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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

This is my first post here. I bought a new 2016 Ninja 650 four months ago as my first bike and it has been a blast! Best decisions I've ever made to get into motorcycling. Very satisfying!

The one issue that's been plaguing me is the rattle I hear at 4K and 8K RPM. No matter what gear I am in or speed, once my RPM hits 4K RPM (and 8K), there's a rattling/loud buzzing sound from my bike. I never noticed it much the first few hundred miles. Now I am just over 1000 miles (I only ride on weekends currently), and its lot more obvious. I know when I hit 4K or 8K rpm just by listening to that sound. Other RPMs are perfectly fine.

I've been told the engine on 650 has louder vibration at certain RPMs, such as 4K. The 8K is just double that frequency, so that's understandable as well. So two questions: Have all you recent generation 650 owners experienced the louder vibration/noise at these two RPMs? And has it gotten worse for you over time? I suspect screws may be coming loose over time and that's why the rattling is getting worse. But I don't even know which screws to start tightening down.

Feedback appreciated!
 

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I have a 2015 650R, and compared to my '12 CBR 600RR it is a bit throaty in the power band (between 5-8k) Maybe that is what you are hearing? It really is hard to say if there is anything actually wrong with the bike without a sound clip. And since it is a new bike, and a new rider....things are up for interpretation. Much like a new driver in a brand new car, you arnt use to certain sounds of that car.

If you really are concerned, your bike is still under warranty (you can verify this at https://www.kawasaki.com/myaccount/signin)
 

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Did you bring it in for the the 500-1000 mile service? If not...you really should. They are supposed to check and lubricate everything to see that it's breaking in properly!
 

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If there are any body panels that are loose on the bike, they will vibrate at certain RPMs. Look up the parts diagrams for you bike and see if they use any nylon washers where the body panels are attached. Then make sure they are on your bike.

I know there were body vibration issues on the 1st generation Ninja 650, the 1st generation Versys 650, and the first generation Ninja 1000 at certain RPMs.

The sound is hard to diagnose because you are trying to concentrate on riding. I usually find the source by moving my left hand around on the seams of the panels and dash while riding at the suspect RPMs to see if I can make the sound go away.

On my Vulcan Voyager, I used to carry tape and foam pieces while on a trip because something would end up vibrating and make the ride very irritating.

Good luck hunting it down.

Since it is still under warranty, you could bring it in and let them try and diagnose it.
 

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The vibration at 4K was a big issue with the early Ninjas and there was even a recall on it. The recall amounted to adding some rubber strips between various body panel parts and it was only partly effective. My best solution, which everybody should do anyway, was to wear earplugs. That at least greatly reduced the buzz.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all your feedback.

I did take my bike in for the 600 mile service and they didn't notice anything off. When I asked the service rep about vibration at 4k RPM, he said its probably a characteristic of the bike. There was another client there with a Versys, and he was asking about vibration issue on his bike as well (although don't think it was at 4k RPM for him). So the service rep told us both the same, without really checking it out specifically on our bikes.

I didn't know about 8k RPM until much later as I was still breaking-in the bike per Kawasaki guidelines where I was keeping below 6K RPM until 1k miles. The first time I hit 8K RPM during hard acceleration, I was surprised when it happened. Sounded like key's rattling, except I don't have other keys on the keyring except the bike's.

It does seem the rattle is much worse when I am accelerating, especially hard accelerating, past those two points. If I coast at 4K/8K, the rattle is present but mostly drowned by air noise.

I just bought a couple of 1/4" and 3/8" torque wrenches so one of these weekends, I will take off the fairings and try tightening down all the screws to spec. I will look for points where the fairing mounts show signs of rubbing and put some 3M double-sided foam tape as well. Speaking of which, I got my hands on a 2012 Ninja 650 service manual. Are the torque spec the same for the 2016 as well, you think? Otherwise, I will have to shell out $90 to get the service manual for my model year.
 

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If you find any loose bolts or screws, be sure to contact the dealer and let them know. Especially if that is the problem!
 

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My suggestion is to hunt down the source of the rattle prior to shooting blindfolded with a scatter gun. It can be a painstaking process, but it seems like you're unsure of even if it's engine, drive, bodywork, etc. Keep in mind too, wearing a helmet can exaggerate and add harmonics to sounds your hearing. Sometimes with my helmet on I'd like to think my engines about to throw a rod. It's really weird but it happens. Too. Any luck reproducing the rattle just by revving the engine? No I don't generally recommend revving the engine to 8k unloaded but it won't hurt once in a while just to see if you can hear the source.

Bolt Tightneing Inspection is part of the 600 mile service. If this was part of the service (it should've been) and you find loose bolts that are part of the inspection process I would complain and ask for a refund for that part of the service. Generally, body work fasteners are NOT on the list but performing the BTI often includes removing bodywork so any of those fasteners should be tightened. I believe Kaw considers the BTI a non-user servicable so the list of included fasteners is in the service manual.

