Honda Pan European - 1996 ST1100T Standard
Front Wheel Bearings

The ST1100 had 28,000 miles on the clock when I bought it, and I wasn't convinced that it had been serviced particularly well in the past. Soon after, I put it in for a BIG service and asked them to check out everything, as if it hadn't had a service - ever. Then I took it on a 2,000 mile trip around Scotland.

Scottish roads are brilliant - mostly - but stray from the main roads, or go further North and they become uneven. The surface wears down to the striations left by the resurfacing vehicles.

The last bike I road was a Yamaha XS650. Nice machine, low revving for a Japanese bike. I had a young family and the Yamaha had a Squire sidecar on it. The point is, I was not familiar with riding a big, heavy, solo motorcycle. So why did I choos a 'Pan'. Well - I wanted a shaft drive, a tourer and a bike that fits. I'm 6'4". What else is there ? Except BMW, but I liked the Pan better.

It was windy. No - that doesn't quite make the point. It was blowing a gale. Just the one. But it lasted for about a week.

Now - put all of these together and you will forgive me for being a little nervous as we toured around Scotland. Everything would be fine, but then go round a corner, build up the confidence - and then beyond a certain point there would be something - a twitch - just enough to get me worried. Was it my inexperience ? Was it the wind ? Was it the Road surface. ? Had Lynne fallen off the back ?

No. None of these. It was the front wheel bearings. I found out when we got back home. I gave the bike a thorough going over - especially the wheels. I couldn't feel anything - but was that a little bit of play that I felt ? Maybe. Maybe not. I couldn't really be certain, but decided that it was. Just a tiny little lateral movement. Could easily have been the steering moving against the frame. I tied the steering onto full lock - tight with ratchet straps. Yes - there was that tiny bit of movement again.

New bearings. Must have cost all of £15 the pair. Fitting them was a doddle. Careful with the hammer drifting the old ones out. Gentle drifting in using the old bearings and some soft wood. Bearings were the sealed type, so I used the old grease seals, and packed between bearing and seal with grease - just to make sure.

I checked out the old bearings. They were smooth. Out of the wheel it was impossible to detect the small amount of play that I had felt when they were fitted to the bike. But after replacement the Pan was as solid as a rock going round corners. No more twitches over uneven road surfaces. Much less exciting in winds. Brilliant.

But I'd missed it when I checked the bike before the trip; the Honda dealers had missed it; I'd done 2000 miles and only then did I just notice it - because I was looking for something to blame for my nervous cornering !

 

These pages relate to my first bike after a 17 year lay-off. Bought in 2000 with 28,000 miles on the clock. Traded in for a 2000AY version in Sep 2003 with 60,000 miles on the clock. The pages were intended to provide information to a prospective buyer, but are maintained here as information for anyone who may be interested.

Website 2011 JFHeath