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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

So I was riding yesterday up a busy street here in LA (La Cienega if you know the area) when I heard a sudden "clunk / clank / ping" and lost my front brakes. I immediately pulled over to the side of the road, which luckily happened to be right in front of a gas station with a decent sized parking area. That's when I noticed that the wheel was wobbling all over the place.

So the deal with my particular situation is that my bike has had a GSXR front end conversion done, and some custom bits and pieces - it's a stock CX front wheel with some custom machined spacers that mate it to Ninja Rotors and to fit the width of the GSXR fork. It's not a straightforward replacement of the stock size CX wheel bearings (as far as I know). I was able to get it apart today, to see what was going on, and I'm pretty sure the hub of the CX wheel is toast. I'm hoping the gurus here can either confirm that I need a new hub/wheel, or let me know if it's possible or worth trying to have it machined out. I'm not sure what it's supposed to look like exactly.

Here's video of the play in the wheel:

Photo of the wheel as it came off:


Photo of the inside of the hub (note that the far outer bearing race is still stuck inside the hub):


The frightening thing is that this bearing failure occured about 40 miles or so after having my front tire replaced... I'm extremely hesitant to point a finger, but I'm wondering if the mechanic that put my wheel back on after installing the tire put it together wrong (transposed a spacer or something) and that is what caused the failure. This happened suddenly, and the mechanic/tire guy even commented that the bearings were in great shape when he put it back together, before I left his tire shop. This guy only does motorcycle tires, and he seemed to really know his shit. I'm hoping it's just bad luck that the bearings went bad.

So what do you guys think? Do I need to find myself a replacement front wheel?

Thank you.
 

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Daaaamn, glad you are right-side-up!
I don't have a lot of tech experience either, but I would have a HARD look at the brake rotors and calipers and mounts as well. That much play could easily bend shit that shouldn't oughtta be bended. The fact that you were 40 miles past a bit of work is VERY suspicious, and if brake parts are damaged this could get expensive. I wonder if the experienced mechanic forgot he was working on a non-standard build and forgot to do something.

I'd have a wheel to send you, but I did a seriously stupidass thing and scratched one of the surfaces where the tubeless tire seals, probably junked it right there. Luckily I'm changing to a GL1100 wheel, and can bury my shame in the back yard.

Good luck to you!
 

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get a new wheel they shoud be a dime a dozen

its to bad im on the other coast i have 7-8 of them destined for the metal recyclers

when you put it back to gether get someone who does or has done gsxr conversions to look at pictures of the assembly

you might even write devin at cognitomoto and let hom look to make sure its fit together properly

i
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I already ordered a new wheel... found one on eBay that appeared to be in good condition, and nearby for shipping purposes (Las Vegas). All in, about $43. The shoulder that the bearing seats against is obviously destroyed, as are the spacers that were made (the tube ones, similar to the stock distance collar). I guess what I really meant to ask was if it would be worth it (or safe) to unbolt the hub from the new wheel and replace only the hub, since my current wheel has already been nicely powdercoated. My safety is a higher priority than saving a few bucks on powdercoating though.

I will definitely be checking all the components before it goes back together. Justin was kind enough to let me know which shop here in LA machined the spacers, and I feel like I could trust them to do it again - seeings how the bike had thousands of miles on it after they had done the work. Apparently they honed out the inside of the hub in order to make the bearings fit. Everything else seems okay, the rotors aren't bent, nor do the calipers appear to be damaged.

I may also get in touch with Cognito Moto though... I'm wondering if I sent him a comstar and my rotor adapters and rotors if he'd be able to help me sort it out. That's obviously a question for Devin though.

Thanks for all the input guys, I'll keep you posted as to how it all turns out.
 

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All I can say is hope you get it sorted,and safely on the road.

The only way to get around quickly in that area.

I worked near the Sheriff Station at San Vicente and Santa Monica and

other locations around L.A. and S.F.V.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I spoke with Devin from Cognito Moto on the phone a little while ago... such a nice guy, and very knowledgeable. The gist of that conversation was that in his opinion, because of the way the GSXR front hub and bearings work, I run the risk of this happening again if I modify the comstar to fit the GSXR axle. and go with the type of spacers that were on there... Basically, imagine the distance collar that goes between the wheel bearings in the hub... now add an additional spacer to the outside of the bearing, and that is what gets tightened down. It's possible that my wheel bearing failure came from over-torquing the axle nut -- or worse yet, it was designed poorly and the proper torque for a GSXR axle nut crushed the inner bearing races and caused this to happen.

