1969 commando Roadster steering yoke bearings

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Jul 23, 2020
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It's been a while since I messed with these because well, it was giving me a bit of a headache.

New roller bearings from reputed british parts shop. Installed them and bolted yoke together. The bearings sit proud of the neck. Should I just roll with it as is? or buy thinner bearings?

if just rolling with them sticking proud of the neck, what is a rubberized dust cover that will work? I have heard tell of a fabled 80's set that worked but can not find them. Tried making my own, but yeah, imagine 5th grade science project.

Will post more detailed measurements of bearings and neck etc tonight when home.

Thank you.
 
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The more conventional up grade is a pair of ball bearing like all series 2+ commando (71+). You only need to buy the special series 1 spacer tube which is a bit longer than the later bikes.
The bearing pockets in the neck and triple trees are entirely different from post 68-69-70
 

nortriubuell

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EVERY other bike, worth a crap, uses taper roller bearings in the steering head. (EVEN post 1971 Triumph T120s and T140s do ... o_O)
I ALWAYS upgrade my British bikes, my early KZ1000s, and all my other bikes that had, ugh, ball bearings --- to taper roller bearings. No brainer IMO. Of the eight Nortons I've had since 1982, and all were 1971 or newer; I upgraded to taper rollers. They do make the top yoke a little bit higher, even making the fork lock irrelevant; but worth it to me. Norton used, ugh, ball bearings --- cause they were cheap and built to a price. Many things on these old bikes "kind of worked" ... but that is it. It is up to you to upgrade your bike to better parts, or be a purist and keep it as "original when built ... with all its many, many ... "compromises." Maybe some folks choose to use the crappy Portugese ball bearing for the layshaft too; because "that is the way it was built originally." Then have fun when the gearbox locks up --- and destroys itself. I know, bit of a rant, I just don't understand why some folks insist on the "OEM" ball bearings in the steering head --- WRONG application of that type of bearing --- but it is CHEAPER. Just my 2 cents ...
 

bsaboss

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One issue I found when I fitted tapered roller bearings to a dry frame Triumph was the bottom bearing (being deeper) is then far more exposed to the elements. Triumph used a seal on the oil in frame models to get around this issue. I'm not sure whether the same problem exists when fitting them to a Commando.
 

baz

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EVERY other bike, worth a crap, uses taper roller bearings in the steering head. (EVEN post 1971 Triumph T120s and T140s do ... o_O)
I ALWAYS upgrade my British bikes, my early KZ1000s, and all my other bikes that had, ugh, ball bearings --- to taper roller bearings. No brainer IMO. Of the eight Nortons I've had since 1982, and all were 1971 or newer; I upgraded to taper rollers. They do make the top yoke a little bit higher, even making the fork lock irrelevant; but worth it to me. Norton used, ugh, ball bearings --- cause they were cheap and built to a price. Many things on these old bikes "kind of worked" ... but that is it. It is up to you to upgrade your bike to better parts, or be a purist and keep it as "original when built ... with all its many, many ... "compromises." Maybe some folks choose to use the crappy Portugese ball bearing for the layshaft too; because "that is the way it was built originally." Then have fun when the gearbox locks up --- and destroys itself. I know, bit of a rant, I just don't understand why some folks insist on the "OEM" ball bearings in the steering head --- WRONG application of that type of bearing --- but it is CHEAPER. Just my 2 cents ...
Never had a problem with the ball race bearings on my commando so I've never thought about changing them , what problem did you have? How do you adjust tapered roller bearings when fitted to a commando?
Modern sports bikes have gone back to cups and balls I believe
Anyone fitting an original Portuguese layshaft bearing must be nuts,I've never heard of anyone doing this?
 

baz

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One issue I found when I fitted tapered roller bearings to a dry frame Triumph was the bottom bearing (being deeper) is then far more exposed to the elements. Triumph used a seal on the oil in frame models to get around this issue. I'm not sure whether the same problem exists when fitting them to a Commando.
A mate of mine who is a very high mileage rider always breaks the rubber seal off the bottom bearing so that moisture or any water finding its way in can now get out
He says the steering bearings last much much longer without the seal but with decent grease
 

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