I have a 2008 FJR 1300 with 24,000 miles. The owner’s manual calls for repacking the swingarm-pivot bearings and the steering-head bearings at 16,000 miles. This seems very soon to be doing this. Can the bearings at these locations fail that quickly?
Port Orange, FL
It’s unlikely those bearings will wear out and fail that soon, but it’s not impossible, either. Manufacturers can’t control how and where you ride, so they sometimes make very conservative recommendations for maintenance intervals. The mileage specified for lubing the bearings usually coincides with other routine services like checking the valves, or changing the oil and filter, making it more likely you’ll have it done as long as the bike is in the shop anyway. Manufacturers can get fussy about service intervals if you make a warranty claim on a part that wasn’t serviced at the specified mileage. Some accept only dealer documentation, while others count work done by you with factory parts if you have receipts. So don’t ignore those bearings. Check them regularly for excess play, and adjust and lube them before they fail, not after.
I’m buying a Triumph Bonneville, but I’m 5-foot-3 and a “mature” rider, so the Bonnie’s forward-leaning seating position isn’t comfortable for me. I’ll work with the dealer for a replacement bar, but I’d like some helpful guidelines before going in.
San Francisco, CA
If you’re not putting a windscreen on your bike, the forward lean might be cancelled out by the windblast at highway speeds. We’d recommend riding the stock bike on the open road before making any decisions. Bikes often feel better at speed than in the showroom. If you still feel like the bike is too stretched out, first try bar-backs. GenMar (www.zianet.com/GenMar) makes a set for the Bonneville that moves the stock bar up 1 ¼ inches and back ¾ in., and works with the stock cables, wiring, and brake hose. If that’s not enough you’re looking at a new handlebar. Make sure the cables, switch wiring, and brake hose are long enough to reach without binding at full right or left steering lock, and the throttle cables have the recommended free play. You might have to reroute some of the cables and wires, and get a longer brake hose, so they reach.