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Discussion Starter #1
Sometimes when I go to shift from 1 to 2 with my heel it doesn't want to go in and I'll accidentally put it in neutral. And when it does go into 2 from 1 it doesn't feel smooth. Is there an adjustment for that? Thanks guys.
 

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I have a new-to-me '01 1500 Classic FI and I too was having this problem at first. Since I pulled the baffles from the exhaust and can therefore hear it much better, I haven't had it go into neutral since then. However, it does seem to sort of "ratchet" into second fairly often. It seems like a very awkward shift to me as second gear is soooo much higher than first.

The only way I've been able to make it smoother is to hold the clutch in longer, let the RPMs drop as much as possible before shifting. Unfortunately that allows the bike to slow down enough to make it chug once I let the clutch out in second.

Is this bike new to you? Or is this something that's just started happening?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I bought it from my brother. It has 12,000 miles on it, and I just started riding it when the weather is nice. It's not a major problem, but I wanted to see if there was an easy fix.
 

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maybe that heel shifter rod that attaches at the shaft needs an adjustment, you might have to remove the floorboard and re-position the rod a bit
 

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This is a common characteristic of the bigger vulcans. I had the same issue 'til I was told of the correct technique: As you accelerate in 1st, press down with your heel to take all the "slack" out of the shifter (gently, you're not shifting yet). When you are ready to make the shift, just firmly press down with your heel.....don't stomp or feel like you're forcing the shift.....just make a firm shift. Practice this and you'll be amazed how smoothly the trans works.
 

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I've experienced the same thing. Thanks for the advice Trapper...I'm going to try that!
 

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My thoughts:

1. 1-2 upshift can be balky because of neutral finder.
2. What you do NOT want to do is force that shift at any time. This can lead to gear grinding and jumping out of gear.
3. Heal shifter makes it soooo easy to stomp/force this shift.
4. What I did was to remove heal shifter and adjust toe shifter for better access to same.
5. Your toes have much more sensitivity, and less power, to enable this shift to be completed without missing and grinding which can cause transmission damage.
 

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The 1500's have a positive neutral finder (transmission is not supposed to shift from 1st to 2nd while the bike is stopped - it should only go into neutral) - not sure if that has anything to do with what you're experiencing or not.
 

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What happens if you use too much pressure? Is there any risk in wearing anything down?
There is a risk of bending a shifter fork in the transmission if you repeatedly stomp on the heel shifter too hard. The bent shifter forks were a bigger problem in the BUBFs between first and second gear, but the Nomads and Classics can get bent forks if shifted too hard over time.

Has it ever popped out of gear?
 

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This is a common characteristic of the bigger vulcans. I had the same issue 'til I was told of the correct technique: As you accelerate in 1st, press down with your heel to take all the "slack" out of the shifter (gently, you're not shifting yet). When you are ready to make the shift, just firmly press down with your heel.....don't stomp or feel like you're forcing the shift.....just make a firm shift. Practice this and you'll be amazed how smoothly the trans works.
I also got in the habit of pulling the clutch in, gently tapping the heel shifter into second , letting the clutch all the way out and then accelerating. I do this through all the gears up and down. When I first got my bike new in 2004, I was not used to the bigger size after moving up from the old KZ750 so I tended to overexaggerate all my moves. I had a death grip on the bars, I shifted too hard and too fast and would hit the accelerator oo hard as I let the clutch out. A riding buddy friend of mine told me I was going to wear out my clutch in a hurry if i didn't slow down and breathe and be more deliberate. In a few weeks I got used to it and relaxed, and slowed everything down.

Now when I ride, my 1500 feels like an extension of my own body, and shifting the way I do has become automatic. If you ride it long enough you will develop a feel for what it likes and what it doesn't. At least that's how it's worked for me, and so far the bike has given me 46,000 miles and 15 years of virtually trouble free joy. I would ride it cross country tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Never popped out of gear, just noticed that it would go into neutral instead of second if I didn't do what the trapper said. I haven't ridden many times since I posted this, but I did try it on my last ride and it seemed to be better.
 

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Caution: putting pressure on the shifter before changing gears puts pressure on the shifting fork and may cause premature wear on the face of the fork.
 

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Thought I'd add my experience.

I just bought my '01 Classic in Feb, 2019 so it's fairly new to me. I also struggled with shifting, mainly from first into second... and still do from time to time but have tried different methods and have figured out what works best for me.

* I watched videos about preloading the shifter, which seems dangerous to me, not mention a lot my older bikes would just simply shift regardless of throttle and/or clutch if you press on the shifter. Anyway, doing this with the heel shifter got me started making smoother and more successful first to second shifts much more often.

* Then I read someone's comment about the fact they've removed their heal shifter and only use the toe because you have more sensitivity with your toes and are less apt to use too much pressure when preloading the lever. So I tried using the toe shifter. Works great... except for from first to second. Most of my shifts from first to second using the toe lever were perfect. BUT. Three times in one day, it went into neutral instead of second and another three times (same day) it made a horrible clashing, crashing, grinding noise and went into THIRD instead of second! Needless to say, I went back to using the heel shifter!

* Once back to focusing on using the heel shifter, I started to focus on:
1. Using as little force as possible to preload the lever.
2. Reducing the length of time spent with the lever preloaded before actually shifting
3. Basically letting gravity do the work of moving the lever down once I pull the clutch

Once I got used to shifting using these practices, I realized that I was no longer preloading the shift lever, I was merely making quick, smooth, efficient, and successful shifts and shifting no longer seems like an "event" :)

There is one caveat. If I really get after it in first gear, this all goes out the window and the shift into second is always a clanking, gear smashing "event". So I don't get on it until I'm in second now :)
 
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