Any chance of this being related to your chain? Chain's often have an initial stretch. Good to check anyway. Most of us prefer the chain on the looser side, I'd say I generally run mine near the out limits of the spec.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My suggestion is to hunt down the source of the rattle prior to shooting blindfolded with a scatter gun. It can be a painstaking process, but it seems like you're unsure of even if it's engine, drive, bodywork, etc. Keep in mind too, wearing a helmet can exaggerate and add harmonics to sounds your hearing. Sometimes with my helmet on I'd like to think my engines about to throw a rod. It's really weird but it happens. Too. Any luck reproducing the rattle just by revving the engine? No I don't generally recommend revving the engine to 8k unloaded but it won't hurt once in a while just to see if you can hear the source.

Bolt Tightneing Inspection is part of the 600 mile service. If this was part of the service (it should've been) and you find loose bolts that are part of the inspection process I would complain and ask for a refund for that part of the service. Generally, body work fasteners are NOT on the list but performing the BTI often includes removing bodywork so any of those fasteners should be tightened. I believe Kaw considers the BTI a non-user servicable so the list of included fasteners is in the service manual.

Any chance of this being related to your chain? Chain's often have an initial stretch. Good to check anyway. Most of us prefer the chain on the looser side, I'd say I generally run mine near the out limits of the spec.
Good suggestions. I will spend some time to see where exactly the rattle/buzz is coming before attempting to fix.

I did rev the engine to 4K in neutral, and I don't hear any rattle/buzz when its unloaded like that. So its not the engine by itself it seems.

While BTI was definitely on the list of things the dealer supposedly did on the invoice, I have to go on faith they did so thoroughly. The Kawasaki owners manual does indicate that specific bolts/nuts have to be tightened as part of normal user maintenance procedure, but they don't provide torque specs. The manual instead indicates that I should reach out to my dealer for those torque values.

Its probably not the chain, I think, as that would be wheel speed dependent, and not engine speed. I get the rattle/buzz on any gear at 4K and 8K RPMs, independent of the wheel speed. But the chain does have the necessary slack per the Kawasaki user manual. It may be a combination of chain and engine?
 

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I think most of us are leaning towards body work. But therein lays the problem. Most of us have plastic rattles and it's not due to loose fasteners. It's just sort of a kawasaki thing. My bike developed a horrendously irritating rattle over the first couple thousand miles... I mean IRRITATING. It took me a while to find it but I eventually did.

Here's a post about my issue/solution http://www.riderforums.com/sportbike-spot/84384-hunting-rattles.html

I ended up getting a new windscreen that has the bottom portion blacked out, so I removed all that stuff. But my fix worked, no rattlers or anything.
 

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On some bikes, at a specific rpm, the plastic buzzes and makes all kinds of noise.

Ive had good success using those stick on wheel weights to change the weight enough to eliminate this buzzing. If its a large panel, or such, a few weights stuck to the backside might make a difference.
 

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Sometimes, it is not even the bike. One of my "buzzes" was my license plate which only happened at one RPM. Double sided foam tape fixed it.
 

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Sounded like key's rattling
This is the key right here (pun intended). On my 07, the bike always had a rattle like that, which was different from the normal sound others experienced from the body panels. Turns out it was the C clips and/or washers on the passenger pegs. I removed the pegs and the bike no longer makes that noise. Easy to check with a couple of wraps of tape.
 

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I also have a 2016 Ninja 650 and I hear a "tapping" at about 6K RPM on my bike. It happens in every gear at 6K RPM and sounds the same no matter what the speed or wind conditions. (This would most likely eliminate the possibility of it being a faring vibration.)

I followed the break-in recommendations exactly as listed in the owner's manual and went in for my 1000 mile service when my bike had about 950 miles.

My engine has always sounded this way at 6K. It is not noticeable at any other RPM, but at 6K there is a tapping that almost sounds like valve chatter. (It kind of sounds like the tapping you hear from the rocker arms in an old push-rod engine that is low on oil.)

I have always just assumed it was some sort of "harmonics" or characteristic of the 650 engine since the tapping is not present throughout the entire rev range. If it were actually the valves, it seems like it would be more pronounced at higher RPMs.

Once the weather warms up, I may run it by the dealership and let my mechanic listen to it. (He actually commutes to work on his own 650 so hopefully he should know.)

However, since my bike is relatively new and I have gone exactly by the manual, I am not overly concerned that there is something really wrong.

-Vorax
 

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I'll second the advice to use your left hand to feel around the bike at 4,000 rpm. It's likely to be part of the front fairing or maybe those loose rear pegs on that model 650 (I think they fixed that on the new 2017).
But just in case- do you have a tank bag?
Mine had 2 zippers that were touching each other and making a rattle that I only tracked down with the "feel everything" method!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have been unable to find the noise source and I think it may have gotten worse.

