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What Happened to the Handling on My ST?

1516 Views 16 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  upnet
A couple of weeks ago, I went on a Sunday ride with some folks from work. I knew they rode faster than I, but S***! The top speed indicator registered... faster than I care to admit, and we were never on a four lane. Just two lane country roads. So after the 140 mi round trip we got to the split up point, and home I went all proud that I f****** survived!!! I also felt quite a bit more comfortable on the bike and amazed at how light it felt after having run it out for the first time and having pushed my limits.

I thought this background info may be relevant to the problem.

So Monday morning I'm on the bike in the drive way ready to pop her in gear and head off to work and at the last minute I think to myself... "I better get my non-electric gloves because it is going to get warm for the ride home"... so I proceed to put the bike back down on the kickstand and down she goes!! S*** it would help if I put the kick stand down first!! First dump for this bike and first time I ever dropped one like that. Oh well. Minor scratch on turn lens, handle bar counter weight, shift lever, and a small scratch on the body panel. Big scuff on the left hard bag, bent luggage retainer tab (bent it back in place) and a scrape on the bottom of the front fork.

I have 6000 mi on the OEM tires (yes the rear is squared off) and the front has some cupping.

So why does the handling just seem to have gone away!? Is it just in my mind? The bike tracks straight, no wobbling while accelerating or normal riding, but all of a sudden the bike seems to seek all the imperfections in the road. It is stable but doesn't feel like it. It wants to fall into corners, yet seems to be eager to flip back up straight. There is a minor wobble in third gear if I take my hands off during deceleration. It stops and cannot be felt with my hands on the handle bars. Could this be caused by the cupping in the front tire? The bike does not seem to have the same gyroscopic resistance to lateral motion. It is really strange.

Do you think it is just bad feed back because of worn tires or did I mess up the front fork adjustment? Any ideas?
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Sorry to hear about your unfortunate spill .hows the air pressure in the tires?,and the condition of your tires could cause ill handling,I had a weave from the back when my rear tire was worn (yes squared off)but still looked ok.
I think your bike is telling you it wants some good sporting tires :)

[ This message was edited by: rs_tt on 2007-01-09 20:54 ]
Yes. Good point. First thing I did was checked the air...because they feel flat. Pressure is fine. I'm hoping it's just worn tires, but, I probably will not replace them until this summer.
The same thing happened to me a few years ago. After dropping the bike at very low speed with new tyres she never handled the same.
I only found out the problem when I decided to remove the Genmar bar risers.
The front forks had been removed by the dealer for painting and put back at the wrong height, makes a big difference to the handling.
Mine were about 3mm below the triple clamp and although great on a straight road would not turn into corners well. On resetting the forks to about 3mm above the triple clamp the bike turned nice and sharp and almost fell into the corners again, it now handled like it did before.
what tyres are you running and if you do not mind the question what is your riding experience?

I do not mean any offence by the later, only to help judge what your problem could be.

If you feel a difference I doubt it is your imagination.

Tyres would be my first guess but could be other stuff too as stated.

DaveM :cool:
Sorry to hear of your mishap Trip,

Tyres make such a difference to the feel of your bike.

I went from the BT 020's (standard on the RS) to BT 014's and just could believe the difference.

Now that the front is in need of changing after 11,000 kilometres of hard riding the bike is handling like a dog TBH. Chattering in corners, unsteady at low speed (40-60kph) and less positive feel all round.

You'll be surprised at the change of characteristics that a decent set of new tyres makes.

Don't push too hard on the new ones at the start..

Good luck..
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My feeling is that you have BT020s on the bike that have certainly "squared off". This happens if like me you have to drive a very long straight line to get to the corners. Creates all sorts of issues as an edge in the middle section of the tyre develops. Once you go over that edge it makes for a very uncomfortable feeling! Happens on all tyres (some people call it scalloping) but the BT020s seem to perform particularly badly when this occurs.

