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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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.

84, 86, 94, 98, 2002.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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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Ditch the floorboards and get some stock pegs.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=gl1200+foot+pegs&_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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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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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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Discussion Starter #10
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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The aftermarket pegs are for attaching to the crash bars and won't work for foot pegs. You have to get stock pegs so they will attach to the frame correctly. And they have to be for the front as the rear pegs won't work.

GL12 pegs are pretty broad compared to other bikes so they are fairly comfortable.
 

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I had a lot of hard shifting and missed shifts when I first got my used 86 1200 (21K miles) and only stopped with an oil change, but within 500 miles it would be back. I changed over to 5w40 Shell Rotella T6 full synthetic and in 55K miles haven't had a problem since.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the responses everyone! The solution turned out to be a little embarrassingly simple. In a nut shell, I changed my boots to a thinner pair and was able to slide my foot under and get a better lift on the shifter. The boots I was using before are waterproof insulated steel toe work boots. It was just too thick with the floor boards.

I also practiced the recommended technique, holding first gear a little longer, preloading the shifter, and quickly pulling in the clutch and shifting.

This technique works pretty well but takes a little thought. I need to get this bike out of the city soon!

Stay tuned for a post in a few days with some stories from this weekend when I changed the wiring harness to the Electrical Connection wiring harness.
 
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