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How are your head bearings doing?

  • Head bearings OK. Under 5,000 miles on odometer

    Votes: 42 34.4%
  • Head bearings OK. 5,000 – 10,000 miles on odometer

    Votes: 30 24.6%
  • Head bearings OK. 10,000 – 20,000 miles on odometer

    Votes: 13 10.7%
  • Head bearings OK. 20,000 – 30,000 miles on odometer

    Votes: 2 1.6%
  • Head bearings OK. 30,000+ miles on odometer

    Votes: 5 4.1%
  • Head bearings FAILED. Under 5,000 miles on odometer

    Votes: 14 11.5%
  • Head bearings FAILED. 5,000 – 10,000 miles on odometer

    Votes: 10 8.2%
  • Head bearings FAILED. 10,000 – 20,000 miles on odometer

    Votes: 4 3.3%
  • Head bearings FAILED. 20,000 – 30,000 miles on odometer

    Votes: 1 0.8%
  • Head bearings FAILED. 30,000+ miles on odometer

    Votes: 1 0.8%

  • Total voters
    122
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Choose the best answer in the poll.

I'm tired of hearing

You might have solved the issue for now as your steering head bearing most likely isn't worn yet. You will eventually develop a wobble due to the stock bearing because it's inevitable.
You're just one of the lucky ones or you're not checking for it correctly. You're the only person with the 300 who claims no wobble from the head bearing. The design and quality of the stock bearings are crap and when it wears you will get the wobble. There's absolutely no way to prevent it.
The best way to test for it is to accelerate to about 55-60mph, close the throttle, and let go of the handlebars. As the bike decelerates through the 40s and 30s watch the bars for a wobble. Do this test every 1,000 miles and you'll eventually notice a wobble.


A lot of strong and powerful language used, and I don't think it's true. I don't want new riders or potential Ninja 300 owners to be turned off if they read opinions like this when they're researching their purchase. According to the member quoted above, it clearly states that pretty much all (if not all) Ninja 300s will develop this issue.

I, on the other hand think only a tiny fraction of bikes have this issue.

In some sense, that member is correct. Eventually it'll fail. The question is....will it fail at 1,000 miles? 10,000 miles? 100,000 mile? 500,000 miles? 1 million miles?

What's a reasonable number? Well, that's really up to you to decide.
 

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Around 7-8k I developed a wobble on decel. Replaced tires at 11k with cords showing. No abnormal wear on the front tire, but the rear was squared off (I had been monitoring the squaring at 8k) had some cupping on the sides as well. New front and rear tires seem to have cured the wobble. I have already purchased the all balls bearings but not installed due to no work shop.

I believe my rear tire was the source of my wobble.
 

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I had the wobble around 2k. I tested it by let go the handlebars, I did a couple tests it only did it once. That's with the stock tires.

Didn't worry too much because I don't ride without hands on the handlebars. Traded in the bike before knowing if it gets worse or not.


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Hmm, I have noticed this, 2,500 miles. It's pretty minor, more of a vibration than wobble I guess. I thought it was normal on decel at certain speeds.... Odd.
 

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According to the member quoted above, it clearly states that pretty much all (if not all) Ninja 300s will develop this issue.
You could have quoted my name in the quote if you're already quoting what I said.

Indeed I deeply feel that's the case. It's just the design of it that's poor and they wear and fail prematurely. The reason some bikes take longer is because their bearing was packed and greased correctly, and that's prolonging the life of it. As soon as that grease starts getting used up it will start to wear. The only way to prevent it would be to keep regreasing the bearing every so often but if you're going to have it apart to do that might as well replace it.

I'm tired of hearing
Tired of hearing it? It's something you will ALWAYS hear on these forums until Kawasaki does something about that stock bearing. It was well mentioned way before I ever started talking about it so I don't know why you're holding it specifically towards me. It's a safety concern and I will make sure every 300 owner is aware of it. New riders have no clue what they should be feeling and they have no clue what's normal or not. If I personally can inform people and have people test for it every so often it could save their life. All the replies here so far are of people stating they noticed some form of wobble. It would be very odd and strange that all of these people have it because of their tires or rims, and not because of a known corner cut that involves a poor quality and poor design steering head bearing.

A lot of strong and powerful language used, and I don't think it's true.
Strong language indeed because unfortunately it has happened to too many 300s to be considered a fluke. I could see maybe a a good handful of 300s only having it but the fact that so many owners throughout the world has had their head bearings fail means that it's a known issue and it's something that shouldn't be ignored. There's way more owners who have replaced them than owners who haven't. Greased properly or not they will eventually fail it's just a matter of time. Again it's a unfortunate thing but it's a present possible issue and every owner or future owner should be aware of it. For those who do have a wobble the upgraded bearing is under $40, and is a major improvement, and you'll no longer be gambling with your life.

