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4th March 2005

Tech: Steering 101

Real Classic proudly presents a Shed-o-Vision step by step guide to RE Bullet steering head bearing maintenance, with words and pictures from Professor A...

Royal Enfield Bullet steering head bearings maintenance 101

Trail riding and the winter salt and grime can play havoc with your bikes chassis parts.

Here is a very brief beginners' guide to stripping and replacing the steering head bearings on the Royal Enfield Bullet. My bike is a scrambler and has an alloy top yoke but the standard Bullet is very similar.

1) Before doing anything remove the positive cables from the terminal on the battery. Safety first! Place a jack under the front frame tube to raise the front wheel.

Don't forget to reconnect these *before* you spend 45 minutes kicking the bike over when you're finished.

2) Remove the front wheel; this involves disconnecting the speedometer and brake cables. The front wheel on my bike will require further service later to fit new brake shoes.

Frozen meal dishes make great parts trays.

3) Remove front headlamp and remove the lower yoke clamp bolts that also hold the indicators and front nameplate. Remove front mudguard.

Here be dragons.

4) The fork tubes screw into the top yoke. Remove the dust caps from the top of the top yoke with a slotted screwdriver. Looking down into the holes into the fork tubes you can see a hexagonal hole suitable for a very large socket key. It just so happens that the foot rest bar is the same size so this could be used as a socket key. I made up a simple tool using a M8 bolt and two nuts as below instead. Must be the simplest special tool ever!

The best kind of special tool.
Royal Enfield Stuff on

5) Placing the bolt into the fork tube and using a spanner on the nuts you can unscrew the fork tube. Note that looking down on the top yoke you need to turn the bolt clockwise as though you are tightening it up to unscrew the tubes from below.

Chequered tape.

6) With the tubes off I removed the speedometer. The top yoke is retained by two bolts. One is the obvious large central nut near the handle bars and the other is a hidden pinch bolt to stop the top yoke turning on the lower yoke stem.

Italian bike owners should look away now: Gratuitous electrics in view.

With the handlebars and cables removed. Place a cloth over your petrol tank to prevent scratches when removing the handlebars.

Did one just fall out, just then? Did you hear it drop?

7) Remove top yoke and replace ball bearings and re-grease, do the same with the lower yoke and bearings. Use plenty of grease to hold them in place while refitting. Below is a picture of the lower yoke and stem removed with re-packed bearings.

When I do this, grease ends up *everywhere*...

8) Re fit fork tubes with new 'O' rings. Notice the hexagonal socket hole I mentioned before. I keep a set of 'O' rings in the workshop, very handy.

I can't think of a clean caption for this photo.

9) Reassemble in reverse order. Only tighten the top yoke central large nut just enough to take out play in the steering. Too much pressure and you will damage the ball bearings. Tighten the top yoke pinch bolt only after fitting both fork tubes.

Oh to be in England...

Then ride it like you stole it!


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