Floating/Wiggling Rotors explained

Sidecar Flip

Living Legend
Jul 16, 2006
20150 Mc Carty Rd. Deerfield, Michigan 49238
I probably should have added on to Wilbur's thread but this is interesting in itself.

After Tom's reply to my other post on Wilbur's thread, I checked in the shop manual about my axial/radial play in the rotor assembly on both front rotors and found nothing.

I called my dealer, who, by the way is what I consider extremely knowledgeable in Triumph's in general and these guys go out of their way to be sure their customers are satisfied and generally happy (are there any other dealers out there who wash and wax your bike as well as fill it with fuel after a service, if there is, let me know??).

Anyway, I called the owner, Mark and explained to him what was going on and Toms reply to my question. He asked me to bring the bike in today (Friday) and if indeed there was a problem, it would be corrected and by the way, if they needed to keep the bike, I'd get a loaner (another R3 I hoped or a Daytona 955I):D .

I get to the dealer, walk in and Mark meets me at the door and tells me to get down on my knees and check some rotors (I'm getting used to this). There were 5 R3's, a couple of Daytona's and one of those naked bikes and all the rotors had at least as much sideways play as my R3 exhibits as well as the radial (pretend your rotor is a steering wheel and turn it) play, as much or more than I have. I'm puzzled. Mine has the play as well as a tink going down the road. I know, put on loud pipes and I'll loose the tink.

It was explained to me by Mark as well as the service manager and a mechanic, that the play exists because the floating rotors on the R3 are high performance brakes and the radial play allows for expansion. I guess you need hot brakes on a hot bike and all the bikes there had the same movement in the rotors so I left (after having a Pepsi and ordering a ThrottleMiester and a replacement summer screen for my T100. Every time I go there it costs me money and lots of it). Guess I'll live with the tink. The pipes on my Bonnie are straight through. That's enough loud for me.

I still don't understand why the rotors on my buddies Victory don't wiggle or my other buddies VTX. Maybe they are seized up like Wilbur's

I'd sure like to know what everyone else's rotors do (besides stop the bike)??
So they are saying that radial play is normal when the rotor is cold... then as it heats up that radial play dissappears because the rotor expands?? I'll have to check mine cold...
I gotta call BS on this one.... My rotors have no radial play whatsoever when cold. They have lateral play, but even that is very small and feels tight.

The more I think about that explaination the more I doubt it. If you look at your rotors, they are a two piece affair held together with pins. I'm not an engineer, but I'll bet that the inner rotor and the outer rotor are made of similar if not exact metals that have the same expansion rate so there would be no need for any kind of play when cold.

If there were play designed into this when cold... that would mean that for your first few stops the outer rotor would be slamming into those pins until the play dissappeared. I don't think those pins would last very long if this were the case.

Your "tinking" noise... may be a bad pin. Do both your front rotors have this radial play? Did the mechaninc at Triumph actually check your rotors and inspect them or did they just give you the turbo broom? Do your rotors actually have a lot of radial play as opposed to the new bikes on the showroom floor?

If you roll your bike very slowly in your garage or driveway and apply the front brake... do you consistantly get a "clunk" noise out of them? This may be your outer rotor hitting the pins...

Anyone else have radial play in the front rotors?
Well... I stand corrected... I just went and checked again after re reading Flip's post. If you take both hands and grab it like a steering wheel and really try to turn the outer rotor back and forth I CAN get some radial play out of it.

So I don't know what to tell ya...:confused: Other than the fact I don't know much about floating rotors:D

I wonder what the "tink" noise is? Does that just come from one side or both? I wonder if one of the holes in the rotor (for cooling) has damage to it and is making a noise when it goes past the pad??
Its confusing....


At least I know I'm not alone and now you have in the back of your mind...rotors slamming into pins too.

I would believe that the reason your rotors are somewhat harder to move radially is that they are siezing up due to corrosion between the disc and spyder and the pins themselves and that's probably why the rotors on the VTX and the Victory didn't move for me when I tried them. Both bikes have a lot more mileage and are a few years older than mine. I believe the "tink" is actually the sound the pins make as they rattle between the rotor and the spyder and I didn't get the "turbo broom". The tech's were out on the floor with me and Mark, the owner. Again, this is a first class dealership. I'd name them but that isn't allowed, is it?

