Front wheel not centred between the forks

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Chad Malette
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Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Chad Malette » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:43 am

Hi everyone, last year I had to lay my 87 1400 down. Broken mirror and peg. Everything else seemed ok. I noticed that the fender bolt rubs on the front tire. When I look at the wheel it looks to be .5" to 1" off centre. I had the wheel balanced and the shop said it was good. Why would the wheel be offset. Could the fork be bent and cause this or is it a rim issue?

Any ideas would be helpful.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby hillsy » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:27 pm

Usually this sort of thing happens when you put the front wheel back on with the spacers on the wrong side.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Travlin » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:26 pm

hillsy wrote:Usually this sort of thing happens when you put the front wheel back on with the spacers on the wrong side.


You got it right there.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Herb » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:58 pm

I bought a wrecked bike and fixed it to sell, had the same kind of issue. Turned out that the axel was slightly bent. I couldn't see it but by rotating the axel the alignment of the wheel changed.

Probably a good thing that it happened, I fear the axel might have failed at a really bad time.
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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Fred » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:26 am

You need to do a full fork geometry. firstly the forks should sit up tight in the yoke.

Without the wheel, the spindle should pass right through in perfect allignment.

A dead give away is the brake disk sitting center of the brake caliper.

You can undo and slacken off every thing, thats the spindle and fork clamps, sit on the bike and shake the bars, it will wobble and should settle, re -tighten up all the clamps.

This could be a dangerous bike --get it fixed.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby hillsy » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:30 am

He said he had the wheel off the bike to check the balance, so my money is on mixed up spacers when it was put back on.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Fred » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:16 am

hillsy wrote:He said he had the wheel off the bike to check the balance, so my money is on mixed up spacers when it was put back on.


Cant get it wrong or the brake disc wont fit into the caliper. The caliper is attached to the fork leg.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby hillsy » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:53 pm

Fred wrote:
hillsy wrote:He said he had the wheel off the bike to check the balance, so my money is on mixed up spacers when it was put back on.


Cant get it wrong or the brake disc wont fit into the caliper. The caliper is attached to the fork leg.


Don't even know if he's got as far as installing the caliper yet. We need more info or pics.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Chad Malette » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:41 pm

Sorry for the delay in replying. I'll add a little more information for you guy's. The wheel is currently on the bike. The spacer is on the same side as the rotor. The rubber is about 1/8th of an inch away from the fender mount bolt on the non rotor side and about 1" away on the rotor side. I'm new to this board and not sure how to add a picture. According to the diagram I found the only spacer is on the rotor side.

Thanks to everyone trying to help out its much appreciated.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby hillsy » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:18 pm

Chad Malette wrote:Sorry for the delay in replying. I'll add a little more information for you guy's. The wheel is currently on the bike. The spacer is on the same side as the rotor. The rubber is about 1/8th of an inch away from the fender mount bolt on the non rotor side and about 1" away on the rotor side. I'm new to this board and not sure how to add a picture. According to the diagram I found the only spacer is on the rotor side.

Thanks to everyone trying to help out its much appreciated.


Is the brake caliper on the bike / functioning? If the entire wheel is offset then the caliper shouldn't go on (like Fred said). If it is, then possibly a bent axle (like Herb said).

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Chad Malette » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:46 pm

Yes calliper is on and functional. Could a bad bearing cause it. Just wondering if it may be a cheaper option.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby hillsy » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:56 pm

Bad bearing is possible, but you would know about that as soon as you get the weight off the wheel and wiggle it.

Sounds like you need to check the whole front end for straightness. Start with loosening the axle and spinning it in-situ to see any deflection of the wheel.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Chad Malette » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:22 am

So this morning I finally had some time to look at the wheel. I removed the fender to see it better. It's definitely 0. 5" more on the non rotor side. When I grab the wheel top and bottom and checked for play in the bearing and there is just enough to say it moves. Should the bearings be replaced or should there be some play? Also can I tighten the spokes on the rotor side to pull the rim over into the center?

Thanks for the help.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Fred » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:38 am

Chad Malette wrote:So this morning I finally had some time to look at the wheel. I removed the fender to see it better. It's definitely 0. 5" more on the non rotor side. When I grab the wheel top and bottom and checked for play in the bearing and there is just enough to say it moves. Should the bearings be replaced or should there be some play? Also can I tighten the spokes on the rotor side to pull the rim over into the center?

Thanks for the help.


Yes there should be a little bit of play and yes you could re true the wheel to pull it over but thats not the problem.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby WintrSol » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:55 am

Before messing with the spokes, you should first measure the offset of the rim to the hub. A straight edge that just reaches across the wheel to touch the rim on both sides of the hub will be needed, so you can measure the distance from the hub, where the spokes attach, to this straight edge. I can't find a spec on this, but from the structure of the wheel, I believe it should be the same on both sides. If not, you will need a good spoke wrench, and a way to measure the torque with it, so you get all the spokes the same. Also, you will need a way to measure runout of the rim, both side-to-side, as will as concentric. This kind of thing is best left to a wheel shop, unless you are prepared to begin learning to thread spoked wheels.
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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby navigator » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:10 am

The VS800 wheel and the 1400 wheel are the same.
The hub is NOT centered with the outer rim. The hub is offset and the spokes are longer on one side.
The outer rim should be centered between the forks, but the hub is not.
Have you tried installing the caliper to see where the wheel lays in relation to it?
Be sure the speedometer gear tangs are seated properly in the detents. That could throw the wheel off.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby WintrSol » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:46 pm

navigator wrote:The VS800 wheel and the 1400 wheel are the same.
The hub is NOT centered with the outer rim. The hub is offset and the spokes are longer on one side.

You wouldn't have numbers for this, would you? I don't have access to a wheel right now, so can't measure the offset. I haven't found a spec anywhere, after several searches.
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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby navigator » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:37 pm

WintrSol wrote:
navigator wrote:The VS800 wheel and the 1400 wheel are the same.
The hub is NOT centered with the outer rim. The hub is offset and the spokes are longer on one side.

You wouldn't have numbers for this, would you? I don't have access to a wheel right now, so can't measure the offset. I haven't found a spec anywhere, after several searches.

The hub assy. is offset to the left side
All measurements are approximate. They were taken with a straight edge and 6" steel scale.
Flange on right spacer faces the wheel. measurements were taken with EBC floating brake disc.
Hub to fork at the spacer, right side = 1.0"
Outside edge of rim to outside of brake disc = 1.2"
Outside edge of rim to outside of 4.5" hub left side = 0.2"
Exposed portion of axle between speedo drive and left fork = 0.7"

Hope this helps.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby Chad Malette » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:22 pm

The disc slides right into the calipper no problem. Today I tried loosening the fork clamps and axel pulled in the brake and twisted the handle bars To try to realign the forks, that didn't help. I wonder if when I brought the wheel in to be balanced they straightened the run off in the wheel but if it's supposed to be offset they just centred it over the axel.

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Re: Front wheel not centred between the forks

Postby navigator » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:40 pm

Compare yours with the measurements I posted above.
usually balancing a wheel does not require any spoke alignment changes.


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