Because the guy I took my bike to for the front tire does nothing but tires on motorcycles daily, including sportbikes, I'm confident that he acted appropriately and torqued to proper GSXR spec. He was not careless at all, and was super conscientious about safety - i.e. he made sure to warn me about my tires being slick until scuffed, etc. Also this guy has dozens of 5 star yelp reviews, and I can see why. The shop that did this work originally here in LA has less than stellar reviews on yelp when it comes to simply working on bikes... I don't know that I'd go to them to have this work done initially.

I'm going to take the wheel and spacers to the shop here in LA tomorrow and see what they have to say... if I don't like what I hear, I think I'm going to order a complete spoked wheel from Cognito Moto. At that point, I'll want to do a spoked rear wheel to match. It looks like I'll be joining the ranks of you guys with the never ending bike build.
 

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Its a chronic disease.

It doesn't hurt but wives or girl friends have been known to whine.
 

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Wow, good to hear you are ok. I've got a front wheel if you should ever need another, I'm in Riverside area not to far away. Later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I thought I'd update you guys that I got the front end sorted out again, and all is well.

The wheel I bought on eBay was in ridiculously good condition... must have come from a bike that was stored indoors until it met it's demise of being parted out. Once I got the new wheel and was able to take measurements, I realized that the "machining" necessary on the stock comstar consisted only of removing the three bumps inside the hub (that are designed to center the stock wheel spacer / distance collar). I did this myself with an 1 3/8" holesaw bit. Then I went to IMS and bought a 12" length of aluminum tube, 1/8" wall with 1.25" OD. This is the same material the failed spacers were made out of. It has an ID of 1" (25mm) which perfectly matches the OD of the GSXR axle, and the tube fits perfectly on the center races of the new bearings. After that, I carefully measured the actual distance shoulder to shoulder inside the hub (just a few thousandths shorter than the stock distance collar), and measured each side once the wheel was centered on the axle and in the calipers. I mis-measured one side by about .085" the first time around, so I had to have a new spacer cut. Bolted it all up, torqued to specs, and all is well in the world again.

Interestingly enough, the previous spacers were of different lengths to what I measured... turns out, the distance collar that the other shop made was much longer than the stock distance collar - meaning that the wheel bearings were never seated inside the hub like they were supposed to be. It was a super half-assed setup made by a shop here in LA. I'm really glad I didn't have them fix it for me. Not only because they quoted me $300-500, but because I'm sure it would have been half assed again.

All told, the total cost of the repair for me to do it myself ended up being around $100... and that's including the shipping on the wheel I bought, and having to have the machinist cut me a second right side spacer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sure Murray. Is there anything in particular you'd like to see? I was so excited to get the bike back on the road, I didn't take any photos while I was putting it together (that and greasy hands). Right now it looks pretty much exactly like it did before, the only difference is that I did a quick and dirty rattle can job on the wheel to get it to look like my rear powdercoated wheel.
 

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pm me some time

i will give you my number and when you take the wheel off for your 250 mile safety inspection to CHECK everything pls take pics

in the mean time check the bearing hub area once in while when you come in from a ride for heat

stay safe
 

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Could that space be made of too soft of alluminium and it crushed or collasped over time from the first shop? There are many different strengths of material to choose from.....Just a quiery????
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Could that space be made of too soft of alluminium and it crushed or collasped over time from the first shop? There are many different strengths of material to choose from.....Just a quiery????
I actually took this into consideration when I knew I'd have to make new ones. I considered making them out of steel, but didn't want to deal with the rust (and didn't want the expense of going stainless). The tube I used is 6061 aluminum, 1/8" wall thickness. I would think that the amount of force required to crush/compress the tube would be much higher than any torque I'd ever tighten the axle to, and also much higher than any side load I'd be able to place on it with my riding style.

I torqued the axle nut to 40ft/lbs (keep in mind on the GSXR fork, there are pinch bolts that keep the axle from spinning within the fork) and I seriously doubt that would crush the spacers. Also, the mechanic that changed my tire torqued to 40ft/lbs as well.

Based on the measurements I took versus what the first shop made, I think it was a fluke that the bearings lasted as long as they did before failing. Knowing that they weren't seated into the hub properly to begin with, I can't really fault the tire guy for the failure. He just happened to be the guy that touched it last.

I rode today for a good 60 miles, including some freeway riding... I stopped and felt the spacers and the hub for heat after the first 25 miles (paranoid now) and they were both cool to the touch. I think the problem is fixed.
 
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