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xr650r rear bearing looseness??

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I just picked up my first XR650R, a 2000 model. It's been ridden but seems to be in average to good condition.

It put the bike to a lift just to check things out. The rear wheel seems heavy to turn around. The brake pads are dragging and it makes some of it. But but...if I take a grip on the rim and twist to rear tire, there's some looseness, I'd say maybe 1/16 inch (or 1 to 2mm) back there. Is this something to be concerned about?

If the bearing is needing replacement, how often this happens? The previous owner estimated the bike to have around 1800 miles on it. He used to race so I know he's been riding it...but the bike has a lots of upgrades and seems to be well taken care of. It has not been raced, that I am pretty sure of.

How tricky or tough job it is to replace bearings? The service manual gives some special tools to be used, can I live without? Any suggestions? Or should I take the rear wheel just to shop and have them do it. I have the bearings.

All the help is highly appreciated.


'99 VFR

'02 VFR

'00 KLR650 (for sale in Texas)

'00 XR650R (soon to be DS)

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I just did the bearings in mine the other day. They are somewhat tough if you don't have a puller. However with a hammer, flathead screwdriver and some time you should be ok. I thought all along it was my spokes loosening so I'd tighten them and it would go away a bit. Just did the bearings for the hell of it and they were gummed with dirt and grease. Bike is solid out back now with no movement.

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