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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone. I've started two threads and you guys have been amazing with your help and feedback. I'm starting another thread as I have a more specific question than before.

I'm having problems finding neutral. From my research on this site, it seems like a common problem. Last time I was stuck in gear, I followed advice from this forum...put the bike up on its center stand, held in the clutch with a zip tie, rocked the wheel back and forth, and shifted with my hand. I was easily able to go all the way down into 1st and then a soft pull, up put me into neutral no problem. The engine wasn't on, but key was in and the green light came on.

Members Dave and Mike were right though...the problem wasn't gone. A buddy of mine was riding...he pulled into the garage and again, neutral couldn't be found.

I just gave this a try: (I read about the experiment on this site)

I put the bike on its centre stand, started it up, and put it into neutral. The tire didn't spin at all (I read that it sometimes will spin slightly). Then I was able to easily go into 1st and back to neutral. 1st...2nd, back to first and back into neutral.

In fact, finding neutral with the bike on its centre stand is easy. Why is finding neutral easy when the bike is on the centre stand, but when a rider is on, it's much more difficult?

Any help/advice on how to more easily get in neutral would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot. I've read about some tricks such as getting into neutral just before you reach a dead stop etc etc. Is it just a matter of becoming more familiar with the nuances of the bike or is there something mechanical on the bike that I can fix or improve?

Thank you!

-Chris
 

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Check the brass barrel in the clutch lever. They wear out and cause the clutch to drag. Also pop the kill switch off and see if neutral is easier. That would tell you the clutch is dragging slightly.

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Like sprocketrocket said, you have some clutch drag. Have you bled the clutch system? With the engine off you should be able to rock the bike back & forth and find neutral, don't pull in the clutch when you do it that way, makes it easier. I got in the habit of kicking it in neutral while still rolling when I was a kid and they had to be in neutral to kick start. I still do it.
 
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Its never easy getting neutral when one gearbox shaft is spinning and the other isnt, get into the habit of selecting neutral just before you stop not after you stop
 

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Chris,
You have to try to break the problem down a bit. To follow up on what Dave said I would add one more test.
Warm up the engine by taking a ride a few miles, After you get back home turn off the engine and with the transmission in low gear pull the clutch in. While in gear, clutch in and engine off pay attention to how hard it is to push the bike a fair distance. Now that you have made a mental note of that effort shift in to neutral and push the bike the same way. The effort should be just slightly easier in neural if the clutch is not dragging...Does the bike want to pull ahead at stop signs when stopped in gear with the brakes off?

One more thing that is confusing us. How do you decide it is not going in neutral? Just because the light soes not come on?? That would/could be an electrical issue.
Rock the bike back and forth and keep pushing down on the shifter pedal until you are sure it is all the way down in low gear. Now with your toe lift the shifter just half a click. S Are you in neural but no light? (Engine will not pull the bike with the clutch out.

Just because you can not get the light to come on it is not fair to say you can't find neutral. I wonder if it is there and just the light does not always work.
 

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Its never easy getting neutral when one gearbox shaft is spinning and the other isnt, get into the habit of selecting neutral just before you stop not after you stop
If that is the case you are in neutral. 🌝
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the advice guys. Yes, I did bleed the clutch and there were some tiny bubbles in there, I believe because a leak in my sight glass allowed the fluid to go too low. But as Pure Texas advised, I'm going to examine small hole in the master cylinder to make sure it's not plugged up, causing problems.

Being brand new to bikes, it's hard for me to envision how a clutch works and what clutch drag actually means. I'll find some videos and look for an exploded view diagram.

Here are some results from some tests:

Bike off: I can bounce from N to 1 to 2 to 3 and back into N easily. No problems finding N. (it won't go any higher than 3rd)

Bike off, kill switch off: Exact same result as with the kill switch on. I have no problems going getting back into N.

Bike running on centre stand (exploration of 1st - 2rd gear): When I start bike in Neutral, the rear wheel does not spin at all. (which I'm assuming is good thing) It drops into 1st easily then back up into N and then up to 2nd and back to down to N. No problems finding N.

