Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
I have had the drive go twice on my bike. Both times there was an initiating incident after which I noticed the symptoms...I just didn't realize they were symptoms. The symptoms were a (at first) very faint catch or tick in the rear wheel revolving, definitely associated with speed, so eventually it was obvious it was the wheel and not the engine. The second time it was masked by a problem I was having with the muffler which was in the process of giving up the ghost. Slowly over about 100 miles in the first case and 500 miles in the second it got worse and worse, with intermittent stretches where it would disappear (I mean 10 miles or so), until it died the proverbial.
The initiating incident was the same in both cases, a change down from 4th to 3rd where I let the clutch out a trifle too fast and you could feel the change, it wasn't smooth, not bad, but enough to look back on and realize that was when the "catch" started.
In my two cases I believe the sequence of events was:
1. Slow wear on one/several/all balls in the race (speculation)...
2. Eventually got worn/damaged enough that an action that would normally not cause a problem at all (clunky gear change), began a sharp, irreversible decline in the condition of one/several of the weakest bearings.
3. The bearing then began to catch at some point in the revolution giving enough of a sensation that I could feel it.
4. 100-500 miles later...catastrophic failure.
For those that are thinking that I maybe induced the failures by banging about the gearbox, I really doubt it, as I tend to baby the down change on the bike, I am not a heavy user of downshift to slow the bike, I have always hated that thud of a downshift done a bit abruptly and not smoothly. When running hard, I tend to ride high in 2nd & 3rd and let the engine braking in the gear I am in help me, I wouldn't change from 3rd to 2nd for instance to slow me rapidly. I don't ride fast on straights, only in corners, so I am not changing gear a lot, just usually up one as I run out of 2nd and into 3rd as I come out of some corners.
So, to your question, a constant vibration is not my experience of the problem.The two clearest symptoms were:
1. The sensation you are feeling is a function of the absolute speed of the bike, not the engine revs i.e. the fast you are going, the more rapid the sensation, like you had a piece of metal in your tire and each revolution you could feel/hear it tick..tick...tick.
2. In a revolution it is not continuous (though if going really fast it may seem almost continuous), its a (sorry to over use it) tick...tick...tick.
Located: Auckland, New Zealand...
but I left my biking heart along the Scenic Byways of America.....
"Come fill the cup that clears
Today of past regrets and future fears." ....Omar Khayyam