Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

XR200 bent forks or clamps

Recommended Posts

Im going ahead and posting this for a friend of mine: 

My friend has a 1997 XR200, with either bent forks or clamps. When the handlebars are straight, the wheel is turned horribly to the left, I'd say about 15 degrees. Now, Ive had this problem before, so I unbolted the top and bottom clamps, as well as the axle pinch bolts. propped the bike up to a tree, twisted the handlbars to the left, and bolted everything back together. With that, the bike is about 95% better but still has a bit of tweak. The second the axle pinch bolts come loose the bike's wheel twists back to the left.

What I'm wondering is, if it's twisted forks, or twisted clamps.Or if there is any way I could test either of the two. Any insight would be appreciated. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found most front end misalignment is from the forks twisting in the clamps so the wheel is turned a bit.  So your attempt at untwisting is what I always try first because it is an easy fix for a common condition. 

Next are bent handlebars giving the impression that the forks are bent but at the amount of misalignment you are observing the bend in the bars would be noticeable.

Bent forks will bind at some point in their travel,  so pull the front wheel and then the springs from the forks and move each leg thru its travel checking for binding. Then loosen the center nut on the top triple and the fork tube's top clamp bolts and  reinstall the front wheel to see you can restore alignment.

If not then you are back to bent triples. Straightening is possible but it might be cheaper and easier to buy a set on ebay, any 84-02 XR200R triples will fit. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree w/ Chuck, take the handle bars off and lay them on a flat surface to see if both ends settle down evenly, more than likely they do not. 

 

The stock handlebars are made of thin wall steel and made to tweak or bend before breaking.

 

Both of the upper and lower triples are made of either cast steel (bottom one definitely is for a 97), or cast aluminum upper neither of which will bend, but will break,. 

 

Bent fork tubes highly unlikely, but possible.

 

Michael 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree w/ Chuck, take the handle bars off and lay them on a flat surface to see if both ends settle down evenly, more than likely they do not.

The stock handlebars are made of thin wall steel and made to tweak or bend before breaking.

Both of the upper and lower triples are made of either cast steel (bottom one definitely is for a 97), or cast aluminum upper neither of which will bend, but will break,.

Bent fork tubes highly unlikely, but possible.

Michael

Handlebars aren't stock. Rental bars, 1 1/8 I think. It can't be the bars because the wheel tweaking issue can be solved with the wheel jamming-fork twisting method, but dosent fix it all the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found most front end misalignment is from the forks twisting in the clamps so the wheel is turned a bit. So your attempt at untwisting is what I always try first because it is an easy fix for a common condition.

Next are bent handlebars giving the impression that the forks are bent but at the amount of misalignment you are observing the bend in the bars would be noticeable.

Bent forks will bind at some point in their travel, so pull the front wheel and then the springs from the forks and move each leg thru its travel checking for binding. Then loosen the center nut on the top triple and the fork tube's top clamp bolts and reinstall the front wheel to see you can restore alignment.

If not then you are back to bent triples. Straightening is possible but it might be cheaper and easier to buy a set on ebay, any 84-02 XR200R triples will fit.

I don't think it's the bars, they're aluminum Renthals. I'll throw another set on to see if it is. I don't think it's the forks either, XR200 forks are really weak so they have bottomed out before without binding. When you say binding, do you mean jamming?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe Chuck means mechanical resistance when he means binding, i.e. if the fork tubes were bent they would not go through the stroke correctly. 

 

If you feel the forks are bent, then remove them check for play on a flat surface, potentially the bronze bushings in the forks are toast and need replacement, still find it hard to believe the fork tubes themselves are bent. again possible, but highly unlikely. Hard chrome is a excellent top coating and really aids in the rigidity of the fork tube.

 

Michael 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never had a front end that could not be set straight by merely taking the front end apart (forks dropped and carefully reinstalled being sure to match height in clamps). Have a beer, take your time, it'll fall back in place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:thinking: With the bars that are being used my money is on bent fork tubes.............!  The XR fork tubes are soft and bend very easy when crashed even with stock bars (worse with stronger bars)...........right below the lower clamp.  For a crude check pull the forks off, end for end them, and lay the tubes together rotating them and it will show up.  Bent fork tubes are common on many old dirt bikes.  I've straightened a bunch of them over the last forty years.  When I put in fork seals I always check tube run out, and straighten in the hyd press if it has more than a couple thou.  On 200 forks I'll bet half the forks out there could use a little tweak in the press.  Easy as can be, and a important part of fork service and seal replacement.  No "Rocket Science" here!  :excuseme:

 

Old School Al

Edited by Old School Al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My addition to the comments is Renthal bars can be bent; I clipped a big fir on  a trail a few years back, the bike went down and the Renthals had a bend on one side.

 

Years ago I bought an XR250R that had a bad encountered with a tree, one fork tub bent so far it cracked, but the slider was OK.  The frame was also bent  beyond what would be economically repairable. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My addition to the comments is Renthal bars can be bent; I clipped a big fir on  a trail a few years back, the bike went down and the Renthals had a bend on one side.

 

Years ago I bought an XR250R that had a bad encountered with a tree, one fork tub bent so far it cracked, but the slider was OK.  The frame was also bent  beyond what would be economically repairable. 