So I decided to install Woodcraft frame sliders on my bike, after having dropped the bike a couple times at 0 speed when doing drills in a parking lot. It required cutting the fairing. The install was slow but turned out pretty well. The holes didn't line up exactly but because the ABS plastic of the fairing is quite flexible, it conformed quite nicely. The hole is 2" large for the 2" sliders, so its a snug but not overly tight fit.

When I was taking off the fairing to make the slider installs, I did find points where the fairing must have been rubbing as there was red dust at those points, similar to the types shown in Vic.Thing's posting. They were at the points where the large mid fairings on both sides came in contact with the fairing that houses the headlights. To experiment with, I've placed duct tape at those points as duct tapes have fibers that could act as a buffer to keep two pieces of plastics from rubbing against each other. Did this on both left and right side of the mid fairings.

I took it for test ride afterwards, and maybe its the quiet of the night since I usually don't ride at nights, but I think the noise is worse. In fact, now I also hear a rattle/buzzing at 2k RPM as well (half of 4k). I never noticed 2k RPM rattle/buzz before so this is something new.

So its either that my duct tape solution didn't work and made it worse, or the frame sliders themselves exacerbated the problem worse. However, one thing for sure, the noise "seems" to be coming around the dash board area, and not from the sides or rear of the bike. But then again, with a helmet on, its possible the sound source is being masked.

I will try monitoring again when I ride Sunday morning. If I still notice it, I will take off the duct tape and see if that gets it back to where it was - less worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'll second the advice to use your left hand to feel around the bike at 4,000 rpm. It's likely to be part of the front fairing or maybe those loose rear pegs on that model 650 (I think they fixed that on the new 2017).
But just in case- do you have a tank bag?
Mine had 2 zippers that were touching each other and making a rattle that I only tracked down with the "feel everything" method!
I will continue feeling around the bike for the source of noise. No luck yet. And no no tank bag. I wish my issue was as easy a fix as that!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I also have a 2016 Ninja 650 and I hear a "tapping" at about 6K RPM on my bike. It happens in every gear at 6K RPM and sounds the same no matter what the speed or wind conditions. (This would most likely eliminate the possibility of it being a faring vibration.)

I followed the break-in recommendations exactly as listed in the owner's manual and went in for my 1000 mile service when my bike had about 950 miles.

My engine has always sounded this way at 6K. It is not noticeable at any other RPM, but at 6K there is a tapping that almost sounds like valve chatter. (It kind of sounds like the tapping you hear from the rocker arms in an old push-rod engine that is low on oil.)

I have always just assumed it was some sort of "harmonics" or characteristic of the 650 engine since the tapping is not present throughout the entire rev range. If it were actually the valves, it seems like it would be more pronounced at higher RPMs.

Once the weather warms up, I may run it by the dealership and let my mechanic listen to it. (He actually commutes to work on his own 650 so hopefully he should know.)

However, since my bike is relatively new and I have gone exactly by the manual, I am not overly concerned that there is something really wrong.

-Vorax

I thought the first service point was 600 miles (~1000 km)? The 6k RPM is a weird one for me. The bike just purrs very nicely at 6k RPM for me. Its the 2K, 4K, and 8K RPMs that has the rattle/buzz for me. Its weird that the same year and model bike has this issue at very different RPMs. And you don't hear anything at 3k RPM?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So tonight I finally found the culprit. The buzzing at those specific RPMs is coming from the dash screen (meter assembly). When I press down on it with my hand while riding at those RPMs, the buzzing completely disappears! I remember hearing about this being a specific issue with older 650's but I thought Kawasaki fixed it? In any case, it's not fixed with my bike at least. When I feel behind the meter, I do feel lots of foam padding being used.

Anybody know of an easy way to fix this without me taking everything off to get behind the meter? I don't yet know what's rubbing against what. Only that putting my weight on top of the meter screen kills the rattle/buzz.
 

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When I was hunting for my rattle people suggested it was the tip over sensor. It is very loosely mounted with rubber grommets (under the front of the windscreen) and apparently has been a source for rattle for some (like you guys are discovering... somehow differs bike to bike same thing on zx14s). While under there I noticed the ICP was loosely mounted, no doubt on purpose. Since I didn't know the source of the rattle at that point, I shored up both with rubber washers. Rural King had a big selection and reasonable prices. Unfortunately neither turned out to be the source of the rattle but of course I eventually hunted it down.

Also, I could definitely see bodywork being in contact with frame parts causing a rattle. Especially due to the different natures of metal and plastic and how vibrations run through each different. We tend to think of the body work vibrating, the frame is vibrating too. So any where bodywork contacts frame parts and it is not securely fastened will probably result in a rattle at some rpm.
 
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