Cali 1100 headshake..

I’ve read about this problem with reference to LM 1000s on here, but this is a relatively new feature of the Cali - a TT racer style shake of the head as I recross the centre line after an overtake. Not unmanageable but unnerving. and I admit she has always had a nose for the longitudinal grooves. I thought I’d fixed it all with higher pressures (38 front 42 rear) and new tyres (BT45) fore and aft, but this just helped with the grooves. I don’t notice the headshake with the extra weight of a pillion but then I tend not to ride as hard with precious cargo aboard.

My daily bike is now the Breva 1100 which is as light as a feather in comparison to the Cali with not a hint of the above issues. In fact the whole front end on the Cali now feels sluggish and as unresponsive as soggy pudding. Might I be right in suspecting the forks? They do still dive under braking and don’t pogo. They just don’t feel ‘taut’. Any thoughts?

Would usually put it down to a worn rear…
Are yer rear shocks ok…just thinkin along the lines of steepening the head angle …

All the ‘bad vibes’ come from the front end. Rear rides ok. Honestly, after the Breva it feels like the front end has kind of collapsed.

Strip the front end
either clean and grease the head bearings or replace them if rusty
drain the forks and fill with fresh oil
check the front axle is secure and fork brace has no missing bolts

also are the new tyres fitted the correct way round ?
and how old is your tyre pressure gauge ? they do wear out

dont forget the steering damper,they do fail

I’ve checked the steering damper along with the bearings. All good. Surprisingly.

Just getting the toolkit out to attack the forks.

Sounds like my Le Mans to be honest. After having ridden many modern bikes I’m not prepared to put up with it any longer so it’s getting a set of GSXR1000 upside downies fitted this year. A bit drastic I know But I have no intention of ever selling my bike and eventually it will probably look like a Cali when I’m too old to handle low bars. I’m actually thinking of Renthals instead of clip on when I do the front end change anyway, just to be different.

I think we may have had this conversation before…but am always bemused by Le Mans said to be handling peculiarly…the only wobbler I had was the 16 wheel Mk 4…and bigger wheels cured that…twas the bike I raced in 2013…
I have 2 Les Mans…neither of them exhibit any remotely dodgy tendencies…and neither require a steering damper !

Nothing amiss with bearings in wheel or headstock - all smooth. Span the wheel without the brakes and it turned for almost 5 minutes.

The question now is, how do I put oil into the forks now? These are the Bitubo doodahs, with a little adjuster at the top of each fork.

How are your front dampers? I recall an issue with my 1100i which I only sorted when I spotted assymetric front tyre wear and realised that only one damper was…being damp…

plus 1, I can ride over anything without problems since loving my front end, and ditch the damper.

My thoughts would be on tyre pressures. Nice and easy to experiment varying them to see what effect it has.

modern tyres need around 5 to 8 psi more than the older tyres and the guzzi book recommends
my bt 45 seem to like 38 rear and 34 front on a spada

Also beware accuracy of tyre pressure gauges. Guess how I know. Turns out the one I use most (footpump dial gauge) reads optimistic, so tyres were always soft! (I now know to give it an extra 3 - 4 psi over what I actually want)

Oil in the tubes? Have undone the grubscrew and taken off the top adjuster knob. That leaves three stacked concentric nuts. Turning the top one also rotates its neighbour. I can’t get them to separate and the turning is infinite…

Guzzi forks don’t work like other bikes. They have cartridge dampers that does the damping action. The oil merely provides lubrication as the uppers and lowers slide up and down. It still should be changed occasionally.
Just a thought, what sort of fork bracing does your bike have on the front end?
A good check is to stand in front of the bike, grip the front wheel firmly between your legs and try moving the handlebars. Do you get much flexing?
Another thought, from the comments above, does the cali have a steering damper, that can help with this sort of thing.

He has said these are Bitubo forks, with adjusters on top? (What do they do) so don’t sound like the “normal” ones we’re more familiar with.

I never managed to undo those top fittings. I put the oil in from the bottom, through the drain hole, having removed the forks and doing my best to compress the whole shebang so it didn’t just pop the seals at the first bump. I might have got a little oil on the doormat but I needed something to push against without marking the end.

One of the stanchions was a bi-atch to get through the bottom clamp. I ought to get a hone put through the clamp - one hole is definitely smaller. Why would this be? Did Luigi '94 change bit size part way through?

Everything back together and all seems much easier. Paddling the bike backwards, I was surprised to find myself proceeding at a fairly swift pace…

Hmm, dare I go here? Is the problem to do with how good the Breva is? Has the Breva’s good manners made your riding lazy such that you drift back shallowly across the line, rather than attacking it like mounting a kerb?

Don’t forget wheel balance.