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Thread: Rear wheel wobbling side to side!!!

  1. #1

    Rear wheel wobbling side to side!!!

    Under load it makes a bad noise. The whole bike was shaking. The rear wheel is dancing and wobbling. I pulled over into the nearest park and called a tow truck. It was terrifying. I am not sure what it is, insticts tell me a wheel bearing is blown but what do you guys think?

  2. #2
    I can depress the belt and the wheel will twist. Belt is looser than usual. If you grab the rear sprocket with your hand you can twist the rear axle

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    twist the axle? Sounds like it sheared in half. These need to be torqued with the proper tool or you will have a disaster on your hands. Bearings will be easy. An axle that's now 2 piece, not so easy.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    My money is on a roached wheel bearing. Probably the same side as the belt.

  5. #5
    Wheel bearing is basically destroyed. I dont think the axle is cooked. I can see the bearing is destroyed. This is scary. I couldve crashed from that if i didnt pull over so quickly. Ive heard of people locking the wheel up and getting run over

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Glad you are ok from that scary situation! Even if the bearing freezes up completely, I highly doubt the slight press fit of the bearing would have the strength to lock up a wheel, but glad you're ok

    I know it's a little too late but swapping in new bearings when you change tires is $40 insurance that this won't ever happen again.

    Now that they are that bad, replace ALL of them and if you are re-using your axle, check it carefully for wear grooves. Also make sure the wheel still has a nice easy press fit, but not so easy the bearing just drops in.

    The procedure is easy and spelled out in the service manual, along with the maintenance schedule. You can get the manual for free at Buellmods.com or Buelltooth.com.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Endopotential's Avatar
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    Since this is a bearing related post, thought I'd ask.

    In Jan, I was riding on Nic's 2000 mile '04 XB12R. At the tail end of a problem-free 70 mile ride, I took off from a red light. Just normal responsible acceleration, no wheely or burnout, going in a straight line. Just as I crossed the intersection, it felt like a hand just pushed my tail end sideways to the right and the bike slid out under me. Thankfully not too much damage to the bike or myself.

    I walked back to check the road, and no water nor oil. Perhaps sand as it's Hwy 1 in Pacifica, but couldn't even see that.

    On rear stand, the rear wheel rolls smoothly and I can't seem to find any noise nor play in the bearings. Tires OK, no bald spot so I don't think the rear locked in any one spot. Belt also is properly tensioned. Haven't gone to the trouble of removing the rear wheel to inspect the bearings more closely. I've taken it out since for short test rides and no more issues.

    So anything mechanical that may have contributed to this? Blame it on the road? Just freaks me out that I can't explain it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endopotential View Post
    Since this is a bearing related post, thought I'd ask.

    In Jan, I was riding on Nic's 2000 mile '04 XB12R. At the tail end of a problem-free 70 mile ride, I took off from a red light. Just normal responsible acceleration, no wheely or burnout, going in a straight line. Just as I crossed the intersection, it felt like a hand just pushed my tail end sideways to the right and the bike slid out under me. Thankfully not too much damage to the bike or myself.

    I walked back to check the road, and no water nor oil. Perhaps sand as it's Hwy 1 in Pacifica, but couldn't even see that.

    On rear stand, the rear wheel rolls smoothly and I can't seem to find any noise nor play in the bearings. Tires OK, no bald spot so I don't think the rear locked in any one spot. Belt also is properly tensioned. Haven't gone to the trouble of removing the rear wheel to inspect the bearings more closely. I've taken it out since for short test rides and no more issues.

    So anything mechanical that may have contributed to this? Blame it on the road? Just freaks me out that I can't explain it.

    I’d pull the wheel and thoroughly inspect the bearings.

    Scooter- glad you are ok!!!!!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooter View Post
    Glad you are ok from that scary situation! Even if the bearing freezes up completely, I highly doubt the slight press fit of the bearing would have the strength to lock up a wheel, but glad you're ok

    I know it's a little too late but swapping in new bearings when you change tires is $40 insurance that this won't ever happen again.

    Now that they are that bad, replace ALL of them and if you are re-using your axle, check it carefully for wear grooves. Also make sure the wheel still has a nice easy press fit, but not so easy the bearing just drops in.

    The procedure is easy and spelled out in the service manual, along with the maintenance schedule. You can get the manual for free at Buellmods.com or Buelltooth.com.
    I replaced the rears last year with a rear tire change. Basically one year and 6000 miles ago according to my receipts. Any idea why the bearing would fail so fast? I ordered it from St Paul Harley Davidson, the full bearing kit. Is it something I did? Is it something my mechanic could've done? Would washing the bike a lot affect this?
    Last edited by young scooter; 05-30-2020 at 01:21 PM.

  10. #10
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    You don't mention if there were any tar snakes or the weather conditions.



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