GL1200 clunky shift - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Year: 1986
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GL1200 clunky shift

Hey guys. I recently bought a 1986 GL1200I. It shift a little too rough from 1st to 2nd. You can hear it resist going into second a little, probably the dogs not aligning smoothly. I've changed the oil and bled and flushed the clutch.

I've noticed there is some off axis movement of the shifter rod coming out of the transmission. Does anyone know if there is a shifter brace similar to the GL1500 shifter brace I've seen?

I'm also practicing pre loading the shifter like I've read on the forum with some success.

Any other tips or ticks you have are greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 05:51 PM
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By the mid 80's, not even BMW had perfected the shaft drive seamlessly quiet gear change.

Like what you would expect on a chain drive machine.

It's clunky, will always be clunky. Get used to it!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 05:58 PM
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Never heard of or seen a shift brace for a 1200.


No need for a "shift brace" on a 1200 with it's one lever on a shaft, nothing there to brace in alignment like on the 1500s (in essence, has two levers together ... with long effective leverage way off to the side).


Clunky 1-2 passes neutral en route, so it is further to go than from 2-3, 3-4, or 4-5. Could be due technique or dragging clutch needing attn. like maybe slave cylinder rebuild or bleeding (I saw you mentioned bleed). Could be internal issue with mechanism too.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Oh thanks for the info on the shift brace. I've never seen the GL1500 shifter up close.

I'll try adjusting the shift lever up a bit. The bike has floor boards which are kinda nice but I can't get my foot under as easily as I'd like. Might be causing me to use bad form. I'm not used to floorboards yet, every other bike I've ridden has been standard pegs.

I noticed that if I let the engine RPMs fall to around 2000 after pulling the clutch in I tend to get a smoother shift. Shifting around 3000-3500 RPM.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 11:12 PM
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If you carry a slight amount of Preload on the shifter, it should shift immediately into the next gear, even from 1st to 2nd.


All you need do with the throttle is just slack it off the slightest amount, no need to let the RPMs drop.


Preload, tickle the clutch, just slightly drop the throttle, and it should be in the next gear.


I have never had that fail on any of my bikes.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Hey thanks AZgl1800! That's the technique I've been working on. Works intermittently for me. I'll adjust the shift lever so my fat foot can fit under a bit better and practice that some more.

I use a similar technique on my Triumph so I'm hoping it's just an ergonomic change that's required and not a master/slave cylinder rebuild, new lines, etc.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 12:30 AM
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Ditch the floorboards and get some stock pegs.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...sacat=0&_pgn=2

Most people use a heel/toe shifter with boards. That way they can damage the shift forks as well as mess up the handling and cornering clearance.

Trying to raise the shifter probably won't work. It usually ends up hitting the head so there's not enough room to complete a shift.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 01:09 AM
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Check to see if there is any free play in the clutch lever. There is a brass barrel inside the lever. The actuating pin between the lever and the master cylinder often wears a hole in the barrel. This causes excess lever free play and poor clutch disengagement. The barrel is still available.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 07:13 PM
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Two things come to mind. First, as was said, get rid of the floorboards. I've been riding since 1970 and nearly every one of my bikes had boards/heel-toe shifter since riding my buddy's HD in 1976. If the bike wasn't made to have boards, I'd find a way but I gave up when it came to the GL1200. The bike was never meant to have floorboards. Had them, tried them, ditched them MUCH to my dismay. Of course, there are folks who like and use them. Second, don't pay attention to the Owner's Manual advice regarding shift points. The Manual that I have says to shift from 1st to 2nd at 12 mph, from 2nd to 3rd at 19 mph, from 3rd to 4th at 25 mph... Generally, No. The transmission shifts way better up close to 3000 rpm. YMMV.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I'm not married to the floor boards so if I can't adjust the shift lever to make the shifting reliability smooth I'll switch to pegs. I've checked the clutch bushing for slop and can't detect any.

I'm used to pegs that are relatively slender like you'd see on a standard motorcycle but I've seen some chunky aftermarket pegs for the goldwing. Are those worth checking out or stick with stock pegs (which still are a little chunkier than I'm used to)?
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