Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS
Check the steering head bearings by putting the bike on the centerstand and with the front wheel off the ground, straddle the front tire, grab the lower fork legs and gently try to move them back and forth. If there's any movement, they're too loose. To adjust, remove the chrome cap on the top triple tree and loosen the steering head bolt. The adjustment bolt is under the top tree and has notches along it's edge for a spanner to grab onto. If you don't have a spanner (you most likely don't) then do as Florida said. Grab a drift (punch) and a small hammer and tighten the adjusting nut by GENTLY tapping against one of the notches. Only tighten it a little bit (maybe move it 1/4"-1/2"), tighten the steering head bolt to 32 ft-lbs and recheck for play. If there is still play, repeat the process. Once the play is removed, put the forks straight ahead and give the fork a nudge to one side. The fork should fall smoothly to the side (ideally it'll fall right to the stop, but the cables will likely hinder it). Then try the other side. It should move freely in both directions. If it's "notchy", and tends to hang up on-center, the bearings are shot. The most difficult step in replacing them is removing the lower bearing race from the steering stem. A puller is recommended, but not absolutely necessary. I got mine off by tapping a putty knife in between the race and the lower tree, then progressing to thin screwdriver then thicker screwdriver (tool abuse, I know, but I own screwdrivers for screw removal and other screwdrivers for more inventive uses like this). Putting the steering stem/lower tree into a freezer for a while, then heating up the race for a few seconds with a torch would make it easier, too.