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Old 09-30-2012, 06:27 PM   #1
hammick OP
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F650GS: Rear wheel alignment to make bike track straight

My 2012 F650GS pulls left when the rear wheel is aligned using the rear axle markers. To make the bike go straight when I pull my hands off the bars I had to adjust the wheel quite a bit to the left. In fact I am showing three marks on the top right scale and four marks on the top left scale. That is quite a difference. My chain slack is within spec.

What is the best way on an F650GS to check that the rear wheel is aligned correctly. I am concerned that the bike may be going straight now because I just masked a different problem.

Is there anything that I can adjust or check on the front axle? My bars always fall right when the front is unloaded but I suspect this is from the single rotor being on the right.

Thanks for any help.
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hammick screwed with this post 10-07-2012 at 12:11 PM
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:42 PM   #2
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First question.. Is the distance between the of the jamb nut and inside of the adjuster bolt on both sides the same? You will need a caliper to measure it. If it is and the bike doesn't run straight you may have to have your back looked at. GH
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by GH41 View Post
First question.. Is the distance between the of the jamb nut and inside of the adjuster bolt on both sides the same? You will need a caliper to measure it. If it is and the bike doesn't run straight you may have to have your back looked at. GH
I can't get my calipers to measure between the adjuster and the jamb nut but did measure both sides between the aluminum part the adjuster bolt touches and black plastic the jamb nut touches. The left side is just under six mm greater but with this difference the bike tracks straight.

I'm trying to remedy this myself without dealer help because I have a 2012 K1600GT that pulls to the left and my dealer is going to label me as a whiney problem customer if I also complain about the 650.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:17 PM   #4
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Here is a cool way to check. You even get to make a tool.

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161521
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:59 PM   #5
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I was reading into this issue on the F800 riders forum. Looks like there is thought that the adjusting marks are not to be trusted. From the photos I have seen it looks like BMW changed the marks at some point. My 2012 only has four marks on each side. Gone are the numerous marks indicating millimeters I assume.

Looks like I need to get a motion pro alignment tool.

I suspect my bike is tracking left for some other reason. One guy on F800 riders theorizes that the F650 tracks left because of the weight of the right side rotor and caliper. My bars do fall right when the front tire is off the ground even if I let go of them when turned all the way left.

My patience is running out with BMW. I should have kept my 2011 GSA. Zero issues at 26k miles and it tracked straight as an arrow.

I suspect BMW will F'up the new waterboxer as well.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:58 AM   #6
GH41
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Check the front brake line and clutch cable. GH
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:45 AM   #7
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Get down on the floor and sight down the chain, you will easily see if it is kinked. When it is arrow straight and with the correct tension, ride the bike and see how it feels. Measure the distances. If they are the same, you're good. If they are not, you have issues. It would also be worth loosening and then re-torquing the front wheel as per the book.
You can also use the ABS sensor to check the run out on the wheel just to eyeball it.
6mm is a lot of difference.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:02 AM   #8
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Take note that the "slider blocks" do not always fit tightly in the slot and get a bit cocked,
so if you measure that distance using a caliper do it right in the middle!

I know it's supposed to be easy to sight down the chain, but I'm not very good at it anyway...
I bought a knock-off version of the motion pro tool on eBay... it's a little clunky to use,
but for $7 including shipping it's worth it as I don't adjust chain very often...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-Too...-/190655451356

PS: I find the threads on the adjustment jack-screws way too coarse ... one "flat" is ~5mm of tension
I loved the "snail" adjusters on my old Honda....
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:15 AM   #9
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Don't be fooled

