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XVS 650 Vibration - Help Needed


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Hello there. New to the forum and first post. Recently bought first v-twin (1997 XVS 650 with 22000 miles on the clock). Coming back to bikes after too many offs on sportsbikes. On test ride everything seemed fine. Bike had a full service history, and a stack of invoices. Is also HPI clear. Wanted a Dragstar as I had been told they were fairly bullet proof. Have now noticed that the bike vibrates on acceleration and as you go through the gears It is a more of a buzz than a real shake but very noticeable noticable all the same through the grips and footpegs. It does even out when you get to 5th but then comes back with a vengance at 55 - 60 mph. I have searched the forum and saw a post on vibrations a while back. There was talk of loose engine mountings, loose pistons and balancing carbs etc. Just wondered is this vibration normal on a v-twin/Dragstar and are any of these problems mentioned expensive / terminal for the bike. I had enough trouble convincing the "Domestic Commander in Chief" to agree to the purchase and I am hoping not to have bought a money pit.

Love the bike as do all who have seen it just hoping not to have made a mistake. I am not mechanically gifted so all work is going to be via local garage - just want to be forewarned before taking the bike in.

All help / advice gratefully received.

Apologies for long first post

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Bit of a buzzing is normal, TBH.

That's part of the joys of owning a V-Twin.

You only have 40BHP, but because of how the engine works, that is a surpisingly large amount of torque at the lower end.

Claire's bike does vibrate more than mine, I've noticed...

If you're used to quiet road bikes, then a V-Twin will seem a bit raw.

Only if it's quite excessive would I be concerned. Without experiencing it myself, I can't really comment further, I'm afraid.

If you do have any qualms, then have your tame mechanic check things over.

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Hey Ttaskmaster,

Thanks for replying so quickly - sound advice. I will bite the bullet and take it to the garage. Perhaps I should have ridden more V-Twins before I bought the bike but it looked like the right one at the right price.

Still lovin the cruiser attitude - lots of fun at sensible speeds. Enjoying the forum and lookin forward to being a part of it.

Thanks once again.


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The 650 is definitely the right one.

For proper big biking and Cruiser handling, there is none better.

The Suzuki is OK, the Honda is reliable but soul-less.

The Kawasaki.... well, as they say in SA, "There is kak, complete kak, and then Kawasak". :)

I suspect it's fine.

If you have fancy/loud pipes on it, that may contribute to the vibrations, too.

Whereabouts in London are you?

If you're coming anywhere near Reading we could meet up and have a look.

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Have him check the common things like sparkplugs, fuel filter, proper valve adjustment and then carb balancing. In the meantime a good dose of Seafoam for a tank or so may clear out any errant pits of poo in the carbs before a teardown. As has been pointed out, it may be the nature of the beast, but the vibration can be augmented by things such as aftermarket handlebars, risers and exhaust and intake systems. Even modded stock exhaust could contribute.

And don't forget to enjoy your ride!

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I certainly think a full service is in order and a carb strip down as you suggest.I will also invest in some Seamfoam. The bike is stock at present but I would be looking to put some pipes on it in the furure. Ttaskmaster I am in South West London but a ride to Reading is definately a possibility, I would certainly appreciate your time and lunch, at the very least, would be on me.

While I have your ear and to avoid starting off another thread I have a friend who has advised me, as well as everything else at present to look at having the rear wheel off as Dragstars apparently suffer issues with splines. Heavy greasing was recommended as, apparently replacements are as rare as hens teeth and as mine has covered 22,000 miles he reckons this is something I need to consider. This has opened up a whole new potential set of issues and gives me something else to research. Can you possibly shed any light?

BTW, glad I bought the right model, never heard the SA Kak line before but would agree wholeheartedly, never even considered a Kawasaki. I did think about the Shadow. The Dragstar just had all the attitude tho.

Once again thanks for taking the time - much appreciated.

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Yes, the drive shaft splines do occasionally go.

Usually this is due to lack of maintenance and over-heavy use of the throttle at high-torque points.

I ride fairly hard. Mine's almost at the 50,000 mark and I've had no such issues.

Claire's 650 is closing on 45,000 and again, no such issues.

I know several other 650 Draggers around this way and none of them have had it either. It's just something I've seen occasionally pop up on forums.

I'd be more concerned about rust.

You'll find a lot of road crap gets kicked up into awkward places and you won't notice the rust until bits drop off... like heat shields on the exhaust :o:icon_redface:

Keep it clean and get some proper cleaning brushes that can reach down behind teh awkward places.

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