We bring you not just one, but four sure­fire meth­ods

Wheel align­ment is a crit­i­cal yet dis­as­trously over­looked el­e­ment of good bike prepa­ra­tion

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Inside - WORDS AND PHOTGRAPHY ALAN SEE­LEY

MISALIGNED WHEELS can give rise to a num­ber of woes. Least ac­cept­able of these is com­pro­mised han­dling. We’ve en­coun­tered bikes where the wheels have been so far out of kil­ter that turns in one di­rec­tion are a breeze while steer­ing in the other feels like the bike has a bent frame.

Other is­sues in­clude strange chain and sprocket noises and ac­cel­er­ated wear while tyres take a pound­ing too, wear­ing quickly, and in an un­ex­pected pat­tern.

The cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect of in­ad­e­quately close man­u­fac­tur­ing tol­er­ances in the swingarm pivot, the swingarm it­self and the chain ad­justers can con­spire to place the rear wheel way out of whack with the front. You might find af­ter prop­erly check­ing wheel align­ment that the wheel align­ment marks are spot on. We’ve seen enough that aren’t that we check align­ment, get it right then base any fu­ture chain ad­just­ments on that cor­rect align­ment. You might make your own sys­tem of marks on the ad­juster and swingarm, or sim­ply ad­just equally on both sides to keep things right.

As far out as the stock marks might be, there are some fixed points you can work to in or­der to get things right. First fixed

point of ref­er­ence is a front wheel that’s cor­rectly in­stalled in the forks. Sec­ond is the gear­box out­put sprocket. Once the rear wheel is aligned cor­rectly with those, the job’s sorted.

Here are four meth­ods of achiev­ing a rear wheel that ac­cu­rately tracks the front, from the time-hon­oured to the high-tech.

Han­dles as if on rails, or it will when he’s done

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