Is your bike handling strangely? Tires wearing out asymmetrically? Chain making funny sounds? Believe it or not, a serious misalignment of the front and rear wheels can be the cause of all these maladies.
Now, you’re probably thinking that you’ve already checked the alignment marks on the swingarm so the wheels must be aligned. Not so fast. While these alignment marks are better than they used to be, there’s no guarantee they’re right, considering the inherent variations in manufacturing and the often prodigious amount of slop in the axle blocks.
But there is an easy way to check alignment that needs no special tools beyond a track stand—assuming your bike doesn’t have a centerstand—and a length of lightweight rope.