Can't get into first gear - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Can't get into first gear

Good news: Bike seems to be firing up just fine now (holding the starter for about one full second). I suspect the issue was bad fuel, as I was running the same tank of gas that the bike came with when I purchased it in October. Took her out for a ride yesterday (with a lengthy start), and the low fuel light came on and I filled up with 93. This morning, she fired up quickly. Will see if that sticks around.

Bad news: Twice during today's ride the bike just wouldn't go into first from second, wouldn't even go into neutral. Both times, the only way I got into first was rolling the bike forwards until she'd kick down into first. How common is this on the 919, or motorcycles in general? Twice in one ride seems way too much for my comfort level. Also can't get over how clunky shifts feel. I make a conscious effort to put some extra mustard on all my shifts because I really dislike the feeling of missing a shift or worse, finding neutral instead of second. But sometimes the shift just feel like running my foot through a bucket of gravel. Once in a while, it feels fine. Anyone have the "magic rpm" where upshifts are smooth for each gear?

Al
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 06:36 PM
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Ur clutch cable stretched a little. Back out the barrel adjuster a turn or two by the clutch lever and u should be good

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post #3 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 06:46 PM
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What I do is look at the lever on the clutch cover. Start the bike, put it into 1st and see where the clutch starts to grab. You can use the lever on the clutch cover or the hand lever. Set it where you want, but make sure you have full movement so it's not rubbing while open.

You can use 1/3 as a guide... The clutch should start to grab when you release the lever about 1/3 of the way and should be fully released (look at tension on the clutch cover lever) before you run out of lever travel.

Yours should be a simple adjustment like nathanktm said. BTW, it's a good time to put a dab of grease on the end inside the lever, they tend to get water/dirt in there. A quick clean, lube, adjust every year isn't a bad idea.

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post #4 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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I did fiddle a bit with the levers when I swapped out the bars. Maybe I went overboard on the clutch adjustment. Although IIRC the clutch does engage about 1/3 of the way through its release travel. I'd prefer is engage a little further out honestly - I feel the clutch pull is quite long as it is. Thanks folks.

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post #5 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahung12 View Post
I did fiddle a bit with the levers when I swapped out the bars. Maybe I went overboard on the clutch adjustment. Although IIRC the clutch does engage about 1/3 of the way through its release travel. I'd prefer is engage a little further out honestly - I feel the clutch pull is quite long as it is. Thanks folks.
Do you remove and/or change the shift linkage?
You may be (also?)dealing with actuating arms relative misalignment, as in the centrelines through the two pivots of each arm not being parallel.

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post #6 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 09:17 PM
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Dumb question. When was the oil last changed? If as you say it had 4,000 miles on it when you got it, and you did not change the oil immediately there is every possibility it has the original oil in it after 13 years. If this is the case it could explain the shifting problem, plus a lot of other problems in the not too distant future.

From your description of the trans problem it sounds like you are coasting to a stop in whatever gear it was in before the necessity of coming to a stop became apparent, then dancing on the shift lever to get down to first. This almost inevitably gets the trans in a blocked condition which is alleviated when you roll the bike forward. Just conjecture on my part, but on the assumption that it's an accurate description of your riding I strongly recommend downshifting while slowing. It has many benefits, not the least of which is if you find yourself in a situation where you have to accelerate to avoid ... whatever is happening around you ... you are in an appropriate gear to do so.

My recommendation (other than what I have already put forth) is stop concentrating on modifications and focus on refining your basic riding skills. The long term benefits are incalculable.

Rob

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On the other hand, if it has not been done never assume it is impossible to do it.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-21-2017, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Mcromo: I didn't mess with the shift linkage. When you say misalignment of the actuating arms, are you talking about these points? What could cause them to be out of alignment, or otherwise change from factory positions?

Robtharalson: No idea. Bike was sold with no service history, so its possible the transmission oil was never changed, or any of the bike's flluids for that matter. Sounds like I should make this a priority? Indeed I'm coasting to stops but I clutch in and as the bike rolls I push down through the gears and always try to get into first before I have to put my feet down. I don't feel like I'm at the point yet where I can rev-match my downshifts, and don't like the feeling/idea of downshifting without matching revs (from my days of driving stick shift). IIRC bike clutches are different and are made to slip right, so might it be OK for me to downshift without rev matching as long as engine RPM is low, like around 1500rpm?
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-21-2017, 10:26 AM
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There's no transmission oil, the motor oil is all in one. Lubricates engine, clutch and transmission. On these bikes, anyways. Coasting to stops is fine. But yeah, you can easily take a look at the oil sight glass and peek at what oil the oil is, along with the level. I know for a fact that my bike on fresh oil shifts like butter, to the point the first few hundred miles it slips out of first sometimes

