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Hi,

2008 EX500 with 29k miles on it. I got it with 8k miles. I used to be able to ride "no hands" around 30 mph or so—coasting up to a light or something—without a wobble. Now it begins pretty immediately and grows quickly like a wobble tends to. I don't think it's related to the tire because I don't think it did it on the previous tire even once it was worn out, nor did it begin after putting the new tire on. It's probably been doing it for the last 2 or 3k miles. I suppose it will worsen and eventually it will affect more than just "no hands"! Any ideas?
 

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oh go on then I say it "keep your hands on the bars" LOL(y) anyways the 3 main things I can think of are out of line forks. out of line rear wheel. and slack head stock bearings. there are probably others.
a wobble tends to be the steering going one way then being forced the other way. setting up a syndrome that gets worse as it progresses. bit like a speedboat the front lifts the weight brings it down then it lifts again and so on getting worse until you either shut off or it flips over.
I had a similar thing a while back a bad head shake while coming out of a corner. so I rocked the forks did the string thing and checked the head stock bearing play. it made it better but it wasn't perfect. then while cleaning the bike I noticed the front tyre had been put on in the wrong direction. once swapped it fine.
you said it was fine after your tyre change but may be worth checking just the same.
 

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Read and do “THE STRING THING” you. Rear wheel is out of alignment
FOG
 

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I would replace the bearings--front, rear, hub, and steering stem. I struggled for a long while with the problem you're talking about, and it was changing the bearings that truly fixed the problem. Feels like a new bike afterwards.
 

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Aside from what was said above...check your tire pressure...
 

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If you're the hard cornering type of rider, you may have a cupped front tire. I've had bikes develop a wobble twice and both times a new tire fixed it. If the string test is good and the steering head bearings check out, it may be the tire. Mine did it with plenty of tread left.
 

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I’m not a mechanic and have far less experience than those who commented above so I would heed their advice. Besides their points maybe a warped brake disc although I think that usually shows up when braking rather than when giving yourself a high five. Have you noticed any oil around your fork seals and when is the last time the fork oil was changed.
 

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We hear what we want to hear! @castorp or anyone else, is there a test I should do before replacing "steering stem" bearings? That's what I think it is. Thank you all for your input!
 

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There are tests. You can look them up here or generally on-line. There are many people who can explain how to do these tests it better than I. Apparently, I don't understand the tests anyway because I tested and tested and tested my steering stem bearings and my wheel bearings in all the various ways--and they always passed the tests. But when I finally changed them, because nothing I tried would stop wobbling issues, it made a HUGE difference. All wobbling stopped. The bike was totally steady at any speed. So the bearings were bad even though they passed the tests (at least as I tested).

I have read that it is best to change wheel bearings on a motorcycle every 30 to 40k. For whatever reason, I find it necessary to change them closer to 30k or even sooner (probably because I ride in heavy rains and cross creeks sometimes). If I remember what you said, your bike is nearly fifteen years old and nearly 30k. I say: change the wheel bearings. If you don't know how to do it (I didn't) check out the Delboy's garage vids on youtube. He has videos on changing steering stem bearings, wheel bearings, and fork seals too. That guy shows you how to do all of it fairly clearly with minimal tools. I recommend getting some good long drift punches (In case you're tempted to try it with an old screwdriver, as I once was.) It's much easier with the drift punches. Anyway, I highly recommend setting aside some time and just going ahead and doing it. Check the forks while you're at it. Make sure the seals don't leak. Change them if they do. Change the fork oil in any case. Then, when you get time, service the linkage on the back end. All of this will improve the ride.

I can't tell you how much a dreaded and procrastinated learning to do all of that but once I went ahead and did it, the bike rode soooooo much better, and I was so much more pleased with it.

Good luck with it!
 

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Thanks for Posting this!!! I too have a similar issue... I also had a leaking fork seal and after replacing that it helped reduce the wobble I had my a factor of 10.... I'll definitely have to dig into these other items soon!! It just annoying to always have to have both hands on the bar.
 

