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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back around 2003 I bought this laser tool for aligning the rear wheel and then quit riding before I used it. Recently I used it on my FZ 09, it went well. From what I remember of the string alignment method the laser is a lot easier, fewer trips from one end of the bike to the other, less fiddling, measuring, eyeballing, judgment, etc.



The butt of the “strut” fits against one of the center ribs of the wheel, so that the strut is perpendicular to the wheel and the lasers are the same distance from the wheel. (A method for wheels without ribs is provided.)

Both struts/lasers are the same, because one faces forward and one back one is upside down relative to the other. I had my 09 on front and rear stands, just using a spooled rear stand is fine and you can use the kick stand but that wouldn’t be as easy because you need to turn the wheels a little bit to aim the lasers at the targets. With the bike on just a spooled rear stand you can roll the whole bike the small amount you need to aim the front laser up/down.



Oops, I should have left the front laser on for this photo, you would have seen that I have turned the handle bars so that the front laser is on the line of the rear target.



This photo of the rear laser beam on the front target shows that the rear wheel is pointing a bit off to the right. You don’t need to take measurements or do math, but I did some rough ones:

1402mm between the targets (a bit less than the wheel base).
260mm rough width of the 09 at the outer surfaces of the adjustor blocks that the axle goes through.
8mm to the right, the error I had for the rear laser on the front target.

1402mm / 260mm is about 5.4, this is a handy ratio to remember because it is how much the length of the wheelbase magnifies the error at the axle. So in this case 8mm / 5.4 is about 1.5mm and that is about how much change I should make at the axle, and then check the lasers again of course. As a rule of thumb you can just divide the front target error by 5 instead of guessing how much change to try.

My error was to the right, so to swing the aim of the rear wheel left I need to either move the right end of the axle forward or the left end back, I didn’t want to make the chain tighter so I moved the right end forward. After repeating the laser and adjust steps as many times as needed torque the rear axle nut (108 ft/lbs) and check the laser again.

Normally you are done now, but after you laser align a bike the first time or after a crash move the laser struts from the right side of the bike to the left and check again. If the laser shows an error it means you have a bigger problem than can be handled at the chain adjustors: twisted forks, bent forks, bent frame, warped wheel, etc. In other words if the left doesn’t agree with the right it is time to start saying words that Vern won’t let you post on the forum. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ideas for making your own laser alignment tool.

A small 2004 review of what I have on another forum: Laser-Lines wheel alignment system : Suzuki GSX-R Motorcycle Forums: Gixxer.com



This is the label on mine, the link no longer works and I can’t find the company with Google so it seems to be out of business. I don’t recall what I paid for mine, the review above says $188 in 2004.

A quick Google for: motorcycle laser wheel alignment
Found:
I didn’t even go on to the Sealey site, it looks expensive lol.

But it seems very doable for a rider to make a laser alignment tool similar to mine. If I get bored enough this winter I might try it even though I already have the Apogee one. Or if another forum member would like to lead the way, great.



This label has the specs for my laser. The black boxes in the other photos hold 4 AAA batteries and the on/off switches.

Most of the Apogees are a grey plastic that have been cut, drilled and glued, I don’t know plastics well but it must be one that machines well and keeps it’s dimensions (not all plastics are as stable as you might think). Wood can be used, but it shrinks/swells with humidity changes so you would have to check it before use (see below). Metal will work but you need to protect your wheels from scratching, maybe something as simple as a couple layers of duct tape would do.



This photo shows a very rough mock up of a possible way to align/check the accuracy of the tool. The wood blocks are just holding the one strut level. Drill a couple holes in the box section aluminum and bolt the struts to it so they are on a known straight edge, adjust the lasers on the struts so they hit the targets correctly etc.

There are lot of ways to skin this cat, I’m sure some of you will have great ideas for this DIY.
 
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