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M. Hausknecht

Wheel Alignment

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M. Hausknecht

This is a bit weird, so bear with me. When my front and rear wheels are both pointed straight ahead, the front wheel is not centered to the rear wheel. The edge of the front tire left side is 5/8" from the rear tire left side, while the front tire right side is 1 9/16" from the rear tire right side. I made these measurements using two 6' long straight edges against the rear tire with the bike on a rear stand and on the front tire. The straight edges are straight.

Since I'm working off of the rear tire, if the rear tire is pointing to the right rather than straight ahead, it would explain what I'm seeing, right? But here is the thing, I used a good straight edge and a chain alignment tool to align the rear wheel to the countershaft sprocket. I also marked both sides of the rear sprocket with magic marker, so if the chain was misaligned and wearing on the sprocket, it would be easy to see. From all the evidence, it appears that my rear wheel is square to the countershaft sprocket although, as others have noted, I found the alignment marks on the swing arm aren't even and neither are the ends of the alignment bolts. The chain rides centered on the rear sprocket.

The drive sprocket is aftermarket, Reynolds if I recall, and so is the aluminum rear sprocket. So are the triples, from Robem for the 41mm forks. Neither the forks nor the triples appear to be bent.

So, perhaps the rear wheel isn't aligned properly, not withstanding my efforts. Perhaps the frame is bent. Perhaps the front of the bike (head stock, forks, etc) is bent. Perhaps Yamaha didn't build the frame so the rear tire follows exactly behind the front tire? I've thought that aligning the rear wheel to the countershaft sprocket made the most sense but perhaps I'm misguided in that respect.

Whatcha think?

Michael

 

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cornerslider

I have a touch of OCD, and stuff like this drives me absolutely nuts....  My best guess, based on the information you provided is the rear wheel "may" be slightly out of PERFECT alignment? I don't know the history of your bike, or if it's ever been crashed. I'm a Journeyman Pipefitter, and I make things "straight" for a living.... I feel that the measurements you gave (over a six-foot span) don't really alarm me. If the rear wheel is even slightly out of alignment, it will be greatly exaggerated over six-foot straight edge. Yamaha doesn't build these bikes to the same close tolerances as Ducati does. If your bike handles well, and your tire wear is normal, I wouldn't worry about it....

I align my chain/sprockets with a "motion-pro" chain alignment tool. I ignore the marks on the swing-arm. I have never gone as far as trying to aligning the rear wheel with the countershaft sprocket. I just align the rear wheel/chain,  based off the "motion-pro" chain alignment tool. Based on the measurements given, (over a six foot span) this equals maybe a 1-2 degree offset. Unless your tires wear oddly, I wouldn't worry about it.... Enjoy your 07, and don't give not a second thought 😎-


""W.O.T. until you see god, then brake"

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mossrider

Just ride and enjoy it for what it is, a budget priced toy.

Measured in that fashion you'll get varying results after every ride and every attempt. There's enough 'wiggle' in the parts/systems you mentioned and enough variation in your measuring technique to keep you chasing zero to eternity. Short of laser measurements from something like a computrac system you'll never get it perfect nor does it matter. Not only that, check the run out of your rear tire and you'll find it varies laterally a BUNCH (scientific term) that will effect your measurements. Extend that 1/4" four feet to the front wheel and you're off by an inch again.

Ride and enjoy it knowing the back one follows the front one.

A "half bubble off plumb"? You bet it is/I am. 🤪 

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Pursuvant
2 hours ago, M. Hausknecht said:

I used a good straight edge and a chain alignment tool to align the rear wheel to the countershaft sprocket

I'm old and useless, so let me hekp. I've done this before, on used bike to check for ugly. You have to make up your mind what you are going to align. If you want to align the rear wheel to the front (to discover if swingarm align marks are rubbish), then do it.

The whole point is to make the rear wheel point in exactly the right direction (by turning wheel/chain adjusters) so the front wheel is centered in the path created by the two strings of the rear wheel.

You adjust your rear wheel, to get that front wheel in the center of the path. Once that's done, if rear sprocket doesn't point at the countershaft, you can start speculating and looking for evidence as to why. Just bum factory production, accident, bent wheels,forks,frame, swingarm,eyeballs...

