The steering head bearings are roller bearings. But, roller bearings rely on the roller rotating to keep distributing grease between the roller and the outer race to prevent metal-on-metal contact. However, the front forks spend most of their time in one position and are subject to shock loads as the front end goes over bumps. This means grease gets extruded from between the rollers in the inner race and the outer race allowing metal-to-metal contact, and the shock loads pound the roller against the outer race creating grooves in the race. This creates notchy steering, and when it’s really bad, you can feel resistance when trying to turn the forks from the center position.
When I removed the steering head bearings, they showed the distinctive vertical stripes indicating the outer race has Brinelling, which is the groove pounded into the outer race.
I use the Cycle Works tools for removing and installing the steering head bearings. See the “Replace Steering Head Bearings” section below for a link that shows the Cycle Works tools are assembled and used.
I removed the old outer races and the inner race on the bottom of the steering stem. Then I refinished the lower fork brace and then installed the new lower inner bearing race and then installed the steering stem in the steering head.
Here is a link to the description of how I do this work
And here is a video summarizing how I remove and install the steering head bearings.
VIDEO: 1983 BMW R100RS Replace Steering Head Bearings