I'd be willing to bet that if you took some high pressure silicone in a spray can (not the cheap stuff but top shelf G.E. High Pressure Silicone spray), put the concentrator extension on and gave each pin a shot to free it up, you'd have the same situation I have not that you'd want it. Remember, all the bikes on the showroom floor exhibited the same condition. Of course the Bonnies and the Scramblers have solid rotors. If you decide to do that, don't, under any circumstances contaminate the pads or swept surface of the rotor. Silicone is a great reducer of friction.:D

We need a poll on wiggling rotors and tinking pins, just for kicks and giggles. Sort of like "Gentlemen, start your engines"......"Gentlemen (and ladies), twist your rotors":)

Now, I'm acutely aware of the noise, I find it irritating. Time for louder pipes I guess.

Wonder what can of worms I opened here?:eek:

I better add that I have the "lateral" or is it "axial" play too, and a lot of it. I believe it's axial play as it is in relationship to the centerline of the fixed axle but I could be wrong. If it were not for the shoulders of the pins, I could actually push the disc right off the spyder but the pins are swaged together and I notice each has a reference hole in it which is probably jigged to a go-no go indicator when the disc/spyder is assembled.

Someone somewhere told me that the disc brakes on the R3 were Brembo units branded with the Triumph logo. If that's indeed true, Brembo brakes are considered world class.

At least the disc on the rear is solid mounted in case the front ones fall off.
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Even though I have some radial play... I really don't have any problems with my front brakes, they work just fine. Every once in awhile I get a small squeak out of them but I'm not too worried about that.

I'm glad they didn't give you the "turbo broom" :D and if they gave you good service and advice you certainly can name them here. People that do good work should get a little plug now and then... I just don't like spammers:mad:

I'm not real sure Triumph brakes are Brembo's... I'm sure someone knows who makes those.... help:eek: Tokiko?? something like that???
Well, at least I now know what the "turbo broom" is and I always thought that it was something Amy (my wife) cleaned the house with...

The dealership is North Coast Triumph. They are located at I-75 and the Ohio Turnpike in Rossford, Ohio. If you are venturing across the Turnpike and go by the I-75 interchange, they sit directly south of that.

I bought my T100 in Kalamazoo, Michigan from LifeCycle Triumph for a number of reasons, mainly because North Coast wasn't a Triumph dealer at that time. They sold Indian which, we all know went south. I hear they are making a comeback but I wonder just how many brands can exist in the marketplace and remain profitable.

In many ways, LifeCycle is my type of dealer whereas NorthCoast isn't. At Lifecycle you can stop at Wendy's on the way there, walk in, grab a stool and sit at the parts counter and eat your burger and fries. Don't be surprised if you loose some french fries to a mechanic or another customer though.

NorthCoast is very clean, well organized and has a shop area that anyone would kill for and their staff is very knowledgable in Triumphs. I heard a while back that Triumph was actually using the North Coast facility for hands on training for it's other dealers, a rumor which I've never substianted. Instead of stools, North Coast has leather chairs and a fireplace along with a well stocked fridge and free sandwichs for the customers. Being an old school biker, I tend to gravitate toward the cluttered, dirty dealership, the old wood stools and the bring yer own in a bag burgers and expect to share it, but, I can get used to North Coast rather easily. I guess it's my advancing age.

The motorcycle business parallels, in many ways, the snowmobile business. At one time there were over 160 manufacturers of snowmobiles (most in the USA or Canada) and now there are only Ski-Doo, Polaris, Arctic Cat and Yamaha. At one time, Harley Davison and Honda were players along with John Deere.

A poor economy and limited use time were their downfall along with too many manufacturers. I sometimes wonder how the motorcycle business will shake out.:confused:


Keep twisting those rotors. It's kinda like pulling teats on a Gurnsey, once you know how to do it, it becomes second nature:rolleyes:
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Click click

Floating breaks have more free play than hard mounting so you some times get the clicking of the pin and pad. It will fade as they get caked with break dust and road grim.
The rear rotor on my K1200lt had the same problem and when I took it back to the dealer they tried to sell me a new rotor. With no promice that it would fix the problem. It apeared to get worse with miles. As the tires wore flat (ME880's) and the bike was leaned over I sounded like the Salvation Army in front of Wally World. The cup in the tire would send the rotor into a frenzy. The brakes on the beemer were Top notch Hi tech (Power Assist, Fully Intergrated, ABS). Maybe the glitch is a "Continental Thing"
Floating breaks have more free play than hard mounting so you some times get the clicking of the pin and pad. It will fade as they get caked with break dust and road grim.

If they indeed get caked with brake dust and grime and quit clicking, then they are seized and all benefits of a floating rotor cease. I, for one, will keep them clean and clicking, especially now that I know all the R3's do it.

Besides, I never let my bike get that dirty. It's not a dirt bike afterall.:D