Motorcycle Steering Stem Bearing Replacement
Motorcycle Steering Stem Bearing Replacement

In this video, we’ll demonstrate how to properly remove worn out steering stem bearings. We’ll also show you how to pack your new bearings with grease and install them onto your bike. These steps can be used to help you replace the steering stem bearings on just about any bike. Keep in mind the process will slightly vary with each bike. We’ll be demonstrating the use of a few different specialty tools including the tusk bearing slide hammer and collet, the tusk steering stem bearing installer, tusk steering stem bearing press, tusk steering stem spanner wrench, Park Tool U.S.A. lower steering stem bearing puller and the Park Tool U.S.A. steering race remover. We’ll also need a good bearing grease to pack our new bearings and a few standard tools to allow us to get to the steering stem. But most importantly we’ll need our service manual for the torque settings and specifications. Rocky Mountain ATV/MC carries a variety of steering stem bearing kits including the O.E. parts for your bike. The first step of the install is to remove the front wheel. Next, pull both bolts holding the caliper to the fork. Then we’ll remove the clamp holding the brake line to the fork guard. Now remove the front number plate. Then we’ll loosen the fork pinch bolts, allowing us to pull the forks from the triple clamp. Pull both forks being careful not to let the fork fall as you loosen the pinch bolts. Next, we’ll loosen and remove the handle bar clamps so we can move the handle bars and controls out of the way. After that, we need to loosen and remove the top steering stem nut. Once you have it loose, go ahead and thread it off and remove the washer as well. Now you should be able to pull the upper triple clamp up and off the steering stem. Sometimes there will be a washer underneath it, so check for that. We’re going to go ahead and pull the front fender to get it out of the way and then remove the brake line guide that’s bolted to the lower triple clamp. We’re going to once again move the handle bars out of the way. Then we’ll spray a little lube onto the spanner nut and using our tusk steering stem spanner wrench, loosen and remove that nut. Check for any other washers and then remove that top dust shield. Now you should be able to pull the lower triple clamp and steering stem out of the frame. Be careful as some will just fall out right after that spanner nut is removed. You can see how dirty this top bearing is and also how dry and worn out the bottom bearing is. You can go ahead and pull up that top bearing from the frame. You’ll see this is a tapered roller bearing with the inner race here, and the outer race is pressed into the frame. If you look at each worn out race, you’ll see that they have pitting, grooving, and bruising which is caused from moisture and debris getting into the bearing – often times the result of not carefully pressure-washing your bike. It’s never a good idea to install a new bearing with an old race. It will cause premature wear. You need to install each new bearing with a matched race it was packaged with. There’s a few different ways to remove these races. You can use a long punch to work them out but using the Park Tool race remover keeps it really quick and easy. We’ll insert it up to the frame until the bottom lip of the tool is resting on the top lip of the race. Now just hit it with a hammer and it’ll push the race out the bottom. Here’s a better look at the wear on this bottom race. So the other way to remove a race is with the Tusk bearing slide hammer and collet. It’s important that you use the correct size collet for your application. Just position the collet down into place and then tighten it until it’s sitting firmly against the race. You want the larger end of the collet just on the other side of the race so that it catches on it. Then just thread the slide hammer down into the end of the collet and give it a few pulls. You’ll see it pulls the race right out. Now we can move on to the lower steering stem bearing. You’ll see that this steering stem is not welded to the lower triple clamp. Some people will use a press to push the steering stem down and out of the lower triple clamp, therefore pushing the old bearing up and off at the same time. If you don’t have a press and you don’t want to take it to a shop and pay for them to do the work, we found that just using a chisel set is an easy and effective way to get around this. We’ll take our smallest wedge and we’re going to use it between the lower triple clamp and the dust shield to force the bearing up and off the steering stem. You need to be extremely careful when doing this not to damage the triple clamp or the steering stem shaft. You also want to make sure to work the bearing off evenly by turning the triple clamp over every few hits. As we work it up, we’ll increase the chisel size and continue until we get the bearing free. Go ahead and remove the old bearing and dust shield from the steering stem. As you can see, we didn’t ding up the stem at all. We can clean that up a little bit so it’s ready for the new parts. The other way to remove your bottom steering stem bearing is with the Park Tool lower steering stem puller. To use this tool, it’s simple – just slide it over your steering stem and position the three clamps around your bottom bearing. Go ahead and snug each of those down into place and then tighten each set screw to lock each