Handlebar vibrating - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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Handlebar vibrating

Hi guys!

I recently did a trip to germany on the V. As you are aware, there is no speed limit in quite a few motorway segments . The V handled very well, but at around 95-100 mph (around 160 km/h) the handlebar started vibrating a lot! The V was still stable, but the vibration very annoying and i don't know if this is dangerous as well. Do you know what the problem might be and how i can fix it? Is it the wheel balance? Suspension (had standard settings)? My tires were inflated to manufacturer's specification pressures (Dunlop Roadsmart). Any ideas? Your help would be very much appreciated
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 07:34 AM
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Hi guys!

I recently did a trip to germany on the V. As you are aware, there is no speed limit in quite a few motorway segments . The V handled very well, but at around 95-100 mph (around 160 km/h) the handlebar started vibrating a lot! The V was still stable, but the vibration very annoying and i don't know if this is dangerous as well. Do you know what the problem might be and how i can fix it? Is it the wheel balance? Suspension (had standard settings)? My tires were inflated to manufacturer's specification pressures (Dunlop Roadsmart). Any ideas? Your help would be very much appreciated
At 160km/h most of the vibrations would have tamed down. The V mostly vibrates around 120 ~ 130 but after 140 its smooth. My is a 09 model.IMHO.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 09:20 AM
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Vibration is so subjective that itís hard to know what you mean by ďa lot!Ē ó but at 100 MPH (in fact anywhere above 5000 RPM or so) mine feels dead smooth to me.

If itís definitely speed related (as opposed to RPM) Iíd look first at the tire balance and if itís spinning true (lateral & vertical tire & wheel runout) and if thereís any perceptible play in the steering head bearings.
.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 09:41 PM
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Can you make it do the same thing in a lower gear at a lower speed? That would help to isolate it.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-23-2011, 10:35 PM
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The german autobahn would sure be a speed treat.

Would say a steering head bearing check to be sure.
Service manual Page 47.

Check the wheel balancing and runout again just to be sure would be good.

What is Dunlop's pressure specs? 36/42 psi? Try going down to 32/36 and see if this reduces the vibs. Cemented road (if any) sure are harsher than bitumen tar roads.

Saying this, I think vibs also start somewhere and it's result are shown somewhere else.
1. Check your engine balance at idle 1300 rpm
2. Changing the sprocket ratio keeping stock 15T front and reducing rear to 44 or 43 (depending where you ride) would give a speed at a slightly lower engine rpm.
3. Putting lead/buck shot will stiffen the stock bars.
4. Changing stock to aftermarket handlebars like Protaper. Some good results here.
5. Check your steering clamp bolt's are secured tight.
6. The stock handle grips are pretty thin. I use bmw grips and many like grip puppies. (http://www.sportouring.com/gallery.p...ngeChoosen=353)

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-24-2011, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Guys,

thanks for your advice. The vibration seems to be speed and not RPM related. It ruins the whole fun and i don't want to ride so fast which is a shame. Will have the front wheel checked next week and keep you posted. I suspect it's either the wheel balance, bearings or rim.
Stlee29, thanks for your suggestions. The tyre pressures were already 32/36 according to kawasaki specs. My handle grips are not the standard and have been replaced by the oxford heated grips, which appear more substantial anyway.
One thing i have to add is that the V was loaded with panniers and tankbag. I am not sure whether this makes a difference, but i don't think so...
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-24-2011, 12:19 PM
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One thing i have to add is that the V was loaded with panniers and tankbag. I am not sure whether this makes a difference, but i don't think so...
Makes a huge difference. That load in the back (I am assuming your panniers where not just an aerodynamic "feature", but were loaded with stuff you take touring) makes your front lighter and more susceptible to exhibiting the vibration you complain about. Could be the head bearing, wheel balance or bearings mentioned above. All will show up amplified with less load on the front.

How old (years/miles) is your bike? How old and in what condition are the tires - is the front cupped?

FWIW, my Versys goes a true 117 MPH without any vibration.


