I am trying to figure out why my father-in-law's Extreme XB700LI has such poor steering in a turn. I think it is because the rake and the wheel diameter are both too small. My father-in-law is wondering if he could have done something incorrectly when he assembled the front end. I would appreciate any thoughts.
By the way, I am having a very difficult time trying to figure out how this forum works. Hopefully I posted correctly and will be able to find your responses!
At least when I unpacked my XB-600, the only thing to attach was the wheel:
Now, if the spacers didn't go on right, the wheel might not be centered...
You could check the geometry of the steering tube. The axis of the steering tube should about touch the ground at the contact patch of the tire on the ground. If it is AT ALL to the side, handling will be terrible.
Looking at this photo, it looks like the fork lugs could get turned 180 deg, 'till they were behind the shock tube. That would screw up the handling effectively.
The wheel lugs need to be ahead of the fork struts.
It would be harder to assemble the front fork/wheel incorrectly, fender mounts and reflectors basically dictate the orientation. When you say it is unstable, I have a hard time trying to understand your complaint. Is it under steer? Try riding with the pedals on so your feet are more spread out and see if you feel more comfortable in turns.
Well riding a scooter you basically sit atop it and don't get the more secure feeling you might get from a motorcycle. You can't wrap your legs around it. That is why I suggested the pedals as a point of balance. Sitting atop a scooter makes you feel like you can't lean as much, but you really can. It feels strange, but try it.
We grew up on bikes and perhaps motorcycles where our legs are down beside us. not in front of us. It throws our balance off.
I have yet to slide or not make a turn, but I know the feeling of wondering if I was going to make the turn. I always do, so ride it like you stool it and you will corner like a racer. Best of luck.
I have noticed on some x-treme bikes, including my own, the front fork is not as "tight" on some as it is on others. I believe it is the shocks may not be as tight as some of the others, thus allowing a lot more play than on others. The only way to change or fix that is by a front fork replacement. The reason I feel this way is this... on my xb600, assuming the 700i is the same, the shocks have no stabilizer bar between them. Only at the fork above them, this allows the individual shocks to twist due to the fact that the only thing that is keeping them straight are the nuts and bolts going through the front axle. If there is a spacer or washer or any locking nut missing that can multiply any handling effect.
My best advice is to re-inspect the front axle check for missing spacers or washers, install locking washers if none are present. And keep them as tight as possible. I do not believe you can tighten the shocks without major modifications. I am however fairly certain this is the reason that some bikes are not as "stable" as others....
As a matter of fact... the above picture of the front fork pretty much proves my theory.....
If they are free to twist and rotate prior to assembly, what is to stop any play after 1 bolt and some spacers, washers, and nuts are inserted?
If there was a way to have a stabalizer bar between the bottom half of the shocks I am sure it would solve the issue. I guess some shocks allow less movement than others due to the way they are made. IE the way the washers etc. are packed at the movement points and how tight any rubber washers and gaskets etc. are.
Anything you can do to make sure the front shocks are as completely parallel as possible and as secure as possible will help a lot. If they are even a little off, it will allow for a lot of play. Adding or removing spacers and or washers between the forks should do the trick....
Perhaps some kind of a rigid metal U-shaped bar attached above the front mud guard into the same screw holes would help?!?!?!?!?
That brings up another element of the steering geometry; the head tube bearings need to be perfectly adjusted. If they have any looseness, you can have a really wild ride. I've laid my XB-600 down because of this.
As I see it, the problem is either the forks being assembled with the axle lug behind the axis of the shock tubes, or the headset bearings are loose. (It also may be that the shock clamps are loose, but that is much less likely.)
Can you post a photo of the axle/shock connection?
It would be almost impossible to have the shocks 180 degrees, placing the wheel lugs to the rear of the shock. The reflectors would be on the inside and the fender mounts would be to the outside.
See http://visforvoltage.org/forum/6951-basic-maintenance for more on gooseneck bearings
Let me throw in a suggestion, I ride and work in pedal bikes extensively and we there is a similar problem in cycling. It happens when the front wheel and the Back wheel aren't on the same line. They may be parallel but not on line. Assuming the frame is as straight as possible, take a measuring device and make sure there's equal spaces from the tire to the frame on both sides. Then do the same to the fork and front wheel. It's an easy fix and makes a world of differance. Many people can't believe what a differance in handling this makes.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for posting in the first place. Steering and wheel maintenance and inspection is a crucial element in safety for these scoots, particularly with the far back CG with the normal American rider. For those that are juicing your ride to 50% higher voltage, please read this!