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Thread: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

  1. #1

    Default Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    So I recently purchased a holdover 2019 125sx. First new bike for me and I got a really good deal on it, so I was pretty danged happy! Iíve ridden it a couple times at the track and have 5.6 hours on the clock. Totally love the bike. I havenít ridden in about three years so I pretty much counted on going slow as hell for a few weeks until I found my confidence again, but after a couple hours I was right at home and pushing myself on the little bike. Itís super intuitive and predictable. Canít wait to get it completely dialed in.

    Track was closed this weekend so I decided to look the bike over a bit and make sure everything was good to go for the next ride. Grabbed the rear wheel to check my rear end and found that I had about 1/4Ē of vertical play and a very small but definitely noticeable amount of side to side play in my swing arm (my spokes and axle are tight, the wheel bearing is good, sag is at 110).

    I was a little butt-hurt to see this on a new bike. Did a google and it seems to be a semi-common issue with KTM. However the posts I found were on bikes from 5-ish years ago and older, I didnít find any about current generation KTMís (didnít look super hard though). I tightened all the linkage and shock bolts as they were not as tight as they should be and that helped a bit, but I still have play in the bearing/bushing on the bottom of the shock. I havenít tried tightening the swing arm bolt yet to see if that helps the side to side play but I will take a look later this week (it sounds like I might need to shim my swing arm regardless to properly fix the side to side play according to the posts I read).

    Iím curious if anyone else has had this same issue with a new KTM recently? Whatís the cause? I have heard that itís not uncommon for most chassis bearings to come greased as good as they should be from the factory/dealer, so I was planning on tearing into all that and the rest of the bike once I put a new piston ring in at 10 hours. But still, even with no grease I would think the bearings should still be in spec this early on.

    I took it to the dealer the other day, service manager took a look at it and called KTM. Supposedly KTM claims that the vertical play in the shock and horizontal play in the swing arm is normal. I checked a brand new 125sx in the showroom and it had the same vertical play in the bottom bearing of the shock, but I couldnít feel the same play in the swing arm.

    Definitely want to know if anyone else has had this issue recently, and if itís actually a problem or not. Even if KTM says itís ok, I canít imagine play being a good thing.


    Thanks bros!

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    Not play in the bearings like you have but the bike can come with issues it's hit and miss with mass production like this, my 17 XCF had very few issues, my 17 TE250 has had the fork cap leak and fail while riding (less then 10 hours), brake master seal fail in the 20+ hours range, all kinds of carberator woes, magura slave piston and seal fail after 70 hours, and issue with the kickstart idle gear bolt. For bearings I've been lucky lol, pushing 90 hours and have been in the steering stem, swingarm, and linkage bolts twice and both times wasn't even necessary and everything was mint.
    Think it's just luck of the draw and don't forget most.metals have been recycled a zillion times and production overtime just get crappier due to overuse of materials and limited resources. Just my opinion , not nice on a new bike but if just some bearings will be the only failures over time then I would chose that over other stuff I've had go wrong.
    Trying to put a positive spin in a way, but won't disagree it totally sucks.
    Current Bikes:
    2017 Husqvarna TE250

    Previous Bikes:
    2017 KTM 250XC-F
    2016 Beta 250RR Race Edition
    2011 KTM 350SX-F Cairoli Factory Edition
    2008 Husqvarna WR250
    2005 Honda CRF250-R

  5. #4

    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    First I would retorque the swingarm bolt and linkage bolts to spec. Because a linkage has 3-5 shafts and each one needs a slip fit of .001-.0015" it may have .003-.0075" of play when new which seems like a lot more, when I would lift up on the seat of my DRZ and others it would clunk as I moved all looseness to one side.
    present bikes
    2006 KTM 450 EXC
    2006 KTM 400 EXC
    1999 Kawasaki Concours
    1983 Husqvarna 250WR
    1968 Honda CT90 trail 90
    1971 Suzuki RV90
    1964 Honda CT200 Trail 90
    member Great Lakes dual sporters
    www.gldsmc.org
    AMA charter life member-663466A

    District 14 ama- #0025

  6. #5

    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    Up and down will have a little bit of play. I'd say that's normal. Side to side play cannot be normal. I'd expect your swingarm bolt to be loose or something similar.

