Rear wheel twitching side to side under power?

I road through some damp sand over the weekend and noticed the following. The trail that my rear tire left was "zig zagging". It looked like a snake trail. It wasn't a straight line.

This was on fairly smooth sand, 5 gear under power, on the pegs. I don't notice anything while riding, I was just surprised at this path.

What causes this? Is this a common Xr650 trait?

Check your rear wheel bearings, and the bushings. For a while, my rear end would make this chattering if I applied the brakes on a trail, and I couldn't figure out what it was for the longest time.

One day I decided to go check my bearings, and I could move the tire back and forth about a half inch; not good. When I went to replace them, noticed that the bushings were pretty worn too; the soft aluminum doesn't hold up. One of the sites on here talks about how to fix the bushings so you don't go through a million sets of bearings.

If thats not it, check your spokes; mine becoming loose every once and while too.

Yep, could be the wheel bearings, swingarm bushings, loose spokes, wheel out of true, rear wheel not straight (adjusters), or even a funny wear pattern on the knobs.


I put the bike up on the stand and pushed and pulled the tire/swingarm. Is this enough to tell if there is a bearing/bushing out of spec?

It all seemed tight.

Also, the tire appears true. I ran the bike on the stand the wheel appears to spin straight.

it should have no side to side play at all.

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