I don't want new riders or potential Ninja 300 owners to be turned off if they read opinions like this when they're researching their purchase.
You rather them not know and possibly get injured or killed due to it?

They shouldn't be turned off as the 300 is a great first bike or a great bike in general. However, this is a known possible issue with the 300, and they have a right to know that there's a STRONG POSSIBILITY that in as little as 1,000 miles they could develop a wobble due to the bearing. There's no reason why this should deter people from purchasing the bike. I feel it's better for them to know than not to know as this can be a serious safety concern. I just don't want to see people ignore it, and be put at risk. There's no reason for someone to get hurt which CAN happen. My wobble was so bad it was scary, and I don't wish that risk on anyone I really don't. The people who claim they have no wobble is a wonderful thing, and I'm happy for you guys not having to deal with it but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and it doesn't mean it won't eventually happen. There are too many owners who have had the problem, and replaced them and it went away. Sure, sometimes the tires or a bad rim can cause a wobble but that kind of wobble will be felt no matter what speed you're at or no matter the pressure you have on the bars while the head bearing wobble causes the bike not to be secured to the ground if you will. Again, it's a safety concern that should be checked for every so often. Again, I just don't want to see someone lose control of the bike because of it. My handlebars slapped back and forth some quick and hard that my bike could have easily veered off. A $40 part can save your life.

Muilisx is wrong. I'm saying less than 50% of 300s have this problem....not the 100% Muilisx claims.
How am I wrong? There's nothing to be wrong about. It's a poor quality part, and a poor design. I'm not the who who originally informed people about it. This was plastered all over the forums, and different forums as well. There are only a VERY FEW of you guys who claim not to have it while everyone else has had the issue. It's way more than 50%. I never said every single person will have to replace it at the same exact time but every single 300 will " eventually " develop it because it's just the design and quality of the bearing. Again, all because a few of you don't have the symptoms yet doesn't mean you're in the clear and it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It just hasn't happened to you yet. There's also no reason to point the finger at me specifically because I'm only repeating what was already said. This isn't the only forum or source on the internet that says the stock heading bearing is garbage and will fail. The Ninja 250 forums mention it about the 300, other sources from Google mention it, people on YT mention it. Even the service manager and their head mechanic at my dealer are in agreement about it. He was the one who told me to not even bother with trying to do a warranty claim with it because it the job was approved it would just be replaced with the same part, and the issue will most likely come back once millage is put on the new one.

You're basically calling me a liar and telling people I'm wrong when I've personally had the issue myself so I have experienced it first hand and I can honestly say not only is it scary, and could cause an accident but it's far from normal and should not have happened after 1,000 miles. You can say whatever you want but it's there, and it should be known, and everyone should be doing the test that's quoted above to make sure they aren't developing the wobble. Again, I wasn't the first person to ever mention this, and this isn't anything new that we're hearing from the first time. This has been greatly discussed and mentioned over the years by too many different people because it exists. Again, not sure why you're pointing the finger at me. Even YT is full of videos of people doing the swap. It's well known in other places than just here.

I bet there are more 300s out there that doesn't have a head bearing problem.
There are WAY MORE 300s that ALREADY have had the issue, and replaced them. This forum alone has more people who have had the issue than people who haven't so not sure how you can even say that. There's only like 2 or 3 of you who claim you don't have it while way more than that has so that isn't the case. Until that number grows and the ratio balances out to all the owners who have had the issue it's safe to say that it's something to be aware of and it's something you should be testing for.

You're making it seem like it doesn't exist and you make it seem like you don't want people to know about it because it hasn't happened to you yet which isn't cool because this could possibly cost someone their life. There are too many members here who have encountered it and replaced them for it not to be something to be concerned about. It can be a major safety hazard as it has to do with the steering of the motorcycle and has to do with the bike being secured on the ground. Again I just don't want to see anyone get hurt over it because they ignored it or was told not to worry about it.

Definitely test for it every so often which is the only thing I can recommend to do. There's no reason to ignore it or not check for it, and risk the possible injury or death because of it. If I would have ignored mine when it became really bad I could have killed myself. I felt the bike dip too many times in a turn to where I didn't feel secured to the ground. It was a very scary feeling, and as soon as I replaced it the wobble went away, and everything else regarding the steering was 100% better in every aspect.