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post #9 of 14 Old 04-21-2017, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahung12 View Post
Robtharalson: No idea. Bike was sold with no service history, so its possible the transmission oil was never changed, or any of the bike's flluids for that matter. Sounds like I should make this a priority?
Absolutely! At the very least you will know when it was changed instead of guessing. That, and it is infinitely preferable to spun rod bearings.
Quote:
Indeed I'm coasting to stops but I clutch in and as the bike rolls I push down through the gears and always try to get into first before I have to put my feet down. I don't feel like I'm at the point yet where I can rev-match my downshifts, and don't like the feeling/idea of downshifting without matching revs (from my days of driving stick shift). IIRC bike clutches are different and are made to slip right, so might it be OK for me to downshift without rev matching as long as engine RPM is low, like around 1500rpm?
Only if it is equipped with a "slipper clutch", also referred to as a "back torque limiting clutch" which will allow some slippage during deceleration to prevent sliding the rear wheel. The 919 is not so equipped, so you will have to do it yourself by slipping the clutch and / or matching revs, which I recommend be used at all times. Go here for a better understanding of the finer points of shifting a motorcycle trans as opposed to a car: https://www.wristtwisters.com/forums/...ml#post1181137

Have you taken an MSF beginner riding course? It really does help with the finer points of operation of a motorcycle, which it does sound like you need.

Rob
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If it has already been done, it is safe to assume it is possible to do it.
On the other hand, if it has not been done never assume it is impossible to do it.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-21-2017, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahung12 View Post
Indeed I'm coasting to stops but I clutch in and as the bike rolls I push down through the gears and always try to get into first before I have to put my feet down. I don't feel like I'm at the point yet where I can rev-match my downshifts, and don't like the feeling/idea of downshifting without matching revs (from my days of driving stick shift).\
Trying to go down more than a gear at a time without letting the clutch out could be causing your problem. When you're downshifting to decelerate you don't necessarily need to rev match as long as you aren't screaming the RPM's... usually I'll downshift, brake a little to slow my speed, then let the clutch out, and repeat through the gears. Even just lightly letting the clutch out will engage the gear and allow you to shift into the next one. If you're just coasting with the clutch in trying to shift down 4 gears likely won't work.

Love is the feeling you get when you like something as much as your motorcycle - Hunter S. Thompson
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post #11 of 14 Old 04-21-2017, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmoon692008 View Post
Trying to go down more than a gear at a time without letting the clutch out could be causing your problem. When you're downshifting to decelerate you don't necessarily need to rev match as long as you aren't screaming the RPM's... usually I'll downshift, brake a little to slow my speed, then let the clutch out, and repeat through the gears. Even just lightly letting the clutch out will engage the gear and allow you to shift into the next one. If you're just coasting with the clutch in trying to shift down 4 gears likely won't work.
I've shifted down 4 gears without engaging the clutch many times. That's not the issue. Ron, Mcromo, and others are spot on.

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post #12 of 14 Old 04-21-2017, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahung12 View Post
Mcromo:
1
I didn't mess with the shift linkage.
2
When you say misalignment of the actuating arms, are you talking about these points?
3
What could cause them to be out of alignment, or otherwise change from factory positions?
1
Someone before you might have.
2
Yes
3
A
Someone removing the linkage, perhaps to change the chain, and not putting it back on with the input shaft arm in the right position, not knowing what is wrong, then playing with the actuating rod length to get the shift tang back where it was before.
B
Someone excessively changing the height of the shifter tang, perhaps for a high toe box boot or a really low profile running shoe, and just using the actuating rod length to get the change.

My son's first ever engine job was a GSXR600.
Stripped down to the last nut and bolt.
After the engine was in the frame, with chain and rear wheel on, I told him to check the gearbox for shifting by making sure it would index nicely in all 6 gears plus find neutral easily.
Uh oh......... it didn't work.
He was ready to weep, thinking it all had to come apart again.
I suggested he look at his linkage...................
The upper arm was out of position on the input shaft.
That took care of it.
In other words, it's a real problem that can cause trouble, and few know about it.

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post #13 of 14 Old 04-25-2017, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pvster View Post
I've shifted down 4 gears without engaging the clutch many times. That's not the issue. Ron, Mcromo, and others are spot on.
Can confirm... Tried it this morning and it worked fine... guess I don't know what the hell I'm talking about...

Love is the feeling you get when you like something as much as your motorcycle - Hunter S. Thompson
I just mı̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̨ade you wipe your screen.
-2009 Suzuki GSX-R 750 Race Bike
-2007 Honda 919
-1995 Nighthawk 750 (Tboned)
-1983 KZ 440 (Sold)
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post #14 of 14 Old 04-25-2017, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by badmoon692008 View Post
Can confirm... Tried it this morning and it worked fine... guess I don't know what the hell I'm talking about...
No it's not that. Just have to learn how and where the 919 shines which is a bit strange. The harder you ride it and the more load you put on it, the better it shifts and responds to gear changes.

I didn't really grasp that until my first track day. From there on out I sifted and rode differently. Didn't really shift below 4k rpms in most situations.

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