Wheel alignment

Monday 21 February 2011

Street Triple paddock stand and wheel alignment

Spent a few useful hours adapting "stuff" to suit the Street Triple last weekend.  Up until now, I've thought that paddock stands in NZ have been overpriced, so have washed the rims and lubricated the chain by wheeling the bike along a bit at a time because there's no centrestand on the Triple.

A recent chance remark by a friend about custom bike parts revealed a local company that makes aftermarket components for a range of bikes, including paddock stands.  A perusal of their website House of Custom revealed paddock stands which were about half the price of others I'd seen, meaning I could slip a purchase through without an inquisition; or being made to stand in the naughty corner by the Chief Financial Officer *snigger*. They didn't make a stand specifically for the Triple, but it looked as if the Ducati/Aprilia one might do the trick.  It was duly ordered and arrived 3 days later.  Beautifully-made with cadmium-plated brightwork and rubber bump stops on the underside to stop trapped fingers or paint scuffing.  Given the price and quality of these, others on the market are a plain rip-off.

The only thing I had to do was get a couple of 6mm metric H.T bolts and cut up some thick wall stainless tube I had laying about to make a pair of bobbins to screw into the swing arm for the paddock stand to hook onto.  Result - beautifully stable and ready for business.

Beautifully-made stand at a sharp price

End view

With the absence of a centre stand or a paddock stand, it's also quite difficult  to check the wheel alignment.  This has been niggling me because I have yet to find a tyre fitting outlet that consistently gets it right and I'm now on the second set of tyres from new. I religiously checked alignment on the Blackbird whilst tensioning the chain or after a tyre change as misalignment can adversely affect handling and tyre wear. This post from March 2010: Wheel Alignment details the simple laser alignment rig I built for the Blackbird.  Unfortunately, the new paddock stand height meant that the old rig wasn't suitable.  A quick hunt through the shed revealed some materials which would do the job and the key bits of the old one were transferred.  (And our better halves have the cheek to complain about guys hoarding stuff, sigh.... we're only trying to save money!)

Laser alignment rig in situ

VoilĂ ! A few hours work in the shed and the result was lots of convenience and time saved for maintaining the bike in the future.  Oh... and yes, the wheel alignment WAS out by a fair bit.  Not only can tyre fitters be a bit slack, but there's sufficient play in most chain adjusters to mean that without a proper means of checking; you could have a problem and not be aware of it.

One final thing....  the Blackbird had a Scottoiler chain oiler which worked superbly although there was a bit of lubricant fling which made the rear end of the bike just a little messy in places. For various reasons, I haven't bothered with one on the Striple and so far; have tried Spectro chain wax and Motul spray-on lubricant.  Both "seemed" ok although the Motul product is tacky and attracts a bit of dirt.  I'd been reading glowing reports of the DuPont Multi-Use dry wax lubricant with Teflon and molybdenum on several bike websites so have picked up some to try.  Apparently, the chain stays completely clean and there's no fling from the clear film.  I'll be keeping an eye on how it performs in the coming months.

Addendum:  The DuPont lubricant is brilliant stuff.  Haven't needed to adjust the chain between tyre changes, the chain stays clean and it doesn't fling.  Normally apply it when the chain is warm, every 400-500 km or thereabouts.  I think it would last longer than this interval with no problem.

Du Pont Multi-Use lubricant


  1. That is a good investment indeed. I have a center stand, and I would have a hard time maintaining the chain without it.

    There is a whole religion around chain lubricants. I use the same brand for my chain. It's sticky, doesn't fling, and the chain looks clean. I like it.

  2. Hi Sonja
    I thought I read somewhere that it's possible to fit a centre stand to the Triple, but I wasn't interested in that option anyway. now I can pretend I'm in the pits at a race meeting (oh dear, how sad).

    Pleased to hear that you use the DuPont, good endorsement. It's pretty dear in NZ, about the same as top of the line Motul chain lub.

  3. Hi Geoff,

    Absolutely nothing sad at all about pretending to be in the pits at a race meeting!! That is the coolest thing! I have a centre stand on the V-Strom but want a paddock stand now, just because it looks so good!

    My kids think there is something wrong with me when I want to go to the garage and play mechanic, and sometimes I get lucky and they want to come and "help".....

    I'll have to see if i can track down the DuPont product...sounds like it might be what I'm after.
    Something that doesn't mess up the bike would be good.


  4. Interesting thread Geoff, I didn't even know wheel alignment can be out! We use a Teflon spray at work and it is very expensice, would you mind telling me the cost of the one you are using? AS you say I have a scott oiler on the sprint, first time I have had one of my bikes. Why did you decide against it this time?

