Aligning the front wheel

CQ Custom Designs

Active Member
So every single motorcycle I've ever owned was wrecked by the previous owner and I've aligned them no problem. This Xs 650 has been clearly wrecked, I can see the bar stop on the head tube is severely smushed, and I cannot for the life of me align the front end. The wheel always ends up pointing left and it likes springs to the left. I thought it was a bent fork tube but I twisted them both around( my theory is that it should have pointed right this time) instead it still pulls to the left. Do I have a bent triple clamp? This isn't the first bike I've aligned.

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If it's not the forks then it's either the clamps or the neck that is tweaked (or both).

From the evidence of the steering stops being damaged then this is more than likely where the problem will be.

Someone may have replaced the forks but with either bent clamps or neck it will never be right.
Wouldn't the neck make the forks angled? Meaning, both would be leaning over to one side. I can see that the triple clamps arnt aligned at all. The triple clamps were powder coated (in a homemade oven) which if the temp was to hot I would assume that the heat could have slightly warped the metal. I'm not really positive. I just couldn't see the neck cause the forks to be out of alignment, I would assume you would be able to get it straight but both forks would be like X (don't know if it is or how much ) amount of space off from the center. I would assume since the top triple clamp is only attached to the bottom by 4 Bolts ( the head tube down bolt the stem pinch bolt and the two for clamp pinch bolts). With out the forks in the clamps I can get the triple clamps to align straighter or straight. I'm only just looking at it so more of an assumption that they are.

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I'm not the best artist but that's what I would think would happen if the head tube were to be bent.

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Extremely unlikely that putting the clamps in an oven has warped them (especially the bottom one). You should be able to tell if the clamps are bent by assembling the front end off the bike - any mis-alignment should be visible (especially if your forks are straight).

Other than taking your frame to a specialist with a jig to measure, the other way to find out if it's a bent frame is to get a pair of known straight clamps, bolt up the front end and measure.
What about paint on the inside of the clamps? Is it possible that's the cause of the problem?

Could you explain to me how the head tube could cause the forks to be out of alignment?

I really would hope it's not the frame but if it is, how would I go about fixing that.

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Do you mean the forks are straight and parallel but out of alignment with the frame....or do you mean the forks are out of alignment with each other?

If it's the latter then it is tweaked clamps. But the frame could be bent as well.

If it's a bent frame then you need to have it straightened (not something you can do at home), or junk it and get another titled frame that's straight.
The fork legs could be bent
Triples could be bent
Steering head could be twisted slightly
Steering head could be "straight" but pushed to one side

I would start by removing the forks and seeing if the legs or triples are bent/twisted.
Check rear wheel alignment as the distance from center of the swingarm spindle to the center of the rear axle.
Then I would set the bike up so that the rear wheel is exactly vertical. Use common house shims under the stand until it's perfect.

Then try to align the front wheel but do not adjust the rear wheel at this point. The front wheel will be, perfect OR it will be off to one side OR the front wheel will not be vertical.

If the front wheel is off to one side and not vertical, the steering head is tweaked and will need to be straightened. That requires an expensive jig, but it can be done manually if you have 4-6 strong mates and some long lengths of steel tube. Several tubes are placed through the frame counter to the way that the frame needs to be bent, and strong dudes hang onto them. Another 2 dudes place another steel tube through the steering head in a way that allows them to twist it back into place. They will need to twist way beyond the right place because it will spring back.

While you are doing all that you have to check that nothing cracks or gets bent out of place too far. I would not recommend this approach unless you get it inspected after by a trained engineer who can determine if the frame was damaged. Any damage to a frame is not trivial so repair it with caution.

But check it all before you resort to that.
Hold the front wheel between your legs while the triple clamp bolts are loose and turn the handlebars in the desired direction.
Granted I didn't do the work on the bike, but I never noticed any evidence of a wreck, and I rode it when he got it and it rode fine.
SONIC. said:
Hold the front wheel between your legs while the triple clamp bolts are loose and turn the handlebars in the desired direction.
Granted I didn't do the work on the bike, but I never noticed any evidence of a wreck, and I rode it when he got it and it rode fine.
I did that. And I had my brother torque it while I did it. It's not a big deal I'm having someone professionally seat my bottom head steering bearing to start and see if that's the problem. After that I'm gonna align the strings along it and see what is actually going on. I don't believe it to be the frame. Just the steering stop is smushed and the triple clamp stop is smushed. But that can happen if you just drop it on its side which could have happened. Like I said I thought I seated the bearing right but I'm having someone press it just to be sure I didn't do it wrong
Ok so I'm in the process rewelding the frame how I want it. I pulled all my triples apart and rolled my fork tubes on a flat surface and realized that my left fork tube is bent :(. I'm gonna try to post a picture of the head tube because I'm worried that's it's more then a fork tube. Like I said in the original post the steering stop is severely bent. Out of curiosity, how likely is it that my head tube is bent. I won't be able to align the rear with the front until I have new fork tubes in. Lastly how do I fix the steering stopper on my head tube? One of the steering stoppers on the lower triple (right) is bent as well but that's easily replaced. Would it be easier for me to buy a new frame and title. If I could find one ?

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