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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning.

So last weekend I had the stock tires on my DCT replaced with Trail Attack 2s. The mechanic put way too much pressure in the tires so they were a bit squirrelly at first, but after I adjusted them to the factory recommended settings they felt good.

However, I noticed yesterday that backing out off a parking spot I could hear a squeak from the front wheel. I just put the bike on the center stand and the front wheel does not spin freely — i.e., it stops turning as soon as I stop applying rotational force. It also seems like the rear doesn't spin as freely as I would expect; it stops after maybe 6-8 inches of rotation at the tire, with application of a moderate initial force. I don't know if that is normal back pressure from the transmission, or also a sign of brake drag on the rear.

I am hesitant to adjust the brakes / wheel position myself unless you guys say it is easy. That said, I'm comfortable with general wrenching.

Any advice on how to set up / adjust the brakes or wheel position would be appreciated, as would suggestions on which curse words to use when I call the shop manager.

Thanks!
 

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There are no front brake adjustments. If the spacers are in the wheel properly and the axle seated against the shoulder, you are good to go. All disc brakes drag a little but if something is amiss it will likely heat up fast and stink of burning brakes after riding. You can easily check if the axle is seated against the fork leg by loosening the four axle pinch bolts then putting a spanner on the axle nut and make sure it is tight. Be sure to re-tighten the pinch bolts after checking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are no front brake adjustments. If the spacers are in the wheel properly and the axle seated against the shoulder, you are good to go. All disc brakes drag a little but if something is amiss it will likely heat up fast and stink of burning brakes after riding. You can easily check if the axle is seated against the fork leg by loosening the four axle pinch bolts then putting a spanner on the axle nut and make sure it is tight. Be sure to re-tighten the pinch bolts after checking.
Thanks! No burning brake smell before or after tire change. I'll do the check you suggested, but it sounds like you don't think the symptoms/conditions I described are abnormal then?
 

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There are spacers on either side of the wheels to maintain the correct distance and align with the brake caliper. If they overtighten too much when assembling after your change there is more pressure against the brake caliper and pads. If you can put it on the centre stand loosen the axle bolt on the front and get it just snug and I bet you'll notice that rubbing/drag goes away.
 

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There are spacers on either side of the wheels to maintain the correct distance and align with the brake caliper. If they overtighten too much when assembling after your change there is more pressure against the brake caliper and pads. If you can put it on the centre stand loosen the axle bolt on the front and get it just snug and I bet you'll notice that rubbing/drag goes away.
Sorry, this is partly incorrect. Over tightening the axle nut may strip the threads but will not affect wheel alignment if installed properly. The shoulder on the axle against the left fork leg is what establishes alignment. The only way to misalign or bind the wheel with the spacers is to incorrectly tighten the pinch bolts before seating the axle shoulder against the left fork leg.
 

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Fair enough. Maybe I'm not explaining it well.
Having just done my tires I had the same rubbing of the brake pads and loosened off the axle and the pinch bolts and gave things a bit of a push and it alleviated the issue.

Sorry, this is partly incorrect. Over tightening the axle nut may strip the threads but will not affect wheel alignment if installed properly. The shoulder on the axle against the left fork leg is what establishes alignment. The only way to misalign or bind the wheel with the spacers is to incorrectly tighten the pinch bolts before seating the axle shoulder against the left fork leg.
 

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The work shop manual has the rear spacers the wrong way round, he might have spacers wrong if he went by shop manual
Thanks much for pointing this out. I ran into the same issue with the rear tire not spinning freely because I erroneously swapped the collars because I followed the drawing in the service manual (2016-17 model). The correct position is ‘flanged collar’ on the sprocket side, the ‘regular collar’ on the break side! Don’t attempt to drive when the wheel is stuck like this. You can really mess up things big time.
 

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Thanks much for pointing this out. I ran into the same issue with the rear tire not spinning freely because I erroneously swapped the collars because I followed the drawing in the service manual (2016-17 model). The correct position is ‘flanged collar’ on the sprocket side, the ‘regular collar’ on the break side! Don’t attempt to drive when the wheel is stuck like this. You can really mess up things big time.
We don't want any messin' up of our ATs. Welcome to the Forum @mike romeo!

Feel free to introduce yourself at the New Member Introductions area of the Forum.
 

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So, not having been here much, this older thread pops up, I see something wrong and I feel it important to voice an opinion based on experience.

The two best things you can do to mitigate brake drag is reduce the torque value you apply to the axle nuts and ensure each axle is square with its forks and swingarm.

Sure, everything from the seating surfaces of the axle nuts to the axle heads and all in between is engineered to line up squarely, but that doesn't mean it is so. Tightening on a non-square arrangement naturally induces stresses that will put things out of alignment. This can create bind.

