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Old 10-20-2009, 03:17 AM   #1
DDR_Fan
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Default Newbie question about the steering of an oldtimer bike

Hi, I have this oldschool German bike "AWO 425 Touren".
It was manufactured in 1956 and shares almost everything in its design with another German bike - BMW R25.

Now, I am a newbie who is willing to learn how to ride.
And I intend to do that on that old bike.

What puzzles me is the steering of this oldtimer.
When you grab the handle bars and start rotating the front fork left and right, you can feel that the fork kind of "snaps" in place when its position is dead center.
I guess this helps a lot when you are driving on straight streets and highways.

BUT!

I have heard that when you are trying to take a turn at high speed you have to slightly twist the front wheel in the opposite direction of the turn.
How am I supposed to do that when the front wheel is "snapped" in place and holds itself straightforward?
Don't get me wrong - no, it is not hard to un-snap it, but this still bears the risks of twisting the front wheel too much because it kind of "pops out" with sudden force out of its snapped position.

I tried to loosen the tightness of the steering system (there is a screw for this job) but this doesen't loosen the snapped position.

Is this all OK?
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:21 AM   #2
pplassm
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You have worn steering head bearings. These must be replaced before you ride the bike.

Strongly suggest you find an inexpensive biike to learn on so you do not risk that relic on the street.
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:35 AM   #3
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Damn... Are you sure that this is a deffect and not something that was intentionally engineered this way?
I mean, the snapping of the front fork occurs in dead center. I thought that this is not just a coincidence.
Maybe it is supposed to snap in there but just slightly?
I will change the bearing for sure.
It is a WONDERFUL classic bike indeed and I don't want to crash and burn it due to my inexperience.

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Old 10-20-2009, 04:24 AM   #4
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"Now, I am a newbie who is willing to learn how to ride."

If you want to learn how to ride, don't do it on that thing. Get a more modern bike that steers and brakes correctly.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longride View Post
"Now, I am a newbie who is willing to learn how to ride."

If you want to learn how to ride, don't do it on that thing. Get a more modern bike that steers and brakes correctly.
+1

It's kinda like saying: "I got this great 63 corvette for my kid to learn to drive with!"

Take a course. Get a newbie friendly bike.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:45 AM   #6
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OK, I will learn on another bike.
But my question about the center-snap that occurs with the steering system on my old German bike still remains unanswered.
Is this really a deffect?
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:57 AM   #7
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Have someone that knows what they are looking at diagnose it. t would impossible to say with any certainty on the Internet what the cause is.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDR_Fan View Post
OK, I will learn on another bike.
But my question about the center-snap that occurs with the steering system on my old German bike still remains unanswered.
Is this really a deffect?
Not a "defect". Just worn steering-stem bearings. It happens to "modern" bikes as well - and exactly as you describe it.

If this thing has been restored, it's quite-possible the one who restored it either didn't know about it (unlikely), didn't care about it because their intention wans't to actually ride the bike (possibly), or was unable to find a proper bearing to replace the worn one (probably).

Good Luck, with an old bike - you're gonna need it.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:26 AM   #9
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^ It's a "barn fresh" that I managed to get running.
But apparently it needs some more tweaking here and there.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:39 AM   #10
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It probably sat for quite awhile with the steering aimed straight-ish. The bearings may have corroded in place, leaving a 'divot' in the race(s).

So, you will feel a 'detent' when the front is in that old familiar position. It probably drags everywhere else, but you don't know it well enough to tell.

+1 on not using the ol' machine as a learner. I understand you can get a Buell Blast quite cheap now...
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