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I freely admit and am unashamed of the fact that I come from a sport-bike background. Nothing serious mind you — I don’t travel on one wheel with my hair aflame or measure the length of my manhood with the amount of power I can seat below it. I come from a world of Japanese precision and practical grace, like the Ninja 500 or 250r for instance. So when I hear a rattle under power I become concerned.

Chuck and I have a beautiful little Yamaha V-Star 650 that is, quite honestly, a sparkly little cherry. We’ve spent the last few weeks tuning it in and shining it up to a harmony of mechanical excellence. It runs like a top around the neighborhood and is well-mannered for a chrome-laden cruiser. It was time to step it up a notch. But during its maiden highway voyage, I noticed that when you put any power to it over 60 mph it had a rattle around the front area.

After a two-hour session of bolt-and-spoke checking, a chance encounter found the speedo cable bracket to be the issue. I couldn’t believe it. From the same people who design something like the R6 I get a cable that rattles around inside this bracket like a model T with a chest cold.

I thought, surely this has got to be something I can fix. They wouldn’t do this to us, not Yamaha. A test drive at the local dealer revealed that indeed even the new ones fresh off the showroom floor have the same tell-tale rattle.

Do any Toolmonger bikers out there have a fix for this that doesn’t involve removing the bracket to let the cable swing free or restricting the cable to the point it becomes a limiting factor when trying to operate the vehicle? Let us know in comments.


19 Responses to Rattle Be Gone

  1. matt says:

    Easy to try to squeeze it (slightly so as to retain free movement).

  2. Jim says:

    Try adding a short length of soft hose over the cable to limit the gap, soften the impact and create less noise.

    It is hard to ring a bell with a sponge.


  3. tmib_seattle says:

    Get louder exhaust. 🙂

    Seriously though, while you could probably eliminate this rattle (zip ties?, rubber tubing sleeve?) what’s wrong with a little rattle? The important thing really is knowing when a new sound appears and finding the cause.

    I used to drive a ’66 Shovelhead. It had all kinds of rattling noises from various places, but the moment a new rattle sound appeared I would notice, as I’d learned the sound of the bike. The existing rattling sounds were part of the personality of the machine.

  4. Matt says:

    I wear ear plugs and a helmet whenever I ride and I’m always amazed at the amount of rattle or wierd noises from my bikes when I take a slow trip around the neighborhood to check the new tires that I just spooned on or a new mod that did.

  5. Chris says:

    Dunno how important appearance is to you, but how about wrapping either a section of the brake cable or part of the bracket in self-sealing black silicone tape? That would probably at least quiet it down a bit.


  6. Rob says:

    Just take it off. Everyone knows that cruisers don’t need front brakes 😉

  7. Toolhearty says:

    Pretty sure that’s the speedo cable.

  8. Sean O'Hara says:

    Yes it is the speedo cable. Don’t know what I was smoking when I said brake.

  9. Gordon DeWitte says:

    If it’s the speedo cable, and you’re anywhere near I-35, disconnect it. You never get above 30–40mph anyway.

  10. george says:

    i would wrap the cable with something. i’m sure that the cable would wear through soon enough and i imagine that the cable is not cheap. ignore this if yer just riding to the bars and don’t ride in the rain.

  11. Dave says:

    I can’t really tell by the picture , but if it is what I am thinking, you can replace the bracket with one of these:
    I have a set of these on my Triumph Rocket and it does a great job of keeping things still. You don’t have to remove the line to install. You can probably use the same hole as the existing bracket.

    It shouldn’t limit the cable if you clamp it at the right point.

  12. matt says:

    IMHO if that woulda worked then yamaha (and honda … etc) would already be using that style. There’s a lot of movement there with both turning and up/down. A good test would be to tyrap the cable at the “right point” then see how it affects steering and suspension.

  13. Eric says:

    Man, two years I’ve been trying to figure that out – same rattle on my 2001 V-Star 650. Wish someone had a better solution, but at least a mystery seems to be cleared up for me. Thanks for that.

  14. Chris says:

    I dunno how much slack there is in the cable, but re-routing it might be an option, too.

    matt: just because a manufacturer hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean there isn’t a better solution out there. It’s possible — though admittedly unlikely in this case — that no one thought of a better solution, or a better solution isn’t economical from a mass production standpoint.


  15. matt says:

    HONDA uses the same style clip. Nuff said.

  16. Ralph says:

    The cable inside the housing is rotating so… graphite it up!

  17. Mark Lewis says:

    Okay, here is my idea: Go to your closest industrial hardware or full-line hardware and pick up some grommets that are designed to be used with metal work. You know, it has a large flange going all the way around it and is made of rubber, neoprene or silicone. (Having the bike/part with you would help.) Usually these are stocked in the plastic pull-out trays area. Go for the size of grommet that will just fit inside the bracket and hold itself there. Run the cable thru the grommet (which is between the cable and bracket with loose fit. I would guess any movement that was significant would just reposition the grommet with the open space of the bracket. However, no longer will the cable rattle against the bracket PLUS the bracket is prevented from being a resonator to the sound of the cable, like I think it is now. Failing this, I would try the self-sealing silicone tape and just add thickness to the cable, if needed, but a layer of silicone to both stop the cable from “twanging” the bracket, Plus a little thickness in the cable could keep it from banging around within the bracket, which I am sure it is doing. ….y’know, now that I typed that, I hope no one takes that sentence out of context or I’d probably have to register with the authorities or something. Anyhow, grommet if you can, tape if you must.

  18. Mark Lewis says:

    Another thought: I’m not sure how this will work, appearance-wise, or how much that concerns you, but here is something cheap and simple to try- spiral cable wrap such as is used in electronics. Two possibilities: 1) You cut a piece a couple inches long and thread it onto the cable and thru the bracket so as to add just enough friction to the cable to stop it from making noise. B) Spiral the cable wrap around the bracket instead of the cable. (‘Zackly how? I dunno, do I gotta do everything? – LOL) Just try it and see if something works, but I would try to go around the bracket, capturing the cable in a perpendicular orientation. The spiral wrap has a nice spring to it, and it is cheap and available. Again, I’m not sure how it will LOOK. But maybe it is a temporary fix while better plans are drawn. Good Luck!

  19. Robert says:

    Amazing that something so simple/trivial warrants even posting about it, and all this subsequent discussion. And now I’ve wasted 20 seconds responding, too….LOL

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