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Stuck in First Gear

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by spenze, May 15, 2010.

  1. Noticed this tonight when I had to stop at a level crossing as a train was approaching. I figured I would be there a while so I wanted to leave my bike in neutral. No matter how much pressure I put on the gear lever it would not get out of first.

    When I started moving... still no joy. But when I hit about 30kph it changes piece of cake. I did this a few times shortly after to check if it was a one time thing or not, and I could repeat it every time.

    When I got home, same thing. But when I turn the engine off, I can change gear easy. Start the motor and again, I couldn't get out of first.

    I even tried holding the clutch lever with my right hand and pulling the gear lever with my hand, it wasn't going to move until I stopped the motor.

    I have checked the oil. It's just below full and it looks "clean". (not black or anything).

    I can change through the other gears without problem, even when stationary. It's just getting out of first gear thats a problem.

    Any ideas?
  2. Some bikes (including my old ZZR - Note: you didn't mention what bike you have) have a 'safety' mechanism to stop you from putting the bike into second when stationary.

    That way when you are coming to a stop you can just pop it all the way down to first, and once you stop, click up with full pressure to find neutral (instead of finessing it into neutral like the rest of us ;)). I used to love it - but it made my foot a bit lazy.

    Did it drop into neutral for you, then not go any higher? Or was it actually stuck in gear?
    If it was stuck in gear, sometime a little rock back or forward will let the dogs line up better to pop out of gear.
  3. Sounds like the clutch might be dragging. It's the number one cause of difficulty getting neutral at a standstill. If it is, it shouldn't be a big deal to fix. Just an adjustment issue.
  4. I agree with pat, if you have a hydraulic clutch just try bleeding the lines to make sure theres no air in the lines.
  5. Thanks for the advice. Went out on the Sunday morning ride (just got in, long day) and some other rides volunteered to have a quick look. The unanimous decision was the clutch was "sticking".

    After removing the plastic "thing-ame" covering the cable we found the lock nut was loose. Tightening everything up helped a LOT, but it still needs some work. So I will look closer at it after some rest.

    Thanks again for the valuable input.
  6. Saw it today. It's a cable operated clutch and there was little freeplay in the cable so doubt if it can be adjusted any more.

    Is it due for an oil change soon?
  7. Necessity use to be the mother of invention.

    Now days...

    Necessity is the mother of Googling....

    GS500 Clutch Adjustment

    I will be adjusting all 3 options as soon as I get that clutch adjustment cover off. (it is proving to be a bit tight at the moment)
  8. Bloody drive sprocket cover. When you clean it there will be so much crap in there you wouldn't believe. It's the tightest turn the chain has to make, so any oil or debris on it get flung all over the inside of the case.

    When you put it back on make sure that it bolts down flat, if something gets in the way the clutch will be very far out. Then you'll start swearing because it wasn't that bad before. Plus the mess. Better idea, don't take it off and just pretend its a clean, oil free place.

    Next time I open mine I'm just going to wheel my bike onto the road and spray it with a pressure washer. no more of that brushes, rags and degreaser (kero in my case)

    Seriously, unless they are at the limit, you should be able to get enough adjustment from the screw and lock-nuts at either end of the cable. Very easy to do.

    More visible thread = clutch pickup closer to your finger tips
    Less visible thread = clutch pickup closer to the handlebar
  9. I managed to get the clutch adjustment cover off eventually.

    I turned everything to their stops, to the point that I could put it in first gear and let the clutch out and it wouldn't take off. However, the clutch was still dragging!

    So I adjusted everything as best I could to get it smooth and now I can change gears easier and the clutch lever doesn't need the strength of Sampson / The Hulk / Superman / [insert favourite strong man] to operate anymore.

    After a considerable amount of Googling it looks to be a rather common occurrence, albeit an expensive one.... new drive/friction plates for the clutch.

    Will be hitting up SpotOn (where I bought it) for a free fix.