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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I have an issue with my 2020 Vulcan 650S, after a ride out last Thursday, it was washed and put away and had nothing at all wrong with it. Come yesterday, it started and was left to warm up, I went down the road and it would go into 2nd gear, only neutral and first were selectable. It's almost like there's something mechanical stopping the movement of the shifter. There's nothing in the way and the rods connecting everythting up are in place and tight.

One thing I wonder about, with me not being able to use my right leg to operate the back brake, I had a thumb brake fitted under the clutch so I could still operate it. This is still in perfect working order, so I'm baffled by the problem.

Could it be something in the gearbox or a microswitch has failed?

Help please.
 

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Hi Juan,
  • Get in line on this one. Kawasaki is going to have to issue a recall on this transmission. There have been thousands of complaints about this very issue on this very unit. Some you will find in here.
  • Kawasaki transmissions incorporate three small (4mm or 5/32") steel balls within the output shaft and the shifting gear (usually 6th) to prevent shifting into any gear above neutral when stopped. These locking balls should throw outward as the output shaft begins to spin and allow the shifting gear to move laterally along the output shaft to engage second gear and beyond. What is causing this to NOT take place is a mystery but it seems to happen even on newer machines with low miles. On solution to this problem is to separate the cases and remove the balls from the transmission assembly.
  • Years ago Suzuki had a similar problem on the RF900 transmission. I don't remember if they issued a recall. They probably didn't since the unit wasn't a legacy machine or that the problem wasn't killing anyone.
  • I would contact the dealer (if new and under contract) and tell them about the problem. And be firm with these people or they will make you feel like you are the cause and the problem. Have them have the district representative contact you and explain why so many people are having this problem. He will ask where you are getting your info from so be ready with an answer.
  • If used or out of warranty period for drivetrain or transmission...well that cost will be on you unless there is a recall issued.
 

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2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S 650 Cafe ABS
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You said you washed it and put away. Lubricate the shift linkage. It's probably just dry and is sticking.
 
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I agree with JerryKVS... several people have had this issue, though usually starts with difficulty downshifting... shift lever doesn't bounce back up, so have to use your toe to pop it up (in your case down?) before you can shift again. But lubing the linkage usually solves it.
Glad to hear you were able to get a rear brake adaptation!!!
 

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I agree with JerryKVS... several people have had this issue, though usually starts with difficulty downshifting... shift lever doesn't bounce back up, so have to use your toe to pop it up (in your case down?) before you can shift again. But lubing the linkage usually solves it.
Glad to hear you were able to get a rear brake adaptation!!!
There was an issue with a gearbox shifter return spring on early models but this was rare. It didn't effect my 2015.
 

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Any progress on this?
  • I mentioned the transmission issue because you stated that you could shift in and out of neutral. With the ability to do that you would be able to move the shift arm which in turn moves the shift drum to change the gear from first to neutral and back. Which would indicate that the linkage is pushing and pulling the shift arm fully enough in either direction to move the shift drum.
  • Your owners manual may have some information about minimum RPMs before being able to shift into 2nd and beyond.
  • The shift pedal pivot joint is honestly the only place where lack of lube in the gear change mechanicals that would keep the shift action from moving. The pedal pivot joint has an oil (grease) seal on both side of the pedal bore. If you intend to lubricate you may as well remove the pedal, clean the pivot shaft and pedal bore, replace the seals if necessary and re-grease the shaft and bore and reassemble.
  • The pivot shaft in this case is a collar over bolt. Make sure the bolt and nut are tight as looseness could cause binding of pedal against support plate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
HI all, I've had a day of medical appointments and not been able to get into the garage to look at the bike, but I shall do tomorrow and will look at what MotoMedic1 has suggested.

Thank you once again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update.

The problem was not something I've ever encountered in my life, the bike would not go into second until the engine had warmed up and could I was not going fast enough for it to allow me to change.

I feel so stupid.

Thank you all for the help.

Alan.
 
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