04 wr450f - linkage bearing questions


Got my bike pulled down for some annual DIY maintainance, currently attending to the rear shock / swingarm linkage bearings. I have never had the linkage apart since ive owned the bike.


What is the browny coloured material around the needle rollers? It has a sort of rubbery consistency, but im not sure if its factory or just grease residue. I had to "tear" it to get the rollers out, they were all seized.

Can i just clean everything up and re-pack the needles back into the bearing race with grease without the "rubbery" surround?

Pics: sorry for crap quality - off my phone.






its a combination of rust/dried out grease

you need bearings and seals I'm afraid

Get the kit from 'All Balls' as OEM stuff is overpriced (at least in the UK it is)

I'm pretty sure it's what Yamaha calls "Poly Lube". There theory (which sadly is mostly correct) is that practically no one will lube the linkages frequently enough, so they install this plastic like lube in there from the factory. I guess it's better than nothing! But since us ThumperTalk faithful aren't normal:bonk:, we remove it and actually use the real thing, Water-proof Grease! Your suspension will thank you by working even better than when it came off from the showroom floor!!! If you can clean up all of those rollers and not have any rust on them, you can probably get away without needing to purchase any seals or bearings. But if there rusty, it's your call, but I would fix it correctly at that point. Maniac

Yep, new bearings are in order. Sometimes the internals turn to pure rusty dust and sift out!

Depends on your budget. I've rescued many a rusty linkage bearing. If your inner, outer races and your seals are OK you can get away with it. Soak everything in WD40 and use some fine sandpaper (600 grit) to get the rust off. Then repack well with grease.

Best bet is replace, especially seeing how many years it's been it won't be a big expense. Myself I can find them this way within a month and I go through about one set of bearings, and a few lower shock ones a year, so if they are possible to be saved I will.

Lots of folks call it string cheese, I just took it out, cleaned up the bearings and races then repacked them in a synthetic waterproof grease. Those actually look fine to me, just like what I took out of mine to be exact. They cleaned up nice, the inner race was nice and tight with very little play.

I did have to replace the swingarm pivot bearings as they had real pits in them, I used a kit from Pivot Works, nice kit, felt like good quality, complete and fit perfectly.

Hey fellas,

Cheers for the responses and advice. The bearing above cleaned up pretty well actually and i was happy to reuse it :smirk: i wire wheeled all neddle rollers and the spool and cleaned up the race by hand. The other bearings in the linkage were mint condiion. No pitting, rust or staining at all, no slop with spool piece. All bearings repacked wih belray waterproof.

Attacking the swingarm bearings tommorow after a relaxing weekend at the beach;)

Question - the thrust bearings in the swingarm, are these accessible and do the need checking and refirb?


Amazing longevity for linkage bearings! I usually have to replace mine every year but my bike sees a lot of water. I use waterproof grease but it's not enough to stop the rust.

We ride a lot of water crossings and mud....my buddies 05 wr eat linkage bearings. We found that we have to disassemble and re-grease twice a season.

They are accessible, just a Torrington bearing with two hardened washers for races. Mine were stuck to the washers but if you slide them they'll come off. Clean and lube just like the others.

Removed and inspected swing arm bearings. They were shot, not completely dry but alot of staining and spools were pitted. So hunted around and obtained an all balls kit. All sorted.


Amazing longevity for linkage bearings! I usually have to replace mine every year but my bike sees a lot of water. I use waterproof grease but it's not enough to stop the rust.

Wow! Once a season? How much do you get to ride and what do you ride through? It would be worth for you to come up with a grease fitting setup for your link.

Edited by MaxPower

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