 

 

 

One can bend a anvil if they hit it hard enough.........! ;)

 

My point is............ stronger bars (while still being able to be bent), transfer more impact to the forks.   The steering stop also takes more of a beating and can be damaged. 

 

Street bikes is where by far I've seen the most serious fork and frame...........and everything damage! ;)

 

Old School Al

Edited by Old School Al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe Chuck means mechanical resistance when he means binding, i.e. if the fork tubes were bent they would not go through the stroke correctly. 

 

If you feel the forks are bent, then remove them check for play on a flat surface, potentially the bronze bushings in the forks are toast and need replacement, still find it hard to believe the fork tubes themselves are bent. again possible, but highly unlikely. Hard chrome is a excellent top coating and really aids in the rigidity of the fork tube.

 

Michael 

Nope, no mechanical resistance. The ford definitely need seals and bushings, I know that for a fact. They're just old and the PO rode it on blown fork seals for years

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never had a front end that could not be set straight by merely taking the front end apart (forks dropped and carefully reinstalled being sure to match height in clamps). Have a beer, take your time, it'll fall back in place.

I have done that once before. It helped a lot but there was still a small amount of twist. Just a tad. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:thinking: With the bars that are being used my money is on bent fork tubes.............!  The XR fork tubes are soft and bend very easy when crashed even with stock bars (worse with stronger bars)...........right below the lower clamp.  For a crude check pull the forks off, end for end them, and lay the tubes together rotating them and it will show up.  Bent fork tubes are common on many old dirt bikes.  I've straightened a bunch of them over the last forty years.  When I put in fork seals I always check tube run out, and straighten in the hyd press if it has more than a couple thou.  On 200 forks I'll bet half the forks out there could use a little tweak in the press.  Easy as can be, and a important part of fork service and seal replacement.  No "Rocket Science" here!  :excuseme:

 

Old School Al

Okay, So look for warpage on the chrome tubes near the bottom of the lower clamp. So just rotate the chrome tubes in the forks and look for warp?

Nope, no mechanical resistance. The ford definitely need seals and bushings, I know that for a fact. They're just old and the PO rode it on blown fork seals for years

 

One can bend a anvil if they hit it hard enough.........! ;)

 

My point is............ stronger bars (while still being able to be bent), transfer more impact to the forks.   The steering stop also takes more of a beating and can be damaged. 

 

Street bikes is where by far I've seen the most serious fork and frame...........and everything damage! ;)

 

Old School Al

odd to mention, the steering stop is just destroyed. There, functional, but destroyed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope, no mechanical resistance. The ford definitely need seals and bushings, I know that for a fact. They're just old and the PO rode it on blown fork seals for years

 

 What "ford"............................did I miss something??? :confused:

 

If you're going to install seals, pull the forks apart and end for end the tubes holding them together.  Then see if they rock due to not being straight.........rotate them a bit and test again.  They should be parallel with each other if they are straight. Be careful not to scratch or nic the tubes.  I tend to doubt if you'll need to replace the bushings, I've never replaced a set as I recall on a 200.

 

Yep, damaged steering stop doesn't surprise me at all............ ;)

 

Old School Al

Edited by Old School Al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 What "ford"............................did I miss something??? :confused:

 

If you're going to install seals, pull the forks apart and end for end the tubes holding them together.  Then see if they rock due to not being straight.........rotate them a bit and test again.  They should be parallel with each other if they are straight. Be careful not to scratch or nic the tubes.  I tend to doubt if you'll need to replace the bushings, I've never replaced a set as I recall on a 200.

 

Yep, damaged steering stop doesn't surprise me at all............ ;)

 

Old School Al

Ah. "FORK" 

What do you mean "end to end" Like hold the chrome tubes together side to side to see if one is off? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah. "FORK" 

What do you mean "end to end" Like hold the chrome tubes together side to side to see if one is off? 

 

 

Ok...............! :thumbsup:

 

Yep, side by side..........but end for end tubes so bushing on ends of tubes miss each other.  You'll figure out what I'm trying to describe and why.  Rotate the tubes and check several times to find the high spots if they are in fact bent.   Check your bars to make sure they aren't bent also.............usually you can sight them and tell if they are tweaked very much.

 

Old School Al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OSA is describing a quick and easy way to check stanchion tubes if they are off the bike, I'll rephrase:

 

Set one tube on the bench with the bottom or bushing end on your left. Then set the other stanchion next to it pointed in the opposite direction.  Both bushings will touch the other tube.  If one of the tubes is badly bent you will see a change in distance between the tubes at some point. Just rotate one tube at a time and observe if the distance between tubes changes at any location. 

 

One can bend a anvil if they hit it hard enough.........! ;)

 

Yep, I was feeling frisky and hauling, and it was a quick get off.  Over the years I've done a lot of fast trail riding during Enduros and prided myself on being able to get my bars past trees, even using my shoulder pads against trees to help position the bike.  The bad news is I didn't see this tree. :facepalm:  I did take a nice size chunk of bark off the tree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have a granite counter top of some sort, even the kitchen counter top (do it while the Wife is out of the house) use that as your flat surface to do your test. 

 

Test it several times to make sure you are getting a consistant result, good, bad or indifferent. 

 

Michael 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×