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Head shake

Yamaha fazer headshakeQ: I happen to own a 2005 Yamaha Fazer 1000. I use it every day and for breakfast runs over the weekend. The bike has 52,000km on the clock.

Recently it’s begun to shake its ‘head’ while slowing down, even worse when I take my hands of the handlebars. The front tyre is relatively new. So I don’t think that’s the problem either. I’ve been told that it could be the steering head bearings that might need replacing. So I placed the bike on its main stand, pushed down on the back end, and there seems to be no excessive play or tight spots. So could you please give me any further information regarding the reason why it would do this, and thanks for your time to read this question?

Martin Scholtz

A: If you’ve checked the steering head bearings and you’re happy that they’re OK and the front tyre isn’t excessively worn I’d check out the rear tyre.

If the tyre is worn flat in the middle then that will definitely be the problem because the bike doesn’t know which direction to take. If you’ve fitted an oversize tyre that would make matters even worse. I believe your bike should have a 180-section tyre on the rear.

If this doesn’t rectify your problem it might pay to think about fitting a steering damper. 

Tyre change?

Yamaha R1 2008 tiresQ: Hi there, I own a Yamaha R1, 2008 model. I ride it primarily on the road and do the odd track day or two.

My question is that I’ve recently bought a set of second hand Metzeler Interact race tyres and I would like to know the disadvantages, if any, of turning them around so I can wear them evenly on the other side. The left side having more wear than the right, but they’re still fine? If this is too dangerous an operation then please let me know before I do it, and thanks for your time?

Tim Martins

A: It’s fine to turn them around because we do it on our BMW S1000RR race bike. It just takes a few laps to ‘re-grain’ the other side, with no adverse effects. The construction of the tyre is designed to work in one direction but in racing it is common practice to turn them around and I’ve never seen any trouble from doing so.

The only down side on the road could be less traction in wet weather. The groves in the centre will now direct water towards the centre of the tyre instead of away from it. So if riding in the rain just be aware of that and ride accordingly. Otherwise go ahead with the reversal.


Honda NC700X Neutral Gearbox

hondanc700problemI use a Honda 2011 NC700X for my daily commute and I love it. For what it was designed for, it does the job exceptionally well.

Q: My only gripe is the gearbox. Its as if the neutral position quietly sneaks around the box and pops up at the most inopportune moments between gears where one would not expect it to be. On a quick pull-off one often ends up with 'neutral' selected between any gears from 2nd to 4th. Even when shifting through the gears at a slower but more pronounced manner I end up double de-clutching at some point (almost on every up-shift sequence), just to get through the unexpected 'neutral' position. Is this what one has to live with when buying a 'cheaper' bike, that has a 'clunky' gearbox or is this something I can have fixed under warranty, as I do not know if all NC700Xs suffer from this, or is it just my particular bike?

Thanks Claus.

A: I doubt very much if Honda would release a bike with this sort of problem, ever. If it’s just a case of not achieving a positive selection you might want to check the position of the gear lever in relation to your foot. If it’s set too high it could cause this problem and I don’t know if the gear lever is adjustable on this bike so please check it yourself. If so try lowering it?

I’ve also been informed that there was a recent recall on this bike regarding the chain, making the gear change ‘snatchy’. Honda say if your bike hasn’t been fitted with a D.I.D. chain take it back to your dealer for a replacement, they will know what I’m talking about, so enquire further? But on another note, if the gearbox is still bad after these changes there may be something internally wrong. It therefore it will be under warranty and fixed accordingly by Honda.

Hope this helps ‘one’? 


johnwaynonstarterQ: I have a Jonway scooter and I just cannot get it to start. The warrantee has expired so I'm trying to fix it myself. The engine has only done 7,560km. I've checked all the hoses and cleaned out the carb, fitted a new fuel and air filter and the automatic choke seems to be working because I connected it to a battery and saw it move, as recommended. I've also fitted a new spark plug. Any ideas before I kill myself?

Grim Reefer

A: Check the inlet manifold rubber to see if it's perished, but I doubt it with only that mileage on the bike. So I would say you have tight tappets, which is very common on these types of air-cooled engines. So take off the body panels and then the tappet cover, turn over the engine until one valve goes down and check the other for free play. If not, back off the nut and give it some. Then do the other. I'm positive this will be the problem because we get it in my workshop a lot. Check your manual for the clearance gap or call Jonway ( if you don't have one.










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