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The bike is a 2013 Kawasaki W800 with 30k km/ 18k miles on the clock. I'm the original owner and have looked after it very well - oil and filter change every 5k km/ 3.1k miles, followed the correct break-in procedure to a T and have kept up with chain and sprocket lubrication and replacement.

Recently I noticed my bike makes a whining sound when accelerating in first gear - kind of sounds like a car in reverse. The sound lessens the faster you accelerate and is more pronounced when the engine is warm. Other gears are fine. I'm guessing it's a bearing issue. I'm just a bit miffed because I looked after it so well.

Would anyone know why this happened and is it a concern (I mostly commute in peak hour with it, so a lot of slow lane filtering bouncing between 1st and 2nd).

  • Have you recently replaced a chain? could it be too tight/loose? – Mauro Nov 5 at 11:17
  • @Mauro yes, actually I did recently replace the chain... – MeltingDog Nov 6 at 0:29
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Given there was a recent change to the chain, if too much tension was placed on the drive gear (small gear near the engine)/bearing it could have caused some damage.

  • Check the chain for the correct tension (on most bikes there is a sticker on the swingarm showing how much slack there should be).
  • With the chain off the drive gear, check the gear for play/lateral movement

If the whining goes away with the correct tension then you have found your culprit. If the drive gear has lateral play then there is a good chance you have a damaged bearing causing the whining.

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