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... at the old, ballgame!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 900 has some idiosyncracies with its shifting.

First, occasionally the bike will pop out of first and into neutral when I am stopped. It happens more often when the engine is cold, but it can happen even with the engine warm.

Second, there are times when it is very difficult to shift into first from neutral. When I was out riding on Sunday, I encountered this problem. I tried rocking the bike back and forth, but that didn't solve the problem. I let the clutch out a tiny bit, while rocking the bike, and then I was able to get the bike into first. While this was happening I couldn't move the shift lever at all - neither up nor down.

Third, on occasions it is very hard to get the bike into neutral. (I know, I know, can't get it into neutral, can't get it out of neutral, why can't I make up my mind!) I'll try downshifting multiple times to get to first (just in case), then try to "up-shift" into neutral, but this doesn't always work.

So the question is, are these things normal for a 900? If not, is there anything I can do to address the issues?

The bike has less than 2500 miles on it.

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated, thanks.
 

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On my '08 I've only had a problem when I accidently hit the heel shifter. As long as I keep my big feet out of the way it stays in the gear I put it in. I've never had a problem getting it into neutral or any other gear. Maybe you needs a little adjustment.
 

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... at the old, ballgame!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I find the only time that happens to me it is pilot error.
I will never claim that I (the pilot) am never in error. :biggrin:

With regard to the bike popping out of first into neutral, this is the first thing I thought of. Perhaps I was going so slow when I downshifted to first that the positive neutral finder put it into neutral instead? Since I thought this might be the case, I was careful to check for it on Sunday. I looked down at the neutral light after coming to a stop (I know it's not always a 100% reliable indicator). In each case where the bike popped out of first, I had not been in neutral after the stop, but was when I tried to take off (again as indicated by the neutral light being on after the bike failed to "go").
 

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VN 900 Classtom
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Have you adjusted the clutch cablle? I did on mine about two yrs ago and solved some little issues I was having then. If I remember correctly I had around 2500 miles on it when I had to do this. Look on the right side bewteen the front cylinder and the radiator and there you will see the clutch cable and can be adjusted from there.
 

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Nobody Home
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Hate to say this but it sounds like operator issues. These transmissions are at their worst when the bike is stopped and you're holding the clutch in. The transmission input shaft stops spinning and when stopped it's common to have to let the clutch out into it's friction zone to get the input shaft turning so the gears can shift/engage. Do your downshifting with the bike rolling as you're decelerating coming to a stop. If you have to shift with the bike stopped you'll be working both the clutch and shifter to do it. It's the nature of this type of transmission.

The only thing the "neutral finder" does is prevent you from shifting from neutral or 1st to 2nd with the bike stopped. Gives you a positive stop at neutral when you pull the lever up from 1st so you're not "feeling" for neutral. It does nothing else.
 

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... at the old, ballgame!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hate to say this but it sounds like operator issues. These transmissions are at their worst when the bike is stopped and you're holding the clutch in. The transmission input shaft stops spinning and when stopped it's common to have to let the clutch out into it's friction zone to get the input shaft turning so the gears can shift/engage. Do your downshifting with the bike rolling as you're decelerating coming to a stop. If you have to shift with the bike stopped you'll be working both the clutch and shifter to do it. It's the nature of this type of transmission.

The only thing the "neutral finder" does is prevent you from shifting from neutral or 1st to 2nd with the bike stopped. Gives you a positive stop at neutral when you pull the lever up from 1st so you're not "feeling" for neutral. It does nothing else.
I didn't know any of this. It matches up with my experience on Sunday trying to get the bike back into first. Thanks for the input!
 

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I was having similar shifting problems, mainly with it dropping out of second and not being able to down shift. Took it in to a service center I don't normally go to (closer to home then my other) and had them check it out, cause i thought it was a warranty issue. They looked at it and had to clean the shifter shaft. They said my problem was caused by lack of proper servicing. So now i don't go to my regular service place any more.
 

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Hate to say this but it sounds like operator issues. These transmissions are at their worst when the bike is stopped and you're holding the clutch in. The transmission input shaft stops spinning and when stopped it's common to have to let the clutch out into it's friction zone to get the input shaft turning so the gears can shift/engage. Do your downshifting with the bike rolling as you're decelerating coming to a stop. If you have to shift with the bike stopped you'll be working both the clutch and shifter to do it. It's the nature of this type of transmission.

The only thing the "neutral finder" does is prevent you from shifting from neutral or 1st to 2nd with the bike stopped. Gives you a positive stop at neutral when you pull the lever up from 1st so you're not "feeling" for neutral. It does nothing else.
+1. What he said. I always make sure to down shift into first before I get to the stop light, then if I need to take a break pop back up into neutral while waiting for the light to change. (I know! Keep it in gear in case you gotta split. Hell, if someone's going to splat me from behind it's not like I can move the truck in front of me anyway.) If for some reason I have a brain cramp and get stuck between gears, just let the clutch out a bit then it'll go. I wish they had taught us that at the MSF course. Everyone was getting stuck between gears and the instructors were treating us like a bunch of miscreants.
 

