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Discussion Starter #1
I need some advice and/or suggestions with a problem that seems to have become noticeable just recently. I have a 2009 Vulcan 900 Classic LT with about 11,800 miles on it.

Recently I've begun to notice a noise that the bike makes on certain occasions. It seems that the hotter the weather and the longer I've been riding the bike, the more I notice it.

I mainly notice the noise on deceleration at low speed (around 20 mph). When I'm slowing down for a stop or to enter a parking lot is when I usually notice it. I don't recall hearing it during acceleration or at high speeds.

At first, I thought it was something to do with the suspension or the front forks, but I can bounce the front end up and down while stopped and it doesn't make a sound. I can turn the handle bars back and forth while stopped and it doesn't make a sound.

Yesterday afternoon it was above 90 degrees and I took a ride. I rode awhile on the Interstate then got off for some town riding. It seemed that every time I slowed down for a stop sign or stop light that the bike would make a kind of "barking" sound at around 15 to 25 mph. It sounds a little like a quick rubbing sound, but sounds almost like a dog barking in the distance. ARK......... ARK.........ARK is the sound that it usually sounds like. The sounds are usually spaced about 1 to 2 seconds apart.

I'm thinking that it may be the drive belt or something to do with the drive gears. The drive belt seems awfully tight to me. With the bike sitting in the garage in neutral, I can press upward rather hard (10 to 15 pounds) on the belt and I can barely get it to deflect one mark in the gauge window. I would estimate that this is about 1/4" or less deflection.

Has anyone had any similar experiences? In particular, do you think my drive belt is too tight? Any other suggestions or ideas what may be causing the noise? Thanks for any help.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't think it's the brakes because sometimes it will make the noise when I'm not even applying the brakes. I can be riding along and simply let off the throttle to slow down and it will make the noise.

Could it be the brakes if I'm not applying the brakes? :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just got back from a short ride. The bike will definitely make the noise when the brakes are not being applied. There was one part of the ride today where I was going down a steep, winding hill. I was in 3rd gear and going about 28 mph and I could clearly hear the bike making the noise when I let off the throttle. It doesn't make the noise constantly, but will "bark" at me 3 or 4 times.
 

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If a rotor is warped or a pad is loose or irregular there can be brake material contact. You won't hear it when you apply the brakes because you've closed the gap. My front brake used to make a SHICK SHICK SHICK sound at slow crawl across a parking lot.
 

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It's an '09, has the brake fluid been flushed? That's an often skipped maintenance item that should be done every year or two but is often ignored. It can make the brakes feel spongey and even lead to the pads being irregular or sticky. Brakes can be noisy even when not applied. From what you're describing, that still sounds like the culprit.

Either way, if it hasn't been done it should be done; both front and rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Could it be the exhaust? (gaskets at cyl heads) if you slow down with the clutch pulled in does the noise disappear?
I don't really think that it's the exhaust. Generally when this happens the clutch lever is out. I don't make a practice of coasting with the clutch pulled in except for the last 30 feet or so when coming to a complete stop. I can't really say for sure whether the noise stops with the clutch pulled in.

It doesn't make the noise continuously. It's just kind of an intermittent thing. I'll try to remember to try this the next time I take a ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would bet its the belt, mine did the same thing. I guess it was out of line and rubbing a little.
That is what I'm thinking, but wanted to get input from several riders if possible. It's not that hard a job to loosen the rear axle nut, then make some small adjustments to the adjusting screws, and then retighten the axle nut.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
OK, I just finished adjusting (loosening) the drive belt. I moved the axle forward about 1/16" to 1/8" according to the index marks.

This resulted in the belt being a little looser. Now, when I apply 10 to 15 pounds of upward force on the belt, it will deflect about 1/2" to 5/8" in the viewing window. This is at least double the amount (about 1/4" or less) that it would move before the adjustment.

As soon as I get a chance to take it for a good ride, I'll let you know if this fixed the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The problem is FIXED. It was the belt being too tight that was causing the "barking" when decelerating at slow (15 to 30) mph speeds.

After loosening the belt some, I took it for a long test ride today. I got on back roads that are nearly deserted so that I could accelerate and decelerate and even stop as often as I liked. I must have decelerated to the problem (15 to 30 mph) range 30 to 40 times during my hour long ride and it did not make the barking sound one single time. The bike rode and handled great. No problems at all.

When I got back, I looked at the index marks by the rear axle and nothing had moved during the ride, so I must have got it back together sufficiently tight.

I'm happy. :D
 

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Thank you for starting this thread. Mine has been making the same noise and it started after having my rear tire replaced. The belt has to be it. Thanks again!
 

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Mine does the same thing!

I told my dealer and they acted like they had never heard of this before. I have them check the belt while it's in for service.

Thanks for the thread!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you for starting this thread. Mine has been making the same noise and it started after having my rear tire replaced. The belt has to be it. Thanks again!
You're welcome. I would suggest checking how much your belt deflects when the bike is parked, engine off, and transmission in Neutral. Just reach down to the bottom strand of the belt and push up on the belt moderately firm with your fingertips. I would estimate 10 to 15 pounds of force. While doing this, look at the little inspection window on the belt guard to see how much the belt moves.

Before I adjusted mine, the belt moved only about 1/4" or maybe a little less. After adjusting, the belt will now move about 1/2" to 5/8". Personally, I wouldn't worry if it moved as much as 3/4".

Keep in mind that it takes only a slight adjustment in the axle position to make this difference in belt tension.
 
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