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Best way to Align Front Wheel and Forks

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2015 350 XC-F

 

I think i knocked the front wheel slightly out of alignment this past weekend..  the fender doesn't quite line up on the center of the tire (slightly left OC) and when the bars are straight(as best i can tell), the wheel seems slightly right... 

It looks almost like more of a top to bottom lean then being turned, but it's hard to tell..   I've done some searching and seen everything from loosening the clamp bolts and knocking the front tire on something to loosening everything and just bouncing the front a few times..  I'm probably over complicating it but I was wondering if anyone has a good step by step..

 

I will also be installing a sub mount scotts damper with the BRP bracket and new fork springs in the next few days so it will all be coming apart anyway.  When going back together should i install the left fork to height, then install the right and make sure the axle itself spins freely before locking the height of the right?  I have read the lines in the top might not be exactly even..  I'm sure I'll get it worked out but would still appreciate tips or tutorials for making things go smoothly..

 

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Yes, you can loosen up the clamps and shake the bars back and forth to let everything go back into place and tighten everything up.  If the forks are not identical on both sides it won't hurt as one could be much higher than the other and although of course at some point it affects suspension action it wouldn't hurt anything.

When you are putting your front wheel on, you need to align the forks from side to side.  To do this, slide the axle through and thread on the nut on the left side and snug up the pinch bolts.  Th right side leg floats on the axle, and the left side is clamped into position between the wheel spacer and the axle nut/bolt.  Once the left side is snugged up, you can do one of 2 things or bth.  With the front wheel in the air spin the front wheel as fast as you can and slam the front brake, do that a few times.  You can also put it on the ground and bounce the front end up and down a bunch, and then tighten the right side fork leg.  Most people don't realize how important this is, I've seen a front end literally locked up, it wouldn't compress at all because the forks were tightened down when misaligned.

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I would definitely check the fork heights are even at the top of the clamp. I've seen more than a few bikes have one fork leg slide up or down a few mm when out riding

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I loosen the triple clamp bolts, put the front heel in between my legs and straighten the bars/wheel/fender. Then, put it on a stand and reset the wheel so it spins freely.

 

Like Mr. Ballz said, it is important to have front wheel aligned.

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