Motorcycle Vibrates When Accelerating: Here’s What’s Happening

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If your bike causes you discomfort, a motorcycle ride can quickly become a disaster. There are several ways a motorcycle can do this including emitting a vibration that’s intolerable.

Not only is a problem like this uncomfortable, but it’s also concerning and frustrating. This is especially true when you increase the speed of your motorcycle. The vibrations become more severe.

What causes a motorcycle to vibrate when it accelerates? Unbalanced tires, uneven tread, bent rims, or sticking brake calipers are all common causes of motorcycle vibrations when you accelerate. A bent front or rear crankshaft bearing, a stuck piston, a bad crankshaft bearing or a misfired cylinder are all possible reasons.

Intense motorcycle vibration upon acceleration is a problem that riders shouldn’t have to tolerate. But it can be an issue that is difficult to pinpoint as to why it’s happening. This article will explain the reasons your motorcycle vibrates and provide suggestions for how to fix it.

Your Motorcycle Vibrates on Acceleration

Every motorcycle will feel a little vibratory. The pistons in the engine move up and down, which is why there will be a slight vibration. However, this vibration is not noticeable and shouldn’t distract from your ride.

More noticeable vibrations on a motorcycle, especially ones that make you uncomfortable, is an indication that something on your motorcycle isn’t working right. If the rider has to travel at higher speeds, motorcycles can vibrate when they accelerate.

Vibration during acceleration is most likely caused by the tires and wheels (either front or back). There are several reasons a tire and it’s rim could cause vibration, The first is that one tire is not balanced.

Unbalanced motorcycle tires mean that one side of the tire is heavier than the other. Instead of giving you a smooth, even ride, the tires bounce from side to side quickly. This can cause vibrations.

Vibration can also be caused by uneven tread. It is often due to the tire being uneven, but other factors (such as being pulled, etc.) could also be the cause. Uneven tire tread can also cause the tire’s bounce, which is exacerbated by acceleration.

Inspect the rims on your tires and make sure there aren’t any dents or bends. Even the smallest dents can cause problems. This will be most apparent when you ride your motorcycle at higher speeds.

Your problem could also be a stuck brake caliper. If you have a stuck brake caliper, the brakes won’t release. This can lead to overheating and eventual warping of the brake rotors. Your motorcycle will accelerate faster, so the rotors of your brakes will get hotter and more warped. This will produce a loud vibration.

If you sense the vibration upon acceleration is coming more from the back half of the motorcycle but know it isn’t the tire or caliper, One possible cause is a bent rear or front sprocket. The sprocket rotates the chain and provides power to the back tire. One of these will bend at higher speeds, causing vibrations to occur. The chain is moving from one side to the other which will cause the back tire to vibrate.

If you’ve noticed the vibration coming more from the center of the motorcycle, it’s likely an issue inside the engine. You can feel uncomfortable vibrations coming from your engine due to a stuck piston, bad crankshaft bearings, or a cylinder misfire. The pistons’ motion can create a disturbance in the momentum, which causes vibrations.

Acceleration can make the problem worse, as the engine works harder. The disturbance becomes more obvious and manifests itself in the form of a rough vibration.

How to make your motorcycle run smoother

If you’ve ever ridden your motorcycle with that uncomfortable vibration, you’ll know you don’t want to ride like that any longer and need to address the issue as soon as possible. The root cause of vibration, regardless of whether it causes vibrations, should be addressed. All of them can lead to serious malfunctions down the line.

First, let’s discuss vibration issues caused by the tires. Take a look at both the rims as well as the tires. Take a look at the tread and spin the tires while the motorcycle is still on. If there are any wobbles, you can check the tire. Any uneven wear on the tire means you’ll need to replace it. The good thing about that is you don’t have to replace both tires at the same time on a motorcycle.

If there is a noticeable wobble, you’ll need to take your bike into a shop and have them balance the tire for you. They are equipped with large, powerful equipment that is capable of accomplishing this task. It’s also relatively inexpensive at around $40.

It’s important to note that if you have found a bent rim, you’ll either need to have a professional fix it or simply get a new one. Bent rims are not a DIY project because the consequences are pretty severe if it’s done wrong. You can find more information on bent rims in my article.

If you’ve freely rotated either tire and notice one or both of the tires has difficulty spinning accompanied by a metal sliding sound, one of the brake calipers is likely sticking. This can be caused by rust, or other types of grime, building up on the piston. This is an easy fix. They’re also not too expensive if you simply want to replace them with the average cost ranging from $30-$50.

To repair the calipers, you’ll need to remove them from the disc. Make sure the master cylinder is topped off with brake fluid so you don’t risk getting any air bubbles in the braking system. Push the brake lever until the pistons push out, but not too far to cause them to fall out completely. Take the boots off and scrub it to remove any sticking. Use a c-clamp to push the piston back in and replace the brake caliper; test it to make sure it isn’t sticking anymore.

If you have a bent front or rear sprocket, that’s something you should replace. It is difficult to straighten these and can often lead to further warping.

It can be more difficult to fix vibrations caused by engine problems. It is possible to start by assuming that your engine has misfired. This can be caused due to premature ignition. A knocking sound will be common, which can often be followed by misfiring. (Click here to view my article about why engines knock). Common culprits include spark plugs. You can change them or adjust the gap at their tip to fix this.

A mechanic should address a sticking piston. This can happen due to depot buildup within the cylinder walls. If you are not familiar with rebuilding engines, a professional will inspect the crankshaft bearing.

Why Motorcycle Vibration Must Be Quickly Addressed

The intense vibration of a motorcycle is an issue that isn’t simply going to just go away. It will get worse over time, and could lead to dangerous situations if it isn’t addressed.

The very beginning of the noticeable vibration upon acceleration may be hard to pinpoint, but that’s not to say you should wait until it gets worse to know exactly where it’s coming from. If a tire or rim is damaged, it could eventually blow off while you’re out on a ride. This can result in an accident if the rider doesn’t know how to handle this. Check out my article for more information about what to do if your bike tire blows.

Continue riding a motorcycle that vibrates due to engine issues can lead to the engine being seized. That’s an expensive fix and you may need to replace the engine altogether if you let it get to that point.

Aside from the mechanical issues, riding on a motorcycle that’s vibrating is extremely uncomfortable. It can make a rider’s hands, feet, legs, and butt go numb. Since your feet and hands are the ones operating the vehicle, having them numb isn’t something you’ll want to experience while on a ride.

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