Harley Davidson has been using the same style steering head, neck bearings, bearing race set-up for a number of decades. These bearings are considered conventional. They are serviceable and not a sealed design. They can be maintained. That is these bearings can be cleaned, inspected, and repacked until they are deemed worn, or out of spec.
There are many different bearings utilized on a Harley Davidson. They differ by size, shape, and design, depending on the job they are intended for and the conditions to which the unit will be subjected.
Harley Davidson’s neck bearings have a very limited travel. They are not constantly spinning 360 degrees like an engine’s crank bearing or a cam bearing. These bearings only travel from full left fork lock to full right lock. They, of course, are not subject to high temperatures, or RPM’s.
Harley’s tapered neck bearings seat inside a hard, steel, bearing race that is held in the motorcycle’s frame with a tolerance fit. Harley Davidson neck bearings will last many years and miles when correct steering head adjustment is maintained and bearings are serviced at regular, scheduled intervals.
In this video, Bob gives us a quick demonstration on installing the neck bearing race into the Paughco neck. It is important that the race is started straight and driven in with an aluminum press plug. Strike the driver handle with a heavy hammer. You will know that the race is seated when the striking audible changes from hollow to solid. Bearing races should be replaced every time bearing replacement is necessary.