Angi the Biker Chick

Friday, September 15, 2006
  A new learned trick
I seem to have a thing for getting motorcycles with sloppy shifting problems. My Vulcan would slip into neutral when I was trying to shift up to 2nd or down to 1st. I got really good at shifting up two gears so it would either slip into neutral and then into 2nd, or it would hit 2nd then 3rd and I would just chug along in 3rd.

Some of you may be cringing at this, but I asked my mechanic about it and he said Vulcan 500's had sloppy shifting and there wasn't anything I could really do except learn how to deal with it.

So now I have a Honda Shadow ACE, and while it too will slip into neutral, it has a few other annoying quirks of its own. It will slip out of gear if I don't flip it hard enough into gear. It will also not switch gears if I don't get it solid in gear. I will be in 2nd and try to shift up to 3rd, and nothin'. The gear shift will toe up okay, but it won't engage the gear change. I have to roll off the throttle real fast and then roll on, and then change gears. Not very cool sounding... nor is it very cool looking to be crusin at 40 and suddenly have your bike drop out of 4th into 3rd and you get all jerked around. Not cool at all.

So I once again ask my mechanic and log onto the Honda Shadow forums and come to find that Shadows are also known for having a bad shift mechanism. I was told to try and move my shift lever back and the added leverage of having it nearer the peg and closer to my toe usually (I don't like how they used the word usually) gives it the extra kick it needs to get into gear properly.


I figured out this one on my own... I can NOT use the clutch. For some reason the little tiny extra bit of resistance from not using the clutch seems to get the bike into gear. Who-da thunk it?

I know I can harm my bike from doing this, but I can feel and hear when it is time to switch gears, and my new mechanic (Mach One!) said he didn't notice any unusual wear on the clutch or the transmission.

I did want some input on it though. What do you all think? Do you even use your clutch to shift gears? I still use it to shift down, just not up.

Anyway, thanks all!
Well, you will get different views, but having ridden 2 wheels the last 25 odd years, not using the clutch can cause some issues with the shift forks wearing prematurely. I'd have your clutch looked at, it may not be releasing properly, but I imagine the shop checked your clutch play. Some bikes have their little issues, MY KLR 650 has a few, but nothing that can't be adapted to. Have fun on your rides, stay safe and always, always ATGATT
In Lee Parks' book Total Control, he advocates clutchless shifting for high performance riding. Full Throttle, preload the shift lever and the reduce the throttle to half, the gear should snick into the next.
I would not recommend clutchless shifting - I'm not too sure on the Shadow ACE but with the VTX the transmission oil is also the engine oil. The down point with this is that IF you do damage a gear and metal is lost into the oil (I believe that most
Honda cruiser gears are straight cut and not helical, so harder to mesh but stronger) then this may make it's way into the motor and cause serious damage.

I changed clutchless for a few weeks unitl this was pointed out to me. I then decided that it was probably not worth it.
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Name: AngiPants
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