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M. Hausknecht

Thanks guys, for your perspectives. I am a bit OCD about such things; I want everything to be just exactly perfect. I bought the bike as a fully built race bike. I'm told it had little street mileage (600-ish miles) and I know it had only a short day, without incident, on a race track. I imagine it could've been crashed on the street but I've found no evidence of it.

As it is, it handles very well and tire wear is unremarkable. I'll fiddle with the chain adjusters to get the front tire centered and see what that does to the chain alignment. If off "excessively", I'll explore loosening and retightening the motor mount bolts and swingarm; I imagine there is some slop there that I might take advantage of.

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Pursuvant

It's great fun to fiddle with everything that pops up on your maintenance radar, go fo it, one more thing you can say you know how to do.

But what I would start working towards, is taking over all schedui maintenance. Learn how to do everything, buy the tools to do it. The money you save not dropping your bike of for shim under bucket valve adjustment pays for all your tools and then some.

Get a shop manual, study and research online, then go for it. You can do it, and there are people here on this forum that are not like me, they actually know stuff !

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Lone Wolf
2 hours ago, cornerslider said:

I align my chain/sprockets with a "motion-pro" chain alignment tool. 

Exactly. That puts the sprockets into alignment, which is the total goal.

When a motorcycle is designed and the frame fabricated, everything is based upon the basic #1 principle that the sprocket on the output shaft of the tranny and the sprocket on the rear wheel are aligned. If you get that done, then you are golden.

There are steps to ensure the front forks are not binding but that wouldn't cause the side-to-side issue of front and rear wheel alignment. It all comes back to making sure the sprockets are aligned. A longer rod like this 12" bit helps, and it only adds about $10 to the motion pro tool. Drill bits are totally straight.

Resize of 20200802_121456.jpg

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Pursuvant
6 hours ago, Lone Wolf said:

Exactly. That puts the sprockets into alignment, which is the total goal.

When a motorcycle is designed and the frame fabricated, everything is based upon the basic #1 principle that the sprocket on the output shaft of the tranny and the sprocket on the rear wheel are aligned. If you get that done, then you are golden.

There are steps to ensure the front forks are not binding but that wouldn't cause the side-to-side issue of front and rear wheel alignment. It all comes back to making sure the sprockets are aligned. A longer rod like this 12" bit helps, and it only adds about $10 to the motion pro tool. Drill bits are totally straight.

Yes, everything you pointed out. But string only let's you prove the adjusted rear wheel is driving straight thru center of front wheel.

Once you know that, we assume sprockets align. What if production botched a frame? Or lateral fork damage, frame bent, swingarm twisted? ++

String don't care. Like Homey the clown, "string don't play dat game". It just tells when rear wheel is adjusted to drive straight thru center of front wheel. And that makes it useful to look for any other problems, especially simple alignment marks on swingarm that are wrong.

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M. Hausknecht

I've been maintaining my own race vehicles, building engines, setting up chassis, through 10 years of karting, 10 years of motorcycle racing, and 7 years of open and closed wheel car racing, so this shet isn't new to me. I didn't build this bike, however, and I haven't taken it completely apart, so I'm still learning its idiosyncrasies. For example, although I'm quite confident that the rear sprocket is as well aligned with the drive sprocket as I can make it (using a 12" drill mounted in a Motion Pro alignment tool (as noted by Lone Wolf),  and then checked with an 18" steel rule), it could be that the original owner installed the aftermarket (Reynolds) drive sprocket inside out. Perhaps the shoulder on the sprocket should be on the inside rather than the outside. 

Thanks again for the input and suggestions.

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Triple Jim
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, M. Hausknecht said:

Perhaps the shoulder on the sprocket should be on the inside rather than the outside. 

I've never seen a drive sprocket that is supposed to have the shoulder on the outside.  Admittedly I haven't seen every drive sprocket in the world though.  Is this something like a 520 conversion? 

Edited by Triple Jim

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M. Hausknecht

Reynolds 520 conversion, yes. I agree; why put the shoulder on the outside?

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seven
12 hours ago, cornerslider said:

I align my chain/sprockets with a "motion-pro" chain alignment tool. I ignore the marks on the swing-arm.

