New 2012 Nomad - Shifter Clunk / Shift Points - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Question New 2012 Nomad - Shifter Clunk / Shift Points

Picked up a new 2012 Nomad on Monday. Midlife here, got my endorsement in 2011 and have 1994 Honda Magna 750 for "starter". Picked the Nomad for no frills 2-up comfort. A couple questions for experienced KVN riders: 1) I was surprised there is no tach (didn't even think about it when I arranged purchase), and with different engine sound and feel trying to figure out ideal speed for shifts. Owners manual seems ridiculously low (12mph for 2nd? 48mph for 6th gear?) or is that a good "rule of thumb"? 2) Shifter mechanism feels / sounds clunky and takes more effort than I'd like -- is this a break-in thing or can dealer make adjustments after I get some more miles on it? Thanks in advance. Send some warm weather to Michigan please!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by fredder9 View Post
Picked up a new 2012 Nomad on Monday. Midlife here, got my endorsement in 2011 and have 1994 Honda Magna 750 for "starter". Picked the Nomad for no frills 2-up comfort. A couple questions for experienced KVN riders: 1) I was surprised there is no tach (didn't even think about it when I arranged purchase), and with different engine sound and feel trying to figure out ideal speed for shifts. Owners manual seems ridiculously low (12mph for 2nd? 48mph for 6th gear?) or is that a good "rule of thumb"? 2) Shifter mechanism feels / sounds clunky and takes more effort than I'd like -- is this a break-in thing or can dealer make adjustments after I get some more miles on it? Thanks in advance. Send some warm weather to Michigan please!
The owners' manual shift points will give you better mileage and quieter shifting, but not the best power. The 1700 tranny is notoriously loud and clunky from 1st to 2nd, and a bit quieter to each successive gear. I find that short-shifting from 1st to 2nd is the best way to keep the tranny quiet.

The 2012 is supposed to have a "redesigned" tranny with smoother/quieter shifting, but it may still be louder than you are used to, especially if you are coming from a Magna.
I had a VTX1800R which also had a loud 1st to 2nd Clunk, so I am somewhat used to the problem.

Some have found that, after break-in, changing to a good synthetic like Rotella T6 (or similar) will quiet the shifting, but usually just temporarily until the oil molecules are sheared by the straight-cut, "rock crusher" gears found in the 1700.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 03:29 PM
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Congrats on the purchase. Where are you from? Someone just bought a nomad from my dealer a few days before I picked up my Vaquero. Anyway a good rule of thumb for break in if you do it per kawasakis method is shift at every 10 miles. IE: 2nd @ 20, 3rd @ 30 and so on. Even those speeds are pretty low. 2nd will take you close to 70 at redline. The gears are pretty tall. The nomad has plenty of grunt for a 835lb bike. The clunky tranny is normal.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 03:38 PM
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Another thing that might help is to "preload" the shifter. I came to my 1600 and that little change made everything seamless.

When ready to shift (say up a gear with your heel) don't just pull in the clutch and jab at it. As you pull in the clutch, put just a little pressure on your heel. Then, just a bit more pressure and it should snick right in.

Same thing with down shifting except you are pressing with your toe just a little, then a little more and snick right in.

Try it. It became second nature to me quickly. Now I have a connie with only a toe shifter and sometimes notice I still do the same thing.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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captj3: I live just outside of Monroe, MI near the Ohio border along I-75 in a small town. Thanks will try the 10mph method at least for my break-in period. Engine sound is so different it just seems to lag when gear re-engaged -- but I may be too light on the throttle at the moment too.

Angelo: Thanks for the pre-load thought -- will definitely try that to see how it feels. Funny I work in trans business for Ford so I definitely pay attention to trans related stuff. Going in, I had read about gear geometry in the Nomad and some about the clunkiness but just so different from what I'm used to so far!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 04:41 PM
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I find that if I rev her a little higher, it shifts a little quieter........could be the Cobra pipes tho :-) Every one of these big V Twin's has it's own individual sound/character and you get used to it. I don't even notice the clunk from 1st to 2nd anymore. Enjoy the new ride.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 05:40 PM
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If you preload, slight pressure on the shifter and raise the rpms slightly just before the shift it takes pressure off thge drivetrain allowing it to drop into the slot.
Takes a while to get used to shifting these things but after a while you can get real smooth.
Ride it for a while alone so you jerk it around and find where it's happy without the " why are you doing that" in your ear.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 08:32 PM
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I ride a 2010 Nomad and in the begining I was in the same boat you're in now. One of the kind gents on this forum gave me some approximate points of reference, which were that 45mph in 4th gear and 55mph in 5th gear both are roughly equal to 2500rpm. I finally broke down and bought a factory tach about a year ago and wished I had done it sooner. Give yourself some time to get used to the Nomad, you will find the sweet spots by the seat of your pants and the sounds the bike is making.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 01:41 AM
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Fredder9, if you have not done it yet look at the top of your rear shocks and if they are set on two move them up to three it will take some of that land yacht float out of the suspension.

Hammer's rock crusher analogy is dead on, back in the day I had a gto and an impala ss with rock crushers in them and they sounded awful but they never quit. By the way I am running T6 in my 09 Nomad right now and it did not help the clunky shift.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 07:48 AM
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I got my 2012 Nomad in October and have put on just over 7500 miles since then.

First off, the Nomads got a very clunky shifter. This is no sportbike shifter here! Think 18 wheeler! You will get used to it.

Second, The shift points in your manual are rubbish! If you shift at these points you will be lugging the crap out your engine. You will never, and I repeat never, over rev your engine! You simply won't be crazy enough to abuse your bike that much. As an example the last time I really was able to wail on my bike without getting a ticket, I shifted into 4th gear at 80 mph! And I was not topped out in 3rd. I suggest you shift at least 5 mph over the recommendations to start with. Just remember, if you need to accelerate you will need to downshift, as you will be pretty close to lugging at those speeds.

This bike has plenty of power for most anybody. But you need to let her rev to do it. Do some experimenting. You will be pleasantly surprised!

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