clamp into place. Now just slowly turn the handle and the tool will start to pull the bottom bearing up and off your steering stem. Once you have it up far enough, you can pull the tool up and off and your bearing will come along with it. We can’t install our new bearings without packing them with grease first. To do that, take a dab of grease in our hand and kind of just push the bearing down into it. We’re trying to force the grease up and in around the rollers of the bearing. You’ll want to slowly roll the bearing as you pack it so the grease gets forced up inside the cage of the bearing. Once you have this bearing filled with grease, go ahead and pack the other one using these same steps. Now we’re ready to install the lower bearing onto our steering stem. First, install the dust shield with the lip facing upwards. Then we can install the bearing with the smaller diameter end facing up. We’re going to use the tusk steering stem bearing installer to force the bearing down onto the shaft the rest of the way. It’s important to choose the correct diameter collet and make sure you’re putting all the pressure on the inner race of the bearing. You don’t want to put any pressure on the cage of the bearing. As you can see, this red collet fits the inner race perfect, so this is the one we’ll use. We’re also going to find a suitable socket to place underneath this steering stem to make sure we don’t force it out of the lower triple clamp while we install the bearing. Go ahead and slide the installer down into place over the steering stem. Then use a hammer to tap the bearing down into place. You’ll be able to tell when it’s seated down all the way by the solid sound that it makes Remove the tool and the collet and now our lower bearing is installed. The next step is to clean up inside the neck of the frame, so we can install the outer races. It’s a good idea to slap a little grease in there to help the races slide into place. We’ll install the top one first. Make sure the thicker end of the race goes down. We’re going to use the tusk steering stem bearing press to install both these races. Choose the correct size bearing driver and sit it down on top of the race, and then slide the tool up from the bottom. Go ahead and install the handle. Now just make sure everything is lined correctly, and press the race down into the frame by turning the handle. You’ll be able to feel when the race bottom’s out and it’s important to make sure it seats all the way. Once you get to that point, you can push the quick release on the bottom of the press and quickly remove the tool and driver. Now that this top race is installed, we can repeat these steps to install the bottom race. Install that bottom race with the thicker section up. Next comes the bearing driver and then we’ll install the bottom part of the tool. Pull the race up into the frame by turning the handle. When you’ve got it seated, pull the bottom and remove the tool. Now both our new races are installed into the frame. We’re going to put a little more grease onto the bottom bearing and also the top race. Then install the steering stem back into the frame. Slide the top bearing down into place and we’ll install a new dust shield and thread the spanner nut back on to the steering stem. Again, using the tusk steering stem spanner wrench, we’re going to tighten the nut down just as tight as we can get it. Now move it around a little bit to make sure the bearings are seated in the races. Then we’ll just loosen it back up. Now when you get it loose, you want it just barely snug it down. Reinstall the top triple clamp with the washer and the nut. Then next we’ll reinstall the handlebars and top clamps. Go ahead and tighten those down. You also want to install both forks and just loosely snug the pinch bolts down. This is to ensure the top and bottom triples are aligned before we tighten anything down. We’re also going to reattach the brake line guide and then install the front wheel. Tighten the right pinch bolts and then torque the axle nut to factory torque specs. Loosen those pinch bolts back up to make sure the fork is sitting where it wants to on the axle. When it is, tighten all four pinch bolts to factory specifications. Reinstall the caliper and then the brake line clamp. Now we’re ready to make our adjustments up top. Tighten down the top steering stem nut just about as tight as you can get it. Then we’ll check the resistance of the steering. You want to be sure and refer to your service manual for further instructions and specifications. With our bike on the stand, we like the bars to fall with very little help from our finger. As you can see, this might be a hair tight. So loosen the stem nut back up. Using a flat blade screw driver, just barely loosen the spanner nut on the stem. Now just re-tighten the top nut and check the bars again. As you can see, these are falling with barely any help now. Adjust it to your preference and then torque the top steering nut to factory specs. Now you can reinstall the front fender and then torque your triple clamp pinch bolts to factory torque specifications. Reinstall your front number plate and then you’re done. If you have any questions about replacing your steering stem bearings, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-336-5437 or visit us online at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC carries all the parts and tools needed to replace the steering stem bearings on your bike. Thanks for watching!

