Steering Head Bearing Conversion

hi guys

been looking at stuff for this wee v50 of mine, I’ve seen that gutsibits sell a bearing conversion kit for the headstock, but me being both a poor student and the hands on sort of chap, who happens to have access to lathes and such,

has anyone done this? and does anyone happen to have drawings of what is needed?


have you got a problem with your current head bearings?

my worry with such conversions is do you need to tell your insurance company as per other mods…?

i suppose, I’ll probably not tell them, but come june i will have a BEng in motorcycle engineering so atleast i can say that it was designed and manufactured by a qualified engineer lol.

my main reason for contemplating this is that, im doing a full restoration of the bike and i just want everything done right so i don’t have to worry about it

my 1977 is on its original bearing and fine

I’d tread careful with mods and insurance…

This business of mods and insurance comes up every now and then.
CN have always been fine and only worry if the mod improves performance or stealability.
With a V50ou are fine.

Having changed out the bearings on my V35, I can tell you, you’ll need to get imaginative when removing the forks.
Anyway, what does this conversion give you that a straight replacement won’t.

Unless someone has uncovered new stocks of head bearings for the original small blocks they had become very hard to find. Teo Lammers were listing a set some time ago but they were horrible money. I’m on about my third set but they’ve only been swapped out after front end accidents (oops). More recently I spun the cups and cones up on a lathe and cleaned them the best I could, then fitted with new balls. They’re not great but at least MOTable for now.
The taper roller bearings for the big blocks are no overly expensive so I wouldn’t expect it to be beyond the wit of a near qualified engineer to work out from them the dimensions for adaptor plates. I’d presume they will increase the spacing between upper and lower yokes, so some extra packing for the headlight brackets might also be required. This business of always advising your insurers on the slightest deviation from std is a nonsense in my eyes. In many instances on older machines how can we really know? - and often (as in this case) you have to make do with what you can find.

Re inventing the wheel Charles maybe ?..said with respect…

renewed my v35 monza’s insurance with CN yesterday, had chat about mods, the want to know ANYTHING non standard right down to mirrors and lights. Mentioned converting to modern bearings and yes does need to be declared.

Guzziv35, I guess it comes down to who you talk to at CN.
I will mention my Givi bags on renewal but when I claimed for a H+B pannier 6 years ago they didn’t quibble even though they were not oe and i hadn’t mentioned them.

luggage needs declaring so they can cover it for third party liability. ie hitting a car or pedestrian with it

sorry for the long gap, been absolutely snowed under with coursework and dissertation work recently, and yeah i could knock up a design but im this close to the finish that i am loath to take time away from uni work if there was a chance someone else had done it. but the main reason for wanting to do it is the races on the bike ive got arent great, she seems to have sat for more than a wee while, and i remember someone saying to me that the races dont exist anymore unless you remove them from a donor bike…

and on the topic of insurers, i will be damned if i tell them every little thing i do to my bike, other than obvious changes they can swing for the info, and before anyone says about what happens if i crash, when the guy driving a shogun tried to murder myself and my r1200gs the insurance assessor didnt even bother to check the restrictors were on the bike, that legally had to be there… so without attempting to seem cantankerous beyond my youthful years to hell with declaring mods.

hmm im not normally this grumpy… must be the coursework

Blimey Chas…this is the second time today yer get my vote… :laughing:

Commisserations on the accident and I agree with both sentiments.
Pass your course and don’t worry too muct about insurers.

I have fitted the Gutsibits bearing conversion kit for the headstock of my V50 mk2 and it all  went together fairly easily . However because of the extra width of the bearings there is now only approx 10mm of thread protruding at the end of the stem, On this must fit the adjusting ring,washer and locknut.  .Although it all just fits it does not seem very satisfactory to me.Â

Hmmm. I’m interested in this mod for myself at some point. Good enough though you reckon, ish, maybe?

I’ve finished this conversion now and the steering  feels really smooth , a big improvement over the previous setup. On the adjusting ring I ground down the no longer required holder for the ball bearings which gave me a few more millimetres on the stem for the lock nut. The headlamp brackets needed packing so another rubber O ring was fitted on each side below the existing ring.  To sum up - a fairly easy job to do but not cheap and,  I believe, I had no choice.

Thanks for that info. I guess I’ll be taking that route in the next year or two.

I also went down the conversion route this spring due to notchy ball bearings noted in last years MOT of the '79 V50. I bought the roller bearings from ebay to save few £’s, then found out the dust cover was too wide for the top yoke to still have some clearance. It locked up the bearing when the lock nut was tightened, so i have had to leave that bit off. I would buy the bearing from GutsiBits if i could turn the clock back.
However, sailed through MOT and now rides in a straight line, as it should. Just need to add a home made cover to keep the dirt out of the grease .