VF1000RE Torque arm question

I am finding the handling on my VF1000RE does not inspire a lot of confidence, it feels like it drops into the corners particularly on RH bends, almost over leans…
I have checked suspension, head stock and wheels for any play and all seem ok, I have also fitted new Bridgestone BT45’s.
The only play I could find was on the torque arm on the rear wheel, this has some sideways movement, no front to back movement just side to side….is this normal?
Thanks in advance for any insights

Try replacing the swing arm bearings. If the are ok maybe steering stem bearings.

I couldn’t identify any play in the swing arm or the headstock, do you think it would be detectable?

To me, what your describing sounds more like a wheel alignment issue, maybe suspension,

I would try lining the wheels up with a straight edge rather than relying in the markings on the chain adjusters,

Also, if you go down the swing arm route I would make sure you can get the needle bearing, last time I searched for one they were obsolete,

Thanks Pete, both wheels have been off recently for new tyres. I put them back on using the chain adjusters as well as measuring rear wheel with calliper But didn’t check front rear alignment.
What is the best process?

Hi Pete.
Was your search for bearings just for Genuine Honda parts from suppliers or did you find something to replace the original? I am looking to rebuild some of mine.

You can replace nearly every bearing with standard ones, i.e. from SKF or Kugelfischer. I did on both of my V4.

There are numbers, that are unique for every size. You can search for them on the bearing or measure.

Example: 6302 → 15x42x13 mm (inner diameter * outer diameter * thickness)

You only have to choose sealing.

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Thanks for the info mate that’s what I wanted to know. As long as we can get them from other bearing manufacturers I should be OK.

I have re’bearinged a couple of R swingarms. The bearings came from local bearing supply shop. It is one of those things that for $30 you can guarantee that it is not part of the problem.
Check the left swinger pivot bolt for excess wear or damage too.

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No, I searched everything, I found the bearing size and still no joy, then after a lot if cross referencing it turned out a kawasaki bearing from an atv fitted, I got the last one of those the supplier had…

The question I had in mind was,did this handling problem present itself before or after the tyres were fitted?
I honestly think Pete is on the right track with wheel alignment

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I took a closer look this evening and although the chain alignment marks were very close when I measured the amount of adjuster nut thread exposed with a set of callipers they were about 3/4 turn on one side out…nearly 1mm. I have adjusted and will test ride next fine day I have free. I checked the measurement using three different points on the adjusters and the difference between the sides is now around 0.1mm.
Would this sort of error (i.e. 1mm) make a noticeable difference to the ride?

I prefer not to rely on the chain adjusters, how I do it is, put the bike on a rear paddock stand, set the front wheel and handle bars in the straight ahead position, then place a straight edge underneath the bike up against the chain side of the rear tyre, then measure the gap between straight edge and front tyre, then repeat on the brake side of the rear tyre, adjust until both measurements are the same… Once you’ve done this any further chain adjustment are done by counting turns on the adjuster bolt, it will also highlight if you have any faults, ie, handlebars out of line, slightly bent or twisted frame or forks ect.

P.s you can substitute the straight edge for a lazer spirit level and measure to the dot, same principle but easier.


Hi Faxe, Did that include the roller bearings too sometimes they are a specialty item?

Pete is right, but I find it easier to have two straight edges down both sides at the same time. Then you can measure between the two to make sure that they are parallel to each other and tight against the back wheel, if you have a mate that can sit on the bike and keep it upright straight and still then the job is easier. Then line the front wheel up with the back wheel and you should be able to tell immediately what is the problem. All measurements should be the same on both sides. If not, adjust the back wheel to get the front wheel in the middle of the straight edges if you can’t get the same measurement on both sides then your front end needs adjusting. If you can adjust the front end (Forks and handlebars) to look straight and still not get the same measurements on both sides then the frame is bent (assuming that your fork legs are straight). Before you do all this, Bif is correct in asking “did this happen before or after the new tyres” If it was after then it should be a problem with the tyres or they are so different to your old ones it just appears to be a problem to you because the new tyres have altered the steering geometry a little. Others may have other opinions, I haven’t ridden in Five and a half years since my accident.

You’re handling issue sounds a lot like loose Steering Stem Bearings. At that age the bearings probably has a Detent hammer’d into the race ways. The Shop Manual says to tighten those bearings to stupid tight specs (keep cranking it up till it takes 2lb pull on one fork tube to move it! (Ref VF1000Fe manual)).
Replace those with proper Thrust Bearings, not Ball Bearings.

I just looked at my spare swing arm and found 2030 on the needle bearing.


This looks promising. I had noch chance to measure, but the data is posted on SKF HP. Maybe it helps.

Sorry for capturing this thread. Your problem seems not to be related to swing arm Hearings.

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Jovimill gives a good method which I agree with. Iv’e found I can simplify it by using a tight string line in a loop around both tyres, low enough so you don’t get snagged. I put front wheel into one of those roll on Trailermate type stands, then raise the back with a paddock stand. I can get the front pointing straight ahead, then confirm measuring the points of contact or gaps on the tyres.
If you do replace steering head bearings, yes, use tapered rollers, and you do have to take your time and make sure they are seated properly, otherwise you will need to retighten once you ride it.

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Thanks everyone with the help, I used the string method as I didn’t have a long enough straight edge. I did it by eye and it is spot on front to back and back to front!
For interest it is now about 0.5mm out if you measure using the adjusters with a set of callipers.
On the road it has improved the feeling of the bike, although it still feels like it steers a little bit from the rear but it is the same in both directions now.
Of course this is compared to much newer bikes… so could easily be due to the thinner cross ply tyres, or 37 year old shock etc

Thanks for the info Axel. Got onto this website that led me to the Australian website, then onto the SAust. distributor and looks like they can get just about anything in bearings. When I get all my bearings I will post a list of all aftermarket bearings numbers etc.