I have a 2004 Honda Gold Wing that pulls to the left all the time. I've replaced the tires, steering-head bearings, front-wheel bearings, installed a front fork brace, and put a Progressive Suspension cartridge kit in the fork. But it's still the same. I love the bike, but I'd love it more if it went straight down the road. I got this bike used with 67,000 miles on it. It now has 90,000. Any help with this would be appreciated.
--Doug Ritter, Via email
The GL1800 service manual suggests the following as possible reasons why a bike steers to one side or doesn't track straight: a bent fork leg; damaged or loose steering-head bearings; a bent frame; worn wheel bearings; a bent front axle; and a worn swingarm-pivot component. Assuming you've checked all these, we'll move on to some other less obvious causes.
Was the bike involved in a crash in the 67,000 miles before you got it? A tweaked front end will affect tracking. When you're going down the road straight, does one handlebar grip look like it's farther forward than the other? You might get away with loosening the bolts that clamp the tubes to the triple clamps and realigning them.
Did the bike lean left immediately after you got new tires, or did the lean come back gradually? If the roads where you ride most often are crowned, the left side of your front tire will wear faster than the right side. On a non-crowned road this could result in a tendency to lean to the left.
Maybe the problem isn't with the bike. Some riders sit noticeably to one side of the seat and don't realize it. Have a buddy ride along and observe your posture in the saddle. Uneven load in the saddlebags can affect the bike's attitude too. If you keep your favorite bowling ball and a spare ball in the left bag, and nothing but your bowling shoes in the right bag, the bike will probably pull to the left. (Don't laugh—a former mechanic we know said this really happened when a customer brought him a Wing that did what yours is doing.)