Here's how to remove (and reinstall) the FJR1300's front wheel. I prefer to remove the wheels myself for tire changes, as it gives me a chance to inspect things close up. It also means that, providing I'm careful, I know the job was done right!

The official Yamaha FJR1300 SERVICE MANUAL doesn't say much more than "remove the left and right calipers" and provide most of the proper torque values needed. Not terribly helpful -- I'll do much better than that, read on...

Here are the tools you will need. The Honda SPRAY CLEANER & POLISH is useful for cleaning the wheels prior to having the tires changed (the tire guy will appreciate it), and cleaning the wheel-facing sides of the front forks which are otherwise hard to clean.

The one hard-to-find tool you will need is a 19mm Allen wrench, or better yet, a 1/2" drive socket with 19mm Allen head. The FJR's front axle mounts flush on the right hand side, and has a recessed 19mm head. The socket is the desirable way to go, as it allows you to use a torque wrench to properly torque the axle when reinstalling.


I didn't want to spend the $35-40 to buy such a socket from MAC or SnapOn, as I'd so rarely use it, so I improvised. I got a 19mm lug bolt from a Honda automobile, and use it in conjunction with a box end 19mm wrench. It worked ok, but didn't allow me to use the torque wrench.

A better solution would have been to find another lug bolt without the large clip on one end. Then I could have used it in a 1/2" drive 19mm socket, along with the torque wrench.

A tip for the 19mm Allen socket from Eric Vaillancourt: First, 3/4" fits too if you happen to have one laying around. (just tried it in mine to be sure.) Second, hit the local used tool or pawn shop and buy yourself a good 19mm 1/2 drive socket, pick the quality you prefer. Now go through their Allen wrench box until you find a 19mm or 3/4 Allen wrench. Buy both a socket and an Allen wrench. You're now out about $1-5 depending on brand and quality. Cut off a piece of Allen wrench long enough to fully insert into the socket and stick out about 3/4-1". Now silver solder or braze in that piece to the socket. (No welding, it ruins the temper of the socket.) Ta Daa, one cheap 19mm axle tool and you can torque to the specs.

More tips: Autozone stores have inexpensive Allen wrench sets. Or you can double-nut a 19mm bolt with liberal use of red Loctite.

Here's a neat tool that Eric made for me -- a piece of 19mm allen wrench silver soldered into a 19mm socket. The advantage of this tool is that I can use my 1/2" drive torque wrench to properly tighten the front axle.


Another clever idea (from Will Hoctor) is to take a standard sized 5/8" sparkplug wrench (which happens to have a 19mm flange on one end) and insert an extension into the socket backwards (i.e. through the sparkplug side). That gives you an easy-to-use 19mm end that fits right into the FJR's front axle. Photos above courtesy of Clif Lines. Jeff Delzer reports that Sears sells a 5/8" sparkplug socket for about $4 that works in this application.

Paul Navarro discovered another solution at his local Autozone in Modesto, CA for less than $10: It's made by Powerbuilt (P/N 648458). It is actually sold as an Exhaust Manifold Spreader tool for a GM small block. All you have to do is unscrew the expanders on each side of the tool and it is ready for action. He put one side into the axle and the other on a 3/4" socket on the other end. This allowed him to use the torque wrench during assembly. It is an absolute perfect fit.

Visit PowerBuilt Tools, it's under the specialty tools category, engine/drive train section. Description: Model No: 648458 Exhaust Manifold Spreader Spreads warped manifolds on GM small-block V8s and V6s so that bolt holes line up correctly. Uses 3/4" hex wrench. Can be used in pairs. Plated steel."

To get set up, you'll need a way to get the front wheel off the ground. I used a front-end stand that's cheap and easy to build yourself. I changed both tires at the same time, so I put the bike's centerstand on a small chunk of fiberboard. I removed the rear wheel first.

Note: if you have an ABS model, please refer to the ABS Front Wheel — Removal/Reinstallation page at Warchild's site.

The brake calipers must come off. This requires the removal of two 12mm bolts. If you use an open-end wrench, you can just remove them directly. If you use a socket, you have to remove the reflectors first (they fit so closely you can't get a socket on the bolts otherwise). I used a socket, so I could torque them properly during reassembly.

The reflectors have an 8mm nut on the back side center of the reflectors. They also have a small projection, which fits into a hole on the bracket, and keeps you from mounting it upside down.

With the caliper bolts removed, you can move the calipers backwards and angle them out and away from the brake rotors. The bottom edge of the caliper will move back more easily than the top edge, but both have to be moved back somewhat evenly in order to get the calipers off the rotors. Just let them dangle there while you continue removing the wheel.

Next loosen the 6mm Allen-head pinch bolt on the right side, and remove the axle. There are two spacers that fit into the wheel, the larger of the two goes on the LEFT side. Set them aside where they won't be misplaced. If you leave them in the wheel, they will surely be lost during the tire changing process.

I sit on the floor (or ground) in front of the wheel to do this, with my feet in front of me supporting the front wheel. That way I can put some slight upward pressure on the wheel to allow the axle to easily slide out after being unscrewed.

I suppose you could remove the fender to make the wheel easier to get from between the fork legs, but I didn't do that. I had my step-son push down on the luggage rack and raise the front end about 4" so I could wiggle the wheel out. With my home-made front end stand, that is fairly safe and easy. If you're working along, you may find it easier to do the extra work of removing the front fender.

With the wheel out, I used the Honda cleaner to clean the fork legs. Be careful not to let anyone squeeze the front brake lever while the bike is in this state. Otherwise, you'll have to pry the brake pucks apart before you can get the calipers back onto the rotors.

Now is also a good time to clean the wheel. This makes it easier for the tire changer guy (or tire girl), as they will likely need to affix some balance weights. The cleaner the rim, the better the weights will stick.

I like to mark the rotors with a magic marker showing the direction of wheel rotation (usually I put a piece of duct tape on the rotor, and mark on top of that). That way the guy who changes your tires will know which way to mount the tire. Motorcycle tires are directional, and have arrows molded into the sidewalls or tread to indicate which orientation they need when mounted.

Failure to do this, particularly on the front wheel, can mean another trip to the shop to have the tires removed and remounted correctly. A big waste of time and effort which is easily avoided if you mark the wheels well.


Note: If you have an ABS model, it is critical that specific components of the front wheel be aligned properly. Please refer to Warchild's ABS Front Wheel — Removal/Reinstallation page.

Basically, reassembly is to do the reverse of what you did to take it off. Here's the drill for the non-ABS models:

  1. Reposition the front wheel between the forks, with the larger of the two spacers on the left side of the wheel (that's the left side from the rider's point of view).

  2. Torque the axle to 72 Nm (52 ft-lbs).

  3. Torque the 6mm Allen-head pinch bolt to roughly 23 Nm (17 ft-lbs).

  4. Reposition the calipers (you may need to pry the brake pucks apart with a screwdriver to get calipers back over the rotors).

  5. Torque the caliper mounting bolts to 40 Nm (29 ft-lbs).

  6. Remount the reflectors.

  7. See Safety Warning below.

Here are the torque values:

And here's what the finished result looks like with a new Pilot Road mounted, with clean forks and wheel. Now is a good time to recheck your work, and make sure you tightened everything properly and that you replaced everything you took off.

WARNING: While the bike is still on the stand, pump the front brake repeatedly until it starts working again. Spin the wheel, and make sure the brake stops it. If you ride the bike without doing this vital step, it is likely that the first time you use the front brake the lever will come back to the bars without slowing you down at all!

Copyright © 2003, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.