Bike running on centre stand (exploration of 1st -5th gear): It was only after I shifted up to 5th gear and then down that I had a problem finding N. It would often skip N on the way down...and then I'd try to just nudge the pedal up but it skip up past N as the light flashed green for a split second. After much fiddling up and down between 1s 2nd, 3rd and back down was I able to get it into N. I was only successful on the way down...it would always skip past N coming up from 1st.

Also, a couple times I did find N...the tire stopped spinning, but the green light wasn't on. But after a little wiggle of the pedal or small movement of the bike, the light came on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Chris,
You have to try to break the problem down a bit. To follow up on what Dave said I would add one more test.
Warm up the engine by taking a ride a few miles, After you get back home turn off the engine and with the transmission in low gear pull the clutch in. While in gear, clutch in and engine off pay attention to how hard it is to push the bike a fair distance. Now that you have made a mental note of that effort shift in to neutral and push the bike the same way. The effort should be just slightly easier in neural if the clutch is not dragging...Does the bike want to pull ahead at stop signs when stopped in gear with the brakes off?

One more thing that is confusing us. How do you decide it is not going in neutral? Just because the light soes not come on?? That would/could be an electrical issue.
Rock the bike back and forth and keep pushing down on the shifter pedal until you are sure it is all the way down in low gear. Now with your toe lift the shifter just half a click. S Are you in neural but no light? (Engine will not pull the bike with the clutch out.

Just because you can not get the light to come on it is not fair to say you can't find neutral. I wonder if it is there and just the light does not always work.

Thanks Mike. I will try that pushing with engine off, clutch in, low gear VS engine off clutch in, neutral. Yes it's not just a light issue I don't think...when I had the bike up on the centre stand, I was also assessing whether I was in neutral by whether the tire stopped spinning...and after much up and down, up and down with the pedal, I did find neutral, and when I did so the wheel stopped. Part of the issue here too is, I have the bike, and am working on it, trying to get it in A1 shape, but I don't even have my M1 yet! lol So as far as the bike wanting to pull ahead at lights with the brakes off, I'm not sure. It's definitely tougher to help diagnose with someone who has as little experience as I do....but I'm learning!
 

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My '85 is the same. I put it into neutral while I'm rolling to a stop. The problem is more common when the bike is not fully up to operating temperature. Once it is good and hot, like riding at speed for 1/2 hour it works better. The oil is a bit thicker and the clutch will allow a little bit of torque through when disengaged. A heavy weight oil can contribute to the problem. I think it is just the nature of a multi disk wet clutch.
 

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Thanks Mike. I will try that pushing with engine off, clutch in, low gear VS engine off clutch in, neutral. Yes it's not just a light issue I don't think...when I had the bike up on the centre stand, I was also assessing whether I was in neutral by whether the tire stopped spinning...and after much up and down, up and down with the pedal, I did find neutral, and when I did so the wheel stopped. Part of the issue here too is, I have the bike, and am working on it, trying to get it in A1 shape, but I don't even have my M1 yet! lol So as far as the bike wanting to pull ahead at lights with the brakes off, I'm not sure. It's definitely tougher to help diagnose with someone who has as little experience as I do....but I'm learning!
Don't you know someone who has a lot of experience who could help you out for a few minutes. You just lack the experience to know what to look for and what is normal.
It is hard to explain any other way than to say if you are sure you are in low gear and raise the pedal slightly with your toe you should get neutral. Let the clutch out and see that the bike does not move. You have to be very methodical when you lift the pedal to find neutral as it can go from first through neutral and right in to second. This is the only situation where you get two choices with one pull of the pedal going up with the pedal. I guess you could say if you are in first it is half a shift to neutral and a whole shift to second.😎
 

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The tiny hole is under the shiney thingee in the master cylinder.
 
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Bike off, kill switch off: Exact same result as with the kill switch on. I have no problems going getting back into N.
Because the kill switch has nothing whatever to do with the transmission or clutch.
I'm beginning to think you may have a broken detent roller spring behind the front cover.
 

