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Author Topic: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut  (Read 1400 times)

Craig McClure

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Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« on: January 25, 2013, 05:54:53 AM »
Bicycle rear wheels are evenly centered between the lower rear fork stays. It would be so nice & easy, if that was the case with Enfield G5's. I have read about aligning front & rear wheels with boards, & taut string in the manuals. This is impossible when on the wide center stand or lying over on the side stand.
   IF the there should be even spaces on either side of the wheel-between the swingarm, I'd sure love to hear that my reasoning & suspicion is correct.  I've just replaced my chain, & this would be a good approximate starting point for aligning the wheels....Anybody?
Best Wishes, Craig McClure

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2013, 06:17:09 AM »
http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/howto/string_align_motorcycle_wheels/

This is the way to do it.  And don't forget to get a fresh manicure before you start (see pics).

Scott

mattsz

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2013, 04:36:59 PM »
Scotty-

I'm wondering about something...

From the article:

Quote
Our original thought was the time-tested string method -- wrapping the string around the front wheel and checking alignment at the back. We tried the alternative method, and it works, further proof that we have smart readers.

In fact, the second string method is nearly the same as our initial suggestion but backward, using the rear wheel as the primary reference and checking for misalignment against the front wheel.

If the alignment is modified by adjusting the rear wheel, wouldn't it be better to use their original method of checking the rear against the front?

The only problem I can see is if the rear tire is wider than the front - is that true?


Ducati Scotty

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2013, 04:42:02 PM »
"In fact, the second string method is nearly the same as our initial suggestion but backward, using the rear wheel as the primary reference and checking for misalignment against the front wheel. Here, we'll walk you through it."

Yes, the rear is the one that gets adjusted.  If you look at the pics that's just what she's doing: wrap the rear, bring each string in until it just touches the front edge of the rear tire, then equalize the gaps on the sides of the front.  Having the rear a little wider helps here.  If it were exactly the same you wouldn't have any gaps to compare.

Scott

barenekd

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2013, 04:43:17 PM »
I use a long aluminum channel that used to be a runner for window blinds. It's skinny enough to get in under the center stand and as for the difference in tire sizes, I should have about a 1/4" gap on each side of the front tire. It's pretty easy to do and gets the wheel straight.
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mattsz

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2013, 04:52:27 PM »
Ok, but my question is, if we're adjusting the rear wheel, why not check it against the front wheel?  That way, everything happens at the back.  Only problem I can see is, no gaps, so perhaps it's better to check the front wheel...

TWinOKC

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2013, 06:45:12 PM »
Bicycle rear wheels are evenly centered between the lower rear fork stays. It would be so nice & easy, if that was the case with Enfield G5's. I have read about aligning front & rear wheels with boards, & taut string in the manuals. This is impossible when on the wide center stand or lying over on the side stand.
   IF the there should be even spaces on either side of the wheel-between the swingarm, I'd sure love to hear that my reasoning & suspicion is correct.  I've just replaced my chain, & this would be a good approximate starting point for aligning the wheels....Anybody?

I always put a small mark on the "snails" with a felt tipped pen before beginning chain adjustment or anything to do with rear wheel alignment.  Some people use a enter punch to mark the snails.  Gives you a reference point for when you are reassembling .  (the snails may not be even side to side)
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2013, 06:53:47 PM »
Ok, but my question is, if we're adjusting the rear wheel, why not check it against the front wheel?  That way, everything happens at the back.  Only problem I can see is, no gaps, so perhaps it's better to check the front wheel...

Matt, I'm sorry, I'm not quite understanding your questions.  We are checking the rear against the front.  What's the question exactly?  Are you saying we should run lines (string or channel) from the front wheel to the back to check alignment?

Scott
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 07:25:49 PM by Ducati Scotty »

mattsz

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2013, 08:00:30 PM »
Scott - yes... run the strings from the front to the back wheel.  It seems to me that this is what the writers of that article say they were doing (see quote), before readers suggested the "current" way, running the strings from back to front.

I'm wondering why it's better to run the strings from back to front - if we're doing all of our adjusting at the back anyway, why not run the strings to the back wheel and do everything from back there... check, adjust, check again, all from the rear of the bike.

I may be answering my own question, however, when I point out what I see as potential problems with this "string tied to the front wheel" method.  If the rear tire is wider than the front, then the strings won't run parallel all the way past where they first touch the rear tire.  Whereas back-to-front, you have a straight gap, like Bare says.  Also, if you do the checking at the front wheel, you can be doubly sure that the front wheel is straight.

Never mind...  ;)

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 08:25:16 PM »
Additionally, running from the rear gives you two fixed parallel lines.  It's easy to turn the front wheel parallel and then center it. If you run from the front the whole reference pivots and that makes it more difficult. 

I've never heard of doing it from the front.  Ignore that part of the article and use the rest ;)

Scott

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 09:22:19 PM »
Like bare, I use an rigid reference but rather than an aluminum channel I use an aluminum pole that was originally the center-pole for a dining canopy.
This is small enough to pass under the cross bar on the center stand.

I found it to be too easy to get a slight, unnoticeable bend in a piece of string to get good results with that method.
Jim
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2013, 09:35:41 PM »
Using some nice rigid channels of some sort is always better and easier, but everyone can find some string and it doesn't take up any storage space.

Scott

Royalista

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2013, 11:11:44 PM »
Always used the rigid method, it gives the most reliable result. Wouldn't want it otherwise on a modern machine. The Bullet's centerstand forced me to the string method. After a while I found that eyeballing gives an equally satisfying result with much less fuss.
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WillW

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2013, 03:15:03 PM »
We obsessive types use this method -  ;)
http://www.realclassic.co.uk/techfiles/wheelalignment.html
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2013, 04:01:31 PM »
That thing is awesome!  And I'm too lazy to make one.

Scott

jartist

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2013, 05:08:47 PM »
Are there any problems with checking the alignment on the right side while the bike is on it's sidestand?

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2013, 05:11:28 PM »
You need to check both sides at the same time with the bike upright.  Get a rear stand, have someone sit on it, or work around the center stand.

GreenMachine

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2013, 05:40:15 PM »
I have just one lazer pointer just like in the pic..Nice jig he made to line up the front/ rear..Maybe I'll make one if I have the scrap...
Oh Magoo you done it again

squire

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2013, 06:11:11 AM »
I've always used two aluminum straight edges.

gremlin

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Re: Seeking Rear Wheel Alignment Shortcut
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2013, 03:02:18 PM »
Are there any problems with checking the alignment on the right side while the bike is on it's sidestand?

1. gravity may distort your stick
2. differing tire pressures and tire types will influence sidewall flex
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