GSXS Wheel Bearings
I have had to replace my GSXS wheel bearings twice in 30,000km. When they were replaced they were rusty with some of the ball bearings so damaged and broken that there were large gaps.
I noticed the problem with a clonking noise over drops and into pot holes that I initially thought were the forks
Check the GSXS wheel bearings on a regular basis by placing the bike on a stand (front or rear) and firstly making sure the wheel spins freely. At the rear, if the chain is tensioned and lubed correctly and the sprockets are in good nick, all you should hear and feel (with one hand resting on the swingarm) is a smooth rumble of chain over sprocket teeth.
Next firmly grasp the top and bottom of the tyre from the side and try to rock the wheel backwards and forwards. Make sure the bike is not wobbling about on the paddock stand – get a friend to sit on the bike or hold it steady. Turn the wheel 90° and do the same again. Carry on until one full revolution of the wheel is complete.
Play in the bearing(s) will be felt as a slight movement of the wheel. If the bearings are shot completely it will be a large movement and felt and heard as a clunk. Check that the wheel spindle isn’t incorrectly tightened as this can lead to similar symptoms. If it’s OK, then one or more bearing is knackered. Replace them all, as it’s best to play safe.