Front Wheel Friction? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 8 Old 07-26-2018, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Clarksville, TN 37040
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Front Wheel Friction?

- - - The To-The-Point Statement - - -

I am concerned that there is friction around the axle area of the front wheel of my 2017 Gen II.

When I have the motorcycle on the jack-stands, the front wheel does not spin freely. It may spin twice when I try and spin it. I am not using all my strength to try and spin it. I am putting some effort into it, but I am not over-doing it.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

- - - The Long Story - - -

. So I ordered a Shinko 705 for the FRONT. (by the way, the OEM Dunlop front tire took me 7,000 miles) Due to my frustration of trying to get the tire back on the rim the last time I changed my REAR tire, I decided to put my motorcycle on the jack stands without taking off the Ammo-Can Saddlebags, and then take off the wheel, bring it to the local Motorcycle shop and have them put the tire on and balance it for me. No problem.

. I bring the wheel over with the new tire, they change the tire out using the same inner tube, I pay, drive home in my car, and put the wheel back on.

. I notice that there seems to be some friction causing the wheel to NOT spin freely. I loosen everything so that there is no tightness to any screw, nut, or bolt. I spin the tire. The tire spins better, but still has some friction. I take my motorcycle out for a brief ride, maybe about a mile, to check performance. Everything seems fine, but I am still concerned about that friction and the wheel not spinning freely.

. I take off the Ammo Can Saddlebags, put the bike on the jack stands, take off the front wheel, and the motorcycle tips off of the jack stands backwards, loses balance, but somehow manages to stay upright.

. So there I am, wrestling my motorcycle, trying to get it onto the jack stands properly. I give that up, eventually lay it down, put the wheel back on half-assed, pick up the bike, put it back on the stands, but I move the stands forward somewhat underneath the motorcycle so most of the weight is in the rear.

. I reattach the wheel, get in the car, drive to the local hardware store, get some lithium grease, come back, take the wheel off, apply lithium grease, put it back together, and I still have friction. Less friction than when I initially put the wheel back on, but I am not satisfied. It is less than perfect.

. I rode it yesterday normally. Took it through some fields, going across the plow marks to get a really bumpy ride, eventually come home last night after dark, went to sleep, woke up, and here I am now writing this.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-26-2018, 10:36 AM
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Brake pads within the calipers often exercise a parasitic drag on the brake rotors they embrace . . . thus retarding free-wheel rotation.

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post #3 of 8 Old 07-26-2018, 10:44 AM
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yep; first pull the caliper off and hang it to the side and see what happens.

second; make sure you installed the speedo drive properly

third; new bearings can have a small amount of drag at first so if the first two things check out, then ride it for 1000 miles and check again. FYI, the axle grease has no bearing (pun intended) on the resistance; that's all in the wheel bearings....we grease the axles just to stop corrosion and make assy/disassy easier.

I doubt you have a problem.

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post #4 of 8 Old 07-26-2018, 10:45 AM
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Some guys don't get the speedo drive installed correctly.

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” Hitchens

Last edited by Toney; 07-26-2018 at 07:52 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-26-2018, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
...make sure you installed the speedo drive properly......

You beat me by 60 seconds!
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“Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” Hitchens
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-26-2018, 10:57 AM
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A couple rotations even with the brake pads off seems about right to me.

I have read of and seen very little grease in some so called “sealed” bearings. Seems mostly the case with lower quality Chinese bearings. Don’t know if that applies here.

Normally there’s no concern if there isn’t any noise from the bearing while spinning, but if you’re still concerned, the sealing cap on the bearing can usually be easily popped off to inspect inside at the rollers and add grease.

2016 KLR 650
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2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-26-2018, 01:26 PM
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Location: Mesa, AZ, USA
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Is it possible that in re-install that the Forks weren't allowed to 'settle into place' by lightly tightening the lower bolts on the SteeringHead (Uppers are loose) and sitting on the Bike and compressing the Forks a coupla times? Then you can torque it all down.

It'd more likely result in pulling the wheel one way or another, but I wonder...
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-26-2018, 08:06 PM
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Suggested diagnostic tests (from posts above; all assume correct wheel-and-spacer assembly; appropriate torques):

Jack up front wheel; remove brake caliper; rotate wheel. Smooth? Freely spinning?

If not, leave caliper off, detach speedometer cable at hub; again, rotate wheel. Spin better? If not, first check speedometer cable routing/drive hub orientation on fork. Then, if problem persists:

Remove wheel, inspect speedometer hub assembly: Winged washer tabs in their appropriate slots?

Further problems may require internal bearing inspection.

I still vote for incidental friction from brake pads, but . . . would be delighted with information another cause had definitely been identified and corrected!
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