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We hear what we want to hear! @castorp or anyone else, is there a test I should do before replacing "steering stem" bearings? That's what I think it is. Thank you all for your input!
you can always cure a problem by throwing money at it. that way it will get sorted out eventually.
problem is how many good parts do you change before you find the one causing the issue. going that route you have no idea if it was just one thing or a combination of things. we see this all the time. use you head it's the best tool in your box.
try all the things that are free first before embarking on a parts buying spree.
very often when a problem occurs it was the last thing you did on the bike. parts do not wear out overnight it's a gradual decline. if a problem arises and you have just altered something on the bike. as a general rule that is the place to start.

figure out why the issues exist, what could cause the issue and test the theory behind it. with a wheel wobble or head shake. when does it do it. what circumstances lead up to it. and why does it do it. all questions to consider.
low speed or high speed. straight roads or bendy roads. different types of road surface. all will give a clue.

then test the theory by doing all the checks you can for free.
check the rear wheel alignment. do the string thing yes it's pain to do but worth the effort.
check the front wheel alignment by rocking the forks.
apply the front brake and try rocking the bike. feel for any movement in the head stock.
place on centre stand raise the front and check how the forks drop from side to side they should be even both directions not too slack not too tight with no uneven spots.
check the wheels then for any play in the bearings rock them top to btm without any weight on them
check the tyres, is the bead marker even all the way round. is the green spot aligned with the tyre valve. are they evenly balanced and turning in the right direction (arrow on side wall).
you may just find the problem doing all this without the need for new parts. of course in the end you may have to change something anyway but it costs nothing to check first,
 

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First you must understand what the wobble is.
‘the bike is not. Following a single track. What you have is two gyroscopes fighting for their own direction. Eventually the stronger one wins and yanks the other to conform.
‘you must get both gyros going in the same track.

I replete do the string thing

Fog
 

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thanks Fog you have just entered the word I was looking for (y) the back wheel is bigger so the stronger one.
"that's an engineers brain for ya"
 

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With greatest respect to Yorkie and Fog (you both have taught me much of what little I know): the OP has a fourteen year old bike with nearly 30K miles. Unless he knows the wheel bearings have been replaced (unlikely on an ex500 with those miles), it's time to change them according just about any maintenance schedule-- especially if he's having wobbling issues. It's also time to grease the steering head bearings according to the maintenance schedule and when he does the little balls are going to scatter everywhere anyway. And with road conditions what they are, they probably have flat spots anyway. It would be silly not to go ahead and replace them with tapered. Should he make sure tire pressure and wheel alignments and all the rest are right? Certainly. But I feel bearing maintenance gets neglected for reason. That's why I bring it up. To invest 70 bucks or so in some new bearings at this stage would no more be throwing money at the problem than buying a new chain and sprockets with 30k on them.
 

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I understand what you are saying and don't completely disagree. it may well be the OP has to change them anyway.
just check all the easy free stuff first. then is the time to delve deeper into the issue.

as a quick history check. my gen 1 came to me with 53k on the clock it had been stood 6 years when I got it and the previous 6 used as a commuter bike. bought as a project it got completely stripped of every nut and bolt all consumables were changed for new. bearings and oil seals of course. it was a no brainer not to while the bike was stripped but I was surprised how good some of the parts were. would have been perfectly serviceable but got changed anyway.
since the rebuild I have put another 36k on it. almost all the parts I replaced are still good. but of course they are checked regularly only the headstock races needed readjusting after the first year (I don't believe I had them right in first place)
this year I hope to pass the 100k milestone. the bearings I replaced will have covered twice the miles of the OP's bike yet are still a good as when they were put on.

of course things wear out when they do you have to replace them until then the old saying " if it aint broke don't fix it" must surely apply.
 

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I would do what Fog and those recommended, to start.. but keep in mind you WILL have to show some other parts love at some point in time.
 

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I never said it won’t need parts, just that ain’t the cause. Worn or loose bearings ,just ampfly the problem cupped tire are caused bu the misalignment ,not the cause of it.

Fog
 
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