Anyone Know How to Fix a 426's Choppy Headset

I have a 2000 426 its in great shape, however the other day after normal track riding I had it on the stand in the garage and when I went to turn the bars they were almost totally locked up. After some stronger pressure they seemed to break free and then proceeded to swing in a very choppy manner needing way to much pressure to get them to move. It seems that the bearings are crushed or out of whack somehow. I tried loosening the ringnut but that did not seem to help much. Can anyone who has replaced the headset bearings successfully before give me any input on the steps and the tools and parts needed for the complete rebuild of the headset. I would really appreciate any information you could give me as I plan on doing it this weekend and have never worked on the headset before.


It is not that hard of a job. Take the front end apart, bars off, wheel off, forks out, etc. Take the top clamp off and remove the ring nut. The bottom clamp will slide out of the bottom of the steering neck with the steering stem.

Now you will need a long punch and a hammer to drive the races out of the steering head. It is hard to get good bite on the faces of the races, so use patience and knock the hell out of it. One key to getting these out is to drive them out evenly. When one side moves, move to the opposite side of the race to keep it from binding.

The bottom bearing is pressed onto the steering stem. You could run down to your local shop and have them remove the bearing and press the new one on for you. I have cut them off in the past, but you have to use special care here, so you do not damage the steering stem. Once the bearing is off, drive the new one on.

One thing to note......heat and cold work wonders when dealing with press fit parts. Place the new races in your deep freeze and leave them there until you are ready to drive them in. The steering stem can also be frozen until you are ready to put the new bearing on it. A little heat applied to the frame of the bike can help the races come out also. be careful as to how much heat you apply.

I hope this helps. I am kinda rambling. Get a good quality long punch for driving the races. When it gets rounded edges, hit it with a grinder to bring it back square. I promise you will cuss a lot during this job if yo have never done it before.

One more thing i forgot. I like Pivot works bearing sets. They are cheaper than stock, and the one for your bike will have an improved seal design to keep dirt and muck out of the bearings.

Pack the bearings with a good quality waterproof grease and never spray the steering head with a pressure washer and you will good for a long while.

The Moose sets are much cheaper. I have never used them, but i have heard that they are not the quality of pivot works.

Thanks Wyatt, I had no idea what to expect. It sounds very doable so i am going to get some pivot works bearings and have at it. I will let you know how it comes out.

Thanks again :applause:

I put a Pivot Works set in my 2000 also. It wasn't too difficult and made a huge improvement over the worn stock ones.

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