 

9 hours ago, Lone Wolf said:

Exactly. That puts the sprockets into alignment, which is the total goal.

A longer rod like this 12" bit helps, and it only adds about $10 to the motion pro tool. Drill bits are totally straight.

So happy to ready these comments as I just bought this tool but have not used it, and it sounds like it does exactly what it claims it will do and what I was hoping it will do.

I too was thinking of getting a longer rod and the drill bit idea is a good alternative.

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Triple Jim

McMaster-Carr has a variety of  high quality rod.  You can get about anything you need, like hardened and ground if you want.

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Lone Wolf
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Pursuvant said:

What if production botched a frame? Or lateral fork damage, frame bent, swingarm twisted? ++

String don't care.  ...It just tells when rear wheel is adjusted to drive straight thru center of front wheel.

Right, that would suck - but if I had a bike with those issues I would still focus on sprockets being aligned.  The test of wheels aligned is useful as you say to confirm the bike isn't hammered, but if I had to make a choice between aligning wheels and aligning chain drive I would focus on the chain alignment and see how the bike rides and how it steers.

18 hours ago, M. Hausknecht said:

The chain rides centered on the rear sprocket.

That is another indication that you are good. When you say "1 9/16" from the rear tire right side" you mean One inch + 9/16, right? So that is about a full inch different than the other side at 5/8"?

3 hours ago, seven said:

I too was thinking of getting a longer rod and the drill bit idea is a good alternative.

Amazon sells them, often referred to as "aircraft" bits. Even hardware stores, Home Depot, Lowes carry these for around $10. A 1/8" bit will fit the Motion Pro tool. The one in my photo is a smaller diameter, it is a 7/64" bit.

2 hours ago, Triple Jim said:

McMaster-Carr has a variety of  high quality rod.  You can get about anything you need, like hardened and ground if you want.

That is good to know next time I order something from them I will throw that in. I would still put the rod in a drill and spin it, confirm straight, and good to go. I like the long bits because they come in a protective case, cheap, and can arrange free shipping. This Bosch bit is under $6 on Amazon, if you have Prime it ships free. I spent more than $6 just for shipping my last McMaster-Carr order, but they had the fasteners that no one else carried. They are awesome.

Edited by Lone Wolf

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Pursuvant

Thx @Lone Wolf I came home practically giggly, had a 4 hour ride in '80s, spring is sprung'in.

Felt so good I adjusted Brembo master cyl a bit, then why not? I did the string setup. Confirm align marks on swingy are good to go.

Realized something, if you did a string test on front wheel at same time, you should get 2 sets of parallel strings, if not forks are forked/bent/frame yoke, or something up front is not good.

Useful test for after a crash if damage is not obvious

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Pursuvant
Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Lone Wolf said:

A longer rod like this 12" bit helps, and it only adds about $10 to the motion pro tool. Drill bits are totally straight.

Resize of 20200802_121456.jpg

Funny for me the timing of all this, I just ordered in the last week a few MotionPro tools, and I said, "ok, chain alignment, why not". But they are sold out at the moment, so I ordered it from one of their stocking vendors on amazon, along with the "110 degree pilot/air adjusting screw driver".

I'm going to take your advice all the way @Lone Wolf and order/or HomeDepot a 1/8" bit. Fyi I never use swingarm aligning marks, I measure from end of swingarm to sliding block/round thing with vernier caliper, the measuring wire sticking out the end, you know.

It suddenly is so obvious a little perspective from the MP tool and wow, what could be easier? Thx again @cornerslider  and @Lone Wolfgood advice

Edited by Pursuvant
Give credit where due!
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Lone Wolf
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Pursuvant said:

MotionPro ...chain alignment, why not. But they are sold out at the moment, so I ordered it from one of their stocking vendors on amazon"

Also from Amazon this 12" long bit is under $6 (Bosch) 

or the Dewalt one under $6 or this one under $5 at the time of this post. 1/8" diameter works great.

