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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my 2021 R3 used with 2700 miles. When the bike is warm (I ride around town, do a couple highway merges) I noticed a knocking sound and feeling while slowing to a stop. It will not happen when the bike is cold. It's very audible and the chain will flick up and down from it. The knocking seems very similar to the previous clutch bearing failure recall, but I thought they fixed those issues? I brought it to a mechanic and he mentioned that it sounds like the gears are sticking together or a warped clutch plate. The knocking only occurs in gear with the clutch lever pulled in and it can get very loud and rough even at a stand still until it feels like something un-sticks and it will go away until it sticks again. Walking forward with the clutch lever pulled in in gear is a reproducible way to get the knock. Letting the clutch out, and any other kind of normal riding and not coasting is smooth.

here is a video.

Any insight? I'm starting to think I'll have to pull the clutch out and check which is a bummer for only having 3200 miles on it currently. I just changed the oil thinking maybe that would help. Thanks muchachos!
 

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Since it's a new bike, I'd start with the simplest thing first. It 'looks' like the chain has no slack in it. Readjust the chain per your Owner's Manual and see if the binding goes away. Keep in mind, it's better to be a bit loose than tight. Before you finish, lubricate it well. There are lots of good videos that show the proper way to adjust and lubricate a chain, just do an engine search.
I wouldn't even consider going into the clutch as long as it's still under warranty. It's Yamaha's expense for the 1st year, why give them a reason to deny a potential problem by taking apart something that may or not cure the problem?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The chain tension is good I'm pretty sure. Got it done during pre-inspection and when I had a staple in my rear tire and had it patched. Very much in spec. I first thought clutch deadzone, which is solid, then chain which is also good, clean and lubed. My chain does have a small tight spot but nothing crazy. Even adjusting the clutch deadzone to a ridiculous amount doesn't help. I'll call my local yamaha dealer and see if they have seen similar.
Update: My factory warranty expired last month, dealer did check for recalls and nothing on 2021. They also haven't noticed any new R3s with issues.
 

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The chain tension is good I'm pretty sure. Got it done during pre-inspection and when I had a staple in my rear tire and had it patched. Very much in spec. I first thought clutch deadzone, which is solid, then chain which is also good, clean and lubed. My chain does have a small tight spot but nothing crazy. Even adjusting the clutch deadzone to a ridiculous amount doesn't help. I'll call my local yamaha dealer and see if they have seen similar.
Update: My factory warranty expired last month, dealer did check for recalls and nothing on 2021. They also haven't noticed any new R3s with issues.
The R3 hasn't had many mechanical issues given the popularity of the bike and how many R3s and MT03s are out there. How about keeping us up on your progress and final solution when you figure it out.
 

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Update: My factory warranty expired last month, dealer did check for recalls and nothing on 2021. They also haven't noticed any new R3s with issues.
Have you removed the chain case cover from the front drive sprocket to inspect the front gear and chain?
It's doubtful, but if the nut holding the front sprocket on is not torqued properly, you could have enough movement there to cause a problem.
 

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It appears to me that regardless of tension set, the chain is stretched out of tolerance, the sprockets are worn, or both. This is causing it to climb the counter sprocket when moving forward and back, making it jumpy, and making crunchy noises as it re-seats itself. This will be more evident when running than rolling with the engine off, due to engine vibration adding to the noise and effects. Have the chain stretch measured, or get the tool for checking it yourself. The chain should last a lot longer, but, if run without proper lube (chain wax, not WD40) and regular service (cleaned of grime, re-lubed after riding in the rain, not running too tight or too loose, etc...), can go bad in 2700 miles, especially in dirty conditions, or if the PO ran the chain too tight, or too loose.. Used bikes get all cleaned up and lubed, which hides their true condition. If the chain is stretched, the sprockets are likely to be worn as well. The clutch is not likely the issue. If it is the chain, get it fixed right away, as broken chains can do a lot of damage that is very difficult and expensive to repair. Replace the chain and sprockets together, there are good kits for that. Stay away from aluminum sprockets and trick stuff for street riding.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies guys I really appreciate it. I think you're onto something about the chain and sprockets since when I got the bike the original owner did ride through the mud on his commute occasionally. The slack is in spec but my mechanic, who's been working on bikes for longer than I've been alive, did mention that the chain had a tight spot and hinted that the original owner didn't take too good of care for the chain. That would actually explain the way the chain jumps. I'm going to go ahead and swap the chain and sprockets and see what happens. Just a thought though, would it still make that noise while standing still if it were the chain and sprockets? The clanking definitely happens at a stand still too, in 1st or 2nd but not neutral. Thanks again!
 

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Thanks for the replies guys I really appreciate it. I think you're onto something about the chain and sprockets since when I got the bike the original owner did ride through the mud on his commute occasionally. The slack is in spec but my mechanic, who's been working on bikes for longer than I've been alive, did mention that the chain had a tight spot and hinted that the original owner didn't take too good of care for the chain. That would actually explain the way the chain jumps. I'm going to go ahead and swap the chain and sprockets and see what happens. Just a thought though, would it still make that noise while standing still if it were the chain and sprockets? The clanking definitely happens at a stand still too, in 1st or 2nd but not neutral. Thanks again!
Start with chain and sprockets, and assess from there. The trans makes some noise from vibration, with the clutch in or out in neutral, which are normal. Motorcycle gearboxes are dog-shifted, with no synchro clutches, so things rattle around a bit. You may be overly sensitive to it due to the chain issue.

The clutch recall meant the clutch would not disengage: 2015-2016 Yamaha YZF R3 Clutch Recall - CycleVin. This is not an intermittent issue, the bearing either remain in tact, or fails, so it's unlikely to cause the issues you are experiencing. However, if the chain doesn't fully resolve the problem, I would have the clutch rebuilt, as failure there can be a serious problem on the road. The PO could have abused it as well.
 
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