bike not downshifting smoothly - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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bike not downshifting smoothly

It upshifts fine. Clutch feels good. Got caught in traffic and bike got pretty hot. When I downshift, it doesn't want to go more than one gear without rolling in each gear for a while, ad it takes more than normal force to downshift.

Changed oil 500 miles ago. Level looks good. Any ideas?

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 07:35 PM
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what oil?

Sounds like a clutch adjustment issue followed by a chain adjustment issue.

The clutch lever should have 2-3mm of free play (when pulling gently) before it feels taught.

The chain should have 1-1.4" of free play at it's tightest spot.

Those are off the top of my head so don't quote me. Pretty sure I'm close.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Mobil 1 10W40. Why would that only affect downshifts? When starting from a standstill I have to release the lever a normal amount prior to the bike moving forward.

Anything else?

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 08:16 PM
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It's not really the amount you release the lever, it's how much play the lever has in it. You don't need to ride the bike to check it. Get on the bike, and gently pull on the clutch lever. It should yield a very small amount before it actually makes the cable taught and the clutch begins disengaging.

This free play should be about 2mm cold, when measuring the gap at the front of the lever. You can feel it though. Do not push forward on the lever to measure, just pull it once and let it return to rest before checking.

The adjustment is made by tightening or loosening the adjuster screw attached to the perch.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 08:38 PM
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Nice Guzzi. About your shifting problem, I don't have a clue. Hope that helps.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Yes. There is the normal slack in the cable. It only started hard downshifting after sitting in traffic. I guess I will see how it shifts in the morning. Might have to interstate the rest of the ride (yuck!), to minimize downshifts.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 09:34 PM
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You can change up without a clutch if you do it smoothly. Changing down it harder. The engine must be totally disengaged with the gearbox. I would double check the cable. Looking more at the moment on the lever at the engine cover. A sticking cable could limit the moment to the clutch. Maybe disconnect it to be sure. After that and given the resent thread about gearboxes, I would check the engine mounts, then oil levels, then chain slack.
Good luck
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 09:40 PM
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I read in one of the forums about a problem with the gear lever being out of adjustment or maybe needing some lube or something which made it hard to change gear, just can't remember what they did to fix it but it was something simple.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 09:49 PM
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Just found it, grease the linkages of the gearshift lever the ball joints.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by lacucaracha View Post
what oil?
...The chain should have 1 - 1.4 inches (25 - 35mm) of free play at it's tightest spot.....
....think you meant to say loosest spot (mid point of chain)
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
....think you meant to say loosest spot (mid point of chain)
Nope, he's right. Your idea would be a tight chain (bad), and you want a loose chain (good.)

The Jap bikes gears are back-cut for upshifting, but it costs extra machining money to forward-cut for down shifting: they aren't going to shift with the same ease. Just be glad they back-cut them (like drag racers do.) The trans is a ilttle funky fishing for gears at red lights, but so what. Spend $300 for forward-cutting them plus a tear down/rebuild ($450.) They will wear down a little by themselves eventually. And cutting them both ways reduces the strength unless enhance the tensile strength by some crystallizing heat process and xray parts for micro-cracks (add another $500+.) It would be nice, but not needed: like they used to tell me in the U.S. Army, "you are worried about the wrong thing," ha ha. Be happy!

I think they bike rocks in gears and is one of the smoothest bikes I have ever ridden (with my modular seat pads of course
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by MaverickAus View Post
I read in one of the forums about a problem with the gear lever being out of adjustment or maybe needing some lube or something which made it hard to change gear, just can't remember what they did to fix it but it was something simple.
Adjust your shifter linkage so that your shifter is further down. It sounds like what's happening is you aren't letting the shift lever completely return between shifts.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ray h View Post
Adjust your shifter linkage so that your shifter is further down. It sounds like what's happening is you aren't letting the shift lever completely return between shifts.
So, after 25,000 miles the shifter now needs adjustment?

So far the consensus is that getting hot had nothing to do with it. I will replace the clutch cable when I get home and see if that helps. Might have to cut this trip short.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 08:08 AM
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It may be that your cable is stretched and is expanding too much when the engine is warm. A replacement would help when the free play is set correctly.

