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Thread: F650 Steering problems

  1. #1
    Registered User ripperfarms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Central IL

    Unhappy F650 Steering problems

    A friend of mine has a 97 F650 and keeps complaining about the steering head. It seems that it has a click in the steering on dead center. Or a detent, we don't know which. It seems to want to center the steering at slow speeds and rounding corners. Also, he says that is steers funny under 20 mph but over 20 it seems fine. I haven't road it yet.

    My question is = Does that sound normal for a F650 or does the steering head need attention.

    Thanks Dave.

  2. #2
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Sounds like it needs attention on the bearings, they should be smooth all the way through the range of movement. Probably will need to be replaced.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  3. #3
    Lifetime Member Ridealot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Salem Or.
    Quote Originally Posted by daveripper View Post
    My question is = Does that sound normal for a F650 or does the steering head need attention.

    Sounds like it is way past time for a little maintenance. Time to check the bearings and replace the grease.

    If the bearings have been loose sometime in the past you can get the notch in the center effect. Every time you hit a bump the force is transferred to the steering head bearings. Since the bars spend most of their time in the center position this is where the bearings take the beating. Thats why the notch is in the center postion. And after 10 years the grease BMW uses has the tendency to become very hard. It could just be a case of the grease being the consistance of molasses.

    After he replaces the bearings and grease he will have a bike that handles so much better he is going to wonder why he waited so long to fix it. That will lead to much more riding.
    Salem Or.
    '93 K1100LT w/Bushtec
    '09 F650GS '15 Ducati Multistrada

  4. #4
    Tons of info in the pertinent faqs at There is a common issue with Aprilia-built 650's that many didn't have either a sufficient quantity or the proper type (hi-temp) grease in the SHBs. This is compound by the fact that the oil resevoir for the dry sump engine is the front downtube of the frame. Consequently, it gets very hot.
    Had he caught it in time, he could have regreased it with the proper quantity and type of grease and all would be fine, but if he's got a "notch," it's too late. The bearings need to be replaced. There's good info and step by step in the technical faqs refered to above. It's a pretty easy job.

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