Tire howl during turns


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OldguyGlen
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1980 GL1100 STD/Vetters
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Tire howl during turns

Post by OldguyGlen »



Bike is 1980 GL1100, with Vetters fairings. Front wheel is Dunlop 491, tread = see pic.
When I lean the bike off vertical in a turn or lane change, I hear a soft, hollow sounding, low frequency howl. I think it is from the front tire. It begins the instant I lean off vertical, even just a little bit as in a lane change. It is not very loud, but does increase with bike speed. I probably couldn't even hear it if I didn't have the fairing on. Doesn't matter if I'm in gear, slightly pulling, or slightly decelerating. Doesn't matter if I clutch in or out, or even put it in neutral and coast. Sound is about the same in all those conditions.
My theory is the tires, Dunlop K491R. Straight vertical the center tread line has about 50% rubber, and 50% air gap. But just slightly off vertical, the tread contact line is mostly rubber, with very little air gap. (See pic). Tires have good tread depth, but are getting old (rubber getting hard ??). I don't ride the bike hard, so I don't know how it would sound at high speeds, or hard lean angles.
So, is my theory sound? Could it be another kind of vibration... maybe in the fairing? Bearings and brakes seem good. Bike only has 21k miles.
Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I hope someone can tell me it's just a trivial effect of the tire tread.
All comments appreciated. Thanks.

Dunlop 491 tread pattern
Dunlop 491 tread pattern



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2003Cobra
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Re: Tire howl during turns

Post by 2003Cobra »

Given that the noise only happens when you introduce a lean angle I would be more inclined to say it is the tire(s). But checking the wheel bearings and brakes are pretty easy. Just put the bike in the air and spin the wheel and listen for any unusual noise.
Tires have good tread depth, but are getting old (rubber getting hard ??)

How old are they? 8 years is the accepted normal self life of a tire. I've seen quite a few old tires that look good on the outside but when you look on the inside it's another story. I've also heard similar complaints and when the tire is changed out for a new one the problem goes away. If you don't know how to determine the age of the tire here is how to do that with the Dot Code: https://www.tirebuyer.com/education/how ... your-tires Even though this is for a car it is still the same for the bike.

You also don't mention the rear tire. What shape is it in? Are they the same make and model tire? Different tread patterns will give you some weird noises and handling. How old is it? If those tires are any where close to being 8 years I would replace them.
2003 Goldwing GL1800 with CSC Cobra trike kit.
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dingdong
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Re: Tire howl during turns

Post by dingdong »

Tire howl when leaning is usually generated by a cupped rear tire. Dunlops are notorious for this. Your front tire doesn't look cupped. What does the rear tire look like?
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OldguyGlen
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Re: Tire howl during turns

Post by OldguyGlen »

Brakes and wheel bearings are good.
Rear tire is Dunlop Elite G/T. It is same mileage as front tire. No apparent cupping on either. See pic.
I feel both tires for heat after every ride. They get warm based on speeds and ambient temp, but have never felt hot. No issues with handling, although I don't ride it hard anyway.

Rear Tire- Dunlop Elite
Rear Tire- Dunlop Elite

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Re: Tire howl during turns

Post by WingAdmin »

This is usually cupping, as mentioned. It doesn't take much cupping/scalloping to make a loud howl.

In the dark, take a flashlight and shine it at an oblique angle to the tire (right along the edge). You shouldn't see any shadows. The tire should be smooth, without the waviness you see in this cupped tire:

Cupped tire
Cupped tire

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Re: Tire howl during turns

Post by roadwanderer2 »

WingAdmin is correct about the tire cupping, but theres one other way that I know of to check it. If you can't SEE any signs of cupping, take your palm and slowly run it up and down on both sides of the tire, and do the same thing with your rear tire so you know what it SHOULD feel like. Workers in body shops do the same thing after they finish sanding down metal car surfaces to make sure its perfectly smooth. If it is cupped, you should be able to "feel" it while your hand is going up and down on either side of the tire, and from what that tire looks like in your photo, (I zoomed the photo up to 300), and although I didn't see any signs of cupping, IMO that tire doesn't look like it has much life left in it and should be replaced, at least thats what I would do. I've always had good results with Kenda Kruz tires. Decent quality, good handling, comfortable ride and reasonably priced.

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Re: Tire howl during turns

Post by redbug »

From 491's to touring elite, or it seems all these tires have the the howling on the lean angle. Dunlops are all I have ever used and you just get use to it. Tightens you up a little.
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OldguyGlen
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Re: Tire howl during turns

Post by OldguyGlen »

Thanks for the several replies.
I am beginning to believe it is the tires. There may be subtle cupping that is not very visible to the naked eye (both tires). I've been looking at the smaller cuts (siping) and starting to think they are NOT all showing the same wear appearance. I haven't tried the "light/shadow" technique, or the hand rubbing technique yet, but will attempt that this weekend. Since I don't have any obvious handling problem, and since I can barely hear the howling, and since I probably do need new tires before too much longer, I decided I will just live with it for now.
Thanks all, for sharing.


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