I'm sorry cadd but don't go around telling other people someone is wrong or implying they're a liar all because you personally are lucky and haven't experienced the issue. All because you and Dave don't have it doesn't mean anything. That's 2 people who claim they don't have it while there are WAY MORE who have. I mean not sure how you can say less than 50% when you two are pretty much the only ones who claim they don't have it in the history of the 300 while everyone else has mentioned they have a wobble on decel, and again it's not because of a tire or a rim. Sure, a bent rim can cause a wobble but that wobble would be felt no matter the speed. The head bearing wobble is very specific and if you do the test above and you notice even the slightest back and forth movement from the bars then you have it, and it will progress over time.

Again, it's a safety concern, and that's the only reason why I jump into the conversation about it when it's mentioned. It doesn't hurt to test for it every 500 - 1,000 miles to see if it's developing, and if it is just bite the bullet, and replace it with a much better quality head bearing, and much better design, and be done with it. The only reason I would not replace it is if you don't plan to keep the bike for a while but if you do plan to keep the bike for a while then there's no reason not to swap it out. I rather pay the $40 for the part and $200 in labor than go down damaging the bike and injuring myself or risking my life.

Accelerate to about 60mph, close the throttle, and take your hands off the bars hovering them over them in case you need to grab them. As the bike decelerates through the 40s and 30s watch the bars for movement. It could either be a slight wobble or if bad enough they will literally slap back and forth. The bike won't necessarily veer left and right but you will clearly see the handlebars wobble back and forth. This isn't your tires, or your rim this is the free play within the bearing that reveals itself as a wobble. If your rim was bent and caused a wobble it would be felt and seen any any speed. This test is specifically for a head bearing. Removing your hands is the most important part because you need to take all the weight and pressure off the bars. If you have a wobble from the head bearing and you're holding the bars during the deceleration you won't see it because the weight / pressure on the bars is going to prevent them from moving so make sure you're not holding them as the bike slows down through the 40s and 30s. As soon as you reach 30 you can grab them again and accelerate back up and keep riding. Do it a few times to really test for it. It really doesn't matter what gear you're in but I recommend doing it in 3rd. You're not going to go down by doing this test. I've done it so many times when I had the issue because it's all I thought about when riding. Every single ride I went on consisted of me doing the test about 10 times, and my wobble was really bad probably the worst it could be. I wish I had a GoPro back then so record how bad it was but trust me it was bad, and very unsafe.

Again, it's unfortunate and a shame but it is what it is.

Didn't worry too much because I don't ride without hands on the handlebars.
No one does that but that's how you test for it. Having your hands on the bars pretty much stops the wobble because you're holding it. It's like when your car pulls to the left or right. It's because you need a wheel alignment. The car only pulls when you let go of the steering wheel because when you hold the wheel you're countering the pull but it's still there and can still cause an accident. It's the same idea with the wobble If you're holding the bars you're countering it but it's still there. If you let go of the handlebars during deceleration the bike should have no wobble, and should go straight as an arrow for as long as the bike has momentum.

For the members who are noticing a wobble on deceleration or for those who have tested for it using the above method and do notice a slight wobble developing you can buy the new ones here. As a member here you get free shipping. You'll submit the order with shipping tacked on, and Hard Racing will adjust it before charging your credit card. There should be a information box. That's where you can mention you're a member or you can send a PM to Hard Racing and just let them know you're submitting a order and would like the free shipping forum discount, and tell them your name so they can look out for the order.
 

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Have not done the test on mine because didn't think a new bike will have problems so soon.

Why don't owners make the warranty claim? If bikes don't visit the workshops with the same warranty claim/issues repeatedly, Kawasaki would not rectify the problem(If it is the problem- I donot know).

I think the problem is that owners are upgrading the bearing on their own & not making the warranty claim.

I remember KTM recalled & upgraded the cooling fan of the Duke 390 here in India when owners complained of engine overheating(There were no such complaints from owners in colder countries). If people were upgrading the fan on their own, the recall would not have happened.

Regards,
Kaustav
 

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no problems with mine, ~9200 miles with DRIIs
 

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Have not done the test on mine because didn't think a new bike will have problems so soon.
It's not because of the bike. It's because of the design and quality of the head bearing. Kawasaki cut some corners with the 300, and the head bearing unfortunately is one of them.

