Motorcycle Questions - Answers - Mc Garage

A Question Of Balance
My 2001 Suzuki GSX-R1000 has developed a vibration that I can feel most in the handgrips and footpegs. It's more of a buzz-most noticeable between 3500 and 4500 rpm-than a loping, out-of-balance feeling. It's there when I'm stopped or riding the bike, which rules out a tire or wheel issue. The motor mounts are tight, and I poked around looking for anything else that could have come loose and found nothing. I was thinking it could be a problem in the engine or transmission, and a friend suggested anything that was loose would resonate through the entire bike. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
Craig Barrett
Bakersfield, CA

As with most GSX-R queries, we put yours to Carry Andrew. As the founder and proprietor of Hypercycle ( in Van Nuys, California, he makes a living coaxing more horsepower out of various engines. And as the former crew chief for EBSCO Suzuki, Corona Extra Suzuki and other AMA teams, he knows his way around the inside of a GSX-R engine better than most.

A "Since it's a 2001, I am assuming this particular GSX-R has moderate to serious mileage on it. Some vibration is not unusual for that model. Excessive vibration, however, is most likely due to counterbalancer, main and/or rod bearing wear. The counterbalancer bearings are the most likely culprit. There is also a chance the vibration is originating at the outer clutch basket needle bearing/sleeve from wear."

Got A Question For Answers? Send It To Mcmail@Primedia.comTo Plug or Not to Plug?
I am having a big debate with someone on plugging a motorcycle tire. I say plugging the tire is only a temporary repair until you can have it replaced and it is unsafe as a permanent repair. He says there is no evidence that supports the claim that there have been any crashes from a plugged tire. Who is right and who is wrong? The bike in question is a 1982 Honda 450T Hawk.
James KaminskiM
Muskegon, MI

The short answer is you're right-especially if we're talking about the sort of plug that is usually stuffed into a nail hole at the side of the road. In that case, we would proceed directly to the nearest repair shop at a conservative rate of speed and have a new tire installed. Life is too short to take that kind of chance, and taking it is a terrific way to shorten it. With a plug/patch combination, applied from inside the tire by someone who's done it before, there's some theoretical wiggle room-especially since we're talking CB450T and not CBR1000RR. If your hamster is on dialysis, the rent is due and you promise to keep it under 80 mph until there's room in the budget for fresh rubber, well OK. We still wouldn't, though.

Wing It**
I've noticed something curious while shopping to replace my 95,000-mile Honda PC800. Comparing prices of the Gold Wings (post-2001) and the K1200LTs, I've seen a consistent difference between the two: 2001-2004 Wings are priced at $12,000-$16,000, while their Teutonic counterparts are usually $3k to $4k cheaper.

Since both bikes were priced roughly the same when new, I'm wondering why there is such a large difference in value now. Before I plunk down significant dinero, I'd like to find out if you know of any long-term maintenance or quality issues with the BMWs that are driving down their prices.
Ralph F. Couey
Somerset, PA

Both bikes can have issues, but the LT seems to suffer from more complaints than the Wing. Squealing brakes, oil leaks and wayward shift linkages are a few we've heard more than once. None of 'em help the bike's stock in the classifieds. Beyond that, the GL1800 is a better motorcycle all the way round, which pretty much seals the deal. You could find a solid LT, save a few bucks and live happy ever after. But go with the Wing. You'll be happier.