MC Garage Video: How to Check Motorcycle Wheel Alignment

Bike handling funny? Tires wearing weird? It might be time to check your wheel alignment.

If your bike's wheels aren't aligned you might experience handling issues, uneven tire and drivetrain wear, and other problems.

When we talk about wheel alignment, we're referring to the rear wheel's position in the swingarm, and thus its alignment with the frame and the front wheel. The front wheel isn't adjustable, but the rear wheel can shift in the dropouts. That's key for chain-slack adjustment, but it also means the wheel can be out of whack.

I know what you’re thinking—you’re good about making sure the tick marks on both sides of your swingarm match, so your rear wheel is already sitting straight. Not so fast. These lines aren’t necessarily perfectly accurate, and more importantly, there’s usually a fair amount of forward-and-back play in the axle blocks that complicates things.

So, while the stock tick marks are a good reference, you’ll want to check their accuracy with one of the other methods we outline in the above MC Garage video. Note: You’ll need your bike to be held vertical, either on its center stand or on a paddock stand.