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  • Handling issue

    I am rebuilding my second special last one was a 79 this one is an80. The 80 does not have the same feel when riding. have to counter steer with pressure to get a good glide in the turns. The 79 is far more loose and easy to adjust with body movements. Forks were a little leaky on the 80 should i start there or look to the rear shocks .... or both Thanks
    Bigalg

  • #2
    Start with the steering stem bearings. Put the bike on the center stand and put weight on the rear of the seat so the front tire is off the ground. Now, from the center position, push VERY lightly right or left, and see what happens. If it feels "notchy", the races are gone. This will happen from just sitting! I know, I needed new bearing on my 1980 with only 22K on the clock.
    Ray Matteis
    KE6NHG
    XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
    XS1100 SF Bob Jones worked on it!

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    • #3
      Hi Al, Front brakes on the Specials are a PIA. A bit of brake drag from the rotors not being centered will make the turns a bit difficult as you describe. Make sure the front wheel is free spinning. Another common cause is the rear end, seems you are already going there. Since these bikes had a high stance many folks over the years have tried to lower the rear a bit. Still have the 79? since it has a good setup it may be worth comparing the suspension setups.

      ---Bax
      80 SG

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      • #4
        I like the way my SG feels better than my SF. I think it's because the seating postilion feels lower.
        -Mike
        _________
        '79 XS1100SF 20k miles
        '80 XS1100SG 42k miles
        '81 XS1100H Venturer 35k miles
        '79 XS750SF 20k miles
        '85 Honda V65 Magna ~7k miles
        '84 Honda V65 Magna 48k miles (parts bike)
        '86 Yamaha VMAX 7k miles

        Previous: '68 Motoguzzi 600cc + '79 XS750SF 22k miles +'84 Honda V65

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        • #5
          I'm with Ray on checking out the head bearings. After many years of tapping with a punch, I finally got the tool to properly torque the stem, worth every penny.

          Tires and tire pressure can make a huge difference on handling as well.
          1979 XS1100 Special
          1980 XS1100 Std parts bucket
          1987 ZL1000 Eliminator
          1976 XS750D Project in waiting

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          • #6
            Thanks for the advice, i will take a look and report back. I appreciate this comunity so much!

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            • #7
              bearings seem super smooth up on the jack turning side to side. Rear shocks are more firm than the 79, I rebuilt the front calipers as the brakes were frozen on when i picked it up. The wheel dosnt spin completely free , in that i can spin it and it will not go a full rotation. What should i look to to get a more free spin and should it spin easyily like a bike tire? I will compare with the 79.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BigalG View Post
                bearings seem super smooth up on the jack turning side to side. Rear shocks are more firm than the 79, I rebuilt the front calipers as the brakes were frozen on when i picked it up. The wheel dosnt spin completely free , in that i can spin it and it will not go a full rotation. What should i look to to get a more free spin and should it spin easyily like a bike tire? I will compare with the 79.
                as Bax mentioned above you need to center the rotors in the calipers otherwise you will have drag and is probably what you are experiencing. On the steering head bearings even though they were smooth side to side you also needed to check for any slop or looseness front to back. Meaning pull or push the forks too see if there is any play.
                2 - 80 LGs bought one new
                81 LH
                02 FXSTB Nighttrain
                Jim

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                • #9
                  Have you checked your front wheel bearings? Also a real good idea to dismantle and clean the forks with new seals and oil. That in itself helped mine.
                  2 - 80 LGs bought one new
                  81 LH
                  02 FXSTB Nighttrain
                  Jim

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                  • #10
                    This is not especially scientific, but if you took a short ride without using the front brake, stopped and quickly felt the front rotors and they were pretty warm, it might tell you that they're dragging.
                    "Time is the greatest teacher; unfortunately, it kills all of its students."

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                    • #11
                      so i am putting new tires on to see if it makes any difference, they are old anyway, when i went to pull the front tire i had to deflate it and then muscle it a bit to get the rubber past the rotor guides, could that mean the forks are bent? All the tire change videos the tire just rolls out?

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                      • #12
                        On the Special, if you rotate one fork getting the tire past, then the other, the tire comes out. Your forks are not bent.
                        2H7 (79)
                        3H3

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                        • #13
                          I did not even think about being able to rotate the fork! thanks for the reply

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                          • #14
                            So BigalQ

                            Did you ever determine the drag on the front wheel? Bearings or pads?
                            80 SG
                            81 Midnight Special (R.I.P.)

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                            • #15
                              i have replaced the rubber with a pair of shinko's , ballanced replaced adjusted the pads, and happy to report handles 100% better. the shop was backed up till late june so i did the replacements myself and am all the better for the expierience. Thanks for all the help and suggestions. You guys are the best . Now to polish up the aluminum on the engine and put her up for sale! time to find another that needs nursing back to health.

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