Rear Wheel Alignment 101





Mac Daddy

Registered
When you adjust the chain tension, you should also do a quick rear wheel alignment.  The problem is that the chain should be adjusted while the bike is on the sidestand, and the alignment should take place with the bike on the rear stand...  In otherwords, you may need to make both adjustments a couple of times until you become familiar with how the alignment will affect your chain tension.

1.  Lift the bike on the rear stand;
2.  Cut a piece of twine (mason twine is perfect) approximately 18 feet long and mark the center of it with a felt tip permanent marker;
3.  Use duct tape to attach the twine to the rear tire (see the attached photo, section #1).  Attach it approx. 5 inches above the bottom of the tire (since the under plastic and front brakes will barely clear this height).  Also, attach it using the center marking that you made in step 2, since you will be running both ends towards the front of the bike on either side;
4.  Bring both ends of twine to the front and duct tape them on the front of the tire at a similar height to the rear making sure the twine does not touch anything except the tires (see the attached photo, section #2);
5.  Adjust the front tire by turning it, until the distance is exactly the same from the twine to the tire sides;
6.  Measure the distance between the two string sides through the wheel of the rear tire.  I found this distance to be 7.75 inches on the stock rubber;
7.  Cut a wooden dowel approximately 1/4 inch longer than the above distance (i.e. 8 inches for stock rubber).  You could also use a pencil if you have one that is long enough.  Cut notches in the dowel/pencil ends 1/8 inch deep each;
8.  Place the dowel (using the notches) between the two twine lengths immediately behind the front tire (see the attached photo, section #3).  This will make the twine lines the proper distance apart (parallel) for the length of the wheelbase;
9.  If the rear tire is out of alignment, the twine will be off of the front of the rear tire a bit.  Or, tighter on one side than the other.  If the twine lines up nicely, then you are done...  Otherwise, continue to step number 9.  BTW - 0.5mm error is okay, since tires aren't any more accurate than this;
10.  Remove the cotter pin and loosen the axle nut (see the attached photo, section #4).  The axle nut is 36mm;
11.  Loosen the lock nuts on both sides of the tire.  They are 12mm;
12.  Turn the adjuster bolts (there is one on each side of the bike) in opposite directions in very small increments until the tire is proplery aligned.  The adjuster bolts are 10mm;
13.  Tighten both lock nuts;
14.  Tighten the axle nut with a torque wrench set at 100 Nm (10 kgf-m or 72.5 ft-lb);
15.  Double-check the alignment and then remove the dowel and twine.  BTW - save the dowel and you can skip steps 5 and 6 the next time around;
16.  Replace the cotter pin;
17.  Take the bike off the rear stand.  Don't forget to double-check the chain tension.

As usual please post any comments, ideas, or suggestions...

Party on, The Rippah.
Do you think this may solve the cupping and excessive wear on the left front tire, I've been experiencing the last two tires in less than eight months? I never heard of this. I don't have a rear or front stand. Can I use a lift to achive the same thing? <span style='color:blue'></span>
 

Mac Daddy

Registered
When you adjust the chain tension, you should also do a quick rear wheel alignment.  The problem is that the chain should be adjusted while the bike is on the sidestand, and the alignment should take place with the bike on the rear stand...  In otherwords, you may need to make both adjustments a couple of times until you become familiar with how the alignment will affect your chain tension.

