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Motorcycle Repair/Hard or stiff steering Yamaha Tenere XT660Z


Hi Wayne. My motorcycle is a 2011 Yamaha XT660Z, all is stock and original. I have a Rallee Moto steering damper, and the tyres are Metzeler Enduro 3, standard size for this bike (it comes with Torrance as OEM). 15.000 km.

I dropped the bike at low speed on a dirt road few days ago. I damaged only plastic, an aftermarket crash bar, and decoration of the bike. I fixed it my self and I realigned the front forks, because I hit a bit the steering bar. However I checked for cracks and bents. No noticeable problems in forks, no leaks. Front wheel in balance. No leaking on damper. Air pressure is ok.

Now, after I had performed the front fork alignment, is very hard to steer in both L and R. It feels like the steering is being hold by an invisible hand, so I have to press harder to both steer clear and countersterring, of course it is more obvious at 40 to 50 km/h. However, once I park the MB, if I lift the front end off the ground, the steering feels soft as new.

What is your suggestion for checking the problem, I mean, if I explained my self well, what is the normal cause of this problem? Are the knobby tyres the ones to blame? Should I disassemble the forks and do maintenance?


Hi Juan,

Have you made sure the damper is okay?  It sounds a bit like
the bearings might either be too tight on the steering pivot
or that there is some damage or misalignment of the bearing
races or holders.

If it feels like the steering has notches then the bearings
are damaged or overtightened. The fall might
have knocked something out or bent the steering
tree somehow. I would loosen the steering bearings
and if necessary remove the front end and examine
the bearings and races for damage.

Hope the damage is not severe.


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Wayne S.


Licensed Motorcycle Mechanic, Knowledge of motorcycles from 1960 up, Japanese, British and most other brand motorcycle repairs.


Worked for Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki British: Triumph, Norton, BSA Other: Most Scooters and Mo-Peds

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