78 thoughts on “Motorcycle Steering Stem Bearing Replacement”

  1. Chris U says:

    Great DIY..

  2. Noah Boudart says:

    At first I thought that was a chopper going through the mud I was like whatttttt?!

  3. Pat Terry says:

    Could you use a PVC pipe to put the bearings on? Also couldn't you just cut off the bearings?

  4. Noah Boudart says:

    Very good video. Very detailed with helpful tips

  5. Rocky Mountain ATV MC says:

    Pat Terry, I'm not sure if PVC would work or not, i've never seen it done but i guess there's only one way to find out! Yes you can cut off that lower bearing, you just have to be extremely careful not to cut through into the steering stem.

  6. MotoXPrepper says:

    Im not being a dick but i'm pretty sure the average at home dirt bike mechanic doesn't have any of those tools you used.

  7. Nick Carlson says:

    just use to old racer as a match up to hit the new one in. BE CAREFUL AND DONT BE AN IDIOT AND PUT THEM IN UPSIDE DOWN LIKE I DID!

  8. Pandzz K says:

    Hi good video I was just wondering how are you supporting the bike while you do this?

  9. grier zimmerman says:

    What could be subbed for the race install tool?

  10. Jacob Joyner says:

    Dig those groovy tools man.

  11. Keven Bye says:

    Good video, guys!

  12. timm white says:

    I've been a big fan and supporter of Dennis Kirk, giving them most of my parts business. But now after seeing the online support and mechanical videos, I'm gonna start using y'alls' catalog and get parts from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC. This is, to quote Malcolm Smith, really neat! Thanks and God bless.

  13. poemranger says:

    Just like to mention that there are only three items that you have to force in. the lower bearing and the two races. U can use the old bearings to tap on the new bearings aim carefully. Also just thought I would mention with my 1972 Honda cb175 there are two different sizes of bearings. I was told the larger 27×48.5×17 goes on the bottom and the 26×48.5×15 goes on the top. The pyramid parts said it would come with instructions and didn't. When using the old bearing to force the bottom bearing take the bearings and collar of the bearing off so its just the inside race, easy way to do that is use a small flat screw driver to move the bearings to the outside then use your thumbs to push it out at an angle. Then turn the old bearing over so that the larger part is on the new bearing and tap two taps and move around in a circle. Freeze the triple clamp and the bearing races to shrink them. Remember cold shrinks and hot swells. You can use the old bearing races to pound the new ones in unless your kit comes with a washer which u can use that.

  14. Conrad Brookman says:

    Is it true that the steering stem is an interference fit with the lower triple clamp? I wanted a shop to press out my stem but the guy said that he didn't recommend it because it won't go back together exactly the same?

  15. CapricorniaLofts1 says:

    The "Park tool race remover" comes in two sizes..which will i need to do pre 2000..250 & 500 dirtbikes?

  16. Michael Nelson says:

    Amazing video guys, keep it up!

  17. Charlie Tate says:

    Hands down best video on steering stem bearing replacement.  Thanks for this.

  18. Matthias Schulze says:

    yeah i had a shop do the lower bearing…but next time i will try the chisel set with care..yeah good video, nice to see all the different options

  19. ed hoppe says:

    using a hammer and flat head screw driver between the triple tree and bearing pushed it high enough up to then use a sort of thick flat tipped chisel to hammer off the bearing worked twice for me! thanks for the tips! 

