This Is Why Your Motorcycle Isn’t Shifting Properly

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It can be difficult to ride a motorcycle. It involves smooth control of the clutch, effortless acceleration, steady braking, weight transfers around corners, and smooth control on your clutch. These things can be intimidating for novice riders, but they will soon find a love for motorcycle riding.

Motorcycle riding is more than just checking blind spots and wearing the right protection gear. It also requires constant and frequent maintenance.

Why is my motorcycle not shifting properly? The following conditions can cause a motorcycle to not shift properly: improper chain tension, low clutch fluid or too much slack in the clutch cable. If one of any of these things are present, the rider’s ability to control a motorcycle’s inputs will diminish, and the safety of the rider will be sacrificed.

This article will discuss preventative maintenance and how other things can affect a bike’s ability to shift properly.

There are many reasons to avoid shifting

Diagnosing a bike that hasn’t been shifting properly can be extremely intimidating, but it really shouldn’t be! Only a few professionals are qualified to take apart and rebuild a transmission. Every hobbyist can adjust chain tension, monitor and flush fluid, and maintain proper clutch cable adjustment..

It is important to identify the symptoms when diagnosing a bike that is not shifting properly. The first thing you need to do is ask yourself: Is there any particular noise coming from the bike? Is the clutch not working? Does the clutch not work? Is the bike shaking at low/high speeds? How does it shift when the temperature is above operating temperature? What noises do you hear?

These questions are critical in determining the cause of the problem on your bike so that you can fix it and get it on the road again.

Tension on a chain is the most common problem that riders will encounter that can affect shifting.. This isn’t as pertinent to bikes that are shaft or belt driven, but it’s still a principle that’s important to understand.

When a bike shifts gears it is usually because the clutch is gradually released and the transmission engages a new ratio. Once the next gear is engaged, power is sent out to the front chain shaft, which causes the chain’s rotation at a new speed. The rear wheel then receives the power. This is why chain maintenance is so important to a bike’s function and shifting ability.

If the chain is too tight or loose, the bike will jerk or shudder when the rider switches gears. This could be manifested by a slapping against the swing arm or jerky movements at lower rpms than 3000.

An old Yamaha yzf-6r was a friend of mine. He came to me one day telling me that his motorcycle wasn’t shifting right, and that it didn’t feel like it was running healthy. His first thought was that it was related to his carburetor, so I told him I’d take a look at it.

I requested that he clean and re-lubricate his chain before we went to look. I was pleasantly surprised when he said that his bike was now feeling good again. Keep good care of your chain, and stay up to date with the maintenance that’s manufacturer specific so you don’t run into a similar situation!

Old/low clutch fluid is another common problem that can cause a bike not to shift correctly. Some bikes don’t have hydraulic clutch systems. You should first check what type of system your bike has.

Low fluid levels can cause a number of problems. First, the shifting won’t be very smooth. With low fluid or old fluid that has air in the system, your motorcycle clutch won’t be able to disengage fully before changing gears. This can cause the gears and motor to collide.

If the transmission isn’t maintained properly, it will fail because of a gear clash. To ensure your bike lasts, it is crucial to monitor the maintenance intervals of all fluids. Regular weekend bike tune-ups should include a check of the clutch fluid levels.

Low fluid levels can indicate that the clutch may be wearing down or that there is an issue with the system. To check if fluid is leaking, ensure you are looking at the side of your bike. Sometimes it is as simple as a new seal to fix the leak.

On motorcycles that don’t have a hydraulic clutch lever, they’re going to have a cable style clutch. A bike with old or low clutch fluid will show the same symptoms as one that has its clutch cable adjusted incorrectly. Just like I mentioned above, an improperly adjusted cable can cause serious harm to a bike’s transmission, and proper adjustments should be maintained.

The only difference between the cable-style hydraulic and cable styles is that hydraulic needs to be adjusted occasionally, while hydraulic doesn’t require any adjustment. Motorcycle specific adjustments can be found on forums/handbooks, but they key is to find where your clutch engages/disengages, and making sure that there isn’t too much free-play on either side of that.

Click here for another article that discusses the symptoms and causes of a bad clutch on a motorcycle.

How to Prevent Shifting Problems

It’s important to fix a problem when it arrives, but Properly scheduled maintenance will prevent these problems from ever happening! Online or in motorcycle handbooks, you can find proper intervals. Each bike is unique.

Two motorcycles currently belong to me. One is a Suzuki Vstrom DL1000. The other one is a Triumph TT600. These bikes couldn’t be more different in terms of riding characteristics, and both require different intervals of maintenance. My Triumph has tighter intervals for chain adjustments than my Suzuki. My Suzuki has a hydraulic clutch and my Triumph has a cable type.

Each motorcycle has its own maintenance requirements. You should find out what they are for you bike. A fluid flush or relubrication can help prevent shifting problems. You can find a general guide in our article on how often your motorcycle should be serviced.

Do you think improper shifting is bad for your motorcycle?

This is the quick answer. Incorrect shifting and/or shifting gears when there is a low fluid or bad chain will result in excessive wear that can make it more costly and more difficult to replace.

We shouldn’t be ripping our bike to redline every time we hop on it, or slamming from gear to gear without proper rev-matching if we want our bikes to last a long time. It’s also more important than we make sure we don’t over work any of the components before we give it a chance to warm up.

While the engine, transmission, chain, and tires remain still, slam on the accelerator and accelerate hard. ‘cold’ It can cause severe damage to our bikes and can be extremely dangerous. To be a good motorcycle rider, we must make sure that our riding conditions are as perfect as possible so that we have the best chance of riding for many years.

How to make your Motorcycle Shift Smoother

Incorrect maintenance and technique are major causes of part failures, as well as accidents. We can talk all day about maintenance, and how to diagnose a broken system, and what items to be especially careful about, but there’s more to shifting proper than just that.

It is important to know how to use a clutch correctly and the proper way to shift up and down. You can’t learn how to shift by reading things online, it takes a lot of time and a lot of practice to become good at changing gears, making it something that’s easy to neglect. Knowing how to shift a motorcycle properly will not only increase your bike’s longevity but it is crucial to safe motorcycle riding.

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