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Wobbly bike at highway speeds

1157 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MIlwaukeeMatt
Hello--

Just wanted to get some input on an issue I'm having. While riding my '78 cx500 at highway speeds (~70-80mph) if I hit a bump or the wind shoves me from the side, the front of the bike will start wobbling / snaking down the highway until it stabilizes again. I am strongly leaning towards it being a tire issue (and maybe a mix of a front shock issue) due to the fact that my rear tire is so squared off it looks like a car tire with a bulging sidewall 馃槀. While yes, I am due for tires, I would assume this would cause stability issues?

Also, I have to drop the motor out of the frame again to replace the rear cover gasket due to a persistent oil leak from the rear left corner (not the shifter seal) and to have my carbs checked over by murray. Anything I should check while the bike is off the road? The frame has ~60k miles on it, and I keep telling myself it prolly due for some crazy service soon...
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Check your swing arm bearings i would think?
Check the head bearings too. In my opinion it is worth upgrading to tapered head bearings anyway.
1st check tire pressure
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All of what they said^^^

And while the engine is out & apart have a look at the stator and the camchain & guides.
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yes all of the above....but you did state that the tyres are squared off....that'll often do it.....and at 90mph...things get exaggerated/magnified.....
All of what they said^^^

And while the engine is out & apart have a look at the stator and the camchain & guides.
how would i go about checking the bearings?

the engine was swapped from a 500 to a 650. i just did the swap, so i know the chain and stator is good

yes all of the above....but you did state that the tyres are squared off....that'll often do it.....and at 90mph...things get exaggerated/magnified.....
hey now, i said 70-80, not 90 lol. the bike feels too sketchy at those speeds.
tail wind馃榾
I had a BSA 650 spitfire which had been raced and was fitted with a steering damper, made it feel very stable at speed - thinking of putting one on the CX - fork rake angle plays a big part - less rake = easier to manoeuvre, more rake = more stable - it's a trade off.
Just a thought - defo go through all the other suggestions first.
how do i go about checking the swing arm bearings?
how do i go about checking the swing arm bearings?
There are more capable people on here to answer that question but i'll take a stab at it. With the shocks disconnected, move the swingarm up/down through it's range of motion and listen for any unusual noise and/or a rough or binding feeling. If your prop shaft is still connected make sure any anomalies are from swingarm and not the U-joint. Hopefully others will chime in.
Oops, i did omit trying to move the swingarm side to side to test for any play/excess movement. The FSM is always a good "go to" for service. 馃お
New tires are always a good idea. Have you tried aligning the front shocks? What worked for me when I first got the bike from PO and wobbly handling with good tires was loosening all the bolts below between the top of the fork and the wheel, pulling the handlebars and front tire into alignment if they aren鈥檛 already straight, tightening the top bolts on the tree, and then hopping up and down a few times to compress the front fork. All done on flat ground while on the center stand. Then tighten the rest of the bolts. It was much better handling after the simple process. There are better write ups on the it, but was an under 15 minute adjustment that made a world of difference on my bike.

I鈥檓 still planning to replace the wheel bearings since they鈥檙e very affordable, and looking into the Sporster shock options to further improve the ride. There鈥檚 still a bit of a shimmy in the twisties that may or may not be right on mine. Newbie and I don鈥檛 have much frame of reference for how a CX should feel in the corners.
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