Vibration issues on my Suzuki Gixxer SF 250: SVC experience

The bike runs smooth till 5,000 rpm after which I can feel the vibrations on the foot-pegs, the body panels and the handle-bars.

BHPian SubodhRage recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi readers,

Hope you're doing well, and all the best to those planning to ride it out in the Christmas week.

Before I begin the thread, a brief about me; I've been with T-BHP for about 3-4 years now and posted mostly travelogue posts of my recent adventures in Bengal and North-East. A few more are in the pipeline.

I recently got a pre-owned BS6 Suzuki Gixxer 250 SF - a beautiful underrated machine - would definitely recommend it hands-down except for the questionable services of the Suzuki Motorcycles.

Coming to the issue, well, there is only one - vibrations post 80 km/h. I was aware of this issue while purchasing the bike. The bike had run for a measly 3600 km when the owner decided to sell it due to his commitments in the US for which he had to leave. I noticed that the vehicle's manufacturing month-year comes under the optional recall that happened last year.

Now given the low mileage, the bike still in warranty and the good deal, I was willing to take the gamble! A little brief about the issue; the vehicle vibrates a bit while at idle (pretty common for single cylinder format bikes), and runs smooth till 5000 rpm after which I can feel the vibrations, on the foot-pegs, the body panels, and the handle-bars. The vibrations aren't that much, but it's enough to feel a bit irritated in the long run. It is the level of vibration you'd expect on older Duke 200 and Pulsar NS200 at 90+km/h, but not something you'd expect in the new bikes.

I informed the service centre during the first service post ownership, and he told me it's ideal for the bike to vibrate at 80-100 speeds. Now, I have previously driven Dominar, Apache RR310 (first gen), Dukes and therefore, I understand that there is only so much you can do in a single-cylinder format to dampen the vibration to zero, and hence, considering that I was willing to live with the vibrations. However, recently I rode my friend's Gixxer 250 SF, new version and then test-rode the new Gixxer 250 SF as well, which made me take this vibration issue a bit more seriously. Surprisingly, there were zero vibrations on those bikes at 100-110 km/hr (6th gear). On the other hand, my vibrates are enough for me to notice and reduce the speeds to around 90 km/hr. Mind you, there are no changes done to the bikes this year, and everything is mechanically the same!

Considering this incident and the fact that my bike is almost brand-new (haven't even crossed 5000 km on the odometer), I raised a complaint a the Suzuki Motorcycle's email ID, on 30th October, 2021.

I received the response within a day and was called to the nearest service centre for vibration testing and diagnosis. The response time, in this case, was pretty great and appreciable! However, I couldn't the service centre just then due to office work/travel. I visited the service centre next week on 12th November 2021.

The vehicle's vibration was diagnosed via a vibration bench- it's a tuning strip that is attached to the bike and has sensors at the end to alert the testing when the vibration of the tuning strip is beyond the allowed standards.

My bike was getting maximum vibrations at around 5000 rpm and 8000rpm

Basis this they had ordered for parts- a balancer shaft, and a balancer gear for a change. They informed me that the parts would take around 1-2 weeks to arrive and once they arrive, I'd have to leave the vehicle for around three days for the parts to change and further diagnosis to be done. I received updates by November-end that the parts have still not arrived and this felt terrible. The production facility is in Gurgaon and how it takes more than a month for the parts to arrive is beyond my understanding. Perhaps someone can shed a light on this as well!

It's 20th December 2021 and I had contacted the service centre yesterday, and they informed me that the parts would take a week to arrive still.

I request the fellow riders to advise me on what I should do. I have the following questions that I hope this forum would help me address:

  1. How can I expedite this issue at the Suzuki Motorcycles Pvt. Ltd.?
  2. Can anyone help me connect with a known authority in the company to expedite this issue?
  3. I already have the bike with me, so my weekly usage isn't hampered, but is riding the bike without the issue resolved advisably? Can it cause the issue to aggravate, or crop up some new issues?
  4. Considering that the bike's engine (clutch case side, not the head) would have to be opened for parts change, and diagnosis; should I go ahead with this? Can any other issue crop up due to the engine case getting opened? How'd it look on the papers if I plan to sell this bike 4-5 years down the line, the service records show engine casing opened and parts replaced?
  5. While I rode the new Gixxers, the panel felt more sturdy, and the vibrations were the main thing I noticed! Everything felt more well-built together. If the company has done any minor changes to the new Gixxers, can they do the same updates for the previous owners?

Here's what BHPian gauravanekar had to say on the matter:

I feel for you. Living with vibration for the fear of bad repair is not acceptable in my personal opinion, being an owner of the same motorcycle I can tell you how great the bike feels without vibration.

My advice is to go for the parts replacement, however, please be very strict with work carried out. Learn a thing or two about the good practices during such repairs through some research. Personally, get involved when carrying out the repair.

Certain things which you can rightfully demand from them:

  • Not to open a single screw until they are absolutely sure that all required parts are available
  • Not use brute force to open parts while disassembly, a ASS should have dedicated tools for every step of the operation.
  • Should maintain the best hygiene, not to keep any machined part on the dusty surface.
  • Ask them to plan such that the entire activity should happen in one day non-stop, you don’t want to keep it open overnight

Be ready to pay extra labour, communicate the same to them beforehand.

Here's what BHPian ashwinprakas had to say on the matter:

Can you live with the issue?

Depending on your tolerance, personally, I'd not give a hoot and consider changing the Balancer Assembly only when I have a valid concern to open up the motorcycle. If Suzuki is doing the replacement at their cost and is willing to ensure quality workmanship then by all means go for it.

Would this cause any further concerns?

Not really, Motorcycle will vibrate more and that's about it.

Worst case if the balancer weight is locked by a woodruff key and the key fails due to vibrations then you're looking at a complete engine replacement as the weight would hit the big end of the crank and that would totally mess up your engine. Again this is unlikely but has seen the same happen with CBR's and KTM's.

What do they need to do to replace a Balancer Assembly?

They'd have to take the motor off the chassis and completely disassemble the engine as the case needs to be split if the fitment is anything like the Gixxer 150. Your Cylinder head, cylinder kit, clutch, magneto etc would all have to be taken apart.

In my P220 the Balancer is timed with the help of a scissor gear in which case just the scissor gear needs to be changed it is a very convenient process that takes about half an hour and I couple it along with clutch replacements, unfortunately, modern motorcycles have an interference design with respect to balancers so life isn't easy.

Hope that helps.

Here's what BHPian Rocketscience had to say on the matter:

While I totally agree that they should have fixed it sooner but the very fact that they had issued a recall, they promptly attended you and finally understood the issue, they actually had the equipment to test the vibrations (a first in India I have seen) and are agreeing to fix the bike is a huge win in my books.

Even my R15v3 has vibrations yet no one even remotely notices it let alone acknowledge it, tests it or fixes it, I'd say you sit tight and this should definitely be fixed sooner than later in my opinion. Good luck.

P.S: The concern of fellow BHPians with respect to the entire engine being opened are genuine, they do need skilled and careful technicians to accomplish it well otherwise they can do more harm than good as the balancer shaft does indeed involve opening the side covers and the cylinder and head and then eventually the crankcase to replace which means pretty much every single part will have to be dismantled. Sure there are people who can do it well but most can't.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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