I always set my free play to the tight end of the spec, that way when the bike is warm, you're right in the middle of it and the shifting is smooth. The only thing I could recommend is take note how different that free play feels when the bike is warmed up. Its very small, but pretty easy to tell the difference.

IF:
-You have set the free play as per the manual (~2-3mm cold)

-Adjusted the chain slack measured at the center of the tightest part of your chain (1-1.4") and ensured good wheel alignment (not using swingarm marks)

-Ensured that your levers are not bottoming out on barkbusters or the perch has moved causing contact with the combination switch

-Greased all connections and pivot points under shift boots etc.

-Ensured the shift lever has enough room to operate(had this problem after adding lowering links)

-Tried to break clutch plates apart by popping the clutch with the front wheel against a wall (carefull)

THEN:
I dunno, someone else chime in.

The cable is a good idea, but I guess there could be something like a bent shift rod WORSE CASE SCENARIO.

It's probably something simple. Go through the list and make sure it's all set correctly. Missing a step, or avoiding a recommendation won't fix anything.

best of luck!

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
It upshifts fine. Clutch feels good. Got caught in traffic and bike got pretty hot. When I downshift, it doesn't want to go more than one gear without rolling in each gear for a while, ad it takes more than normal force to downshift.

Changed oil 500 miles ago. Level looks good. Any ideas?
Were you sitting a long time w/ your clutch lever pulled back to the bars? (Clutch 'heating' up?)

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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
So, after 25,000 miles the shifter now needs adjustment?

So far the consensus is that getting hot had nothing to do with it. I will replace the clutch cable when I get home and see if that helps. Might have to cut this trip short.
IF your clutch disengage/ engage point is a long way from the handlebars, I suggest you adjust the cable so that the clutch disengage/ engage point is CLOSER to the bars.


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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
So, after 25,000 miles the shifter now needs adjustment?
The reason I don't think it's the clutch or clutch cable is it up shifts fine and the clutch otherwise feels fine. You said it doesn't downshift without "rolling in a gear". That tells me the trouble happens when you attempt to downshift multiple gears at a time (as in, pull the clutch lever and downshift, downshift, downshift).
Does this describe what's happening (pull the clutch lever and downshift, then the shift lever feels stuck like it won't go anywhere until you let the clutch out and roll in that gear)? Sounds like you aren't letting the shift lever return all the way up before trying to downshift to the next gear. Adjust the shift lever a little lower and see if it goes away. It's cheap (free) and it only takes a few seconds. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong but at least it didn't cost you anything to find out.
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Were you sitting a long time w/ your clutch lever pulled back to the bars? (Clutch 'heating' up?)
Yes. Always ready to move. Never got caught in traffic like that. Had I been alone I would have found a way around it.

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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The reason I don't think it's the clutch or clutch cable is it up shifts fine and the clutch otherwise feels fine. You said it doesn't downshift without "rolling in a gear". That tells me the trouble happens when you attempt to downshift multiple gears at a time (as in, pull the clutch lever and downshift, downshift, downshift).
Does this describe what's happening (pull the clutch lever and downshift, then the shift lever feels stuck like it won't go anywhere until you let the clutch out and roll in that gear)? Sounds like you aren't letting the shift lever return all the way up before trying to downshift to the next gear. Adjust the shift lever a little lower and see if it goes away. It's cheap (free) and it only takes a few seconds. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong but at least it didn't cost you anything to find out.
I took extra care to make sure I lifted my boot today. If I don't Let the clutch lever back out it feels like the shift lever stays down.

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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 09:56 PM
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Yes. Always ready to move. Never got caught in traffic like that. Had I been alone I would have found a way around it.
Aren't these hydraulic clutches? Forgive my ignorance: my manual is at home. I assumed they were and was holding my clutch in too (it's easier than finding neutral every redlight.) Dang, that's a bummer! Race bikes are not as refined due to expenses elsewhere on the bike Yeah, that's not too good to keep doing: I'll have to quit that!
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 01:12 PM
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Aren't these hydraulic clutches? Forgive my ignorance: my manual is at home. I assumed they were and was holding my clutch in too (it's easier than finding neutral every redlight.) Dang, that's a bummer! Race bikes are not as refined due to expenses elsewhere on the bike Yeah, that's not too good to keep doing: I'll have to quit that!
No - IF the clutch was hydraulic there'd be a "master-cylinder" at the clutch perch.

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