 

Edited by Lone Wolf
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wollerms

I get all my suspension stuff done at GMD Atlanta, he also can measure your frame etc....I think he charges somewhere around $150 for checking bikes frame, swingarm etc... 

http://gmdatl.com/index.html

 

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shinyribs

1" out of line seems excessive. Many bikes are built with small misalignments, but not 25mm worth. I've seen as much as 10mm off on brand new stock machines. 

I'm confident you can accurately measure things with the technique you're using. We used to set the toe on drag cars ( much longer than bikes!) with an accuracy of 1/8" just using strings.

I know these aren't the best suspended bikes, but I don't understand why people act like these bikes are some kind of flimsy, second rate pieces of junk. Yamaha is a premium motorcycle manufacturer and these are nimble handling, fully modern, well built machines. I don't agree with the idea that the chassis and it's components are so lousy that there's no way to keep the tires in position from one ride to the next. 

I slammed a pot hole so hard that I exploded a rear shock. Both wheels took that hit. I hit a rock with the front tire that was the size of a quart paint can. Took out the oil pan, but everything else was unharmed. I've lowsided at 45mph and watched my bike bounce/slide down the road on its side for several seconds before it tumbled in to a 6' deep ditch. Drug it out the ditch and rode that sucker home...and took a couple hours joyride in the process. I lost a barend mirror. I was on a road trip with buddy's when a woman backed in to me while I was sitting on my bike in a dark parking lot. I watched in horror as the rear tire of her Nissan pickup parked itself on top of my bike (crash bars ftw). Rode the bike home 16hrs straight in the driving rain the following day without a worry in mind.

Of all the dumb stuff my bike has had to endure, it's in tip top shape. I ride everything I have HARD, and I maintain it with the same passion. I've had this bike to bits several times and everything is as it should be. The rims and chassis have proven themselves to be stout.

These are inexpensive bikes, but they're not cheap bikes. The suspension is budget, but the build quality is proper. 

Apologies for the rant. Good luck finding your issue! Please update with your findings as well. 

Ride safe ✌️

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cornerslider
21 minutes ago, shinyribs said:

1" out of line seems excessive. Many bikes are built with small misalignments, but not 25mm worth. I've seen as much as 10mm off on brand new stock machines. 

I'm confident you can accurately measure things with the technique you're using. We used to set the toe on drag cars ( much longer than bikes!) with an accuracy of 1/8" just using strings.

I know these aren't the best suspended bikes, but I don't understand why people act like these bikes are some kind of flimsy, second rate pieces of junk. Yamaha is a premium motorcycle manufacturer and these are nimble handling, fully modern, well built machines. I don't agree with the idea that the chassis and it's components are so lousy that there's no way to keep the tires in position from one ride to the next. 

I slammed a pot hole so hard that I exploded a rear shock. Both wheels took that hit. I hit a rock with the front tire that was the size of a quart paint can. Took out the oil pan, but everything else was unharmed. I've lowsided at 45mph and watched my bike bounce/slide down the road on its side for several seconds before it tumbled in to a 6' deep ditch. Drug it out the ditch and rode that sucker home...and took a couple hours joyride in the process. I lost a barend mirror. I was on a road trip with buddy's when a woman backed in to me while I was sitting on my bike in a dark parking lot. I watched in horror as the rear tire of her Nissan pickup parked itself on top of my bike (crash bars ftw). Rode the bike home 16hrs straight in the driving rain the following day without a worry in mind.

Of all the dumb stuff my bike has had to endure, it's in tip top shape. I ride everything I have HARD, and I maintain it with the same passion. I've had this bike to bits several times and everything is as it should be. The rims and chassis have proven themselves to be stout.

These are inexpensive bikes, but they're not cheap bikes. The suspension is budget, but the build quality is proper. 

Apologies for the rant. Good luck finding your issue! Please update with your findings as well. 

Ride safe ✌️

I agree with nearly all of your post. I do disagree with the execution of the alignment of the original poster though. Going off the sides of a rubber tire, that may/may not be 100% true/straight, mounted on a rim that may/may not be 100% straight, the results could be WAY off..... Unless the rear wheel was checked against the front wheel (without the tire mounted) on multiple locations, the results could be inconclusive??? I'm NOT trying to be an a$$hole, but make things "straight" for a living. There are most likely more factors than most people factor in. It is REALLY hard to check if a motorcycle is "straight", as there sooo many variables-


""W.O.T. until you see god, then brake"

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Lone Wolf
On 3/30/2021 at 5:25 AM, M. Hausknecht said:

...it could be that the original owner installed the aftermarket (Reynolds) drive sprocket inside out.

