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Bike developed a wierd noise/vibration

Old 06-08-2006, 10:23 AM
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Bike developed a wierd noise/vibration

My '02 with just under 4200 miles on it just developed a noise and/or vibration seemingly overnight. It sounds/feels like it has knobby tires on it. I did a search on here and found some things to check like the chain slack so I will check that out tonight. here's what I checked already:

1) wheel hubs - seemed cool, they normally heat up when bad
2) rotors/calipers - not real warm after the ride
3) chain slack - seemed close to spec, will check again
4) didn't see anything that could be rubbing where it shouldn't
Engine seem to be fine with no excessive noise/vibes when revved or held at steady rpm. Also seem to go away or reduce when clutch is in to coast ior downshift

Any ideas? Sorry for the long post
Rick B
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:59 AM
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is it an up and down vibration that changes with speed? or a side to side that you can feel in the handlebars?? if it's up and down that changes with speed, it's probably wheel balance issues

4200 miles... original tires??
when you let go of the handlebars at 50ish, and let the bike coast down to 30ish (not recommended) do they start to wobble? if so, your front tire is getting worn, the dreaded cupping effect

chain slack... make sure that the chain has at least 1/2 to 3/4 inch of slack WHEN SITTING ON THE BIKE... weight on the suspension will pull the chain tight as the swingarm straightenes out in relation to the front sprocket, and will get worse with a passenger... as a RULE chains should NEVER be tight or go tight when weight is applied to the seat/suspension, sit on the bike and have a buddy check chain slack in various locations.
lift the rear up with a stand and make sure there's no tight links in the chain, or tight spots, this can cause a noise that will increase/decrease with vehicle speed and can throw off the slack adjustment (go tight or too loose)

a $5 can of good chain lube can mean the difference between 5000 miles on a chain and 15,000 miles (like mine.. i only replaced the chain and sprockets once on my 32,000 mile VTR)
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Old 06-08-2006, 11:09 AM
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yes original tires. I dont feel it as much in the bars but more in the seat and I can hear the noise. It tracks pretty straight with no hands on the bars. Took a quick glance at the tires and they looks smooth but it was 1 am and I plan to look it over better later today. Luckily if its a big problem I have Honda's extended warranty. I do use chain lube pretty regularly on my bikes.

Rick B

Originally Posted by JonnyRocket
is it an up and down vibration that changes with speed? or a side to side that you can feel in the handlebars?? if it's up and down that changes with speed, it's probably wheel balance issues

4200 miles... original tires??
when you let go of the handlebars at 50ish, and let the bike coast down to 30ish (not recommended) do they start to wobble? if so, your front tire is getting worn, the dreaded cupping effect

chain slack... make sure that the chain has at least 1/2 to 3/4 inch of slack WHEN SITTING ON THE BIKE... weight on the suspension will pull the chain tight as the swingarm straightenes out in relation to the front sprocket, and will get worse with a passenger... as a RULE chains should NEVER be tight or go tight when weight is applied to the seat/suspension, sit on the bike and have a buddy check chain slack in various locations.
lift the rear up with a stand and make sure there's no tight links in the chain, or tight spots, this can cause a noise that will increase/decrease with vehicle speed and can throw off the slack adjustment (go tight or too loose)

a $5 can of good chain lube can mean the difference between 5000 miles on a chain and 15,000 miles (like mine.. i only replaced the chain and sprockets once on my 32,000 mile VTR)
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Old 06-08-2006, 12:20 PM
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Since you mentioned that the problem occurred overnight and that the bike feels like it's on knobbies you might want to check the tires for nail/screw/bolt.
Since they are tubeless they'll still hold air but the vibration might be caused by running over the nailhead plus the added weight.
If the tires are ok check for tight spot in the chain and make sure that you have sufficient clearance, I usually run mine a little loose.
My two cents.........

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Old 06-08-2006, 02:27 PM
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does it happen particularly more in any certain gear? i had a R1 in the shop with a bad 3rd gear tooth that would make a click/knock loudly in 3rd and quietly in other gears, went away completely at a stop... took a friggin magnifying glass and a flashlight to find the defect, but it was loud and you could feel it... (not to make you think your transmission is broke) but see if there's any particular condition where it's worse... does the bike have to be moving for the noise? is it worse at high speed than low? does the noise have anything to do with wheel speed or engine speed?.. have you changed the oil recently? noticed any metal in it? can your buddies hear it from beside you at speed? paint a chain link white and see if the vibration is relative to chain speed?
can you rotate the wheels and check the tire for out of round?, sometimes belting or cords can break at speed and deform the tire suddenly... some things to think about..
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:21 AM
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After looking things over better during daylight the front tire is showing some cupping - what causes the cupping? Seen it many times on cars but never on any of my bikes. It was wierd that it seemed to start overnight (did check the tires for screws/nails/etc)

It does seem to be more noticeable around 30 mph and 55-60 which would lead me to a tire problem - tire issues on cars seem to show at those speeds.

