Hammered shifting - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hammered shifting

I have over 3500km on my V now and I love this bike except for one annoying problem that I canít seem to remedy. Shifting the bike from neutral into first always produces a very loud and unnerving ďclunkĒ. Itís like some one taking a hammer to the engine casing. Lately Iíve taken to rolling the bike slightly forward from a dead stop before putting into first and it seems to ease the clunking somewhat.

After reading similar posts on this forum, I had hoped that after time the tranny would break-in a bit and the clunking and lunging would ease, but it is still there; especially when the engine heats up in stop and go traffic. Iíve tried adjusting the clutch cable and playing with the different lever positions; I have even recently changed oil in the hopes that expensive Amsoil 10W40 ($40 CDN for 2L) would help, but it is still there. The dealer tells me that it is ďnormalĒ and that all Kawasaki transmissions are noisy and clunky. I had a Concours 1000 and a KLR 650 and they too had a noisy neutral to first shifting, however I donít recall it being as bad or aggressive as the Versys.

Iím worried that these hard shifts are damaging the dogs on the drive gear and that eventually this will lead serious transmission problems (of course after the warranty has expired). Has anyone ever had any serious transmission problems with the Versys? To the best of anyoneís knowledge has Kawasaki ever made a statement regarding the noisy transmission? Am I just paranoid, or should I go back to losing sleep over real issues like the economy, the dying environment, swine flu or any other pending global doom?

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Old 05-03-2009, 11:18 PM
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Is your idle speed at 1300 rpm? Is your chain tension between 1.0" and 1.4" with rear suspension fully extended?
By the way, you can get 2 quarts of Amsoil synthetic 10W-40 MCF oil for $26.03 USD ($30.75 Cdn), or a case of 12 quarts for $112.39 USD ($132.76 Cdn), all taxes and shipping fees included, from Canadian warehouse (no brokerage fees or extra shipping) to your door in a couple days, through http://www.woodsbrosracing.com/amsoil-online-store.htm (Over 20% off US prices. Enter secret promo code, email and state or province for instant quote.)

Last edited by invader; 05-04-2009 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:14 AM
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G'day Moflow,I wouldnt worry about the 'klunk',mines the same & its never been any different from new and after 13500km's never changed. It does sound harsh eh? but the klunk comes from the fact Kwakas have a positive neutral finder,when you come to a stop in first gear you can only change to neutral but not to any other gear until you start moving again.
It used to bother me a little but it's just a part of the gearbox's "character".
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:19 AM
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It's not always possible to do this but I find if I release the brakes before I shift into first from neutral the clunk and herky-jerky motion are lessened. I wouldn't worry about the effects this is having on the transmission. I think there are far greater stresses put on the transmission during normal driving conditions, accelerating and decelerating. As you said, global warming and species extinction are the things that keep me awake at night (as well as work problems, of course)! It's nice riding down in the Adirondacks, isn't it? Bet there were a lot of bikes about. I too see very few Versys' on the roads.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. My chain has about 1.0" of slack at the tightest point and I've actually adjusted the idle lower to about 1100rpm because at 1300rpm the clunking and lunging is worse. Thanks for the the link to the discount Amsoil. I bought mine at Canadian Tire because I still had some gift certificates left over from Christmas. It's still too soon to see if it makes a difference, but it won't hurt.

After spending half the night searching this site and reading any posts on transmission problems, it would seem that the clunk is more common than I thought. I guess I'll just have to forget about it and hope nothing goes wrong. Just to see what if anything they might say, I'll write to Kawasaki Canada to see what their reply may be.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:29 AM
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I think the clunk is quite normal... but if it is excessive, or you find it is not dropping into gear easily, it might be that a slight clutch adjustment is in order.

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Old 05-04-2009, 09:45 AM
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It's because of the clutch dragging slightly. All wet clutches do this to a certain extent, especially in cooler weather. It's caused by the plates sticking together while parked overnight. Just pull the clutch in and blip the throttle a couple of times to break them loose, and first gear will then engage without much more than a click.
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:04 AM
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I believe it's normal, too. Have seen similar behavior on my friend's 2008 Z1000.

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:22 AM
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My FJR had a clunk into 1st that was far worse than the V. Holding in the clutch for an extra 30 secs or so helped but it was still a lot worse than the V. The FJR was so loud that I hated to put it into neutral at a stop light because heads would turn when I put it into gear.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:43 PM
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My SV650 used to do that frequently too. I think it's pretty common on most bikes.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:04 AM
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My V does it also...In the habit of doing the up to 2nd and down to first shuffle at stop lights...Seems to help

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Old 05-16-2009, 04:55 AM
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I'm with Versuvius on this. It's quieter and less lungy (is that a word?) if I'm not holding the brakes on.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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As a follow up, a few weeks ago I changed the oil to Amsoil 10W40 full synthetic motorcycle oil. Initially it seemed to make no difference, now after about 500km the oil seems to have worked its way into the clutch plates and the heavy clunking is almost gone when the engine is cold to warm. However in stop and go traffic or on really hot days, shift from neutral to first can still sometimes produce such a loud clunk that it still makes me cringe. All other shifts up or down are very smooth, so I guess I'll just have to learn to live with it and maybe with more millage the heavy clunking into first will deminish.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:45 PM
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Make sure you chain is adjusted and switch to 100% synthetic oil. The clunk is from the clutch disks being slightly stuck to each other when your engine is cold. You can also try pulling on the clutch lever a few times when in neutral and running (get some oil between the clutch disks) as well as backing the bike up while sitting on it just before you put it in gear. It takes the slack out of the chain. Something else you can do it park it in 1st and when you get on it for the next ride pull in the clutch to start it.

Originally Posted by moflow View Post
However in stop and go traffic or on really hot days, shift from neutral to first can still sometimes produce such a loud clunk that it still makes me cringe. .
I wouldnt be shifting the bike into neutral EVER unless you are done riding. Putting the bike in neutral in traffic is a bad habit.

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Old 05-31-2009, 07:24 AM
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My does the same. I always start it up in first, so there is no clunk. It might help to do a couple of quick revs and then put it in gear.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:46 AM
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Talk about clunky starts!

I usually hold the bike from rolling at long
lights with the front brake. So if I need
to use my left hand to open my visor if
it's fogging in cold weather, or for some
air in hot, or to talk to a riding buddy,
I use my left hand. Oops. Can't, because
it's in gear. Oh well, maybe it will clear
once I get moving again. Who needs to
see? (Ha ha, never is a long time...)
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:08 AM
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For the first shifting for the day, it's pretty chucky and loud.

After the engine oil gets churning hot and it's circulations complete, the gear shifting pretty smooth and not so noisy. It's quite normal.

Smooth shifting requires practise not to upset the chassis when on the move.
Shifting up while accelarating is easy but shifting down without jerks, well that's Class...

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Old 06-26-2009, 05:00 PM
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I have an 08 with about 6500 miles. It clunks on every shift. It seems to shift better if I speed shift as fast as I can. It still doesn't feel right.
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Old 06-26-2009, 05:31 PM
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Lower the idle, there is not reason to be at the 1250 range. Put it down to 900 or so when warmed up. that helped mine out a bunch and the longer you hold the clutch in the better..

My .02
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:52 PM
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I would not recommend lowing the idle speed.

Here is a thread from earlier this year:

While I can't prove it, I'm reasonably sure that my very low idle speed was responsible for this problem. In summary, I moved my idle speed up to the recommended 1250 RPM and I've never had a stall since.

Having said that, it your motorcycle, if you're comfortable with a 900 RPM idle speed, go for it.


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