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The Shifter is a multi-functional mechanism.
It's got several parts combined and does a variety of functions.

The action boils down to 2 Basics.
1) Gear SELECTION (Shifting)
2)Gear Indexing ( Holds the transmission "locked into" the selected gear)

The whole works depends up some very "puny" DETENT devices..
Holding the part in your hand,,You'd Never imagine the level of job assignment the lil' part has.

When You SHIFT,,,You CANNOT shift Fully INTO a Gear.
You Only INITIATE the Shift.
You only shift TOWARDS the Gear.
Your Foot pulls the actual gears only about 75~80% of the way to Engagement.

The Little Part takes Over at that point,,,and it's Spring tension Completes the Shift under SPRING PRESSURE only when the Gears come into proper alignment.

So Your FOOT Pressure initiates the shift and can only go So Far then it hits a Hard Stop in it's travel.
"Impossible " to FORCE it Further.
But at that point,,,The Spring Loaded Device takes over the job of your Foot.

When all that stuff begins to Wear,,,
What happens is The Precise Overlap of Foot Travel vs Spring Lever Travel is Disrupted.

Wear on the Part makes it ACT as if Your Foot has not pressed Shift Lever Far Enough into Spring Lever Territory.

That's how/why You get the False Neutral so often.

How is Neutral NORMALLY reached from 1st?
With a sort of "Half Shift",,,right?
Most folks consider it to be a "LIGHT PRESSURE of the Foot".
It's Not really Light Pressure,,,it's a HALF Press of the Shift Lever,,,,Partial travel finds Neutral between 1st and 2nd.

You can press as Light or Hard as ya wanna.
Press "1/2 Way" it's Neutral.
Or,Press FULLY and it goes to Gear.

Point is,,,WEAR on the Spring Lever changes the MECHANISM's Half-Way Point,,,
While The FOOT Lever action remains the Same.

Press FULLY on Shift Lever,,,,but only Get a "Half Press travel" reaction.

So it leaves the Internal Gear Selection mechanism very IFFY about going Fully to Next Gear.

Since NEUTRAL is only Half Way in the travel range,,,,
It's VERY CONVENIENTLY Located to cause that "artificial Half Way Foot Press-due to wear" to plop comfortably into Neutral.

The worse the wear gets,,,the more "reliable" they become at reaching FALSE Neutral.
(Actually You are Finding TRUE Neutral Detent position)

But there is a "Neutral" between EVERY gear,,,
and eventually it will begin to find Those.

You'll "Mis Shift" between 2 & 3,,, 3&4,,,and so on.
It wont HOLD the "neutral" there,,,becuase it has no Manufactured Detents.
Unlike Genuine Neutral,,,which Does have a detent.

Anyway,,,,,,that's How/Why your symptoms are so stereotypical of wear in this particular area,.
NOT indicative of Transmission Problems.
ONLY worn Shifter Mechansim Component.
 

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117 Posts
The Shifter is a multi-functional mechanism.
It's got several parts combined and does a variety of functions.

The action boils down to 2 Basics.
1) Gear SELECTION (Shifting)
2)Gear Indexing ( Holds the transmission "locked into" the selected gear)

The whole works depends up some very "puny" DETENT devices..
Holding the part in your hand,,You'd Never imagine the level of job assignment the lil' part has.

When You SHIFT,,,You CANNOT shift Fully INTO a Gear.
You Only INITIATE the Shift.
You only shift TOWARDS the Gear.
Your Foot pulls the actual gears only about 75~80% of the way to Engagement.

The Little Part takes Over at that point,,,and it's Spring tension Completes the Shift under SPRING PRESSURE only when the Gears come into proper alignment.

So Your FOOT Pressure initiates the shift and can only go So Far then it hits a Hard Stop in it's travel.
"Impossible " to FORCE it Further.
But at that point,,,The Spring Loaded Device takes over the job of your Foot.

When all that stuff begins to Wear,,,
What happens is The Precise Overlap of Foot Travel vs Spring Lever Travel is Disrupted.

Wear on the Part makes it ACT as if Your Foot has not pressed Shift Lever Far Enough into Spring Lever Territory.

That's how/why You get the False Neutral so often.

How is Neutral NORMALLY reached from 1st?
With a sort of "Half Shift",,,right?
Most folks consider it to be a "LIGHT PRESSURE of the Foot".
It's Not really Light Pressure,,,it's a HALF Press of the Shift Lever,,,,Partial travel finds Neutral between 1st and 2nd.

You can press as Light or Hard as ya wanna.
Press "1/2 Way" it's Neutral.
Or,Press FULLY and it goes to Gear.

Point is,,,WEAR on the Spring Lever changes the MECHANISM's Half-Way Point,,,
While The FOOT Lever action remains the Same.

Press FULLY on Shift Lever,,,,but only Get a "Half Press travel" reaction.

So it leaves the Internal Gear Selection mechanism very IFFY about going Fully to Next Gear.

Since NEUTRAL is only Half Way in the travel range,,,,
It's VERY CONVENIENTLY Located to cause that "artificial Half Way Foot Press-due to wear" to plop comfortably into Neutral.

The worse the wear gets,,,the more "reliable" they become at reaching FALSE Neutral.
(Actually You are Finding TRUE Neutral Detent position)

But there is a "Neutral" between EVERY gear,,,
and eventually it will begin to find Those.

You'll "Mis Shift" between 2 & 3,,, 3&4,,,and so on.
It wont HOLD the "neutral" there,,,becuase it has no Manufactured Detents.
Unlike Genuine Neutral,,,which Does have a detent.

Anyway,,,,,,that's How/Why your symptoms are so stereotypical of wear in this particular area,.
NOT indicative of Transmission Problems.
ONLY worn Shifter Mechansim Component.

Would this explain the problem I'm having with my 900 custom? Seems kinda the opposite. I've got a post on the forum I'll link to in a minute explaining it further, but my clutch cable keeps breaking, and now the new cable won't let it disengage at all. I can't get it into neutral if the bike is running. The lever simply will NOT move. I've bent the rod trying to get it to neutral in the past...


Link: http://www.vulcanforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=292818
 

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I'd suggest if your going down from 2nd and you hit neutral, let the clutch out and then try going to first.
I've had that a few times, and the clutch release helps get into 1st.
 

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I have a 2008 Vulcan 900C. Had the same problem downshifting especially on a hot day with few hundred miles. For me the problem was a clutch cable that was too loose. I adjusted the slack out of the cable and it really shifted great again. Was super simple to fix. Hope your issues are that easy to resolve.
 
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