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Discussion Starter #1
I have been hearing a singing sound from the front rim, forks, brakes area on my Road Star. My first thought was bearings, and seeing how they are cheap, I just replaced them today. I got everything put back together and went for a little test ride, and still hear the singing just a little around the 70 mph mark. If I ride dead straight on the road at that speed, nothing is heard, but a slight tilt especially to the left creates a singing sort of noise. The sound is not as loud as it was prior to the new bearings, and I'm fairly positive I did not tighten the axle as tight as it was when I removed it. Also before and after the rim removal my brake pads lightly scrub the rotors when I spin the tire.

So, my questions are, can an axle be over tightened and cause the singing noise? Can the brakes be causing the noise? The bike is a 2012 Road Star.
 

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When my front tire wears down, I get a singing noise when I lean the bike into a turn. How much tread do you have left?
 

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There is a torque spec for the axle bolts, but the spacers and the bearing design centers the bearings. They are not tight or loose based on the torque on the axle bolt.

do your wheels have spokes? I had a car a while back, the radio antenna would whistle at 70mph. If you have spokes make sure nothing is stuck on one of them.
 

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When my front tire gets worn after about 15,000 miles, it gets ridges on the trailing side of the tread blocks. I turn the tire/wheel around so it wears the opposite way for the next 15,000 miles. While worn, it will have a slight rumble or vibration to it. Maybe yours makes the noise on certain types of pavement.

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also make sure your rear wheel is straight in the frame - its possible to have it slightly misaligned to one side or the other, then you will always be turning the front wheel slightly to one side to keep the bike going straight (your back tire will not be exactly tracking the same line as the front).
 

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had another think coming while driving to work in the rain

take a metal tool and tap your front rotor so it rings like a bell. If that is the sound / tone you are hearing, it could be your brake pads skimming the rotor edge and making it ring like that. Like running a wet finger on the edge of a crystal wine glass. Maybe a bit of something stuck in the face of a brake pad.

My VS 650 has a mystery sound. Riding along at a steady 45mph flat and level, sometimes it has a humming drone that repeats once a second HHmmmm..... HHhmmmm...HHhmmmm... If I speed up or slow down it goes away. Have talked about it here before, other people hear their bikes do it too... No one knows what it is.

Usually a beat frequency like my bike makes is two sounds that are not quite happening at the same frequency, like tire noise from two tires that are not the same size...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The tires seem fine, unless there is some small cupping that I haven't noticed. I would think that the sound would be just as loud even after the bearing change if it were the tires or something on the rim. The sound was obnoxiously loud this past weekend and I would hear it at any speed between 60 and 75. Now I only hear it at 68 to 72, and no where near as loud. So as you can tell, I'm very confused.
 

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do you have a windshield on the bike?

they act like an acoustic reflector and amplify sound from your engine, and point it right at your helmet. If so, you might be hearing an engine noise that sounds like its coming from the front wheel

I notice this because I normally have the windshield off my bikes, when I put it on I really hear the increase in engine sounds,

and on my VS650 I see a magnified blurry reflection of the speedometer ghostly floating in space about 50 feet in front of my bike...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do have a quick detach windshield on the bike. I have had the same thought about the noise reflection. Once again though, if it were something that I did not remove or replace, how would the sound be different now? And if it is the engine making that loud of a noise, like this past weekend, something must be terribly wrong. I really don't think it is the engine. The sound only shows up at the speeds stated before, and only if leaning. If I keep the bike dead straight up, no lean at all in either direction, there is no sound. As soon as there is even the slightest tilt, it shows up, but only at about 70 mph. I suppose I'll have to go through a process of elimination. I'm going to take a few pounds of torque off of the axle. If that doesn't work, I guess I will move on to the brakes. Then the tire, and so on.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok, just played around with the axle. Nope. It did nothing. So I took the windshield off, and that fixed it, only because I couldn't hear anything but wind. I could turn my head, so my ear would be forward at 70 and still make out the noise. On to the brakes it seems...

On a side note, this was the first time I have ridden this bike without the windshield. Wow. I couldn't believe the difference in power. The silverado windshield must create a ton of drag, because that thing felt like a completely different bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just a quick update, the noise was the tire. I changed it and now the noise is gone completely. It is now quiet enough that I can make out a similar noise coming from the rear tire. Changing it next.
 

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are the tires due for a change?

now can you stop by a figure out why my VS650 has that beat frequency hum?

Hmmmmmm? Hmmmmmm? Hmmmmmm?
 

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a beat frequency happens when you have two things spinning at nearly the same RPM

if your front tire is spinning at 30rpm and your back tire at 31rpm, and making a sound, the two will beat against each other and create 61 rpm, and 1rpm beat frequencies (3721 Hz and 60Hz)

this is what you hear on old 4 engine propeller planes, that Rummm Rummmm Rummm Rummm drone every second.

Maybe it is my tires - they are not the same size, will have to take a tape measure to my wheels this weekend and do the math....
 
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