Rick B
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:39 AM
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How are your bearings?
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by RickB
After looking things over better during daylight the front tire is showing some cupping - what causes the cupping? Seen it many times on cars but never on any of my bikes. It was wierd that it seemed to start overnight (did check the tires for screws/nails/etc)

It does seem to be more noticeable around 30 mph and 55-60 which would lead me to a tire problem - tire issues on cars seem to show at those speeds.

Rick B
02 SH
could be your forks aren't adjusted equally. also check your fork seals. if you've lost some fork oil, they won't be compressing evenly, and that will do it too.
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Old 06-10-2006, 06:31 AM
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Some tires just cup. Some bikes just cup tires. But it (or else balancing) is likely to be the cause of your problem. Cupping can also be caused by rebound damping that is too stiff, loose headbearings, wrong or missing fork oil, bad wheel bearings, or a loose axle (pretty much in the order of liklihood.)
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jschmidt
Some tires just cup. Some bikes just cup tires. But it (or else balancing) is likely to be the cause of your problem. Cupping can also be caused by rebound damping that is too stiff, loose headbearings, wrong or missing fork oil, bad wheel bearings, or a loose axle (pretty much in the order of liklihood.)
Or by Dunlops chitty design on those chitty tires!! One of the main reasons I've been avoiding Dunlops, until they came out with the Qualifier.
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Old 06-11-2006, 03:36 PM
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The bearings seem OK front and back. I checked the chain and its fine also as are the head bearings... could be the front forks out of adjustment or just the crappy stock tires... afaik the forks have never been touched and they haven't leaked since I bought it with 56 miles on it. Thanks for the ideas.

Rick B

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Old 06-11-2006, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by superhawk22
Or by Dunlops chitty design on those chitty tires!! One of the main reasons I've been avoiding Dunlops, until they came out with the Qualifier.
The front Qualifier is the same design as the 208.
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Old 06-11-2006, 09:08 PM
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Close but not exactly and the compoud and deseign are different as well. First one is the 208 the qualifier is less peaky also still more than other tires but less than the 208.
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Old 06-12-2006, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by superhawk22
Close but not exactly and the compoud and deseign are different as well. First one is the 208 the qualifier is less peaky also still more than other tires but less than the 208.
I'm just repeating what I've read that the Dunlop engineers have said.
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Old 06-12-2006, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by RickB
After looking things over better during daylight the front tire is showing some cupping - what causes the cupping? Seen it many times on cars but never on any of my bikes. It was wierd that it seemed to start overnight (did check the tires for screws/nails/etc)

It does seem to be more noticeable around 30 mph and 55-60 which would lead me to a tire problem - tire issues on cars seem to show at those speeds.

Rick B
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Rick, all motorcycle tires cup.. it's the way the rounded surface of the tire contacts the flat road. your rolling diamater changes as you move away from the center of the tire, and as the tire flexes (because it's a radial tire) as it contacts the ground, the road surface scuffs off rubber at the edge of the contact patch more than at the center.. braking loads also flex the edges of the tread design into the road surface, wearing off the edges in funny patterns... these wear patterns translate into a slight vibration, and as the wearing worsens, at slower speeds, it feels like the bike is rolling on "knobbies" as you described... because it's transferring weight from one worn edge to another as the tire rolls... if your wheel bearings feel solid, and there's no rotor warpage, (wheel won't spin freely thru the brake calipers) and the headstock bearings are ok, and your wheel balance weights are still there and the rim itself is not bent... the only factor left is your tire condition..
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Old 06-12-2006, 09:24 AM
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Yes all do eventually cup but some do it more than others because of tread pattern. The closer together those patterns are the more likely they will cup. Which is why if you look at the new tire the pattern is much more open and the tread is less wavy.
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Old 06-12-2006, 10:37 AM
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I have never seen a front tire cup like this one on any of my other street bikes (92 Nighthawk 750 being the one I had the longest at 15k miles, '90 FZR600, '84 VT500FT Ascot v-twin, etc) but I guess different bikes and tires can react differently.

I pulled out the owners manual to check the settings like one of the replaies mentioned and set the front forks back to the stock settings as they seemed to be unequal on each side. I then adjusted them to my liking (making sure to equally adjust them) The original owner was a NFL defensive tackle and 320 pounds so he may have changed them to meet his needs but not done it properly - I know he had the rear set pretty high! Paying more attention to the noise/vibration lately and it seems to just be noise. The wheels spin nice with no binding and no visible bends or wobble when spun.

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Old 06-12-2006, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by RickB
I have never seen a front tire cup like this one on any of my other street bikes (92 Nighthawk 750 being the one I had the longest at 15k miles, '90 FZR600, '84 VT500FT Ascot v-twin, etc) but I guess different bikes and tires can react differently.
Yep, but those oem tires still suck ***, I got rid of mine even though there was still good tread depth on it.
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Old 06-12-2006, 01:19 PM
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If you want I'll sell you one of my take offs for $20 + shipping.
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