Asymmetric handlebar vibration/front wheel problem - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 38 Old 05-28-2019, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Asymmetric handlebar vibration/front wheel problem

Over the last month or so I've noticed a very annoying, numbness-inducing vibration in just the left handlebar, starting around 40 mph & becoming obnoxious at interstate speeds. By 60-70 mph the handlebar is visibly oscillating. Not good for my left hand, phone mount, or probably the clutch master cylinder.

I have the stock bar end weight installed, but it doesn't seem to do much.

The last time I had a handlebar vibration-at-speed problem, it turned out to be a cupped/scalloped front tire. It was a Shinko 705 with about 11000 miles on it, and had likely become that way because I was running it with not enough pressure.

The problem went away with a new front tire, but it looks like it's back. But only on one side, for some reason.

Front tire now is a Heidenau K60 Scout with about 12000 miles on it. Plenty of tread depth left. No scalloping/unusual wear obvious, at least not to me, but I do need to get a second opinion. I've been running it at 34 psi, checked every week or two.

Possible confounding factor: I have a Scott's steering stabilizer installed. I'm not sure what, if any, effect a Scott's would have on vibrations caused by a wheel being out of balance. As I understand it the device only really affects sudden, large steering displacements.

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post #2 of 38 Old 05-28-2019, 06:09 PM
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If you pull the clutch lever in does that reduce the vibration? if so then it is a wheel related imbalance. tire balance beads work for me.
the rubber bushing that expands to hold the handlebar weight in place is not a great item when new and goes bad with age. that can cause a vibration on one hand grip. I am trying to find metal split shim expanding anchors for my older Wee.
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post #3 of 38 Old 06-01-2019, 11:00 AM
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I would also check your chain tension/slack at various locations by spinning your rear wheel and checking at different points of rotation. Your chain should be adjusted at the tightest point. If you get too much variance in chain tension/slack as you spin your wheel then you may want to look at sprockets.
A large variance in chain tension/slack will transfer to the vibrations to the bars and actually feel like an unbalanced tire.
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post #4 of 38 Old 06-01-2019, 11:43 AM
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My bet is on tire again, like batteries.....they do weird things. The chevron pattern on the K60 and E07 is very vibe inducing, my E07 drives me nuts and I doubt I'll be using them again.
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post #5 of 38 Old 06-01-2019, 12:12 PM
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Put in some wheel balancing beads and see if that doesn't take care of it. they work for me.
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post #6 of 38 Old 06-01-2019, 12:13 PM
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The right grip has the plastic throttle tube which may very well help to insulate that hand from any vibrations. Prop the front wheel off the deck and spin it, watching the wheel and tyre carefully.
Otherwise I agree with both hunt1more and Big B. Something that increases as wheel speed increases is a balance issue. You can confirm this by pulling in the clutch at speed. If the vibration goes away as the rpm's drop, it is engine related. Otherwise it is wheel or chain related.
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post #7 of 38 Old 06-01-2019, 12:52 PM
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If rebalancing the front tire doesn't help I'd also give the steering head bearing as good check to see if they are worn and notchy or possible not snugged enough. Also check fork alignment and caliper runout.

Bar end weight IMO really do not do anything other than plug up the hole in the end of the handle bar.

If after you get the oscillation taken care of and vibrations are still getting to you an old dirt bike trick is fill the handlebars with silicone caulk. This adds some weight and also some elastic mass that helps absorb the vibrations.
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post #8 of 38 Old 06-03-2019, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the problem with the "pull in clutch at speed" test: you have to touch the handlebar, or at least the clutch lever, and in so doing your hand will absorb/damp any vibrations. Also, since you've disengaged the engine, you're coasting, so you soon leave the range of speed where the thing happens.

Nevertheless...through repeated testing over the weekend, I'm pretty sure this is a wheel balance thing. There is definitely a vibration above 70-ish mph, that does not go away entirely with the clutch pulled in.

To be safe I checked chain tension also. Chain is at a happy 27-28mm slack (checked in 3 more-or-less evenly-spaced spots, bike on side stand, blah blah blah). Chain "stretch" per service manual is likewise well within service limit. Good things to know.

There is some vibration on the right handlebar as well. I think it's not as noticeable because, as was said the throttle grip soaks some up. Also, my phone is mounted on the left bar. That makes the left side a different system (mechanically speaking) and since the phone hangs very far out, any movement is easier to see.

Based on experience, I'm thinking this is due to uneven tire wear, aka scalloping/cupping.

That is frustrating. It will be the second time I lost a front tire to uneven wear, long before I used up the tread. Current one is a Heidenau K60 Scout with about 11k miles. Center tread is still at least 5/32" out of a starting 9/32" (if memory serves) depth.

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post #9 of 38 Old 06-03-2019, 06:54 PM
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Try the tire balance beads. You got to try something. you can't talk it away.
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post #10 of 38 Old 06-03-2019, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLBranson View Post
Try the tire balance beads. You got to try something. you can't talk it away.
Seriously?? And here I've been kneeling and whispering sweet nothings into the valve stem...
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