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  #1  
Old 15-03-2015, 11:52 AM
suzukispud2015 suzukispud2015 is offline
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Angry trike steering help please!

hello, i have a suzuki gs1000 trike convertion, today i was test riding it and found that the steering feels as if you are being pulled side to side quite violetly, this starts at almost no speed at all causing you to be pulled into the path (luckily it was the path rather than a parked car haha)
there arent any steering dampers on the trike, there isnt any visible the the front wheel or to the frame.
any help asap would be greatly appreciated as i want to get out on my trike as soon as i can
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Old 15-03-2015, 12:58 PM
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First, DO NOT DESPAIR!

When I first rode my trike this happened and I thought it was impossible - then I remembered that the builder had ridden it at least 20 miles to my home! This is quite common in trikes with a standard bike front end, and it can be improved by playing with tyre pressures, and some say by using a sidecar tyre (with a flatter profile) on the front. It usually only happens at lower speeds - did you get it going fast enough to lose the wobble? The other thing is that if you're used to riding a bike, it's very strange and unexpected to find that you have to actively STEER a trike!

So took some advice, let a lot of air out of the front tyre, and all the air out of my air-assisted front forks. Then rode it again, and it was somewhat better, so I kept riding it and it kept improving. Well it didn't actually improve but I just got used to it so I didn't really notice it after a while.

A damper might help at low speeds but this wobble will disappear once you get going and then a damper might make it harder work to steer, so it's worth persevering without, before you go that way.

Now that I'm older and my arthritis is worse I've had the front end changed, I have custom-made extended billet yokes which change the geometry of the front end, eliminating most of the wobble and making the steering generally lighter - this did cost rather a lot though!
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Old 15-03-2015, 04:18 PM
Willgofar Willgofar is offline
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Hi Suzukispud
Check your steering head bearings, they should be set a little tighter than you would on a bike. A flat profile tyre helps too. Wider bars makes a difference. and I would also check the wheels on your rear axle are turning freely. if one is a bit sticky it can affect the steering at slow speeds.
I would start with the rear wheels 1st, then move onto the head bearings. both are easy fix's.
Its all trial and error at this stage unfortunately.
Good luck Will

Last edited by Willgofar; 15-03-2015 at 04:19 PM. Reason: .
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Old 15-03-2015, 05:51 PM
matthewmosse matthewmosse is offline
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Not done trikes yet personally but had the same with sidecars when I first got one. Most of the advise has already been given. Practice, experiment with pressures and bearing pre load, even tyre profile. One thing I found on my outfit was to try to ridgidly hold the steering and push it made it worse. Pulling the steering using my body weight and allowing some flex in my arms made it behave to the point where I simply didn't feel the wobble at all. Do check the headstock bearings and yoke, I had a solo bmw ex plod bike that developed a similar issue at low speed and turned out the steering stem was loose in the bottom yoke. Really easy to fix once diagnosed. If you really cannot get used to it, leading link forks are an expensive but very effective way to tame steering. Both my sidecars came with steering dampers, I disn't bother keeping either fitted, I felt they were not that effective and perhaps it was how they were set up but both slightly resticted full lock on the steering and I like being able to pull a U turn on single track roads so they came off for maintenence and never went back on.
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Old 15-03-2015, 09:05 PM
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Gotta say, my extended yokes were expensive too but they're much prettier than leading links!
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Old 15-03-2015, 10:07 PM
matthewmosse matthewmosse is offline
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Leading links cost more than custom yokes last time I asked. Personally I prefer my outfit with standard teles with massive pre load and stock yokes over my other one with leading links, the leading links are a technical marvel and make the steering really light and well behaved, possible to operate single handed almost all the time, but it lacks the charachterfull feel of the moderately badly behaved relatively standard setup. It might well be worth persevering with what you have. I must agree, leading links are often not the prettiest things - but that is perhaps a challenge for custom builders.
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Old 16-03-2015, 09:59 PM
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Oii I think my leading links look great, expensive but great, trail and error is the way forward.
In construction.
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Old 16-03-2015, 10:14 PM
matthewmosse matthewmosse is offline
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Personally I like the techy look of leading links but at the same time I love the classic look of the stock teles on my 500/4 sidecar. For the record, those leading links look pretty good, neater than the ones on my bmw. Horses for courses, for trips under 300 miles I would take my honda every time, more fun, the bmw when running is a continent killer, 20 miles to work barely seemed to justify waking the beast up and lacked the kick of a proper bike ride, the honda outfit was a blast even just round a carpark, adrenaline hit every corner.
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Old 17-03-2015, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willgofar View Post
Hi Suzukispud
Check your steering head bearings, they should be set a little tighter than you would on a bike.
Now there's a thing - my trike came back from having fork seals done at a bike shop with a wobble it didn't have when it went, and I decided this was the problem (either that or the forks not quite straight in the yokes) BUT - when it was a bike I always used to adjust headstock bearings myself, with the bike on the centre stand and a weight on the back to get the front end off the floor, then bounce the front end to be sure the forks were right.

How the heck do I do it now it's a trike?
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Old 17-03-2015, 03:39 PM
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the problem is your trail figure is now not correct for a trike

leading link, or larger offset yokes (personally I think they fugly) are the "proper solutions"

you can "improve things" with wider bars, weights in the end of the bars, tyre pressures, fork oil and spring settings etc
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Old 17-03-2015, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikerGran View Post
Now there's a thing - my trike came back from having fork seals done at a bike shop with a wobble it didn't have when it went, and I decided this was the problem (either that or the forks not quite straight in the yokes) BUT - when it was a bike I always used to adjust headstock bearings myself, with the bike on the centre stand and a weight on the back to get the front end off the floor, then bounce the front end to be sure the forks were right.

How the heck do I do it now it's a trike?
I used a jack
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Old 17-03-2015, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry View Post
I used a jack
Yep, jack to get it up, no prob - but what about the fork bouncing bit?
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Old 17-03-2015, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikerGran View Post
Yep, jack to get it up, no prob - but what about the fork bouncing bit?
What are you trying to achieve with bouncing the forks ?
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Old 18-03-2015, 03:57 PM
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Making sure they are straight and equal in the yokes - Mr Haynes he say to loosen them before adjusting head bearings. Never could quite see why but...
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Old 18-03-2015, 06:39 PM
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When you tighten the steering head bearings you pull the top and bottom yokes together on the steering stem. Therefore you need to allow them to move closer on the forks.

This wouldn't make me bounce the forks as the movement is gonna be tiny.

However if I replace the head bearings I do bounce the forks to make sure the bearings are seated properly, and then re adjust.

But I do this by riding at slow speed and applying the front brake.
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Old 18-03-2015, 07:29 PM
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Cheers harry!
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