    My TX300 has no side to side play. Up and down has some play but it doesn't look like it's in the bearing but the shock as I'd expect. The only bearing I've had to replace was my rear wheel bearing at 150 hours. Everything else works perfectly. Never really had any problem with the Mikuni either. Maybe I'm just not picky.
    '18 Husky TX300
    Ď16 KTM 150sx

  7. #6
    KTMTalk Member gmoss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    On older bikes, have not looked at newer, there are shims that go in to get a good tight fit. May want to check that to see if they still do it and if you need one or more.
    2012 200XCW, my oldest son's bike, and mine to borrow. : )
    2009 105 XC, my youngest son's bike


    Past bikes:
    '08 85 XC
    '13 150 SX
    '14 200 W
    '15 150 SX, converted to 200 E start
    '08 65 XC
    '10 300 XC
    '13 350 XCF
    '05 200 EXC #2
    '06 200 W
    '07 85 SX
    '12 350 XCF
    '12 150SX, converted to a 200 SX/W
    '08 200 SXC
    '02 50 SA
    '08 65 SX
    '05 200 EXC
    '05 250 EXC
    '07 250 SX
    '07 250 SXF
    '06 300 XCW
    '04 300 EXC
    A big thanks to FTI Racing!

  8. #7

    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmoss View Post
    On older bikes, have not looked at newer, there are shims that go in to get a good tight fit. May want to check that to see if they still do it and if you need one or more.
    I have read that those shims are for aligning the front to the rear sprocket, you should be able to tighten the swingarm bolt even without the shims til you run out of threads.
    present bikes
    2006 KTM 450 EXC
    2006 KTM 400 EXC
    1999 Kawasaki Concours
    1983 Husqvarna 250WR
    1968 Honda CT90 trail 90
    1971 Suzuki RV90
    1964 Honda CT200 Trail 90
    member Great Lakes dual sporters
    www.gldsmc.org
    AMA charter life member-663466A

    District 14 ama- #0025

  9. #8
    KTMTalk Member gmoss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Maiden
    Posts
    12,303
    Images
    1

    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    How much alignment do you get with a very thin shim? not enough to matter....
    2012 200XCW, my oldest son's bike, and mine to borrow. : )
    2009 105 XC, my youngest son's bike


    Past bikes:
    '08 85 XC
    '13 150 SX
    '14 200 W
    '15 150 SX, converted to 200 E start
    '08 65 XC
    '10 300 XC
    '13 350 XCF
    '05 200 EXC #2
    '06 200 W
    '07 85 SX
    '12 350 XCF
    '12 150SX, converted to a 200 SX/W
    '08 200 SXC
    '02 50 SA
    '08 65 SX
    '05 200 EXC
    '05 250 EXC
    '07 250 SX
    '07 250 SXF
    '06 300 XCW
    '04 300 EXC
    A big thanks to FTI Racing!

  10. #9

    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canadaeastktm View Post
    Not play in the bearings like you have but the bike can come with issues it's hit and miss with mass production like this, my 17 XCF had very few issues, my 17 TE250 has had the fork cap leak and fail while riding (less then 10 hours), brake master seal fail in the 20+ hours range, all kinds of carberator woes, magura slave piston and seal fail after 70 hours, and issue with the kickstart idle gear bolt. For bearings I've been lucky lol, pushing 90 hours and have been in the steering stem, swingarm, and linkage bolts twice and both times wasn't even necessary and everything was mint.
    Think it's just luck of the draw and don't forget most.metals have been recycled a zillion times and production overtime just get crappier due to overuse of materials and limited resources. Just my opinion , not nice on a new bike but if just some bearings will be the only failures over time then I would chose that over other stuff I've had go wrong.
    Trying to put a positive spin in a way, but won't disagree it totally sucks.
    Dang thatís a bit lame about your TE250... Have you had anything major fail prematurely? Great things to keep in mind for sure. I definitely wasnít expecting a perfectly assembled and functioning unit when I bought the bike. I am inexperienced with brand new bikes however haha so I was wanting to make certain of what was going on and if itís truly a cause for concern. Thanks for the input!

  11. #10

    Default Re: Brand new bike with swing arm and linkage play?

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbikeace View Post
    First I would retorque the swingarm bolt and linkage bolts to spec. Because a linkage has 3-5 shafts and each one needs a slip fit of .001-.0015" it may have .003-.0075" of play when new which seems like a lot more, when I would lift up on the seat of my DRZ and others it would clunk as I moved all looseness to one side.
    Good to know! I donít know if I have side to side play in the linkage on my bike, I only noticed the vertical play. Although I was kinda confused on how tightening the horizontal bolts helped my vertical play apart from pinching and causing more resistance to movement...

    Iím procrastinating hard on tightening the swing arm pivot bolt to see if that helps my side to side play, but will update as soon as I do for anyone who might be interested.

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