Q: I’ve now owned my precious Honda Blackbird for 12 years and during our symbiotic relationship we’ve covered just over 87,000km, with no problems besides a broken battery that I’ve replaced.
However, recently my ‘bird has developed an annoying little weave that seems to be exaggerated when I pass over white lines or repair bands in the road surface.
My tyres are relatively new and I run the correct pressures as suggested in the owner’s manual. I’ve also checked the head bearings and they are smooth and tight. All of the wheel bearings are in a similar good shape as well.
So what would you guys suggests I check over next? Any help will be well received and thanks again for your ‘free’ technical advise and support.
A: There’s one, or two actually, things that you haven’t mentioned. They’re called the swing-arm bushes or bearings. And with a bike of this mileage and power I would most certainly say that this is your problem and they will cause the bike to perform a weave when worn, especially over white lines and the like.
So take out the back wheel, remove everything else that needs to be removed and pull out the swing-arm, and then you’ll be able to see and remove the offending parts.
Honda dealers will be able to order the parts for you and they’re relatively easy to fit and then find the correct torque settings off the Net for the swing-arm shaft and tighten everything up. Then you’ll be back to where the bike’s handling should be.
Q: My 1981 Suzuki GS 850, the one with the shaft drive, has recently begun to make a horrible noise that seems to be coming from around the clutch area, and it has me worried!
It has me so worried that I decided to take off the clutch cover and have a look inside, which turned into a nightmare because after putting the clutch cover back on it then pissed out oil all over my foot and I spent many hours on the phone trying to find a gasket. I did eventually find a ‘pirate’ gasket that cured that problem, anyway…
So I took out all the plates, steel and friction, but none of them were broken or damaged or badly worn and the big nut inside the hub is nice and tight so I put it all back together but still the irritating noise remained.
So my question is, what should I look for next and have you ever had a similar problem with this type of motorbike? Your help on this matter will be greatly appreciated.
A: You should have gone further whilst you were inside the engine because your problem does indeed arise from the clutch, or more specifically the clutch basket itself.
Take it to pieces again, as your did before, and remove the ‘big nut’
you described. If you have trouble undoing it try putting the bike into gear and standing on the back brake whilst the plates are still in there, it makes life easier, then pull out the whole assembly off the gearbox shaft.
Once you do have a good look at the back of the clutch basket and I bet the rivets that hold the back plate onto the basket are all worn and loose. This will cause the noise problem and an even bigger problem if they break off, because it might just wreck the entire motor.
So, don’t ride anymore until you fix this! Go on -line and you’ll easily find a heavy duty replacement back plate, rivets and springs in a kit and then you’ll need to find a good engineer to fit it all together, but do it now rather than later?
Q: I own a 2013 BMW S1000RR and I hardly ride it on the road but I do attend as many track days as possible and ride in the ‘A’ group, so I’d like to brag that I’m reasonably quick.
But since I’ve had the bike I do seem to be having problems with the front forks. They just don’t have the feel of my friends R1, which feel much better than this problematic front end of mine ever does.
I’ve tried fiddling and changing fork oil and stuff but they still feel a bit ‘choppy’ to say the least. So do you have any settings I could try and how often should I change the fork oil because my local BMW dealer doesn’t seem to have a clue, or care?
I know you’ve raced these bikes so I thought it would be best to run this question by you and hopefully you’ll send me in the right direction – literally?
A: Yes, we have raced these bikes for a while now and to be honest BMW should give a S1000RR owner a formal and official apology and perhaps a gift voucher to spend at Woolworths, because the stock Sachs forks are shite items that shouldn’t even be on a bike of this caliber!
The only way to sort out these forks is to change all the internal parts for aftermarket superior performance parts from, say, Race-Tech for example, or the like. Fiddling and changing fork oil will make little or no difference, but for interests sake the fork oil relating to track use only should be changed at least every 20-hours of track time.
If you’re not happy best you just bring them to us at Bikeworks (011 792 5795) because we’ve already converted many and have the parts in stock?
Q: Hello dudes. I’ve just been into my local car tyre shop and had my tyres filled with nitrogen. The mechanic said it’s a good idea, especially on a fast motorbike, and it’s possibly safer. I ride a BMW
I can say the bike now feels more stable and corners better, so I can recommend doing the same to all your readers. It does cost a small amount though and you have to find another nitrogen ‘dealer’ if you need to add more, which can be a bit of a pain.
So, do you believe in nitrogen gas as well and would you change the tyre pressure or leave the recommended BMW settings? It’ll be interesting to hear or read your thoughts?
A: Er, Are you smoking odd things or drinking absinthe by the litre?
If you can feel any difference by inflating your tyres with nitrogen instead of ‘normal’ air, I’ll eat your crankshaft!
Nitrogen is more useful for race use only, as used by all race teams in MotoGP and World Superbike, because it doesn’t expand when the tyre warms up and therefore increases the internal pressure. So, if you inflate your tyre to say, 2-bar, it will stay at 2-bar no matter how hot the tyre gets, which keeps tyre wear to a constant in race conditions. So, if you use ‘normal’ air the tyre pressure will increase, depending on conditions.
We don’t even use nitrogen in our race bikes because it’s too much trouble and if all the air isn’t totally evacuated from the tyre in the first place – it makes no difference at all anyway.