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... at the old, ballgame!
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
+1. What he said. I always make sure to down shift into first before I get to the stop light, then if I need to take a break pop back up into neutral while waiting for the light to change. (I know! Keep it in gear in case you gotta split. Hell, if someone's going to splat me from behind it's not like I can move the truck in front of me anyway.) If for some reason I have a brain cramp and get stuck between gears, just let the clutch out a bit then it'll go. I wish they had taught us that at the MSF course. Everyone was getting stuck between gears and the instructors were treating us like a bunch of miscreants.
When the event I described happened, I had stopped with the bike in first gear. A car stopped behind me, and I wanted to adjust my left mirror, so I put the bike in neutral. Light turns green, and I couldn't get the bike to shift at all. Eventually I did let the clutch out a little, the bike went into first, and off I went.

I didn't know exactly how the transmission worked (as described by BillyBob), so I wasn't aware of why this was happening.

Thanks to all for your continued input.
 

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Nobody Home
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When the event I described happened, I had stopped with the bike in first gear. A car stopped behind me, and I wanted to adjust my left mirror, so I put the bike in neutral. Light turns green, and I couldn't get the bike to shift at all. Eventually I did let the clutch out a little, the bike went into first, and off I went.
It's funny in a way. We're victims of clutches that disengage so well the input shaft will stop turning with the clutch pulled in so they tranny won't shift 'til you let it out a bit. Used to be the opposite problem, you found neutral as you rolled to a stop because the clutch dragged and would make neutral, at best, very difficult (and frequently impossible) to find when stopped and would drag so bad it wouldn't tolerate being held in while stopped at a light. I know MSF teaches staying in 1st, clutch pulled in, but I'm still in neutral, clutch out, if stopped more than momentarily. Old habits.
 

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but still a NooBie
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My '06 has 11k miles on it. The only time I had trouble with it popping into neutral was, as pointed out, my big heel touched the heel shifter and popped it out. You put so much pressure on your heel that you (I) won't even feel it when it happens.

I have never experienced the other problems.
 

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The only time I had trouble with it popping into neutral was, as pointed out, my big heel touched the heel shifter and popped it out.
I had that happen to me the first 2 times I ever left my driveway. Rolling down the hill, leaning into the turn, hitting the throttle, then NOTHING!!! All because my big foot hit the heel shifter. I had NO IDEA I could hold a 650lb. bike from falling over. :eek: Now I don't move until the left foot is safely planted on the floorboard.
 

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... at the old, ballgame!
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
An update -

I went for a ride on Sunday, and paid very close attention to my left foot as it was coming off the ground when rolling off from a stop. As I accelerate from a stop, my left foot tends to drift back a bit, so I have to bring it forward to get it onto the board. Sure enough, as I was bringing my foot forward and in I was dragging my foot over the heel part of the shifter. On Sunday I never actually popped the bike into neutral, but it was obvious that I could have very easily done it, and that that was most likely the cause of that problem. I started being very careful to bring by foot up before bringing it in.

So it turned out to be operator error, as several of you suggested.

Thanks for your help.
 

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Super Moderator
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An update -

I went for a ride on Sunday, and paid very close attention to my left foot as it was coming off the ground when rolling off from a stop. As I accelerate from a stop, my left foot tends to drift back a bit, so I have to bring it forward to get it onto the board. Sure enough, as I was bringing my foot forward and in I was dragging my foot over the heel part of the shifter. On Sunday I never actually popped the bike into neutral, but it was obvious that I could have very easily done it, and that that was most likely the cause of that problem. I started being very careful to bring by foot up before bringing it in.

So it turned out to be operator error, as several of you suggested.

Thanks for your help.
Good deal! Fixing you is a lot cheaper than fixing a transmission ;). I am wondering tho- is your heel/toe shifter one piece or two? Maybe you could rotate the heel section up a little if it's two pieces.
 

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... at the old, ballgame!
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good deal! Fixing you is a lot cheaper than fixing a transmission ;). I am wondering tho- is your heel/toe shifter one piece or two? Maybe you could rotate the heel section up a little if it's two pieces.
I believe it is a one piece. I've thought about trying to rotate it a few degrees counter-clockwise (looking at the bike from the left side). The toe part is higher off the board than it needs to be for my foot to get under it, and the heel part is so low (almost even with the board) that it is difficult to use. In fact, other than accidentally ( :biggrin: ), I rarely use the heel part.
 
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