I own a relatively new '09 model with only 1400 miles on it, and the dreaded harmonic buzz emanating from the cowling area at around 4500rpm has been active on this bike for about half its life.
This kind of thing DRIVES ME CRAZY!
I have owned previous bikes with harmonic buzzing, and I've always been able to find and fix the source.
I almost gave up on finding the buzz on this Versys, but after a lot of effort I was successful.
The search process started as usual, trying to physically touch and thus quiet the offending piece while riding. Next, I tried revving the bike while parked to try and identify the buzz.
I could not find the buzz. Frustrating...
Next, I tried to be unorthodox, and applied Dynamat to the upper-inside of the gauge cowling, as well as the insides of the side-front cowlings. I went out and test rode the bike. Result, I wasted $20 on Dynamat.
So, the cowlings came off again. I started rapping lightly on the metal cowling/gauge frame with a rubber mallet. I could hear the instrument gauge unit buzzing lightly each time I did this. However, touching the gauges while rapping did not reduce the buzz.
This is an "AH-HA! I GOT YOU NOW, YOU LITTLE BASTARD!!" moment.
The buzz is coming from INSIDE the instrument gauge unit.
So, I removed the headlight to access removal of the gauge housing.
Then I removed the 9 screws on the back side of the gauge housing. Don't be afraid to do this. It is very easy and nothing falls apart or is difficult to put back together. No seals are broken either, so no worries.
I found 2 possible buzz sources inside the housing.
The first source is less likely, but I fixed it anyway; the white face of the gauges "floats" on top of the inner gauge body without really being very secure, even when it is sandwiched between the top and bottom of the gauge cases, so it still has a slight gap around most of its outer edge. I fixed this potential buzz source by minimally tack welding the white gauge-face edges to the inner gauge body using superglue. Easy, and I can easily use a razor to break the bond if I need to replace bulbs later.
The second possible buzz source was definitely causing most, if not all of the gauge buzzing. Looking at the picture below, you will see the two housings for the "Mode" and "Reset" micro-switches. The little "X"-looking pieces inside the round tube of the switch housing have too much free-play inside the round tubes. When the bike engine revs, the "X" pieces rattle against the inside of the round switch tubes.
So, I found the main buzz problem, but how did I fix it without affecting the performance of the two switches? That is the question.
The answer; with 2 small pieces of 1/4" heat-shrink tubing, slid between the "X" portion of the switch and the inner wall of the round switch housing. Looking at the picture below, you will see the top switch has the shrink tubing already installed, and the lower switch still needs to have the shrink tubing slid down into place. The shrink tubing must be cut short enough to allow the switches to function. If the shrink tubing is too tall it will limit switch function. Once the tubing was in place I heated it a little to keep it there. There is still enough play in the switch, but the "X" no longer rattles in the round switch housing.
So, I put the gauge unit back together, and tested the "Mode" and "Reset" switches before I installed the gauge unit. I reassembled everything else to the bike. A test ride revealed that I had indeed fixed the problem. No more buzzing, just the ability to enjoy the sound of the engine.
If you want to test this potential buzzing source on your bike, try holding these switches down simultaneously while riding and hearing the buzz. If the noise stops, you know how to fix it.