Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DR650 Handlebar Alignment

My 2016 DR650 is, first and foremost, a rally bike and it's been down a few times. It's not uncommon for rally falls to cause the front forks and bar to go out of alignment. It's a fairly easy process to straighten everything out, but I haven't been able to get the alignment exact for some time. It hasn't been significantly off, but just enough to make it slightly annoying.

In short, after studying the design of the DR650 steering head I isolated the problem to the bolts that hold the bar cradles in place. The bolt extends through the cradle as shown in the diagram and then through upper and lower dampeners. 

Sure enough, when I got it broken down, the left bolt was bent.

I probably could have gotten some replacements from my local hardware store, but decided on OEM bolts since I was buying some other stuff from RockyMountainATV. The newly purchased bolts are a better grade and fit in the cradle much better. Apparently, this isn't a new issue.

Now that I know what the problemo is, I'll have a spare set of these bolts for my travels.

One last comment...

As mentioned, the bar cradles and upper tree are supported by upper and lower rubber dampeners. The rubber cone things in the photo and parts 12 and 13 in the exploded diagram. I am really kind of unimpressed with this design. The normal design is the bar clamp built into the top tree. This design is a double weak spot. First, the bolt as we've seen here and, second, that rubber cone is a problem waiting to happen....and $50 per clamp to replace.

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