  20. Thakiid101 says:

    Perfect video

  21. siju shankar says:

    thanks brother

  22. Dimitri says:

    Hi! So I had a notch somewhere in the bearings where my handlebars centred and were not smooth. I've purchased new bearings and had my mechanic replace them. For a few days it was fine but it now reverted to the same thing + handlebar feels unbalanced now leaning towards the right. Before I let loose on my mechanic was wondering if anyone here could say what could possibly be the cause if not the bearings?

  23. Daver79 says:

    Great video, but who has $500-$600 for all these awesome tools.
    I t would be cool to see a video for the average person that doesn't have most of this stuff, maybe less of an add and more of a how too!

  24. TheSaneRider says:

    Very helpful video. About to do these on my pitbike.

    Thanks for posting!

  25. Kevin Stearns says:

    great video very explicit. ive done them a ton of times.

  26. Ruddy Surja says:

    good video…..( from Indonesia Bali )

  27. sirjolly81 says:

    i need to replace the bearing in my 09 wr450f. A week on the stand without moving it and i have to almost kick the bars to un freeze the steering. I Was quoted $300 to have replaced and after watching i can see why. Ive done swing arm and wheel bearings before but this is a little harder without correct tools. I should have just pulled it apart before it got bad a re greased.

  28. arebrec says:

    Great video, thanks for sharing. I'm about to attempt this job on my ZX6R.

  29. keng lee tan says:

    The vid made it look easy but trust me unless you are PRO, steering head bearing replacement is a challenging task especially if you choose not to remove the the front instrument and headlight unlike the vid Like what Rocky mountain suggest all the special tools suggested are needed for this task save for a few. Actually some of these tools are also for bicycle head steering replacement. But the force required for seating and remove motorcycle bearing differed very much from that of a bicycle bearing.

    One hint is the job is made easier if you could use small pencil butane flame to accurately heat the worn race on the steering stem before using a chisel to pry around to remove it. The bottom steering stem puller ( VERY EXPENSIVE) is not really required For seating the bearing on the steering head, heat around the steering head rim first to seat the frozen bearing using the steering stem press.

    Actually the slide bearing remover might not be necessary to use to remove the top race., Inverted the Park steering head remover and tap from bottom up to remove this race.This is much easier.

  30. surg23 says:

    Can the bearings and race's withstand being baked at 200c ?

    I am getting my frame powder coated and I don't have the tools to remove this stuff properly.

  31. Candyman Adventures says:

    Which size collet did you use here when using the tusk bearing removal tool?? will the collets provided in the kit be big enough/fit most stem bearing jobs?

  32. masdaniblog . com says:

    helps alot, thx man

  33. Phork702 says:

    Even better it is on the exact bike I am servicing.

  34. Doctor Shred says:

    Rubber dust seal shouldn't contact a petroleum based grease because it'll will damage the rubber. Better to grease the dust seal with red rubber grease or dust seals rubber are resistant to petroleum based grease?

  35. Stephen Auty says:

    $10million worth of tools to replace a bearing. Get real.

  36. Rowan Cranston says:

    I just torched all the bearings and collars off. So much easier!

  37. TheMotorman says:

    Is greasing necessary periodically say after every 8000-10,000kms?

  38. Moses Lacayo says:

    excellent video thank's rocky mountain ATV MC !!!!!!!!

  39. John dawson says:

    I'll try the chisel method. I think these bearings on this bike are from the factory. The bike is a 1993 😧

  40. luca papa says:


  41. Ray Brensike says:

    If this were a street bike, it would be important to tighten the steering stem nut so that when the wheel is on and it's all been put together below, that there is a bit of drag when turning. What happens is if these are a bit loose, they will bang the rollers into the races every time you hit a pothole. What happens with street bikes is that you spend most of your riding going straight down the highway, and those rollers wear a groove into the races in time. The tighter they are, the less banging there will be, and they will last longer, but will eventually wear "notchy", that is the wheel when off the ground, can be moved by hand and a definite notch in the middle will be felt. This can wear you out on a road trip. It can fatigue you within a number of hours and make your long trip miserable. These have to be checked as the miles roll by. Check them at least every 10,000 miles, to see that they are not getting loose, (front to rear play when pulling on the forks legs by the wheel, when off the ground) while also checking for a notchy place in the front wheel, where it likes to settle when straight.

