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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's a question...
I've replaced my steering bearings with All Balls.
How much preload should there be? I tightened the adjusting nut until there was a bit of resistance with just the stem and top bridge in place, no bars, fork tubes or wheel... not much resistance, but enough that the stem wouldn't turn easily or at all under its own weight. In other words, it required some input to move and then would do so willingly, if a bit stiffly. With the bike assembled, the bars turn super smoothly with out any apparent free play. I have yet to install the front brake (waiting on a part) so I can't check for free play that way yet...
My concern is this: it seems that there should be some preload to ensure proper, stable steering and control. After all, the steering dampers that were installed on early 350s and 450s did just that, if I understand things correctly... the dampers adjusted the preload, effectively tightening up the steering action to prevent the bike from reacting unpredictably to adverse road conditions (right?)
So... does my method of setting the preload seem sound?
...and while we're on the subject, can I fit a 350 K0 damper to my 350G steering stem by adding the damper components along with a top nut drilled to accept it? Are the 450 dampers the same as the 350?
Thanks in advance for your input.
 

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Sensei
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It can be added, but is a bit more involved than just a bolt-in.......I used a 360 trees, an early 350 stem and a mixture of 350 and 450D damper components to achieve this....(on a 450)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I see... perhaps a future project for me...
What about the issue of preload, sans damper?
 

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On my Dyna I raise the front end off the ground and set the "fall away" by adjusting the preload on the steering bearings such that the bars / wheel will fall away under it's own weight when the bars are turned enough that the tip of the front fender has traveled 2" from straight ahead. This is supposed to be done with the cables removed so they do not give a false reading. I would guess this could be applied to other bikes. Did that make sense?
 

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It's definitely going to feel different with the forks, and wheel installed. I already had tapered bearings in one of my bikes, and put some in another recently. The older set needed adjustment maybe once a year, discovered the new ones settle quite a bit in at first, but man the bike feels so much more solid after snugging down those bearings. Mine are installed on bikes much larger than a 350, so it's hard to say how tight you want your steering.
It's also a matter of preference, and depends a lot on how hard you ride, brake, etc.
Here's the method I use, as it was taught to me;
With the front end off the ground, the steering should turn freely to the stop with a gentle push, but not bounce back when it hits the stop. If I get any bounce , then it's too loose.
If I go any tighter it will need constant correction especially at slow speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for the feedback. I'll try some of these methods.
 
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