How to Fix Motorcycle Alignment

You might be wondering can a motorcycle be out of alignment? Well, yes, your bike can go out of alignment without even noticing. This happens due to improper installation, or after an impact, they impart your bike’s twisting motion. But how to fix motorcycle alignment?

This guide will discuss everything associated with this topic to help you make sure your motorcycle’s forks are straight, so keep reading.

Front Wheel Not Aligned with Handlebars

Front Wheel Not Aligned with Handlebars

Here’s a thing about front wheel alignment. It can go off even if you drop the bike in your garage. But most people are not too active in rectifying this crucial yet straightforward issue.

So, will it affect how your bike behaves? Well, no, because it has nothing to do with your motorcycle’s engine or anything else. And this is precisely why most riders continue riding their misaligned motorbikes.

Another reason why many riders care less about this issue because no matter what happens, your front wheel will always point straight when you are riding it. Therefore, you will only feel just a bit odd based on how severely the misalignment has occurred.

If the difference is not that much, most people don’t even bother to rectify the issue. At normal speeds, it will not hurt that much either. But when you are at high speeds, the consequences can turn out to be pretty severe. So, it’s better to fix motorcycle alignment issue before you start riding your bike again.

Rectifying the Misalignment Issue

The good thing is, there are a plethora of online tutorials and guides available on the internet. So, how to realign your motorcycle forks the easy way? Here are some quick and easy steps to follow if you don’t want to watch those long tutorials and get back on the road.

Steps to follow to realign your motorcycle

Get your torque wrench and your bike ready

torque wrench
  • Have a torque wrench with you at all times. You will need it the most and keep it as your life depends on it.
  • Now, put your motorcycle on its rear-end paddock stand.
  • You should place a few newspaper sheets right under your front tire. By doing so, you will allow your front wheel to pivot comfortably afterward.

Time to loosen those screws on the fork assembly

loose screws on the fork assembly
  • Now, loosen those 4 screws that are holding your bike’s forks onto that lower triple.
  • Loosening the screws can be tough because they are normally behind the fairings if you have a sports bike. You won’t have any space to move your tools and hands freely.
  • But be patient, and while you’re loosening, you might hear some faint crackling sounds as you are rotating those forks back into their original position within that triple tree.
  • You are getting them back into their original position as they were rotated out of it during an impact or a fall. This causes that front wheel to be misaligned.
  • When loosening those screws, you have to keep in mind to work on one side first and release each of these screws about half to 1 turn per screw.
  • If you lose one screw entirely, you will end up cracking your triple tree clamp section. This happens due to the excess stress on the other screws holding those forks inside the clamp tight. Therefore, you have to be cautious when tightening them up. Just go half to 1 turn per screw.

Loosen those front axle bolts

Loose front axle bolts
  • Now, loosen the front axle bolts as well as the axle bolt. Again, you can refer to your bike’s owner’s manual for better assistance. You can also watch those online tutorials for more guidance. But be sure to watch the videos specific to your bike’s model and make.
  • When loosening those axle bolts again, use the same approach. Do one side first, and release each screw for approximately half to 1 turn per bolt.
  • Again, if you lose one bolt entirely, you will crack your axle clamp section. This happens because the other bolts will stress out as it holds the axle into the clam tightly.
  • And when you are tightening them up, you will have to be careful and turn halt to one turn each.

Loosen the screws on the front guard

  • Now, loosen the screws that are holding your front guard to your bike’s forks. Without this, you won’t rotate the axle and fork assembly back into their positions.
  • You might also notice that some screws and bolts are tougher to remove than others. This happens because those forks are twisted within the triple trees, which is causing the misalignment.

It’s time to work on the alignment

  • Now, this is the tricky part! You have placed those newspaper sheets right under the front wheel of your bike. And they will help you in pivoting the heel in place, aligning itself without much drag and rubbing. Now hop on your bike and roll your bike forward using your feet. Now grab your brakes hard to halt the bike.
  • You can also grab your brakes and bounce on your front end a few hard times. By doing this, you allow your front wheel and brake rotor and the fork assembly to move and realign back into their original position.

You might have to do some “convincing.”

  • This is the time when you need to straighten the handlebars and get off your bike. Check where the front heel is while you are standing right in front of your bike.
  • All the pushing will straighten the bike wheel if you get lucky. Otherwise, your front wheel needs some convincing.
  • When convincing, you will have to hold the front wheel in your thighs, hold your handlebars in your hands, and move your wheel back straight. Be careful not to move it in an opposite position.
  • Now, get back on your bike, hold the brakes and do a few bounces again as you did previously. You will notice the heel is back in its place.

What if misalignment persists?

  • If you didn’t move the wheel back into its place, your forks might bend. So, fixing your forks is not a big issue. But it will get worse if your triple tree is bent.

Now everything needs to be reassembled and torqued

forks reassembled and torqued
  • Once getting all that out of the way, you need to tighten those loose screws and bolts back into their place. But you can leave the front guard without torquing because that is not critical here.
  • Again, you can refer to your bike’s owner’s manual and torque them up as per the specs. Tighten those pinch bolts in the right order and as per the factory standards.
  • Now, mount the guard back on and tighten those triple tree screws. These screws tend to get loose over time and fall out if you tighten them.
  • You have to torque them up as well, or you will end up binding the fork assembly. So, your forks won’t retract and extend as they should. It is a proper balancing act, and you have to treat it carefully with the help of your torque wrench.

FAQs

Can I fix motorbike alignment in my garage?

Yes, you can, and you don’t need much DIY experience with it as well. You can go through our step-by-step guide above or watch online tutorials to do it effectively without any external help.

Just follow the instructions carefully and refer to your owner’s manual specific to your bike model. When looking for the tutorials on fixing motorcycle alignment, look for the ones specific to your bike model and make.

How would I know if my bike is misaligned?

You will notice your bike is misaligned if it pulls towards the right or left when riding it. If it is a minor misalignment but still noticeable, you can check for uneven or swift tire wear. You will also notice your handlebar is slightly crooked when you are riding straight. Those tires might also start to squeak when you’re riding your bike.

Is it fine to ride a misaligned bike?

There is nothing wrong with riding a misaligned bike, mainly if you do it in the short run. It doesn’t impact your overall engine or fuel consumption in any way. But if you continue to ride, you will notice uneven tire wear. This might lead to any unwanted incident on the road.

You will notice your wheel is misaligned at higher speeds, and steering will become inappropriate. And when going at high speeds, it can impact the fork system and cause a severe accident.

Conclusion

So, you have learned how to fix motorcycle alignment and that too without spending a dime as you have avoided going to your motorcycle shop. The entire process is simple if you do it patiently and follow the instructions.

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