up with jack.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-17-2019, 4:44 AM
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I can confirm mine doesn't have that play. Nor did it have that play before I rebuilt the unitrack including replacing the seals and bushings in the swing arm pivot at around 98,000 miles.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-17-2019, 8:30 AM
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This is kinda obvious but... have you checked tire pressure? Especially in the front. I have found that even a few pounds on the low side can make the front end wobble exactly like you are talking about. I mean, if the temp drops a few degrees, I had better check and adjust the tire pressure if I don't wanna deal with the wobble. Also, certain tires seem more prone to wobble than others, even when new.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-18-2019, 3:58 AM
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Long shot, but some tires just do not work with some bikes' steering geometry.

I finally figured out why I like Ducatis: With their exhaust note and dry clutch, they sound almost like a Guzzi!
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-18-2019, 5:31 AM
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Originally Posted by po18guy View Post
Long shot, but some tires just do not work with some bikes' steering geometry.
I can confirm this is true. following on from my thread on this issue. [low speed wobble] I tried all the suggestions made. string thing. rocking the forks. vertical alignment, bearing play. all were fine so came to the conclusion it is the tyre tread pattern, it does improve a little raising the pressure a few PSI. but not much.
but changing the front wheel from my other bike cured the issue completely, I was not able to try this wheel on the other bike to see if it induced a wobble on that bike because the tyre would not go between the front fender bolts.

the tread pattern on the wobbling wheel is a sort of block tread [Michelin] but the other wheel has a radial tread pattern [Avon] I believe this is the issue.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-18-2019, 8:56 PM
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Swingarm Pivot- should be no play there. Definitely check the bearings and pivot collar, something is amiss there.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-18-2019, 8:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Where is play on swingarm? With rear up in air, should be ZERO play anywhere on rear suspension. Only vertical movement of back-wheel if you push it up with jack.
Canít tell the origin. But when I put both hands on the swing arm and lift upwards with the rear wheel lifted, I get a bit of movement up and down. Theres definitely a bit of play. Something is definitely wrong I believe now. Today I went a bit hard on the rear brake and I heard an audible clunk from the rear end. No idea what it could be. Going to have to investigate this over the weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by castorp View Post
This is kinda obvious but... have you checked tire pressure? Especially in the front. I have found that even a few pounds on the low side can make the front end wobble exactly like you are talking about. I mean, if the temp drops a few degrees, I had better check and adjust the tire pressure if I don't wanna deal with the wobble. Also, certain tires seem more prone to wobble than others, even when new.
Tire pressure is good. I was getting wobbles before with my old tire and now with my brand new one. Iím leaning toward something being screwed up in the rear suspension right now
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-19-2019, 10:19 AM
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[quoteIím leaning toward something being screwed up in the rear suspension right now][/quote]

No doubt, from what you describe, that is where the problem lies. Since the front end checks out, check the shock bolts- upper mounting hole is known to wear if not tightened enough.... check dog bones and linkage bolts, check the swingarm pivot bolt, collar and bearings. Look for anything not tightened, or with slop or play present. All should be properly tightened and well greased, no slop

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-19-2019, 5:32 PM
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If you have any play in the main swing arm bearing all else above in this thread is redundant.

You must tear down the whole rear suspension ,remove the swing arm completely and renew all the required parts.
Then come back for help

Fog
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 9-20-2019, 3:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fog View Post
If you have any play in the main swing arm bearing all else above in this thread is redundant.

You must tear down the whole rear suspension ,remove the swing arm completely and renew all the required parts.
Then come back for help

Fog
Will do. Going to go over everything willi suggested and go from there.
Thank you
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 9:58 AM
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Jayrock, I'm interested in hearing about the repair/results. Since you posted this I have noticed the swingarm on my bike also has a bit of up and down play.
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