  42. Ray Brensike says:

    Use hot and cold as your tools also. Freezer and oven, or torch and freeze spray, whatever will work, if you need to.

  43. jules2c says:

    "Tighten up the steering head nut just about as tight as we can" no, no, no!

  44. MrBoomtheroom says:

    What size collet did u use to remove the bearing 4:19

  45. desert speed says:

    When using a torque wrench, it's important to keep a hand pressed into the torque head center to prevent false readings or dammage due to camber stress.

  46. enduro trucker Ernie Desjardins says:

    Every brand new mx bike ive bought since 1980 never had near enough grease to call the bearing greaesed. I do a full tear down and grease every pivot and bearing on the bike before i ride them now. Also i blue loctight all the bolts for the plastics and anything else that likes to come loose

  47. enduro trucker Ernie Desjardins says:

    Most every bicycle shop has the park headset bearing remover. Or make one with a cutoff wheel on the disc grinder and weld a nut to the top to hammer on.

  48. cadwarrior says:

    thanks for this helpfull video, just ordered the tools on your website for my cr250r to replace my steering bearings + linkage bearings rebuilt kit

  49. Patrick Darling says:

    Lol 7 specialty tools for this job no thanks I'd sell the bike first

  50. cadwarrior says:

    tools received this morning, thank you rockymountain!

  51. Connor says:

    I did everything up to tightening the spanned nut but it’s not turning smoothly. What went wrong?

  52. Mike says:

    i got a bike with a bent tube that i replaced, but my tubes are very hard to install/remove, they don't just fall out like the video, do i have to buy a new triple clamp?

  53. Simon R says:

    Couldnt You just take the remover for the lower seat for the upper as well? Or just use something like a old screwdriver ? Sorry for my English I’m from germany ✌️

  54. Owain says:

    Everyone complaining about special tools, you can remove the races with a hammer and a screwdriver if you have to, you can install the new ones with an old socket and a hammer.
    the bottom bearing you can install with a hammer and screwdriver.
    Your more than likely going to put dents and dings in paint or metal but thats the reason the special tools exist.
    The tools arent even that expensive if your gunna use them once get some china made ones and throw them in a bin when you are done.
    If it the tools were cheap and the jobs were easy mechanics would go out of business.

  55. Robert Johnston says:

    If you have the cash, buy the tools. They'll save you a lot of headaches because most of the races have extremely tight tolerances with the steering stem. And you'll have to buy a small spanner wrench anyway, the job cannot be done without it. And no, the same spanner from your rear shock will not work. However, it can be done without:

    -pull everything apart, and get a long screwdriver to punch out the old races through the other side of the stem. Go around slowly to make sure you don't mar the inside of the stem.
    -put the new outer races into the freezer for an hour and let the metal shrink. Then quickly press them into the stem and hope they fit. Usually they will with a few taps from a rubber mallet.
    -If the freezer trick doesn't work, you're gonna have to create some type of jig to pull the races into place from the other side of the stem. I cut some hard oak into the same shape as their metal press pieces, and attached it all to some threaded stock from lowes, along with a few bolts. it's basically a long rod with two bolts & washers on the end, and two wooden race presses in the middle. Again, buy their tool to save you some headaches.
    -slowly screw the jig and it'll pull the races into the right place (hopefully).
    -put the triple back together and torque the top bolt TO THE CORRECT TORQUE FROM THE MANUAL. Failing to do so can ruin everything you just did. Again, I had to buy a special spanner wrench that had a hole for a torque wrench.
    -Put it all back together and check for smooth operation.

    If you can't afford the tools or aren't confident in your handy skills, take it to a shop. Seriously, this isn't as easy as it looks.

  56. Alpha Trion41 says:

    All you need are the two arms from a gear puller, put them against each, it doesn't matter which way, hook them on the lip of the race, put a block of wood down the center from the top and hammer out.

