Author Topic: Has anyone ever fitted tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350?  (Read 2686 times)

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Offline lookmc

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Hi all, just wondering if any one has ever fitted tapered roller bearing in a 350 bridge, if so details for them. Cheers

Offline slawsonb

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Although there has been much discussion on this topic and several tries made, I am not aware of anyone having success. I too think this would be a great upgrade, so maybe renewing interest in this idea will flush out somemore information.
BTW, welcome to the party. Lots of good folks and help here.
...bert

Offline lookmc

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Thanks bert, I will let you know if I have any luck, seems like a great forum, I'm currently building 3x 350s, have another that I ride, love these things.. I'm in oz. cheers

Offline slawsonb

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We are taking a trip to Kansas soon. Maybe a twister will blow us to Oz...lol
Actually sounds like you live in 350 heaven!
...bert

Offline Colin

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Hi,
I would be interested in a bearing conversion too, even if it was just a proper cased in ball race it would still be better than the cups, if you do find anything interesting I'm sure there are a few of us who would like to know.
Regards Colin.

Offline lookmc

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Will let you all know how it goes.

Offline Jon Hardcastle

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This one question has been up in the air for a long time... I know I have asked around to bearing suppliers, bike shops and builders with no success.  I have even looked at bearings for industrial machinery that might work, no luck......yet.  I bet there is a John Deere part out there or something that we are all missing!
Check out my Blog! 
www.motocode.blogspot.ca

Offline old smokey

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Who wants tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350?
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2016, 11:51:06 PM »
Hi All,
I think I lived through enough events to put this one together.
I know to many my installation of a Yamaha TX500 front end on my GTR goes against the grain.
That was mostly the result of hitting and killing a deer with the GTR in 2011 and thinking a disc brake up front would be nice.
Braking was not used in killing the deer, but if I have to do the repairs - why not upgrade?
Until 2015 I was in Wisconsin. For 3 years I owned a Ducati S4rs. In 2014 I had it worked on by Brady (owner) of RetroSpeed Motorcycles in Belgium, WI.
Last weekend my wife and I stopped in a Barnes & Nobles for a coffee break.
And by now you're wondering when will the story reach a conclusion....?
I picked up a motorcycle magazine at B&N that has a nice '73 Yamaha TX650 on the cover (didn't note which mag it was).
So I read the story. One family owned bike in PA, father and brother had both passed away. Remaining son wanted it restored.
He had Brady at RetroSpeed do the work.
Son wanted a few mods done to an otherwise stock restoration.
One thing he wanted was tapered roller bearings in the steering head.
I already knew the TX500 was a direct swap over to the GTR, the TX just has a longer triple tree neck (about 3/8").
Same size and number of ball bearings (19 if memory is correct) in each race.
So I sent a note to Brady at RetroSpeed a couple days ago and today he responded.
He said the TX650 and TX500 are the same size steering head!
And he knew that the tapered roller bearings came from

allballsracing.com and the part number is 22-1015.

So unless I'm overlooking something a set of tapered roller bearings can be bought for $45 + shipping from the above mentioned company and swapped onto the GTR & GTO.
Hopefully dimensions are given somewhere to compare them?
Who knows, maybe I'll even do that myself whenever I get around to finishing the repairs on my GTR.
Did I mention Brady is a great guy and the restored TX650 looks great?!!
Merry Christmas!
Dave
« Last Edit: December 22, 2016, 11:54:11 PM by old smokey »
'67 350 GTR undergoing repairs with a '75 Yamaha TX500 front end

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Offline slawsonb

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Re: Has anyone ever fitted tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2016, 12:01:01 PM »
Very useful info smokey and 'pup. Merry Christmas to you guys and all the members.
...bert

Offline OldSwartout

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Re: Has anyone ever fitted tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2016, 04:28:16 PM »
The 350 uses the same bearings as the 175. Paul (bsracer) investigated the use of Allballs tapered bearings in a 175 and I think there was a slight mis-match, although it may have been with the fork stem, as he uses Ceriani forks.  Al Pritchard also put Allballs tapered bearings in a 175 he was building to race, again with Ceriani forks. See his story here: http://bridgestonemotorcycleparts.com/index.php?topic=3778.40, go to Post #53 for the steering head bearing part.

