Steering head bearings.....and YZ85 bars

I pulled the front end apart today.....the bottom bearing was very dry, and the top wasnt much better. if you havent done this to your new bike yet.. do it.

I also put my YZ 85 bend renthals on. this is the way to go. nice and high, didnt have to cut the ends off, and still plenty of room for everything.

you are right! I have taken several new bikes apart only to find very little grease in the top and bottom bearings...GOOD IDEA!

Hi XR600R,did you use the proper steering nut wrench or did you use the primitive way,a hammer and staight rod or punch? I wanted to do mine when I did my suspension linkage but without the ability to retorque I am waiting.I feel if I do it the primitive way I will probably screw something up and it will cost me alot of $$$$$$$$. :)

i got the wrench from yamaha. to me it seemed better than "guessing" how tight it should be.

retail price on the wrench by the way, is $54.74. :)

XR600 sorry to hear of all your key problems.Hope they get it right soon.Mine still hasn,t seen the dirt yet and had it for 5 weeks.I am afraid of the key failing deep in the woods and my 9 yr. old son having to tow me out with his XR80. :) Will that wrench fit on torque wrench? Do you have the part# Thanx

LOL.....i havent had any key problems .....yet. i was talking about the guy from ga. ive only rode my bike around the yard a few times, to cold & to much snow.

anyway....yes a torque wrench fits on it, and the part # is


"did you use the proper steering nut wrench?"

What are you guys talking about? Did Yamaha change the nut on the steering stem? No way, your kidding, right??? :)

Ummm..its the nut below the triple clamp. why do i suddenly feel like the only guy that ever used the right wrench. :)

Can I rent yours? :) I'm only going to take it apart once to grease it and install a zerk.

Japanese bike manufacturers seem to have a standard guideline for greasing bearings; stick finger in grease, wipe finger on rag, rub finger on bearings. Anyone who has torn down a brand new japanese bike has probably seen the same thing I do every time I buy a new bike, Shockingly little grease everywhere. New wr's have solid lube in the linkage bearings but that doesn't mean they can be overlooked. The bolt that goes through the coller can seize to it. Here's what I have done with every japanese bike I have ever owned, and will do it to every one I will ever own, before I even turn a tire. Grease; steering head, axles, all linkage bolts, rear brake pivot, torque all motor mount bolts. The stock plastic handlebars and grips go in the trash in favor of Renthal Cr-hi bends(722) and Renthal diamond soft grips (glued+safety wired). If you grease your bearings before you ride it will save you a major headache later. My brand new Wr450 is in pieces on my workroom floor right now and guess what? I can probably squeeze more grease out of a mouse carcass than is on my steering head bearings. Also, proper torque on motor mounts cuts down the vibes.

Beware :)

Regrease everything before riding a new bike. It is a must.

I bought my 02 WR 426 late last fall. I rode 200 km on it before getting it in the basement. I did all kind of mods to it and I finished by the lube job last month. The top steering head bearing add rust spots and the bottom one was dry. I replaced the top one ($80.00 cdn), installed a grease nipples and filled the steering head assly with synthetic grease. The swingarm and the linkage bearings were OK, but a bit dry. I cleaned and regreased the whole assly. The seals seem to do a good job of keeping the dirt out of this area. Even considering the lack of lubricant.

I tought that the Japanese bike makers had the top system for quality control. They build a great machine and blemish its reputation with something that is so easy to correct. Too bad.

i read somewhere once the lack of grease is due to the high cost of petroleum products in japan.

i'd gladly pay a few extra bucks to have it done right from the factory.

Just finished throwing a boat load of grease at my WR450. Shortened throttle stop screw to YZ specs and torqued everything back together. Installed new Renthal Bars&grips, Zip-ty fuel screw. Total time, about 3 hours. Just to let you guys know that if you don't do the whole grease thing that I recomended earlier, check the lower shock bolt. Everything had a very light layer of what looked like some kind of assembly lube except the shock bolt, It was completely dry!! Do yourself a favor and grease the crap out of the steering head bearings. It is a peice of cake to do and you don't have to remove the front wheel. Just pop off the top triple clamp, remove the nut, drop the fork a little, and work some grease into that lower bearing. You can do the top one the normal way (greasy palm method). I don't put zerks in the steering head because it is a large void to fill with grease, and it is pretty easy to grease it my way (less grease used, less grease under/on top of triple clamps to trap dirt). I can't wait to give it a right thrashing! It seems pretty quick motoring around my yard/neighborhood but, everything seems pretty sedate compared to my R1. Which also got the grease bath when new by the way. It seems like the Japanese would want everything to be 110% on a bike like that, You know, with these lawyers circling like buzzards, but alas, same lightly lubed bearings as on my dirt bikes. You'd think for 10K and change they could sqeeze out a little more grease.


I just finished the zerk project on all the swingarm components but didn't get around to the head tube bearings. This week I will do it. I had considered the zerk in the head tube because, like the swingarm linkages, you only need to take it apart once and not again for quite some time. I read from a post a while back that the head tube holds almost a full can of grease. Some people don't want the extra weight but it can't be all that much. So, can you take the top triple clamp off without removing the bars first??

If you have a wrench that fits under the bars you can remove it without removing the bars. There is a bracket mounted to the top clamp that i'm sure you noticed also. The easiest way to deal with it is to unplug all of the cables on it. I remove the bars so I can Re-torque the head. They say that neccessity is the mother of invention, I say laziness is. Get creative, there are a lot of shortcuts you can take to grease the head bearings. I'm probably one of the laziest people when it comes to maintenance. I'm also probably one of the most anal-retentive. I'll do anything to make sure everything is right on my bike, but I refuse to spend more time than is absolutely neccessary. Right now my WR is sitting in my garage with 1.6 miles on it and so far I've greased all of the bearings, changed the bars, shortened the stop screw, jetted,de-snorkled,de-stickered,sagged,clickered,torqued,added a magnetic drain bolt,zip-ty fuel screw and Even have the battery on a trickle charger, maybe I'll ride it this weekend. I really hate to get it dirty though, it's so damn prettay!

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