Hard to shift? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-25-2017, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Hard to shift?

Maybe I'm missing something, and I was hoping some of the more experienced and knowledgeable folks in here might be able to point me in the right direction.

Bike: 2010 Vulcan 900 Custom
Problem: when she's cold, she's a dream to ride (except when the high-idle goes all stupid), but after about 10-20 minutes of riding, downshifting seems like is fighting me, and neutral is almost impossible. I've flattened the toe of my boot, and used all the muscle I could muster in my leg to try that one little half click up from first. Nothing. Won't budge. Not the first time, either. Kill the engine, and it works fine... I've already bent the shaft once due to the downshift issue, but neutral should pull, not push. I'm lost, but I'd rather it not kill me...
Any ideas?

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Last edited by Misfire; 05-25-2017 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Autocorrect...
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 08:36 AM
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Are you doing this downshifting while still moving or at a complete stop?


Jeff, Twin Cities, MN


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Mostly rolling. Once or twice at a stop.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-27-2017, 10:16 PM
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Sounds like a clutch adjustment is in order...don't fight the shifter - that'll bend & break stuff.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I've adjusted the clutch a few times since replacing the cable due to a little stretching, but my sweetspot doesn't start until about a quarter inch off the grip... It's in specs for the model as well... So I'm not sure what to adjust outside of that...

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 08:16 PM
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You might, just might, try a different oil.
It might be dragging more in the plates of the clutch when it gets hot, even with the lever pulled in. You might have to adjust it a bit more if you have a lot of miles on the clutch.
Does it happen in all of the downshifts or just some?
5-4
4-3
3-2
2-1
2-N
1-N

Last edited by westcoastkevin; 05-30-2017 at 10:40 PM.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 12:16 AM
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Hey Misfire, I am going by "memory" here - but - it seems to me that if you are getting "into the sweet spot" for the clutch engagement at 1/4 inch off the grip - that is too soon...I would say my clutch isn't even thinking about engaging that early - more like 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch before I get any drag on the clutch...not doing this scientifically - but its more than 1/4 inch off the grip, for sure.

I'm not sure why you have had to re-adjust your clutch lever so often - you say its because you are getting "a little stretching" on a new clutch cable...wow...I think I have adjusted my clutch lever free play once in 12,000km, and that was at around 1,000km from new. Nothing since.

Having not seen/ridden your bike, I'd be thinking you have too much free play in the cable. It is suppose to be 2-3mm gap when you take-up the slack in the cable...you know how to do this measurement, right? Do you have a service manual?

At the end of the day, if you are using the correct oil (I'm assuming you have motorcycle oil in the bike), have triple-checked your clutch lever free play according to the service manual, and you still cannot down-shift or find neutral, then your trouble could be in the shift mechanism, shift fork, return spring, or shift pawl. You'll need to test those parts using the service manual.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 09:27 PM
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What oil do you run? Is it old?
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2017, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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The oil makes sense. It's due for a change, add it stands. Haven't been riding much add of the past couple weeks... Nothing but rain and work. 3-2 and 2-1 on occasion, but the worst one I'd say I'd 1-N...
I think I used standard oil on the last oil change... Soon as the weather clears up, I'll get to a flat surface and try bike oil again this round and see if it clears up.
Lastly, I've got it adjusted correctly by the book. And by quarter inch, I meant free play, not cable drag to the sweet spot.

Thanks a ton folks...

Sometimes you find diamonds in the ashes of your previous endeavors and losses.

Last edited by Misfire; 06-02-2017 at 09:21 PM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2017, 08:09 AM
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If your clutch lever freeplay is correct, you should be getting into the friction zone earlier and achieving full disengagement earlier in the pull.
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