Join Date: May 2014
Location: Maple Ridge, BC Canada
Model: 97 gl1500 SE
No, it is not a short, the reverse lever switch is sticking. Take off the lever and the cover behind it, you can see the switch to the upper right. Spray it with WD40 or contact cleaner, put the lever back on and work it up & down and spray it some more until it works every time.
Or replace the reverse switch - it's fairly cheap. Or better yet, do as Dave suggests, to confirm that it is the switch (and get the bike running again), then order the switch and hold onto it and next time it starts to fail replace the switch and throw away the old one.
Bikes I've owned since June, 2013:
Since sold:11 CBR250R, 89 ZG1000, 92 Ninja 500, 85 V45 Magna, 84 DT200, 82 Virago 750, 92 Virago 1100, 04 Kawasaki ZZR250, 07 Vstrom 650 ABS, 88 GL1500, 14 Ninja 300, 86 V65 Magna, 96 VLX600, 08 WR250X, 09 KLX250S, 87 FZR1000, 14 Ninja 650, plus some more...
2010 Husqvarna TE250
2015 Kawasaki Ninja 650
2008 GL1800 with bagger kit