1100 5th gear noisy - or is it?

My Cali 1100 ('94 carbs) is happy enough to chug along at 30mph in 5th gear. It’s quite relaxing in fact. Yes, out of mechanical sympathy I do drop a couple of gears if I want to accelerate, but if overtaking isn’t an option then I don’t mind bobbling along. I’m impressed by the absence of ‘lash’ in the drive train. The problem is that in normal conditions, going into 5th gear at anything under 60mph results in a god-awful howl from somewhere underneath me - presumably the gearbox. Anything happening at higher than 60 is drowned out by the sound of the engine and wind. Is this normal? Is the 5th gear that much of an overdrive? Is my 20,000 mile gearbox wearing out? rbuxton2014-05-28 14:21:28

Doesn’t seem right to me. Can any 1100 owners confirm or otherwise (me not possessing one)

For what’s its worth I ride a Cali stone FI and find that I need to be above 40 to be in 5th for the engine to be happy any lower and the engine labours far to much, just my experience and mine is the only Cali ever I’ve ridden.

I have a Cali 1100 and have been advised not to cruise below 3k revs in order to avoid lugging the transmission.
At 30mph this equates to 2nd gear, you may not be getting slack in the transmission but the power pulses going into the U.J. will be pretty wearing.

I was hoping for the old ‘they all do that’! Good point re the power pulsing. So much for mechanical sympathy, eh!! Not that I do that too often, it was more an illustration of the fact that the gearbox seems to perform without issue much of the time. No false neutrals; all gears go in clean etc.
Now I’m concerned about the UJ.

My Stone howls in fifth, not uncommon I believe. I don’t worry about it, never use fifth below 70/75 mph. So not very often.
Never go below 40 in fourth, never below 30 in third. Second is the “correct” gear at 30.
Bike (and gearbox) have around 75k miles, replaced the UJ at about 50k. The right side swing arm bearing seal and bearing had failed allowing water ingress hence damaged UJ or it would have lasted longer.

Planning to do a full rebuild in the next year or two and will get the box reconditioned by NBS, so I guess I’ll find out then.

Check the UJ, Keep the gearbox oil good ( I use redline shockproof heavy) keep the revs up and don’t worry.

Guzzis are not Harleys and do not enjoy lugging, although they will dutifully do it if asked.
All the best,

to put your mind aT REST, change the gearbox oil just to make sure your using the wright grade. unless you now what oil is in the box, and you will get gear whine in top (5th) I have a 1100i cali (its me 3rd) and thay have all had whine in top,
and thay don’t like being slogd keep her spinning,

Good advice, all welcome, thanks. My experience - I’ve had the bike 3 years now - bears out what has been said. It definitely isn’t a Harley, and is happiest revving it’s big heart out. 3,000 rpm in 2nd seems quite brutal around town so I find myself compromising with a bit over 2,000 in 3rd just to stop people staring.

What he said

Mines a carby like yours and really dosn’t like pulling high gears at low revs - but it does take a bit of getting used to

I use my 5 th gear as an overdrive but not until i am in around the 60 mph , it will chug and not burning fuel properly so in 4 th it will go for miles nice and happy . I have two 1100 i 96/97 both clunk into second gear and after that going up or down no problems . One has been rebuilt by NBS and still clunks!