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Discussion Starter #1
I laid over my Thunderbird a while ago and just today got it back on the road when I noticed the wheel seemed off center. When the forks feel square the wheel goes left. So, I looked up fork adjustment and started to work... but couldn't get it squared up. I noticed that the clearance between the fender bolt and tire changes considerably as the wheel rotates. There isn't any wobble or vibration as I drive down the road, so is it possible I didn't ruin my wheel? I
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A Horton
 

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When you say 'laid over', if you mean by that you didn't hit anything solid with the front beforehand, I don't see why the fork legs would be bent.

But the handlebar gets a good thump. Which could mean bent handlebars and/or the triple clamps got twisted out of alignment (or even bent), which will mean fork legs out of parallel.

Leaving the lower triple clamp tight, loosen all the other clamp screws, axle clamps & headstock top nut (the one holding the triple clamp, not the head bearings underneath). If possible, loosen the fender mount screws a bit too.

This will enable you to twist things back. Some assistance may be needed tho'. Also if the mudguard got bent slightly, that may tend to hold things twisted, or it may even needed to be pulled off & straightened.

HTH?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
When you say 'laid over', if you mean by that you didn't hit anything solid with the front beforehand, I don't see why the fork legs would be bent.
I was going around a right hand corner and I freaked myself out and hit the brakes and the bike fell out from under me. I wasn't going very fast.

But the handlebar gets a good thump. Which could mean bent handlebars and/or the triple clamps got twisted out of alignment (or even bent), which will mean fork legs out of parallel.
The handlebar is bent, but I took that into consideration when I was looking at the triple tree. At first I thought that the legs were out of parallel, and they still may be but I can't figure out why I have a huge change in clearance as the wheel rotates.

Leaving the lower triple clamp tight, loosen all the other clamp screws, axle clamps & headstock top nut (the one holding the triple clamp, not the head bearings underneath). If possible, loosen the fender mount screws a bit too.

This will enable you to twist things back. Some assistance may be needed tho'. Also if the mudguard got bent slightly, that may tend to hold things twisted, or it may even needed to be pulled off & straightened.

HTH?
This is very similar to what I did (This is my source and basically what I followed to try and true the forks. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DvSunBRB6-r8&ei=TVoEUeHfOJT68QTy5oG4CQ&usg=AFQjCNHXwApupd8WaK2X5R_R9KTgGGEBHA&sig2=LBb0MRxaFvxzmXs0iHSFTg&bvm=bv.41524429,d.eWU) but it didn't work... I may have to take the mudguard off like you said, but that will require taking the tire off because I don't have the clearance.
 

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Bent wheel

I laid over my Thunderbird a while ago and just today got it back on the road when I noticed the wheel seemed off center. When the forks feel square the wheel goes left. So, I looked up fork adjustment and started to work... but couldn't get it squared up. I noticed that the clearance between the fender bolt and tire changes considerably as the wheel rotates. There isn't any wobble or vibration as I drive down the road, so is it possible I didn't ruin my wheel? I
Thanks
A Horton
AJ,
Your wheel is bent. You may have a bent fork, or your forks are cocked in your triple clamp. But that wouldn't make the side clearance of the tire change when the wheel is rotated.
Pull your wheel and have it repaired or replaced.

Hope you get it all fixed up.
 

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Pull your wheel and have it repaired or replaced.

Hope you get it all fixed up.
That is definitely needed.

On the good side, spoked rims can be adjusted an impressive amount before you need to replace them. I'd imagine that someone who's done it before can easily true your rim by adjusting the spokes. It can be done in an hour or less by someone who has a bit of practice under their belt.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've been looking around for prices on truing the wheel, my next step would be to take the wheel off. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do that at home? I don't have a lot of tools. My wife is mad that I bought the bike, and even more so that I dropped it... so my budget is tight.
 

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Front wheel removal

At the risk of sounding arrogant....if you dont know what youre doing, I would suggest you do not mess around with your front end.

Pay a mechanic to fix your bike.

Ride safe
 

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I'm afraid Dindar has said what a number of us are probably thinking.

So....please don't take offence at this. I'm sure many of us can sympathise with the 'pressure' from your wife, and we all had to learn sometime. Don't recall any spanners in the photos just after I popped out the womb.

Wheel removal is quite a basic job. Asking about this tells me two things. One, you are likely a complete beginner (no shame in that), and/or two, you have no shop manual, Haynes or factory item.

I'd encourage anyone who feels motivated to learn to maintain & fix their bike. It's very satisfying & saves a ton of money.

In this situation, you'll be dealing with brakes, steering & suspension, not things you want to make mistakes with. So I suggest you get a workshop manual & then see if you can get someone with experience to give you a hand with it.

Good luck anyhow :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No offense has been taken. I am a beginner, and I'm trying to learn about maintaining on the fly. I was more asking about ideas on a lift or how to keep the bike upright after I've taken the front wheel off. I found some promising places to true the wheel (one of them is framestraightsystem.com), but I have to get the wheel to them without any bike attached to it. There are a few shops close by, and I'm going today to price them out, but I would have to pay to have the whole bike put on the back of a truck and haul it away. I'd like to avoid that if I can. Maybe I'm going about this the wrong way, but that's why I asked on here for advice. I appreciate the input.
 

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Learning the craft

As I do to all new riders, I suggest learning the skills of maintenance , repair and indeed riding on a small lightweight bike, progressing through middleweights . Like an apprenticeship.

It is all too easy for a novice to get in too deep with a heavy powerful bike. Everything happens quicker and harder !

I have seen too many older guys buy a bike (usually a Harley ) that they couldnt have in their youth and get creamed in short order 'living the dream'.

Ride safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As I do to all new riders, I suggest learning the skills of maintenance , repair and indeed riding on a small lightweight bike, progressing through middleweights . Like an apprenticeship.
If I could go back a few months and tell myself that, I would. Unfortunately I'm still young and dumb...
 

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first off, get a manual and a torque wrench.
 

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I'm new to riding myself, had my bike down a time or two.. devastating isn't it. Did the same thing you did once, but was pretty slow and just went into the grass without dumping it.
I've learned a bit since then.

1. Remember that bike can lean a lot farther than you are probably comfortable with. Sometimes when I come into a turn hot now I just remind myself to lean it more and it'll be ok.
2. Don't panic and slam the brake in the turn. I did that as well and had a pretty bad wreck. It's much better to come in to the turn slow and comfortably. You can always gun it on your way out of the turn!
3. Road signs are set up for cars, that don't usually go beyond 10 mph over the limit, comfortably. On a motorcycle you typically are comfortable going well beyond the speed limit, however the distance a caution sign is placed before a turn, and also whether or not there is a caution sign, is based on the speed limit.

Just some things to keep in mind.
about jacking up the bike I'm not sure because my bike has a center stand and frame for the roll bars, not sure how the others are. Someone started a thread recently on bike jacks.
Definitely pick up the Hayne's manual. Good luck!
 

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If I could go back a few months and tell myself that, I would. Unfortunately I'm still young and dumb...
I learned on my Legend and dropped it while learning.

Best advice? Ride and ride and ride.
 
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