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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-24-2011, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Gustavo,

my V is an 09 model and has around 9500 miles on the clock.Tyres are in a good condition with already approximately 4000 miles in them.
I will be truly dissappointed if it's due to the heavy load in the panniers as i tend to do long trips in europe and pack quite a few things in the panniers. Now that i remember i had my chain lock in the left pannier which is obviously very heavy and makes left side heavier. Would that contribute to the problem?
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-24-2011, 05:49 PM
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Rear load would amplify any pre-existing problem in the front... Have your front wheel balancing checked first. If tire mounting, wear and balancing are ok, then check wheel and head bearings.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-27-2011, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Checked wheel balance and bearings...No problems. Did a test ride at 100 mph and in fact vibrations in the handlebar are much less present. I suppose the message is that uneven distribution of weight in the luggage can have a big effect on handling and riding characteristics...
Guys do you take your chainlock with you on long trips? And if yes, where do you normally put it in order not to affect the handling?
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-27-2011, 10:39 AM
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Checked wheel balance and bearings...No problems. Did a test ride at 100 mph and in fact vibrations in the handlebar are much less present. I suppose the message is that uneven distribution of weight in the luggage can have a big effect on handling and riding characteristics...
Guys do you take your chainlock with you on long trips? And if yes, where do you normally put it in order not to affect the handling?
Did you test it on the same stretch of the hwy? Maybe it was the road surface that caused the vibration... Where I live there is a huge difference in vibes from the 407 compared to the 401 series hwys....

Richard

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-27-2011, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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CanadianFZ6,

i didn't test it on the same stretch. However, the vibes were present both in the UK and Germany and they have different tarmac quality.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-27-2011, 03:00 PM
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Guys do you take your chain-lock with you on long trips? And if yes, where do you normally put it in order not to affect the handling?
Sorry, I don't own a chain-lock. I think I still have a disc-lock somewhere in the garage, but I haven't seen (or looked for it) in almost 9 years, since the last time I had a bike in Europe...

But, when I have to keep heavy things on the bike (like my tool bag), I keep it in the tank bag, to have a better weight distribution. Putting the chain-lock in the tank bag will probably help you too.


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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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That is what i am thinking to do Gustavo. The problem with putting the chain lock in the tank bag is that it occupies too much space. I think i will have to take my disc lock on long trips and forget the chain lock.
Does anyone know any aftermarket replacement handlebars that are non-vibrating? Sometimes my hands can get numb too.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 09:42 AM
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Theodore,
Ever thought of putting a 'throttle lock' on, so that you can relax your right hand for a bit? I use the Vista Cruise Universal on my bikes.

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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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fasteddiecopeman,
yes i have thought about it, but somehow i want to be in control. I have cruise control in my car and i don't really like it...
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 10:45 AM
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fasteddiecopeman,
yes i have thought about it, but somehow i want to be in control. I have cruise control in my car and i don't really like it...
I know this is a common complaint of you continental types that live in smallish countries , since you can mostly manage to do without one on what people there consider "long" trips (distance-wise). Believe me, that you are as much in control with the CC as without. It's just a question of being used to the particulars of its operation (whether the car one or the throttle lock on the bike) to make a seamless transition from on to off when needed.

Also, if your hands get numb, you may be holding on to the bars too tight, as the vibrations on the Versys (and most other twins) aren't of the high frequency type (like I-4's) that tend to put your hands to sleep. Another option (that you probably wont like either... ) is a cramp-buster. It's basically a plastic wedge that clips to the throttle grip and allows you to rest the palm of your hand on it to keep pressure on the throttle and relax your fingers. I have both that and a Vista Cruise on my bikes.


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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 06:37 PM
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Get some help and try this to check the suspension under load.

Suspension compression with rider and load should be about 1/3 of the total suspension travel.
Sit on the unloaded bike and shine the headlight to a wall 10-15 feet in front. Take the beam as a marker.
Load again the bike with all the stuff you carry with you onboard.
Should see now the beam would be higher than the first. (Additional weight compress the rear spring more)
Seeing this, increase the rear suspension preload until the loaded beam height is the same as the unloaded one.
This maintains stability and control, restoring the rider height which will maintain the bikeís attitude on the road.


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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
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stlee29,

that sounds like a good idea. Do you think that changing also the front suspension settings would make a difference to the vibrating too?

Gustavo,
you are absolutely right! I hate adding more things on to the bike , but if hand numbness is really bad i might have to consider them. And the good thing about living in smallish countries is that we can actually ride for a few hours and experience different cultures
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 06:38 AM
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That is what i am thinking to do Gustavo. The problem with putting the chain lock in the tank bag is that it occupies too much space. I think i will have to take my disc lock on long trips and forget the chain lock.
Does anyone know any aftermarket replacement handlebars that are non-vibrating? Sometimes my hands can get numb too.
I upgraded to Tag Metals T2 1-1/8" tapered aluminum handlebars which greatly reduce perceived vibrations, hand numbness, and mirrors' image fuzziness. They're easily installed with Rox pivot riser/adapters. Some have gone further with Rox anti-vibe pivot risers... Others simply went with a standard 7/8" aluminum handlebar without any adapter.

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ead.php?t=7415
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