  5. Anthony:
    We're a long time dead so there isn't much point in growing up too early, is there ;-)? When our daughter was young, she preferred to help me in the garage than do stuff with Jennie. No wonder she's a bit of a petrol head! Got my stuff from Repco. They may be the stockists in Aussie too.

    Oh yeah, alignment is rarely well done and a lot of dealers and tyre people are completely cavalier about it. The DuPont stuff from Repco was approx NZ$31 for a 311 gramme tin. For a business, you should be able to get a better deal. Scottoiler: Loved it on the 'bird but thought I'd wait and see how much of a hassle conventional lubing was on the Triple. I fitted the Scottoiler on the 'bird for long haul endurance riding and didn't intend to do those distance on the Triple, so that was the main reason (little did we know...!). The fling was also a consideration, albeit a small one.

  6. What are the symptoms or handling changes when the wheels aren't aligned? Corners better one way than the other? I was sitting here trying to think this through but thought I'd be better to post the question.

    I've used the Teflon based chain lube for a long time on my bicycles. Ever since the late 70's and they work great. The chain stays clean and seems to last forever. No experience with it on a motorbike though.


  7. Richard:
    Depends on the degree of misalignment but cornering in both directions can be affected adversely because the rolling radii of both tyres aren't synchronised. One will tend to drop in a bit quicker than the other though. You may also suffer a higher rate of tyre wear and it may be slightly asymmetric. I don't want to be too alarmist or anal about the topic but it's something which people tend not to think about, to it's just a question of raising consciousness about something which is worth considering.

    I also use a Teflon liquid on my mountain bike and am looking forward to seeing how it goes on the bike. Some more info here: http://www.webbikeworld.com/t2/motorcycle-chain-lube/dupont-teflon-chain-saver/

  8. Geoff:

    Luckily I equipped my Strom with an OEM centre Stand, but I still have the 6mm spools for use with my rear stand. I have mainly used the Motul chain lubricant but I am fortunate that SonjaM gifted me a tin of Dupont Teflon, which I am going to use this year.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  9. You Canadians are way ahead of the rest of the world Bob!!!

  10. Front & rear stands were one of the best investments I made when I had the Firestorm. I managed to get some cheap ones from a place in Levin - both stands + shipping for less than one (identical) stand at the bike shop.

    Don't currently need them but I ain't selling 'em! Also, no current use for the 2 tins of chain lube I've got in the shed...must sort that out, I'd hate the chain lube to go off or something...

  11. Geoff:

    . . . and we don't drive the wrong direction either

    Wet Coast Scootin

  12. You're right Andrew - wonderful bits of kit but boy, do some suppliers price gouge!

    I used some of my Spectro Chain Wax on the leaf springs on my boat trailer. It makes a wonderful corrosion barrier against salt water!

  13. "(And our better halves have the cheek to complain about guys hoarding stuff, sigh.... we're only trying to save money!)"

    And with that statement my other half isn't allowed to read this blog! ;)

    One of our first purchases for the Ninja was a stand. Makes chain maintenance and other stuff easy.

  14. Kari:
    Hahahaha - I think I must have said that with tongue planted firmly in my cheek, but there's more than a grain of truth!

    I'll put it down as an essential purchase seeing as you have one for the Ninja. Theoretically, it will release more time for domestic jobs (and if you believe that, you'll believe anything)!

  15. You're looking a hell of a lot classier than my garage. (Gravel driveway) With a much shinier - rust doesn't much glisten.

    How's that triple treat you? My father-in-law used to own one, and he's always going on about how he misses it. Never complains about his Goldwing per se, just laments the loss of the Triple.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  16. Triple is great thanks Brady, the 1000 miles in 24 hours ride last October was the extreme test and it came through with flying colours. If I was mainly freeway riding, I'd have a fully-faired bike but in the twisties that I mainly ride on nowadays, it's hard to beat!

    Thanks for dropping by!

  17. Dear Geoff, you ride some of my favourite bikes, I absolutely love Triple (as well as most of Triumph bikes) and a Blackbird was my dream bike when it appeared at a first place... I mean it's still great, despite its age. And one more thing, I am in love with NZ, I looking for the way to move in, with my family. I feel lucky for finding your blog today, I'll keep coming here at daily basis! best regards! :)

  18. Thanks MotoCraze. Guess I'm lucky to have had bikes which suited me so well. Yep, the Blackbird came out in 1997 and is still a real weapon.

    Good luck with your endeavours, we're always looking for highly-qualified people in many areas.


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