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Noob Fighter
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, just a somewhat quick question.

I've noticed that during highway speed sweeping turns on less than perfect asphalt, my bike tends to "wiggle" a bit. Maybe wiggle denotes a movement somewhat faster than what I experience... maybe more of a short rhythmic sway, kinda like an old caddy you see bobbing down the hwy but this is side to side instead of up and down and kinda like "sway sway sway settle". usually I feel it right after a bump/general irregularity in the pavement.

The bike's previous owner never mentioned it, but he is quite a bit lighter than my 175 pounds. I'm wondering if I need to tighten up the suspension or maybe have the chain tension done by a shop because something may be out of alignment? Bike is an 04 Honda Hornet/599

Soft side up. :)
 

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740 Posts
Couple options. Easiest first- tires. Proper pressure and in good condition? No cupping in the front or squared off rear? Bikes with worn tires can have all sorts of odd handling issues.

Next- Stem bearings. Probably the most common culprit for wobbles, you can do the "bounce test". Get the front wheel off the ground, center the handlebar, and then gently nudge it to one side or the other. The bars should fall to the stop, but NOT rebound. If it rebounds at all, they're too loose. Loosen up the top clamp to release tension on the two castle nuts, loosen the top jam nut, then give the lower one a couple taps tighter(hammer and screwdriver works fine). Just a little, then re test it. For extra credit, disassemble the stem and regrease the bearings. It's usually spec'd every 15-30k and virtually nobody does it. If the bike was subjected to lots of wheelies/hard landings, those bearings can get notched, making handling issues virtually impossible to get rid of until the bearings are replaced.

A low frequency side to side weave- like it's difficult to make the bike hold a line- often indicates the head bearings are too tight.

Even if the previous owner was 30 or 40lbs lighter, that's not really enough that the setup should be drastically affected, at least for street use. You could try giving a little more preload to the rear and turning up the damping on the fork, if it's adjustable.
 

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old fart
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3,751 Posts
Check your head bearings, tyre pressures & rear wheel alignment first.
hornets dont have the best (laugh out loud) suspension & damping from factory, if the
rear shock has done more than 10k miles then bin it, also do a fork oil change if the same sort of milage (swap with 15W)
 

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Premium Member
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2,225 Posts
+1 on rear shock or steering bearings, if the tyres are in good condition. Also check swingarm bearings ad wheel bearings.
 

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Angry Northerner
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324 Posts
As mentioned above, the first (and easiest) thing to check is the tyres (tires ;) ). Incorrect pressures can make a whole heap of difference! The other thing to look for is if they're the wrong sizes. My first bike (Kwak AR125) had a slightly larger rear tyre width than it should have - I think it was done purely for looks :nuts: - and it utterly ruined the handling... to the point where it was time for clean underwear after every 50+mph sweeping bend!! It was fucking evil and made the bike feel like it had a hinge in the middle of the frame!!! :wtf:LOL

Once (if) you eliminate the rubber being the cause, then look into the other suggestions mentioned above. Oh, and report back with your findings. :)
 

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Noob Fighter
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Check your head bearings, tyre pressures & rear wheel alignment first.
hornets dont have the best (laugh out loud) suspension & damping from factory, if the
rear shock has done more than 10k miles then bin it, also do a fork oil change if the same sort of milage (swap with 15W)
Any suggestions as to what I should look for in a new shock for the rear? The bike has about 20K miles on it and I'm fairly sure it's never been replaced. Stock replacement doesn't seem worth the time and effort in the long run.

My rear tire is definitely at the end of its life... Nice flat center from commuting. Also I wouldn't be surprised if the stem bearings need attention. The front has always felt a bit too twitchy. At one point I gave the rear spring a single click of compression thinking it would help me out but it just made the front end even worse. Wondering about a steering dampener.
 
G

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i think you partly answered your own question, rear tyre is shagged :)

Re the headstock bearings .... swinging the bars from side to side will not CORRECTLY check if they are loose but only give a VAGUE INDICATION although it will show any notching

To check headstock bearings CORRECTLY support the bike with the front wheel off the ground, grab the forks & gently pull & push backwards & forwards along the length of the bike you will feel or even see any movement in the bottom bearing :) Once that is done put the bike back on the ground, sit on it with the front brake on & put your other hand behind the top yoke while rocking the bike backwards & forwards on the brake you will feel or see any movement, if there is movement make sure its not the brake moving on the bobbins rather than the top bearing (you might need the help of a mate here)

Ive done this exact thing 6 times today as part of my job & 4 had shagged headstock bearings
 

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old fart
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3,751 Posts
Any suggestions as to what I should look for in a new shock for the rear?
Hagon do the cheapest out there, cheapest in price but very good quality all the same, they are re buildable and servicable, so will last for a while.
if you contact them directly they will set it up for your weight (spring & damping):party-smiley:
 

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740 Posts
Until you fix the underlying stability problems, a damper will do little to nothing to help stability. They're a safety feature for solid suspension setups, not a band-aid for poor ones- though that's usually what they're used for.

New tires, check head bearings, and go from there.
 

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old fart
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3,751 Posts
early hornets with the 16" front wheel were prone to a twitchy front end and could throw a head shake when hitting overbanding or uneven road surfaces. they could be helped by a steering damper.
the newer ones with the 17" wheel are a lot more stable and only need a damper if you lift the forks in the triples by more than 10mm or raise the rear of the bike slightly more.
as has been said, most people fit dampers as a way of overcoming a problem with the steering that should be fixed by finding the cause.
 

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The friendly Ghost.
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13,172 Posts
Any suggestions as to what I should look for in a new shock for the rear? The bike has about 20K miles on it and I'm fairly sure it's never been replaced. Stock replacement doesn't seem worth the time and effort in the long run.
You can also look for what OEM shocks people have swapped out and may find something easy and cheap to swap out. I have Kawa front springs and a Kawa rear spring on my SV650 because they fit and were stiffer than OEM Suzuki, works like a charm.

My rear tire is definitely at the end of its life...
+1 to the group, a matched set of new tires at the correct pressure will go a long way.

The front has always felt a bit too twitchy. At one point I gave the rear spring a single click of compression thinking it would help me out but it just made the front end even worse.
I don't think your bike has compression adjustment in the rear. The large ring that you spin with the special wrench or a set of channel lock pliers is going to be your preload adjustment and is really only supposed to change the ride height back to optimum spot when you are sitting on it. The compression/rebound adjustments tend to be small adjustment screws typically near an offset reservoir or near the line for a remote reservoir.



Wondering about a steering dampener.
Until you fix the underlying stability problems, a damper will do little to nothing to help stability. They're a safety feature for solid suspension setups, not a band-aid for poor ones- though that's usually what they're used for.
+1


Also has any previous owner swapped out the dog bones for ones to lift the tail?
 

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Noob Fighter
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I meant spring compression/preload. It's the only adjustment on the coilover afterall.
Inflated both tires a bit. They were just a couple pounds off. helped a bit.
My head bearings are good. I just put clipons on the bike and made a point to check them for play.
On the way home (installed the clipons at work) I decided to see what happens on the overpass this issue always occurs on. It still happens, but less severely. I'm thinking my new more aggressive riding position is distributing my weight more towards the front tire and alleviating the issue somewhat. Which makes me think I've narrowed it down to
1. Rear tire time
2. Coilover time

Thanks for your help everyone. :)
 
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