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Discussion Starter #1
So I had my daughters out on my bike for the first time this past weekend. Ages 7 and 9.

They absolutely loved it! I noticed that I am not the smooth shifter I thought I was once I had a kid on the back though.....

I've started to try and work on getting a smoother shift, but I find it a little bit tough on these bikes.

Now I've already purchased the booster plug, but haven't installed it yet. Has anyone noticed a more tame and smooth shift once the booster is installed?

Any tips you'd like to share to get a less twitchy shift?

Thanks,

Josh
 

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Slow down, Slowly ease off throttle, shift, Slowly turn throttle.
Its you that makes the shifting harsh AND your riders will always feel it more than you since you know when your going to shift!
 

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As Bearslayer already pointed out the Booster Plug does not affect the shifting of the Vulcan S but will help to smooth out your throttle and decrease some of the harsh engine braking. Have you adjusted the shift rod to match your boots? Or changed to Full Synthetic Oil which makes a Huge difference on how the bike shifts since part of the motor oil is used in the transmissions Wet Clutch.
 

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Roll off throttle, pull in clutch, shift and ease out clutch. The Vulcan s was very easy to prestage the shift as well.




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I totally agree with bearslayer that the booster plug does not affect shifting but I absolutely agree that it makes the 650 MUCH MORE driveable.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I knew that the booster plug doesn't effect shifting directly, but thought a smoother acceleration might help some.

Like I said, I thought I was doing good ,til my daughter's helmet kept banging into mine. Guess I just need some more practice. It's been years since I've ridden a bike regularly.

Tom, I don't have full synthetic in it currently. I'll make a few more practice runs and see if I can't get the feel for it better. If not I'll give that a shot.

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The bumping helmets may not be entirely your doing. When I got back into riding a couple years ago my youngest was around 20 and had not been on a motorcycle before. Same problem her first time out. But after that with a little adjustment from both of us it was much better.
 

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I knew that the booster plug doesn't effect shifting directly, but thought a smoother acceleration might help some.

Like I said, I thought I was doing good ,til my daughter's helmet kept banging into mine. Guess I just need some more practice. It's been years since I've ridden a bike regularly.

Tom, I don't have full synthetic in it currently. I'll make a few more practice runs and see if I can't get the feel for it better. If not I'll give that a shot.

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Regardless of your amount of practice, using Full Synthetic will noticeably smooth out the transmission and even make the engine run smoother. Since it's only two quarts, it's a cheap way to improve how your bike feels and performs. Good Luck.
 

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There are other fine points for smooth shifting.

* Preloading the shift lever with your toe

* Clutch moved into the friction zone just enough for the trans to shift up or down, instead of fully disengaging the clutch. This helps rpm management.

* While doing that, fine tuning the amount of throttle on or off during the shift

* The lower the rpm chosen for up shifting, the softer the forces involved. The higher the shift point, the more you have to do foot / clutch / throttle just right, because there is a lot of HP and flywheel momentum there. This is where feathering the clutch part way comes in: you are not disconnecting the trans entirely from the engine.

My Versys 1000 requires serious discipline with this, the Vulcan 900 less, but it all still applies.
 

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Switching to full synthetic oil will help, once I did shifting was noticeably smoother and quieter and the clutch felt like it engaged much better too (more immediate, less slippage). Also check/adjust your throttle play, spec is 2-3 mm (0.08 - 0.12 in.), too much can make it more difficult to control (same with your clutch play). Personally I like to set mine to as little as possible to minimize how much twist is needed before it starts to take effect, always found it allows for more precise control of the throttle. Now with that being said I don't think there is a whole lot you can do to improve its shifting as I still found it to be kind of clunky at times (IMHO because it's Kawasaki's lowest cost cruiser and thus not as refined as some of their other more expensive bikes).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Roll off throttle, pull in clutch, shift and ease out clutch. The Vulcan s was very easy to prestage the shift as well.




WHAT????? you mean I am supposed to use the clutch?????? I thought that was just for first gear .:devil2:
That's mostly how I ride too........maybe that's the issue. LOL

Using the clutch feels weird. I drive cars and trucks clutch free usually as well.
 

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That's mostly how I ride too........maybe that's the issue. LOL



Using the clutch feels weird. I drive cars and trucks clutch free usually as well.


Try not using a clutch with a Harley, you’ll end up in a tree. The S has a wet clutch by design it is supposed to be feathered to control power.
When shifting is is most important to match revs for a smoother experience.


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Personally, I've found that shifting quickly and at about 5,000 RPM gives me a much smoother transition between gears.

For reference, I've got about 7,000 miles on the (2016) bike, and this is only my 4th year of riding.
 

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For reference: I've been riding 38 years. I've never ridden a Vulcan 650. I have owned a Honda 185 Twinstar, Yamaha 400 Special, Suzuki GS750, Kawi VN900 and (currently) Kawi VN1700.


Upshifting:
When earlier posters are saying to roll off the throttle, don't interpret that as you would if you pulled the clutch in and released the throttle. What you want to do is gently ease down on the throttle while you pre-load the shift lever. You'll hardly notice the bike slowing down since the momentum will keep you at close the same speed. It vary's by bike, load and speed, but when you're almost to no throttle, pull the clutch lever about halfway in, lift the shift lever and immediately release the clutch and begin gently rolling on the throttle. Since you've backed off the throttle and didn't completely disengage the clutch you won't get the nose dive that is the primary cause of knocking helmets. With a little practice the shift will be nearly invisible to your rider.

Good luck and enjoy the ride!
 

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Regarding some comments about pre-loading the shift lever, that doesn't work very well with the S and can actually cause shifting problems. Experienced it first hand and have seen many others report the same where the solution was to adjust the shift lever so your foot doesn't pre-load it. There is a sweet spot that will vary per person and what kind of footwear you're using, so once found it can also really help smooth out shifting.
 

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Regarding some comments about pre-loading the shift lever, that doesn't work very well with the S and can actually cause shifting problems. Experienced it first hand and have seen many others report the same where the solution was to adjust the shift lever so your foot doesn't pre-load it. There is a sweet spot that will vary per person and what kind of footwear you're using, so once found it can also really help smooth out shifting.
Since I don't ride a 650 this is just to satisfy my curiosity. What do you mean it doesn't work well? Does it not smooth the shift? Do you accidentally shift when you don't mean to? This process has worked on all of my bikes and I can't imagine that the 650 has a transmission that is drastically different from other Kawi bikes. Again; not criticizing, just curious.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I know that after I first changed foot control location to extended reach, I didn't leave enough room for my boot under the shift lever. I kept accidentally pushing the lever up slightly without actually upshifting. This made it damn near impossible to upshift when I was actually ready to do so. Really an odd sensation. I increased the clearance for the shift lever and the problem disappeared.

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