I'm glad you're thinking of  trying out the TX500/XS650 forks. I'd really like to have a disk brake on mine.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 04:32:04 PM by OldSwartout »
Karl Swartout
Mooresville, IN
BS175 Roadracer
BS350 GTR

Offline davis

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Re: Has anyone ever fitted tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350?
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2016, 09:21:03 AM »
Sorry for the preemptive email OldSmokey, I just saw this latest post. I too have been considering a more modern front end along with a light disc brake rear wheel arrangement for my envisioned (cafe?) rider. But, why tapered roller bearings over stock ball bearings? The tapered bearings can have their pre-load adjusted to effect steering drag (dampening) but will require locking the jam nut. Stem diameters could be easily machined down if necessary.

OldSmokey, I had the same problem when in college and my brother totaled the front end of my 350 GTR (50 mph over the handlebars after hitting a car turning in front of him with only, maybe scratches - he was a gymnast). I snuck into the machine shop at Michigan State U. pretending I knew what I was doing and machined the stem down to fit a set of Cerianis. Worked great.

- Bob

Offline old smokey

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fitted tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2016, 01:16:24 PM »
Bob (Davis),
No problem. My avatar picture shows the GTR with the TX500 front end installed. I think it was 2013 that my dad and I did that swap. It was a one afternoon affair - very easy.
The only thing we had to do was go to the hardware store to buy 4 large washers to take up the gap from the longer TX500 triple tree.
The bike is a "roller" at this stage of its life.
I still haven't done any repairs to getting the pea gravel out of the crankcase on the left side or installed the repaired and coated cylinders from Millennium Technologies.
The front brake piston and cylinder will need to be overhauled as the TX500 I got it from hadn't been ridden in several years.
But either the TX500 or TX650 would work. Another nice option is the front forks already have predrilled bosses to install a second disc brake if desired. Doubt I'll ever go to the length.
I'm not even sure I'll do the tapered roller bearings, but remembered reading others wanted to try that upgrade. I hadn't realized the 175 and 350 shared the same front head bearings as Karl mentions.

This is a link to 2013 when I pulled it out for photos with various body parts hanging on it.
http://bridgestonemotorcycleparts.com/index.php?topic=3112.msg15709#msg15709

Now that I'm in Arizona I'm more afraid of retread tire bits on the highways than deer.
Now where'd I put that winning lottery ticket so I can stop dreaming and start doing?
« Last Edit: December 24, 2016, 01:29:36 PM by old smokey »
'67 350 GTR undergoing repairs with a '75 Yamaha TX500 front end

Offline slawsonb

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Re: Has anyone ever fitted tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350?
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2016, 02:58:35 PM »
Your tickeyt must be hiding with mine!...lol
...bert

Offline husker

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Re: Has anyone ever fitted tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350?
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2016, 08:43:22 AM »
Just got the All Balls Racing kit for $32.75 from ebay. Just doesn't seem like there will be enough room.  Only one way to find out!

 http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Steering-Stem-Bearing-Seal-Kit-Yamaha-XS500-76-78-XS650-70-83-22-1015-/151432192166?fits=Model%3AXS500&vxp=mtr&hash=item23420fe0a6
1968 Bridgestone GTR350,  1971 Kawasaki A7SS, 1983 KZ750 LTD

Offline slawsonb

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Re: Has anyone ever fitted tapered roller bearings to the headstem of a 350?
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2016, 10:28:49 AM »
Keep us posted on your progress, Rod. This one is inaresting!
...bert

 


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