1.  Lift the bike on the rear stand;
2.  Cut a piece of twine (mason twine is perfect) approximately 18 feet long and mark the center of it with a felt tip permanent marker;
3.  Use duct tape to attach the twine to the rear tire (see the attached photo, section #1).  Attach it approx. 5 inches above the bottom of the tire (since the under plastic and front brakes will barely clear this height).  Also, attach it using the center marking that you made in step 2, since you will be running both ends towards the front of the bike on either side;
4.  Bring both ends of twine to the front and duct tape them on the front of the tire at a similar height to the rear making sure the twine does not touch anything except the tires (see the attached photo, section #2);
5.  Adjust the front tire by turning it, until the distance is exactly the same from the twine to the tire sides;
6.  Measure the distance between the two string sides through the wheel of the rear tire.  I found this distance to be 7.75 inches on the stock rubber;
7.  Cut a wooden dowel approximately 1/4 inch longer than the above distance (i.e. 8 inches for stock rubber).  You could also use a pencil if you have one that is long enough.  Cut notches in the dowel/pencil ends 1/8 inch deep each;
8.  Place the dowel (using the notches) between the two twine lengths immediately behind the front tire (see the attached photo, section #3).  This will make the twine lines the proper distance apart (parallel) for the length of the wheelbase;
9.  If the rear tire is out of alignment, the twine will be off of the front of the rear tire a bit.  Or, tighter on one side than the other.  If the twine lines up nicely, then you are done...  Otherwise, continue to step number 9.  BTW - 0.5mm error is okay, since tires aren't any more accurate than this;
10.  Remove the cotter pin and loosen the axle nut (see the attached photo, section #4).  The axle nut is 36mm;
11.  Loosen the lock nuts on both sides of the tire.  They are 12mm;
12.  Turn the adjuster bolts (there is one on each side of the bike) in opposite directions in very small increments until the tire is proplery aligned.  The adjuster bolts are 10mm;
13.  Tighten both lock nuts;
14.  Tighten the axle nut with a torque wrench set at 100 Nm (10 kgf-m or 72.5 ft-lb);
15.  Double-check the alignment and then remove the dowel and twine.  BTW - save the dowel and you can skip steps 5 and 6 the next time around;
16.  Replace the cotter pin;
17.  Take the bike off the rear stand.  Don't forget to double-check the chain tension.

As usual please post any comments, ideas, or suggestions...

Party on, The Rippah.
Do you think this may solve the cupping and excessive wear on the left side of the front tire? I've been experiencing this problem with the last two tires in less than eight months. I never heard of this procedure. I don't have a rear or front stand. Can I use a lift to achive the same thing? <span style='color:blue'></span>
 

The Oracle

Registered
dunno about the cupping. That is weird. A lift prolly won't work, since it would place the weight of the bike on the exhaust. Perhaps someone else knows a solution.

Have you dealt with the dealer about your cupping issue?? Something about funky wear on my tires would bother me during 150+MPH runs!

DOo.oOD, get that sh!t checked out.

Sorry,
Rip
 

Bulldog 333

I type like dog pooh
Donating Member
Registered
I've done this a hundred times with a micronmeter. Pretty anal indeed.
You're method wasn't only easy but, was way faster and, according to my measurements, was right on the money.
Thanks.
 

JIMMY CHANCE

Registered
We manufacture a rear wheel alignment kit that makes the alignment a snap. The kit consist of 2 Stainless Steel rods and 4 aluminum cones with thumb screws. You can do a chain adjustment/alignment with the bike sitting on the side stand, jack stand, center stand or leaning against a wall for that matter. You position one rod with the cones into the swingarm and the other rod with the cones into the rear axel. Simply measure between the milled flats on the rods with a tape and adjust both sides of the axel until the measurments are equal. Our Kits are used in the road racing circut by AMA teams and even at the Club racing level. The are the BEST method for getting the alignment right. The string method is OK but due to inconsistant tires, it could be inacurate. The Kits are $75.00 and work on most sport bikes. Including the Busa!

Jimmy Chance, President
Quality Machine Co
Quality Maching Racing
Savannah, Ga
912-232-5680

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scouser

Registered
Oracle, the thermite comment made me laugh! Thats some fun stuff if you can find the aluminum in a high enough mesh! So anyway when I break my bike can I come visit you for the solution?
 

wtfwazat

Registered
Might as well put my .02 in. When I align mine, I use a metal straight edge and lay it against the rear sproket, with it sticking out and laying on top of the lower section of chain. Adjust the nuts until it (straightedge) touches the same area of the chain as it does on the sproket. I use my ruler part of my tri-square.
 

Bergster

Donating Member
Registered
Might as well put my .02 in. When I align mine, I use a metal straight edge and lay it against the rear sproket, with it sticking out and laying on top of the lower section of chain. Adjust the nuts until it (straightedge) touches the same area of the chain as it does on the sproket. I use my ruler part of my tri-square.
great idea!
 




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