This is exactly what happened with my BT020s. After recommendations from guys on this forum (thanks DaveM) fitted a set of Avon Azaros. A revelation for Sports Touring. BT020s will never be fitted to my bike again.
My ST has the same symptoms in that the handling doesn't seem what it once was and I also have the wobble when I pull my hands off the bars. I'm hoping it goes away when I get new tires but as I live in Michigan it may be some time before I'm back on the road. ***** snow.
Thanks for all the input. The tires (tyres) are BT020. I was hoping to get another 3,000 mi out of them. I ride almost everyday, but under commuter conditions. There are virtually no curves on the 12 mi trek to work. Just intersections. I can only ride twisty roads once or twice a year when I make the 4 hour ride to the Appalachian Mountains. Otherwise it is high speed sweepers. I am 47, married with three children, and a "calculating" rider. My main objective is to enjoy the machine, the ride, and bring it all back in one piece. I have owned a few bikes, and ride because I like the performance, response and handling. It sounds like tires, but, I do not remember my last ST degrading like it seems has happened. The forks have never been removed and I have yet to play with the adjustment. I wonder what the symptoms of mis-alignment are, or what if I screwed up the shock adjustment in the tip over? I will get it to the dealer ASAP, but that is also a two hour ride. Did not plan on doing that for a while.

Again, thanks for the help! Reading with great interest,

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Trip, I am not sure that a tip over would cause such misalignment but that is easily checked with a string line.

Bike in a straight line, from the back tyre, to the front.

Ask if your not sure how to achieve this and I'll pm you,,

Maybe you may need your headstock checked but unless you do heaps of wheelies (and it doesn't sound as though you do - no offence) it should be fine. Next check your wheel bearings from side to side.

You could ask your dealer to do this for you ??

As I mentioned my front is overdue for a change and the characteristics are (at times) subtle and others are unnerving.

If you are looking at getting tyres in the near future I would say fine, do it. If not, just get them checked by a trusted dealer that may not be profiting from the change.

My dealer is good for that sort of advice but knows that he can't compete when it comes to the tyre $. Lucky for me that he is OK with free advice.

Unfortunately it is a long for you to visit my dealer :-D
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On 2007-01-10 20:16, MickSprint06 wrote:
Tyres are knackered.
What he said.

I can't believe you got that kind of mileage out of your tires. I haven't had a rear last more than 4K miles, and cupping in the front is going to cause all sorts of problems.
On 2007-01-10 22:24, Sprint1050DA wrote:
On 2007-01-10 20:16, MickSprint06 wrote:
Tyres are knackered.
What he said.

I can't believe you got that kind of mileage out of your tires. I haven't had a rear last more than 4K miles, and cupping in the front is going to cause all sorts of problems.
+2 :)

On the BT020 (which I agree with everyone else are shite) I got about 7500-8000km (not miles). On Pilot Roads, which perform MUCH better and have a longer life I get 8500-10000km.

I honestly don't know how you can get 6000mi (10000km) and expect more on a sport tourer class bike.

The only bikes I know that get more are middleweight cruisers with rock hard tyres anyway. And the BMW R1200GS with it's dual purpose tyre (just seems to be a good tyre). Which will get from 12000-20000km.

on Avon Azaro's I manage about 6000kms, on race / sport tyres I get around 3000 - 4000kms depending on what they are.

And Bridgetsone BT 020's are'nt the best in their class.

I have done 2,600kms on the Bridgestone race/sport tyre the new Battlax BT 002 and will most likely get another 500 - 700kms and front and rear will be toast.

They are very very good, better than Pilot Powers I did a review on them. :)

DaveM :cool:
Yeah. I checked the alignment as best as I could. No problem. Headstock is smooth. I guess the tyres are definitely knackered!

It just seems like the bike rode so well the day before... wait a minute... no wonder I couldn't keep up with those hooligan bikers!

No way it was my lack of skill or bravado... of course it might have been my overwhelming level of common sense or intelligence...(no offence). :hihi:

Thanks for all your help. I'm still going to have to squeeze a few more miles out of these tires.
Sounds like your tires. You have that big ol flat spot on the rear. I did the Dragon on my BT020's with about the same mileage on them as you have now. That was crazy! I had dropped mine at about week three of ownwership. Do yourself a favor and get ya some new tires. Don't even think about trying to salvage the front. Avons,Michelins or Conti Road Attacks are your best bet. Read some old tire threads on this site. Once you get a new set of tires your handling will return...and then some. You won't believe the difference!

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