Even if your stuff is 100% square, over tightening the axles binds the bearings.

Test it yourself. Get a wheel in the air and observe how many rotations you get with a spin, or not. Now loosen the axle nut (and same side pinch bolts if doing the front) and give 'er another whirl.

How do you know if the wheels are square in their position?

Up front, it takes a bit of doing. Don't assume they are square cuz the forks are even with the top clamp of the triple. That's NOT where you need them to be square. If, when the wheel is removed, you insert just the axle into the forks and there is binding, your forks are not square to each other on the axle end. The axle should spin freely by hand, fully inserted.
Adjust one fork leg, up or down, to get that free turning of the axle by hand. The difference in fork height at the top clamp could be up to 1-2mm. Don't worry about it, it's merely an aesthetic concern. Follow the proper tightening sequence for reinstallation of the wheel.

Out back, short of having equal measurements of the swingarm pivot center to the axle center on both sides, an additional consideration is chain alignment. Trying to make the measurements as close as possible, then fine tuning for chain alignment has, over the years, left me with simply making sure the chain is in alignment to maximize chain/sprocket life. If you have a discerning eye, just look down the top run of chain from the rear sprocket to the front sprocket. Is it a straight line or is there an ever so slight kink as the chain engages the sprocket's teeth? Keep in mind the chain can slide a small amount side-to-side on the sprocket. Push/pull the chain to the same side on each sprocket.
For evidence of past misalignment, just look at each side of the sprockets. If you see wear on the sides of the teeth on one side and not the other, you're not square.

Additionally, as it has to do with rear wheel alignment and chain tensioning, make your adjustments with the axle hand tight. Give the tire a whack to ensure the axle sliders are tight against the adjusters and full tighten the axle.
Now, give a slight bit of tightening to the adjuster bolts to "seat" them and lock them in place with the lock nut as you hold the adjuster bolt to keep it from further rotating. Not performing this step can allow the axle to be pulled askew on the sprocket side as the drive power is applied.

Why is too tight a problem? Go ride the bike of the guy who seems to think that his oil filter needs to be tight enough to hold the whole bike together. :D

Just loosen those axles. Slowly begin tightening them until your hand-spun wheel starts to drag. If you continue going to full OEM torque, you will see how the added torque value shuts down the wheel's free spin. Find a happy medium.
If you think it's not tight enough and you're concerned it may come loose, use a cotter pin, safety wire or some RTV to secure the nut's position.
 

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I'm not sure I'd be backing down the specified axle nut torque to make the wheel spin easier. If you have a tight wheel when it's torqued to spec, the internal spacer in the wheel is too short, and you're binding the bearings.
 

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Do you have another explanation for the increased drag associated with the OEM torque value?

That internal spacer is a collar...more like an axle insertion guide than a spacer to press bearings up against. (I've never seen one that actually made contact with the bearings on both sides of a wheel).

IMO, with continued use of the OEM torque spec each time you re-tighten a loose axle, you're just squishin' those bearings against the races for no good reason. There's no way I would ever pinch the bearings to make up the gap to the "spacer", let alone go to the full torque value when none of my experiences indicates a reason to do so.
As for that being the intention of the design, I don't think so. If so, they've all missed the mark. Seems odd how they can get everything else on a bike correct and to a proper dimension with repeated precision, yet a simple collar has eluded the manufacturer's ability to machine a tube to a length that would accommodate its use as a supportive spacer - the gap is insurmountable.
The drag on the spinning wheel increasing dramatically the closer you get to the original torque spec surely indicates it's getting too tight.
 

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There is usually a sleeve in the wheel where the inner portions of the bearings ride to prevent any bearing binding making a solid connection after torque. Any issues would come from a bad bearing, incorrectly seated bearing or missing sleeve. In order to remove the sleeve bearings have to be removed. You can see the sleeve.

Binding would more likely come from pinched forks from not loosening pinch bolts and cycling suspension (front forks). This allows the wheel to center on the axle eliminating disproportionate braking pressures.

The rear wheel, as mentioned, you can easily switch the wheel collars. I did it with my first rear wheel removal. I had a bugger of a time seating the rear brake pads in the stainless holders as well.

Torque is important but binding should not happen either. If there is a significant difference in having to back off torque there are clearance issues. 10% minus total torque should be safe.
 

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I challenge any of you, after removing either wheel, to stick your finger through the bearing into this internal collar and attempt to move it.
If you can "flop" it around inside the hub, you have a normal wheel assembly. (There may be some crud built up that "holds" it in place, that's a lack of thorough maintenance).
That internal "collar" has nothing to do with setting torque. You'd have to crush the hub or destroy the bearing to get that collar "torqued" agianst the bearing's inner races. Guess which one you're gonna be able to accomplish.