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Thanks Mike. I will try that pushing with engine off, clutch in, low gear VS engine off clutch in, neutral. Yes it's not just a light issue I don't think...when I had the bike up on the centre stand, I was also assessing whether I was in neutral by whether the tire stopped spinning...and after much up and down, up and down with the pedal, I did find neutral, and when I did so the wheel stopped. Part of the issue here too is, I have the bike, and am working on it, trying to get it in A1 shape, but I don't even have my M1 yet! lol So as far as the bike wanting to pull ahead at lights with the brakes off, I'm not sure. It's definitely tougher to help diagnose with someone who has as little experience as I do....but I'm learning!
Take the bike to the closest motorcycle repair shop and ask them to test drive it to be sure all transmission gears shift as they should.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Don't you know someone who has a lot of experience who could help you out for a few minutes. You just lack the experience to know what to look for and what is normal.
It is hard to explain any other way than to say if you are sure you are in low gear and raise the pedal slightly with your toe you should get neutral. Let the clutch out and see that the bike does not move. You have to be very methodical when you lift the pedal to find neutral as it can go from first through neutral and right in to second. This is the only situation where you get two choices with one pull of the pedal going up with the pedal. I guess you could say if you are in first it is half a shift to neutral and a whole shift to second.😎

Thanks Guys. Yes, I know a few guys who ride and two of them have taken the bike out for a spin. Each as had difficulty finding neutral at the end of the ride. The bike shifts fine otherwise. So I put the bike up on a jack so the back wheel can spin and I ran it through the gears. The first time, I only bounced around between 1st, 2nd, and Neutral. I may have went up to 3rd...I can't remember. But it was easy for me to bring it down to 1st, and then tap up on the pedal and get it into neutral. The light popped on, the wheel stopped...no problem. I did it about 10 times in a row. So I went inside and started thinking, "Why is it so easy for me to get it in neutral when it's on a stand, when my test riders were having problems?" Didn't make sense...so I tried again...except I ran it through all 5 gears that time. And that's when I experienced the same problem as the test riders. I made it up to 5th, and down to 1st...except this time, I couldn't give the pedal a little lift and get into neutral...it would just skip over it.

It's interesting that when I was only engaging the lower gears, I didn't have the problem, but after using 4th and 5th, I did.

Is clutch drag caused from the slave cylinder not extending enough when the clutch lever is pulled? When I bled the clutch line, I unbolted the slave cylinder to see how far it was coming out. It would protruding about 1/4inch with a grab of the clutch. Is that enough? I also took out that push rod connected to the slave cylinder...and it seems like it was fitting into the appropriate spot in there.

Sprocket, you mentioned the brass barrel in the clutch lever...would wearing of this part reduce the effectiveness of the hydraulics and therefore cause the slave cylinder to become sluggish, and thereby creating clutch drag? I think I know the brass piece that you're talking about...it can be readily seen on the handle right? Nothing needs to be taken apart to locate it?

I know I'm very inexperienced (which creates and interesting, maybe sometimes frustrating scenarios for you guys who try to help:)), but in my inexperienced opinion, the slave cylinder is popping out about midway through the clutch-lever pull. I can hear the slave cylinder pump...and the gears seems to be working well - other than finding neutral at the end of a ride lol.

One last question: The bike was left outside (in Canada) and wasn't ridden for at least 1 season before I got it. Since I've had it, it's probably been ridden a total of 10 minutes. Could it just be that the bike needs to be used?...and any clutch drag might be reduced once the oil is fully dispersed in there and is nice and hot?

Guys, I really appreciate your patience and help.

-Chris
 

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Since you have several threads I may have missed it, did you change the oil with the appropriate type. The only time I've had an issue shifting, was when the oil was very black and dirty (reason the oil was so dirty is another story).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Since you have several threads I may have missed it, did you change the oil with the appropriate type. The only time I've had an issue shifting, was when the oil was very black and dirty (reason the oil was so dirty is another story).
Hey! Yes, I did a change with the appropriate oil.
 

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Worn brass barrel will cause too much free play in the handle. Just remove the pivot bolt. Should be a nut on the bottom and unscrew the bolt.

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I think when you get the new fluid in and the reservoir cleaned up ,things will be different
 
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