More Than A New Front Tire
The front wheel of your Harley Davidson will be removed many times throughout the lifespan of the motorcycle. The most common reason for removal, of course, is tire replacement. Other reasons include: fork fluid replacement, wheel bearing inspection/replacement, rotor replacement; or possibly for ease of fender removal, or cleaning.
Always begin by having your motorcycle securely strapped to your lift. As you begin jacking the front end, stop periodically to confirm that the bike remains safe and stable on the lift. Before your Harley front tire is removed, you can do a preliminary wheel bearing inspection. Jack the front wheel up, off the lift. Spin the wheel. Look and feel for any roughness or drag.
Now, lower the motorcycle, just enough, so that the Harley front tire is slightly resting on the lift. Remove the left side axle nut and washer. Then loosen the axle pinch bolts located at the bottom of the right lower slider. Slide the axle out. If you are having difficulty moving the axle, it is ok to tap the end with a plastic/rubber hammer.
Once the axle is removed, jack up the front of the motorcycle until there is enough space to roll the tire out from under the front fender. When the Harley front tire is removed completely, lower the front of the motorcycle so the bike rests in a safer, more level, position.
Now you can give the wheel bearings a closer inspection. Turn each bearing with your fingers. If the bearings feel rough, or are questionable, they need to be replaced. Wheel bearing inspection should be performed every time a wheel is removed and at every major service. Wheel bearings may last tens of thousands of miles. However, losing a wheel bearing can be very dangerous.
Here at Fix My Hog, suggest replacing wheel bearings at every other tire change, regardless of age or mileage. This is important, preventive maintenance. Maintaining the integrity of the motorcycle and your safety.