Why don't owners make the warranty claim?
This was mentioned above as well as in every other head bearing thread but we'll answer it again since you're new and probably haven't come across any of those threads yet. If they were to approve it as a warranty claim it would be replaced with the same poor quality poor design part, and within a few thousand miles the problem would most likely return. Members are upgrading and not using the warranty for that very reason. They also can't warranty it using the better part as they have to use their OEM part which is why no one uses the warranty for it. The idea is to get rid of the stock bearing and go with the tapered ones.
 

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Muilisx,

Again. I Didn't worry too much because I don't ride without my hands on the handlebars...

Everyone is here to share their knowledge and their experience. And that is what you are doing too. I get it.

But, some people have wobble issue and some don't. And you are here to convince everyone that all of them will have this problem and need to fix it ASAP.

And that is why Cadd started this poll.

Don't take everything so personal man. Move on, life is good.



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Because as members have mentioned if they were to approve it as a warranty claim it would be replaced with the same poor quality poor design part, and within a few thousand miles the problem would return. Members are upgrading and not using the warranty for that very reason. They also can't warranty it using the better part. They have to use their OEM part which is why no one uses the warranty for it. The idea is to get rid of the stock bearing.
This would be hard to believe, especially in this day and age, and for a Japanese mass production manufacturer.

Once a defect has been discovered in the field, they may not want to do a recall, but they certainly would want to fix the production line, and send out corrected parts to the dealers.

For example, in the fairing gap issue, Kawasaki did send out fixes to the dealers.

One member claimed that the loose balls were out-of-round. Come on. If this was a wide spread problem, no way a Japanese mass production manufacturer would not want to fix it.
 

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Muilisx,

Again. I Didn't worry too much because I don't ride without my hands on the handlebars...
I already replied to you when you said that last time. concern.

No one does that but that's how you test for it. Having your hands on the bars pretty much stops the wobble because you're holding it. It's like when your car pulls to the left or right. It's because you need a wheel alignment. The car only pulls when you let go of the steering wheel because when you hold the wheel you're countering the pull but it's still there and can still cause an accident. It's the same idea with the wobble If you're holding the bars you're countering it but it's still there. If you let go of the handlebars during deceleration the bike should have no wobble, and should go straight as an arrow for as long as the bike has momentum.
Not sure why you repeated it. Who rides with their hands off the bars? You only do that to test for the wobble because as I stated when you're holding the bars you're countering it. That doesn't mean it's not there. Anyone could say oh well if you hold the bars it won't wobble problem solved but the problem is still there and it's still a safety concern.
 

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This would be hard to believe, especially in this day and age, and for a Japanese mass production manufacturer.

Once a defect has been discovered in the field, they may not want to do a recall, but they certainly would want to fix the production line, and send out corrected parts to the dealers.
Yes that's correct but that's is " IF " they did a recall for it or redesigned the head bearing which they have not so if you did a warranty claim for this it would be replaced with a brand new OEM head bearing which is the same exact part which will make no difference in the long run. It might feel better at first but as soon as it begins to wear the free play within the bearing returns and so does the wobble. I'm simply discussing it in detail because it was mentioned in two new threads. I care for the well being of other human life which is why I always discuss it when it's mentioned. It's a major safety concern, and I just don't want to see anyone get hurt because of it which can and will happen if your bike develops it and you ignore it. It's a very cheap upgrade. Even if you don't have the wobble yet it's still a great upgrade. It will GREATLY improve the precision of the steering. Anyone who has done it can tell you that.

For example, in the fair gap issue, Kawasaki did send out fixes to the dealers.
Yes but those fixes don't work with the 2013's which is why Cruizin got a brand new 2014 because of it.
 

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If it's a safety issue, they should have recall on it. Especially if it's on every bike. Even just 20%.

It could be anything tire related as well. Alignment, balancing and etc.

No one is here to argue that none of the 300 has wobble problem. But no one can say all the bikes have/will have the problem and all from the stock head bearing.


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If it's a safety issue, they should have recall on it.
Yes if enough people write in about it they will but no one does. People who develop the wobble simply buy the better bearing, and install it outside of the dealer, and they're done with it. Recalls are only issues when they get complaints and letters from the consumers.

It could be anything tire related as well. Alignment, balancing and etc.
Indeed it can but as mentioned numerous times if you had a wobble due to anything other than the head bearing the wobble would be present at any time at any speed. Also, if it was due to a balancing issue you would feel it as you ride all the time. You would feel the wheel out of balance or out of alignment because you would have some form of rubbing noise. The wobble we're talking about is a head bearing wobble which can only visually be seen during deceleration through certain speeds with no weight / pressure on the bars.

No one is here to argue that none of the 300 has wobble problem.
I'm not here to argue it either. I'm simply sharing the information I have on this topic as well as my person experience dealing with it.

