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How to Check Motorcycle Frame Alignment

How to Check Motorcycle Frame Alignment

A motorcycle is a true engineering marvel. It is smaller than a car but has a complex geometry and hundreds of interconnected parts. Several tests are performed on motorcycles during the design and manufacturing phases. The motorcycle’s design, alignment, and performance must be spot-on before it can be made available on the market. If the alignment of even a single motorcycle part is off, it will affect the motorcycle’s overall performance.

A motorcycle’s frame is its main structure. If you are planning to build a motorcycle, you will first need a frame. Every motorcycle part, including the engine, front forks, rear suspension, swingarm, battery, fuel tank, and seat, is mounted to the frame. If the frame is damaged and misaligned due to a motorcycle crash, the motorcycle’s overall structure and performance will suffer. The motorcycle chain assembly, transmission, and tires will also become misaligned if the motorcycle frame is damaged, resulting in poor handling, steering, and stability. Read this article to learn how to check motorcycle frame alignment.

1. Why You Should Check Motorcycle Frame Alignment

You should regularly check your motorcycle frame alignment since your motorcycle will not be stable if the frame is misaligned. Riding a motorcycle with a misaligned frame can also increase the risk of motorcycle accidents as you can lose control even if you are riding carefully.

You should also check the motorcycle frame alignment when buying a used motorcycle. This will help confirm whether the motorcycle has been damaged due to being involved in an accident. Even if you still plan to buy it, you can negotiate for a lower price.

Also Read: HOW TO CHECK A MOTORCYCLE AFTER A CRASH

2. How to Check Motorcycle Frame Alignment

Listed below are ways to check motorcycle frame alignment, including:

2.1 Checking and Fixing Frame Alignment with Motojig

Checking and Fixing Frame Alignment with Motojig

Photo Credit: @Bellini Systems

The most advanced way to check and fix a misaligned motorcycle frame is via a Motojig apparatus. It is a huge steel cage that firmly holds the motorcycle while fixing the frame. You can check and fix frame misalignment for any motorcycle due to the Motojig having adjustable rods and columns.

2.2 Checking Frame Alignment Using String

  • Park the rear wheel on a paddock stand.
  • You need to have at least 3 m of bright-colored string.
  • Pass the string through the back of the rear tire, making sure the string is at equal length along both sides.

Checking Frame Alignment Using String

Photo Credit: @MotoFomo

  • Bring the string lower to keep it from touching any other motorcycle part when stretched towards the front wheel.
  • If the string is slipping, you can keep it in place using tape.
  • Make sure your front wheel is pointing straight and aligned with the rear wheel.
  • Holding the edges of the string from both sides, tightly pull them forward toward the front wheel.
  • Tie identical bottles at both ends of the string and place them a little ahead along both sides of the front wheel while the string is stretched.
  • Go back to the rear wheel and check to make sure the string is barely touching the rear wheel throughout.
  • Keep the string straight as much as possible and not too tightly affixed to the rear wheel.
  • Check the string on the right side first. If it is touching the rear wheel throughout, move on to the left side.
  • If the left side of the string is not touching the rear wheel, move the bottle tied to the string slightly towards the right side.
  • Keep moving the bottle slightly until the left side of the string is barely touching the rear wheel throughout.
  • After you have aligned the string with the rear wheel, make sure the handlebars and the front wheel are straight.
  • Confirm by calculating the distance between the middle of the motorcycle’s seat and the right and left ends of the handlebars. If both distances are the same, your front wheel is perfectly straight.
  • Without moving the bottles, calculate the distance between the right side of the front wheel and the string attached to the bottle on the right side.
  • Then calculate the distance between the left side of the front wheel and the string attached to the bottle on the left side.
  • If both distances are the same, your motorcycle frame is perfectly aligned. Otherwise, different distances means your motorcycle frame is misaligned.

Video Credit: @RIDE WITH REN

Also Read: WHY DO MOTORCYCLES PULL TO ONE SIDE?

2.3 Checking Frame Alignment Using a Straight-Edge Tool

Checking Frame Alignment Using a Straight-Edge Tool

Photo Credit: @MotoFomo

Checking the frame alignment using a straight-edge tool is a simple method that only requires a few seconds. You only need a straight-edge tool with a length of approximately 1,800 mm. The procedure to check the frame alignment using a straight-edge tool is as follows:

  • Park the motorcycle on the center stand
  • Make sure that the front and rear tires are aligned
  • Place the straight-edge tool closer to the rear wheel so that both are parallel and touching each other throughout
  • If your front wheel is straight and aligned with the rear wheel, the straight-edge tool should also be parallel and touching it throughout
  • If the frame is misaligned, there will be a gap between the front wheel and the straight-edge tool
  • Measure the gap. The front tire is usually narrower than the rear tire, resulting in the gap between the straight-edge tool and the front tire if the frame is misaligned
  • Repeat the procedure with the rear tire and measure the gap
  • If the gaps at both tires are the same, your motorcycle’s frame is perfectly aligned. However, if the gaps are unequal, you will need to realign the frame

Also Read: HOW TO BALANCE A MOTORCYCLE TIRE BY YOURSELF

3. Final Words

Modern motorcycles are complex machinery with unique designs. They are engineered for powerful and smooth rides. However, even a slight error in the frame can make riding a motorcycle difficult and dangerous. Make sure to regularly check the motorcycle frame alignment, especially after a motorcycle crash, using the tips covered in this article. Do not keep riding a motorcycle if its frame is misaligned. Keep your motorcycle well-maintained to ensure better performance. If you want to improve the performance and comfort of your motorcycle on long-distance rides, you can install sissy bars, backrests, fairings, crash bars, and saddlebags available at Viking Bags.

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