Don't be fooled by the road camber. and make sure you are sitting in the middle.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:43 AM   #10
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The reason not so many people use the string method is because it lines the wheels and not the chain. If everything is where it should be, that method will work, however it will also give you a false alignment of the chain itself if something is out of whack. If you sight down the chain, you are aligning the chain with the motor, rear sprocket to drive sprocket.
Using the string method can result in problems if you have a tweaked wheel or frame, usually a dirt bike problem.
If your chain is arrow straight, you should be good to go, but if you use the string method and sight down the chain and it is cocked to one side or the other, you've got bigger problems.
Anyone born before 1970 has probably heard of and used at some time, the string or two by fours or etc... method.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammick View Post
What is the best way on an F650GS to check that the rear wheel is aligned correctly.
Because of the slop between the wheel and the axle, and between the axle and adjusters, and between the adjusters and the swingarm, it's hard to get consistent and accurate results when you're trying to align and tighten the rear wheel.

One thing that really helps is when the wheel is still loose, throw a rag between the chain and the rear sprocket then spin the wheel backwards (gently). This will tighten the drivetrain and pull the wheel all the way forward up against the stops. THEN tighten the wheel. It will help assure alignment and your results will be far more repeatable every time you loosen and retighten the wheel.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Tinkerer View Post
Don't be fooled by the road camber. and make sure you are sitting in the middle.
In the Americas, we ride on the "Right" side of the road. Excessive road camber would make us go righter!
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:36 AM   #13
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Seriously though, I think you're trying to make two wrongs a right. If so, your tires will wear faster and you'll use more gas. Check the front alignment first. It's harder to check the steering bearings on these bikes because the brake line and clutch cable interfere with the "feel". Regardless, improper bearing adjustment doesn't cause a pull to one side, only weaving equal on both sides.

First confirm the problem. I can just hear the Dealer's thoughts as you say BOTH your new bikes pull left. (Doesn't mean you're wrong though) Find a newer smooth road and travel in one direction noting the track. Immediately return on the same stretch and compare. Riding in the centre (crown) is better if it's safe. Doing this will eliminate cross wind and camber influences. Still goes left on both runs? Then it's alignment. Even if you bought the bike new and never dropped it, the front wheel can still be out of alignment. I've seen the boxes fall off the truck...... Get a flat plate of glass or steel as big as possible (maybe 12"x8") to place flat on the chrome part of the front forks. All four corners should touch at the same time. If not then you have to loosen the wheel and forks and tweak it till it does, then retighten everything to spec and try that with the rear wheel equal and straight. Only when the front alignment is confirmed should you look further. If your bike is in the shop for another reason then ask if they'll put the flat plate on your forks. It'll take 30 seconds to check.

My used F8 was all out of whack from previous dumps. First I straightened the fork alignment and then the handle bar alignment making it track straight but the bars are bent slightly so it always looks like it's going left. With the throttle lock on I can let go and it tracks straight although it looks left.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:00 PM   #14
hammick OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GH41 View Post
Check the front brake line and clutch cable. GH
Excellent advice and fixed my problem. I removed the front wheel and the caliper so I could determine if the forks would always flop to the right like they do with the wheel installed. They would go all the way right from full left by themselves. I determined that the front brake line from the brake lever was pulling the bars right hard enough to cause enough countersteering pressure to make the bike pull left.

A couple zip ties and my bike tracks perfectly straight. It makes me wonder if some bikes have zip ties when delivered. I post a couple pics of where I put the zip ties when I have a chance.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammick View Post
Excellent advice and fixed my problem. I removed the front wheel and the caliper so I could determine if the forks would always flop to the right like they do with the wheel installed. They would go all the way right from full left by themselves. I determined that the front brake line from the brake lever was pulling the bars right hard enough to cause enough countersteering pressure to make the bike pull left.

A couple zip ties and my bike tracks perfectly straight. It makes me wonder if some bikes have zip ties when delivered. I post a couple pics of where I put the zip ties when I have a chance.

Thanks for all the help.
Looking forward to the pics or additional explanation as I am not sure how you were able to fix it. I have the same issue. When I put the bike on the center stand and put weight on the back wheel, the front wheel lifts off the ground and immediately swings hard full right.
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