The torque applied to the axle fasteners is to hold the bearings in their respective places while locking the wheel in position. You can only apply so much torque before you start to bind the bearings, resulting in excessive wear and possibly a quick failure.

Want another perspective on the holding strength of fasteners? Why, having to support the majority of weight from the bike and rider under heavy braking, are torque values in the triple clamp so relatively low? You'd intuitively think those things should be cranked down as firmly as possible, but no. They only need to hold the forks in their proper position. Friction of the mating surfaces between triple clamp and fork tubes is what keeps the forks in place. It doesn't take much.
Yes, the wheels are a different ballpark. Again, it doesn't take a lot of torque to develop the levels of friction necessary to keep them in place. As I said previously, that OEM torque value is to ensure initially assembled "new" components seat properly.
Swapped out bearings for new? Use the OEM torque value.
Changed a tire? Torque only up until binding occurs.

Here's another bearing related factor to consider in support of my "opinions". Steering head bearings. Upon installation of a new set, you're supposed to crank those down in excess of, say, 40lb-ft for installation and, then, you back it off completely and reset the torque value at 1-2lb-ft. 1-2 lb-ft of torque. How is that? Torque them further and you can't easily turn the handlebars - same as torquing axles, torque them too much and you can't easily turn the wheels.
Stop binding your bearings with excess torque...it's not necessary once they've been initially "set".

YMMV
 

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This is completely incorrect. The floppiness you can feel with your finger is necessarily after it's been disassembled and the clamping pressure is released. By definition you can't feel if it's loose when not clamped. When you torque the axle nut to 75 ft-lbs or so, it squeezes the entire swing-arm/spacer/bearing stack together. If the internal spacer was just a loose axle guide, the inner races would move inwards, compressing the balls sideways and binding them in the inner and outer raceways They'd be destroyed in short order. An axle guide is not needed to get it installed in any case.
Want to experiment? Pull the internal spacer, put it all back together at standard torque, and see what it feels like. See if it even turns. It won't.
 

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@Shadowjack,
Are you saying that you've bothered to pull a bearing, remove the collar, reinstall the bearing and the wheel followed by OEM torque values in an effort to ascertain more definitively the purpose of the collar?
That's more work than just using a lower torque value on the axle to the point at which it induces drag on a free-spinning wheel.

I stand by my assessment, based on personal observations. If you're able to make contact with that collar, I submit that only two things can allow that to happen...
  • You're compressing the hub side-to-side from the bearing's seat.
  • You're distorting the bearing with undue side load.

I can say I have some recollection of installing a wheel that didn't have a collar and the result is similar to what you're describing, but it's a vague memory related to a customer's POS "can you make this run". I call it incidental.
Regardless of whether the bearing's make contact with the collar or not, if the torque values cause free-spinning wheel drag, they're too high...imo. At best, the collar prevents catastrophic bearing failure.

Surely, given manufacturing tolerances, I suppose they can all add up to presenting the collar as a load-bearing spacer...or just the opposite.
Imagine for a moment that the collar was indeed acting as a spacer and the tolerances added up to prevent the bearings from seating completely in the hub. The wheel is now free to "walk" side-to-side across the outer diameter of the outer races. The race being harder than the hub, the bearing seat in the hub will eventually be eaten out.
Are you okay with replacing a hub because your bearings weren't fully seated? I doubt Honda, or any other manufacturer, spends a lot of R&D time on determining a precisely fitting dimension for each and every different wheel hub/bearing/collar/torque value/application type that they offer while simultaneously taking manufacturing tolerances into account. It's just a wheel, no one's reinventing it. The costs involved would be prohibitive for the buyer.
One-offs, like on a MotoGP bike, I doubt they even bother to make the wheel/hub/bearing/axle interface a precision fitment either but, I'm sure, they do measure each and every component to account for all variables that can be determined...it's not a $1M machine because that's what the part costs add up to. They use the same chains, wheels and construction materials as found on production and/or aftermarket bike products.

Side bar...
A simple screw for one of our fighter jets, or the B2 bomber can cost $16. I can go to ACE hardware for a similar screw @ $0.19. The difference with the DOD screw is that its history is 100% known. Who made it, when did they make it, what resource materials were used, where did those materials come from, who has those screws in inventory, what machinery is that screw currently installed in, etc.
It's not because that screw is held to some infinitesimal manufacturing tolerance, it's the paper trail. Should they ever have an issue with the product, that trail tells them exactly where to find that screw in order to prevent further problems.
Honda does a similar thing. It's how they determined the piston rings on oil-burning '08 CBR1000RRs were of defective material from the source. Service techs swapping them out aren't equipped to make that determination of defective material.

I'm not intending to be argumentative...I'm intending to promote common sense in an uncommon reality. If I'm completely incorrect, the good thing is, right or wrong, we can all learn from it.
 
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