No one can say all the bikes have/will have the problem and all from the stock head bearing.
Yes we can as we know the stock bearing is poor quality, and a beyond crap design. Too many 300 owners have already had head bearing issues for you to make that claim.

And that is why Cadd started this poll.
A poll isn't going to really tell us anything when people don't know what to look for. Someone could have it since 1,000 miles and don't realize it until 10,000 miles when they learn how to test for it.

Don't take everything so personal man.
I'm not taking it personally. I'm simply trying to help people not risk their life over a $40 part.

Move on, life is good.
Life isn't good if you don't have one due to a $40 part.
 

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Yes if enough people write in about it they will but no one does. People who develop the wobble simply buy the better bearing, and install it outside of the dealer, and they're done with it. Recalls are only issues when they get complaints and letters from the consumers.

But is it a safety issue tho ?


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But is it a safety issue tho ?
Yes, it can put you into a dangerous situation. Again, it could easily become a recall but you need people in numbers for that. People just don't have time for that. They just spend the $40 on the better part, and have it installed, and they're done with it. It would be nice for it to be a recall just for the safety of others but since every single person doesn't have the issue at the same exact time doesn't justify a recall and that's how Kawasaki would look at it. The better bearings are so cheap that its just easier to buy it, and have it installed, and be done with it which is why everyone who had the issue pretty much went that route.
 

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Yes that's correct but that's is " IF " they did a recall for it or redesigned the head bearing which they have not so if you did a warranty claim for this it would be replaced with a brand new OEM head bearing which is the same exact part which will make no difference in the long run. It might feel better at first but as soon as it beings to wear the free play within the bearing returns and so does the wobble.

Yes but those fixes don't work with the 2013's which is why Cruizin got a brand new 2014 because of it.
First of all, how do you know that it requires a redesign. You are making assumptions galore.

Kawasaki has been making motorcycles for decades, and the Ninja 250's also for decades. The Ninja 300 is only a minor variation of the Ninja 250, especially when pertaining to the steering head bearings. It is inconceivable that Kawasaki can't get that right. If indeed that there is a defect, it would mostly likely be in a manufacturing related one.

IMO, Cruizin didn't get the 2014 for the reason you stated. I was reading the thread at the time too.

Regardless, my point was that Kawasaki did attempt at fixes.
 

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You are making assumptions galore.
No I'm not.

First of all, how do you know that it requires a redesign
What do you mean how do I know? Have you ever even seen what the stock bearing looks like inside? Also, again, I'm not the first person to make this claim. The stock head bearing is a shitty design. The balls are not caged. It's a poor design. If there was to be a recall do you think they would just replace everyone's head bearing with the same exact one? No, they would need to redesign the head bearing so what's happening doesn't happen again. Just like the ECU recall, they resigned the ECU on the inside, and flashed it with new settings. They just didn't give everyone the same ECU but new.

IMO, Cruizin didn't get the 2014 for the reason you stated.
yes he did.....he had the fairing gap issue, and he wrote letter after letter and everything the dealer did for him didn't correct the issue so Kawasaki AUS offered him a new 2014 and he took it. He CLEARLY explains it in great detail in the thread.

Anyone know if any of the 2015 got wobble issue ?
No one has mentioned anything about the 2015 yet regarding a wobble due to the head bearing, and that's pretty much because we don't have a lot of members with a 2015, and the few members we do have probably don't have that many miles on the bike yet or don't know what they're looking for when it comes to a head bearing wobble. I myself would have never known about it if no one here mentioned it and mentioned how to check for it. The very first person who ever mentioned it only discovered it because he took his hands off the bars for whatever reason and he noticed the handlebars slap back and forth.

You guys especially the new guys can debate it all you want but it can happen to you at any time. It's a known potential issue with the 300 and all I'm saying is just test for it every so often. What do you have to lose by doing so? It's only for your own benefit, and for your own safety so excuse me.
 

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If they were to approve it as a warranty claim it would be replaced with the same poor quality poor design part, and within a few thousand miles the problem would most likely return.
But for how long can Kawasaki continue doing this? Warranty claims cost them money too. They would have to come up with a long term solution.

Kawasaki has been making motorcycles for decades, and the Ninja 250's also for decades. The Ninja 300 is only a minor variation of the Ninja 250, especially when pertaining to the steering head bearings. It is inconceivable that Kawasaki can't get that right. If indeed that there is a defect, it would mostly likely be in a manufacturing related one.
That is a good point.

Regards,
Kaustav
 
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