That is awkward when it isn't a part you installed or know the history. I would get some stock sprockets off Ebay just to have 100% confidence in the sprocket alignment. They could be completely worn out garbage, but if they were stock it would serve the purpose. Once aligned, put white out on the swing arm as reference point on each side.

When you say "1 9/16" from the rear tire right side" you mean One inch + 9/16, right? So that is about a full inch different than the other side at 5/8"?

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mossrider

No where in my post does it mention, suggest or imply that these are substandard, junk or otherwise 'cheap' motorcycles. 

I have built and raced several of these things extensively including crashing them at speeds upward of 140 mph numerous times. I have checked and or set allignment at least 100 times using various methods. These bikes crash extremely well and are overbuilt but still a budget motorcycle.

My meaning was the variable in this case is that the methodology/skill/experience of the mechanic has more to do with the results of the measurement than the machine. There are over 30 variable data points involved in accurately repeating measurements. 

Aligning these things on the garage floor or paddock always nets a small variation that is statistically irrelevant. Barring obvious issues if the back tire is in back you are good to go. I've seen bikes raced with horribly bent swingers, tweaked frames, oval wheels, bent head stocks, twisted tripples, banana forks etc with little effect on the outcome.

Measure it all the time to develop a data base and technique if one likes but ride, race and enjoy it. 

Cheers 🏍️

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blackout
On 3/30/2021 at 9:44 AM, M. Hausknecht said:

Reynolds 520 conversion, yes. I agree; why put the shoulder on the outside?

The stock 525 drive sprocket for the fz07 has shoulders on both sides, equal depths.  A 520 sprocket will have a deeper shoulder on the outside to add spline depth for the thinner 520 sprocket.   The inside of the 520 sprocket will have a shoulder equal to the stock 525 sprocket to keep spacing correct for the rear sprocket.   Rear sprockets are always flat on the back side.

Did not know this a week ago, but had to research it for my swingarm project.  

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Craig Mapstone
Upstate New York

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M. Hausknecht

Ok, my journey down alignment road is over for now. I've got the wheels in alignment with each other, within 1/16", so margin of measuring error I figure, and the rear sprocket is pretty well lined up with the drive sprocket (using Motion Pro tool with 12" long drill bit for greater accuracy?!). I checked the wheels and tires for run-out on my static balancer; not enough to matter with multiple measurements with my 6' straight edge from rear tire sides to front wheel sides.

I found a slightly bent front axle (about .040"), which probably wasn't the problem but I wonder what, if any, other front end damage there might be. I got the bend to about .015" and figured that was close enough for now, and ordered a new axle (ETA unknown). Forks appear straight, no leaks, and fit nicely in the Robem triple clamps. I also found the cap nut (on the steering stem) not quite hand tight (!) but the triples appeared snug even under race track conditions. I've now properly torqued the steering stem. Could it have been misaligned but not wobbly or clunky? Dunno.

I flipped the Reynolds 15T 520 drive sprocket around which placed the deeper shoulder to the inside. The two shoulders measured .103" and .156". Yes, I'm quite sure that Reynolds intended the shallower shoulder to the inside. Interestingly, I also have a Vortex sprocket (16T) intended for the bike with 520 chain. Its shoulders are both shallower: .083" and .120".  My suspicion in both instances is that these sprockets are intended for a number of different applications, and they are only "approximately" correct. The chain is enough wider than the sprockets that the differences are not supposed to matter.

Another thing I did which may've helped a smidgen is I put a .050" washer on the rear axle between the swing arm and the rear brake mount. The slop in the swing arm was already there and I had the washer, so what the heck. I don't know which side of the swing arm was bending more when I torqued the axle, but I think I moved the rear wheel slightly to the left, which should've helped.

Track day with two races next Saturday, with new front brake pads and new tires; its all good. None of this is likely to matter to lap times but i feel better. :)

 

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Triple Jim

The conclusion post is appreciated.   :)

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