/ Tips & Advice

Here are 4 easily overlooked maintenance items that can ruin your motorcycle’s handling

If you’ve noticed that your bike doesn’t handle as well as it used to, it may be time to take a look at these things.

4 easily overlooked items that can ruin your motorcycle’s handling

Many motorcyclists may find the sensation of a motorbike not handling as sharply as it used to, extremely unsettling. Handling problems can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, making diagnosis and repair difficult for the typical rider. While significant difficulties would undoubtedly need the expert eye and touch of a skilled technician, minor handling issues may frequently be recognized and resolved at home. If you've noticed that your motorbike is carrying itself differently than usual, here are a few things to consider for your own safety.

Underinflated tires, poorly adjusted suspension

4 easily overlooked items that can ruin your bike's handling

The simplest and most usual option is to pump your tires to the proper tire pressure as specified in your service handbook. Tires that are underinflated can cause erratic steering, poor grip, and uneven tire wear. The second thing you should check is if your suspension adjustments are set to factory settings, or worse, if there's any visible damage to the suspension system such as leaks or deformities. Check your preload, damping, and fork height settings to ensure they are within factory specs for the increased weight on your motorbike, including the rider, passenger, and supplementary luggage.

Wheel alignment

4 easily overlooked items that can ruin your bike's handling

A misaligned rear tire is the second most prevalent cause of erratic handling. This is common after either adjusting your chain, replacing your rear tire, or general wear and tear. A poorly aligned rear tire can cause a motorbike to deviate left or right in a straight path, or make right turns feel imprecise in comparison to left turns, or vice versa. With the necessary equipment, you can do a basic rear tire alignment procedure at home, and it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes to have your rear tire tuned in to the proper settings. For optimal results, be sure you follow the recommendations in your service manual.

Fork height and alignment

4 easily overlooked items that can ruin your bike's handling

Misaligned forks on your motorbike are most commonly caused by a fall or a minor accident, but they can also be caused by faulty front suspension installation. You can easily check whether your forks are aligned by looking at the upper part of the triple clamps where the top caps of the forks are situated. If you notice that one or the other sits lower, chances are you’ve found your culprit. To rectify the issue, you’re going to need to lift the front end off the ground—either with a front paddock stand or a jack carefully placed on the bike’s belly pan. Once it’s suspended, loosen the bolts on the triple clamp and adjust the height of the forks such that they’re perfectly aligned. 

Uneven tire wear

4 easily overlooked items that can ruin your bike's handling

Poor acceleration and braking, tire skipping or sliding, a tendency for the motorbike to veer left or right in a straight line, and excessive road noise can all result from unevenly worn-out tires. Unevenly worn-out tires are often squared-off tires with a very flat middle band due to excessive straight-line riding, or cupped or scalloped tires with unequal tire wear between the left and right parts of the tire. These types of wear patterns are hazardous to your motorcycle's handling, and you will need to replace your tires with a new pair to restore your motorcycle's optimal handling qualities.

Related Articles

Latest Features