  57. SweetLowFat Jesus says:

    Please make a video using ordinary tools, that will be super helpful. Thanks.

  58. crozzmeheart says:

    What do you call the top part?same stem?

  59. Totally Anonymous says:

    Just FY – the lower steering stem bearing. I tried the chisel process. Didn’t work. I tried the park tool bearing puller. Didn’t work (the teeth that are supposed to wedge underneath the bearing snapped off). I finally had to grind a groove in the bearing with a Dremel and then beat it off with a punch. By this time my steering stem looked like it’d been run over my a tank. I ordered a replacement (used) stem from eBay that still had the lower bearing on it. Took it to a friend – he pressed the stem out of the clamp. Took about 2 minutes. Moral of the story / removing the races – easy. Installing the lower bearing – easy. Installing the races – easy. Removing the lower steering bearing – extremely difficult. USE A SHOP PRESS. Now I’ve got a park lower bearing tool that is pretty much useless unless the teeth can be replaced under warranty.

  60. Motor Brain says:

    Nice video

  61. textbook2o11 says:

    i feel like this video is a long advertisement for a bunch of tools i'll never get around to buying, but somehow in the middle of all the hardware i learned how to take apart and reassemble the front end lol

  62. vag chania says:

    I have got a transalp 600 of 1999 and i need to change the bearings and the seals head. Can you tell me if in my transalp like yours in the 3:49–3:56 there is a space to put the screwdriver and the bearings? thank you and keep up the good work

  63. Clint Folkes says:

    great video. i know a lot of people are commenting on the tools costing too much, but someone once gave the advice of use what you like and ignore the rest. i was almost able to finish getting everything off without any fancy tools, but i just could not get anything to catch the lower race. i went ahead and got the slider hammer and the 45mm collet off their site, i couldn't find that size collet anywhere else on the net. got them today, and it popped out after about a minute of set up. i had spent a couple hours using multiple punches, screwdrivers, pipes, anything else i could shove that would remotely grab the edge of that race. the grief it saved was well worth the $4x dollars, and now i've got a slide hammer in the tool collection should i need one in the future.

  64. Anthony Vu says:

    is there an alternative to remove the bearing race?

  65. Christoph Filliger says:

    If you don't want to spend a lot of money for special tools you can simply shrink them bearings in with a little heat and the freezer 😉

  66. MOTO BAKU says:

  67. DirtRipper says:

    If you use a Bearing pulling tool 05:40 does it damage the bearings in any way?

  68. driftke70 says:

    should really palm the bearing in a scraping motion in the gap between the two sections

  69. Jeremy Kamel says:

    Wow, you guys really pack bearings that way🤦‍♂️?! That’s NOT how to pack a bearing!

  70. Paul Obray says:

    U know they do make a bearing packer

  71. Jimmy says:

    You guys lost me when I realized you dont know how to pack a bearing.

  72. Adrian Aranda Garcia says:

    I just ordered the steering stem removal park tool for my 2005 Yamaha YZ250 and due the clearance between frame and rase is minimal the tool slips and cant remove it……. any tips ?.

  73. ashy1423 says:

    Thanks for this informative video.

  74. Bikelife Reek says:

    anybody know what size spanner wrench is that ?

  75. Hair Razor Detox says:

    ok so 600 for tool NO 10 million ? NOOO 50 bucks kids

  76. Dan Borgstrand says:

    Good video but actually you don't want to put grease outside the outer race because you risk that it can spin and move in the frame. If that happens your frame is destroyed and you will never get the bearing to work as intended. Slightly warm the frame and cool the bearing instead.

  77. Rhed Elevado says:

    How to replace bearing

  78. Boxcrash Jones says:

    Can anyone tell me what size wrench is needed to remove the upper and lower triple fork tube pinch bolts on 04-05 CRF 450? Are those 12mm or 13mm? I want to know what size wrench I need to bring to loosen those….rather than a whole entire set. thanks! (or at least not having to bring 10mm-15mm cause I would bet its one of those, no way those are larger than 15mm, they look like 12 or 13 to me)

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