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I was at my neighborhood harley dealer today, and a they started and moved a couple of new bikes. As I listened to them, some have virtually quiet engines - and some have more of a swishing sewing machine sound. (I'm not talking about exhaust sound)

My question is this; are some motors just a lot quieter than others? or do the Balanced motors tend to make more of the swish sound - than non-balanced motors because of the balance shafts...?
 

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Probably . They weigh more and are more complex , thus produce less horsepower and have a very pronounced & uncomfortable buzz at high RPM's .
But they are smoother with less vibration at lower RPM's . Everything has its trade-offs .
 

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You can hear the balancer if you know EXACTLY what you are listening for. I know it only because I spent a lot of time with my engine stethoscope and my Heritage. It's pretty subtle. I'd be surprised if it was obvious on a showroom floor.
 
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