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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I've had my bike for a year now, and although I love the darn thing, the excessive whining sound that it has is seriously bothering me. I'm even wearing earplugs now to try and help and I can still hear it. I've listened to countless youtube videos and read page after page on forums, most people say these bikes do whine, but it seems some are worse than others. Mine is on the worse side. I am linking a youtube video of what I am taking about. This is not my bike, but mine sounds just like this one. I am 99% sure that it has something to do with the clutch as the noise stope when I pull in the clutch, but I cant seem to get anyones advise that has gone through this as of yet. Here's the video.

Any help would be awesome!
 

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The whining noise in the 650 and many other motorcycles is caused by the straight cut gears, in the engine and the transmission.

When you pull in the clutch the transmission free-wheels, there is zero torque on the gears (being spun by the output shaft to the back wheel). That is why it goes quiet.

Some higher end bikes use helical cut gears exactly for this issue. The yamaha FJR-1300 was revised a few years ago to change the transmission from straight to helical cut gears, and it is a big selling point for the new versions of the bike.

I dont know if there is anything with the weight of the oil you are using, or if something else on your bike could also be whining or whistling to make a noise like the bike in the video.

One thing to verify: when you use foam ear plugs you have to squish them up and push them in your ear, and then stand there and hold it pushed into your ear with your finger, until the foam has minute to expand into place. If you dont do that they dont block sound very well. When they are correctly inserted your ear will feel plugged, like there is water in your ear.

A good test, if you can hear your stock horn at 55mph on the bike your ear plugs are not working.

I have a hearing loss and I cant wear my hearing aids and my glasses at the same time with my helmet, so I normally dont wear the hearing aids. The few times when I rode with them the bike sounds very loud!

The only other thing I can suggest is to make sure your final drive from the drive shaft to the back wheel is full and has the correct 80W oil.

how many miles / km are on your 650? As bikes get used the gears wear more and get louder.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
KCW, thanks for the comments. One thing I forgot to mention is the pitch of the whine is also RPM dependant. You can hear it in the video a couple of different time where he accidentally revs the bike too much before fully releasing the clutch, the pitch of the whine starts high and then drops as the clutch is fully disengaged. Which again leads me to believe its not gear related, or final drive related. I have been tempted to buy a complete new clutch basket and discs and just replace everything to see what happens, but I hate to just throw parts at it and have it make no difference.

Oh ,and I run royal purple 10w40 I the crankcase, final drive is full of the correct 80w lube and is nice and clean
 

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the only thing I can think of with the clutch itself - I have never taken one apart on a VS650, but on most cars I have worked on, when you engage the clutch the throwout bearing pushing the levers on the clutch plate in the direction of the crankshaft, which has the effect of putting an end-load force on the crank shaft itself - pushing it into its bearings hard.

If there is anything off with the engine bearings, the cam chain gears, or even the timing chain (for the cams) - then maybe the clutch pushing on the end of the crankshaft shifts it or side loads the bearings up just enough to make the whining-thing shift over and quiet down...

Im guessing on this...

I cant picture anything in an engaged clutch assembly making a whining noise on its own. It should be one big mass, like a flywheel, when the clutch is not slipping.
 

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you never said how many miles are on the bike?
 

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Hi Lance,
I think everyone has raised some excellent points. When I had my 650 Classic with V&H slash cut pipes, it sounded just like the video. Delson and KCW also raised good points. I’m no mechanic for sure, but im thinking along the lines of intake or exhaust leak. Check your driveline as well and keep us updated. The information shared may help many of the other 650 owners on our forum.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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It sounds about like mine, except I have stock pipes so the gear whine is more noticeable. When I first got this bike I was worried about the whine coming from the primary drive, but there is nothing you can do about it, so now I just push the earplugs in tight and don't worry about it and all is well!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Did you check the intake manifolds? Maybe (MAYBE) they could be brittle, or the o-rings are bad, making this whistle noise.
I didn't even think of this, Will have to try and take a pipe or something and give this area a listen when under power. But wouldn't intake leaks cause the bike to run rough as well? I'm not sure, just a guess
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi Lance,
When I had my 650 Classic with V&H slash cut pipes, it sounded just like the video.

Mine had stock exhaust when I got it, I put V&H cruzers on it to try and drown out the whine, but it didn't really make any difference at all, can still hear it quite loudly even over the exhaust
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am not hearing anything out of the ordinary to be honest. Sounds exactly like my bike.
I know all these bikes seem to make this noise to a certain extent, but by listening to youtube videos, it does seem that some do it way worse than others. Riding with earplugs in, it still drives me crazy. I can't imagine Yamaha being ok releasing a product that is as loud as mine is. I wish I could find another one in person to listen to so as to form a comparison, but there doesn't seem to be any around my neck of the woods
 

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I didn't even think of this, Will have to try and take a pipe or something and give this area a listen when under power. But wouldn't intake leaks cause the bike to run rough as well? I'm not sure, just a guess
It could make the bike run with high idle when heat. It starts ok, but the idle is increased a lot with the heat. This is a signal of torn intake manifolds, Maybe this torn cause some false air entrance and some whistle. It could be a probability.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It could make the bike run with high idle when heat.

The bike does tend to idle higher when warm, so maybe they are cracked a bit, but I've been thinking about the boots causing the whine... I don't think so, because the whine only happens when the clutch is disengaging and under power. I can rev the bike in neutral, or with the clutch lever pulled in and it doesn't make any whine, but once the clutch starts to grab in gear, the whine starts.

It also only happens when the bike is under power, if I roll off the throttle and let the bike coast, no whine whatsoever. This is why I believe it's clutch/driveline related
 

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It is the primary drive gears that are making this whine ,remember that the 650 and 1100 are the old Virago engine, and they have the old straight cut gears . They are very strong ,but also very noisy.
 

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From one engine to the next, the tolerances in the drive train gears can stack up and make a relatively quiet engine, or two gears could have been used that will make it whine more.

All the gears are within the factory spec, but from one bike to the next its all probability (ie... luck).

Two gears that are on the big side of the tolerance will be quiet, and two gears that are on the smaller end will have a bigger gap between them and will whine.

After the bike has 100,000 miles on it, they will all be noisy and whiny.

You should hear the differential in my 14 year old saturn Vue with 180k miles - it just sings!
 

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the intakes are aluminum on the inside all the way through, so any cracking you see in the rubber coating means nothing except maybe a bit of extra heat getting to the aluminum tube inside, the carb throats are really small 32mm compared to a virago 36mm thats where a lot of wine come from especially when the engine is working, you stop hearing it with the clutch pulled because the engine isn't working for that moment, a K&N air filter will get rid of lot of it, the more the air filter clogs from dirt the louder it will get. put you ear down near the tank you can really hear the wine in the air box under it, all bikes have intake noise but with a small throat carb it turns into a whine, my bad the 650 uses 28mm carbs
 

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Just occurred to me: do you have a windshield on the bike?

When I put the Memphis Shades Fats WS on my bike, it acts like a focused sound reflector, and the engine sounds VERY noisy while Im riding it.

When the windshield is in the garage (most of the time) the bike sounds much quieter.

The curved windshield act like a giant ear, reflecting all the engine noise up to your helmet.
 
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