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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been riding my new Livewire One around the Santa Monica mountains and can't help but wonder if a noise I'm experiencing is normal.
At 34-38 mph, especially going even slightly uphill there is an extremely loud, ear piercing, spine rattling whine. It goes away above 39 mph and below 34 mph.
Is this normal? I don't remember anything like this on the hour long test ride I took on a demo Livewire in the same mountains. It seems Harley wouldn't allow this.
The rest of the driving range has a pretty quiet low level motor whine, which is not at all distracting.
Any owners, please comment.
 

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I have been meaning to start a discussion about gear noise, so I’m glad someone has. There are two different noises, one has always been there it sounds like rocks rattling around in an old steel lunch pail, when riding very slowly on rough ground, this is the ring gear rocking back and forth on the pinion gear (I have audio and video of the gears after the gear box has been drained and flushed with kerosene, if you rock the rear wheel back and forth that is the sound for sure) As far as I can tell all LWs do this under the above mentioned conditions (I went to a Livewire demo day to specifically see it other LWs made the same noise, and they do (thank you H-D engineers). Around 6,000mi my LW started making a loud whining / howling gear noise (it could possibly be a bearing or the drive belt, but it doesn’t seem to be) when under light loads accelerating or decelerating, it happens anywhere between about 12-35 mph, but usually at around 17 mph, especially when the motor is neither producing power to drive the rear wheel or the rear wheel is driving the motor for regeneration. At 6,495mi I drained and flushed the gear box again (first oil change at 1,027mi). The backlash seemed to be about 0.0045” (allowable is 0.003”-0.0054”) and this time I refilled it with: AMSOIL SEVERE GEAR LUBE 100% Synthetic Gear Lube SAE 75W-90. The AMSOIL is a slightly heavier viscosity, but the howling is still there. At the 1000mi gear oil change the backlash was around 0.0035” (these backlash #s are not definite, because I haven’t come up with a good way to lock the pinion gear, and H-D won’t sell civilians the backlash measuring kit). At 7,058mi I pulled the ring gear out and shimmed it closer to the pinion for less backlash. Now when at moderate to heavy loads the gears seem to be quieter but when the load is in limbo the whining / howling is obnoxious. It sounds like we are experiencing about the same noises but under somewhat different conditions. So I’m wondering if someone has had the same problem, and if so have, did you come up with a fix?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Nwfg. That is a comprehensive answer to my question. I appreciate it. I also get the 'rocks rattling around in an old steel lunch pail' noise. It seems to be when (as you say) the motor is neither providing power nor regen braking. I assume that is fairly normal, although it seems it could be fixed with tighter tolerances in the gearbox. That might be an engineering / design issue which needs new parts with tighter tolerances... or simply better adjustment capabilities inside the gearbox. The main issue for me is the 'whining / howling' noise. For me it happens at 34-38 mph. When driving steady at 35 mph it is very loud and seems to be the motor or gearbox at a 'resonant frequency' which vibrates the whole bike and is ear splitting in my helmet. From reading all the owner references to 'noise' in this Livewire forum I came across only one other mention of this from an owner...and the other owners responses were 'this is not normal'. So I think this may be an issue with only SOME motor/gearbox installations...maybe very few. So I am taking my bike into the dealer to see if they have a resolution to the problem. I'll report back in this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well...the Harley Davidson Dealer in Hollywood, CA tested the bike and says the sound is 'normal' in new bikes. The tech who rode it said it is the same in all Livewires he has ridden. He also contacted Livewire tech support and was told that all new bikes have that sound and that it will mitigate with use. They said it is a 'resonance' that comes from the bevel gearbox. I have 450 miles on the bike and it has not lessened at all. I'm surprised that more owners haven't mentioned it, as it is extremely loud. I'm getting the bike back and will continue to ride and see if the noise mitigates with use. The bike itself is great in every other way and a blast to ride. The noise in the 34-38 mph range is very annoying though.
 

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Mine was never loud but it was obvious. Mine did lessen over time and was substantially reduced after the 1k service. I never minded it much at all and it kept a few people from walking out in front of me.
 
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