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Who is at fault?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I'm a relatively new rider here in Mountain View, CA. 300 miles under the belt on my 2021 Ninja 1000SX, but I have ridden motorcycles before. Back after a hiatus of a few years.
So here's the issue:
-> Start the bike
-> Launch smoothly from 1
-> Speed is now ~15-20mph
case 1 -> rev to 2-4k
-> upshift to neutral (high probability)
-> upshift to two if in neutral
case 2 -> rev to 4-6k
-> upshift to neutral (low probability)
-> upshift to two if in neutral

The false neutral results in an embarrassing rev bomb, loss of control in traffic, and hurts the engine too I'm guessing, since I'm in the break-in period. It is getting pretty annoying now. I haven't yet had it happen on a curve/turn but I'm pretty sure it would unnerve me at precisely the wrong moment.
I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong. It's just that I haven't been able to figure out a pattern to this, apart from the rev range.
Some notes:
  • The bike is fully stock.
  • KQS vs manual shifting doesn't make a difference.
  • Should I be flicking up the shift lever HARD (i.e. ensure it goes up all the way)?
  • Is upshifting at 2-4k wrong?
  • Is there a right amount of clutch-grabbing that I'm getting wrong?
 

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I would lower the shift lever. The stock position is way too high. It makes getting the full shift difficult. Especially if you are wearing a stiff boot. You can adjust this with a 10mm wrench. The thin nut, with a line on it is reverse threaded. Keep that in mind. If you make the rod just a little bit longer, the tip of the lever is lower and it will work much better.

The clutch and brake levers are too high as well. That doesn't help. Adjust these when the bike feels new, like yours does and is. If you let this go, you'll soon adapt, and rhe goofy positions are now your normal.

As far as the numbers go, don't worry about it. Get a feel for this bike. You can shift to second anywhere between @1500 rpm and 10,500 and it won't hurt anyting. Since that's true, judge how you are flowing with traffic rather than focusing on a number that doesn't mean much.
 

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That is not a false neutral... just neutral. :D If you dropped into neutral between any other gears, then okay. But rcannon409 is correct. Adjust your shifter lever and your pull through to 2nd should become easy.
 

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This is what you are rotating when you shift. This is what gives the feel, you could say.

Notice rhe part with the strange shape. Go figure. That shape is rhe one you go over for shift 1-2, with neutral in the middle. Ibelieve this bike wouldbe in 1st gear, as it sits. This shows just what Black Sheep explained.
Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Locking hubs Vehicle brake
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I see. So you guys are saying I'm not upshifting the shift lever all the way. I will try to flick it up all the way and let you know. I'll look into cranking it lower too.
 

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You might benefit from adjusting not only the shift lever and foot brake lever, but also the front brake lever and clutch levers. The brake and clutch levers are easily adjusted for reach (see the manual). They should also be adjusted for the angle, which requires a wrench. Being new returning to bikes, if you are not familiar, there are a bunch of videos on line when How-To's. And they said, shift it without hesitation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You might benefit from adjusting not only the shift lever and foot brake lever, but also the front brake lever and clutch levers. The brake and clutch levers are easily adjusted for reach (see the manual). They should also be adjusted for the angle, which requires a wrench. Being new returning to bikes, if you are not familiar, there are a bunch of videos on line when How-To's. And they said, shift it without hesitation.
Okay, torque wrench incoming. Ive adjusted the levers for reach, I did not know everyone adjusted the angle too. This forum is great.
 

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An up shift to second at 2 to 4K may be too low for the positive neutral finding mechanism. I don’t know much about this or understand how it should work. Only thing in service manual is something about 3 balls next to fifth gear is the positive neutral mechanism, and if the balls are greased, the mechanism will fail. I suspect it is fine, and just needs to be rev‘d up more before shifting to where you are not fighting the positive neutral mechanism…if I am wrong, hopefully someone will tell me how it works.

I almost feel like this has happened to me a few times when riding in town very lazily in the first month of ownership on my used 2019. It has not happen recently…one thing that has happened overtime is that I rev it up more before shifting.
 

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Indeed! I have had the same issue on all the bikes I have owned and lowering the shift lever has always fixed it for me. It seems I don't have very good mobility in my ankles.



I would lower the shift lever. The stock position is way too high. It makes getting the full shift difficult. Especially if you are wearing a stiff boot. You can adjust this with a 10mm wrench. The thin nut, with a line on it is reverse threaded. Keep that in mind. If you make the rod just a little bit longer, the tip of the lever is lower and it will work much better.

The clutch and brake levers are too high as well. That doesn't help. Adjust these when the bike feels new, like yours does and is. If you let this go, you'll soon adapt, and rhe goofy positions are now your normal.

As far as the numbers go, don't worry about it. Get a feel for this bike. You can shift to second anywhere between @1500 rpm and 10,500 and it won't hurt anyting. Since that's true, judge how you are flowing with traffic rather than focusing on a number that doesn't mean much.
 

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Hasan, I'm with you, but the shift linkage also has a significant amount of play you have to deal with, as well. The lever has to sit lower than I would want, once the play is factored in.

1hr, the transmission doesn't have to spin fast.. If you are on a rear stand, you an usually hand spin the rear tire enough to overcome those 3 balls. If even 1 of them sticks, you are done. The bike wouldn't shift up. The factory would not grease them as engine oil lubricates them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alright guys. Had a ride. Looks like this is right:
I would lower the shift lever. The stock position is way too high. It makes getting the full shift difficult.
...
As far as the numbers go, don't worry about it. Get a feel for this bike. You can shift to second anywhere between @1500 rpm and 10,500 and it won't hurt anyting.
I used to shift tentatively, lightly flicking the lever up. Now I tried shifting with the confidence of a male ballerina, strongly pushing upward and keeping it there for half a second. Result - I am now able to consistently upshift to 2 at speeds as low as 10mph, rpms as low as 1500. Success!
 

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Good to hear things are working out with the shifting. BTW, not everyone needs to adjust the lever angle, and the angle changes depending on our riding style as well as our hands, and arms and what is most comfortable. The best angle makes it easier to go from fingers wrapped on the grips, to fingers extended to the levers. I've never had a bike I didn't adjust, but a few that only required a tad of adjustment. Everyone is different, and I say if something is adjustable, we should make it fit us.
 

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Brake lever angle, shift lever angle and brake pedal is way more science than it gets credit for. The stock bike is put together to look nice, on the showroom floor. The odds of a motorcycle being set up for the rider who buys it are close to zero.

There are all kinds of online guides that will help you do this, correctly.

This is where you can develope bad habbits that you'll need to re-learn. People are incredibly adaptable and it doesn't take much time before really bad adjustments feel normal.....and a week later, you'll fight someone who tries to fix them. There's no reason to go through this when it costs nothing to adjust them. When you buy a car, you adjust the mirrors,seat,steering wheel...this isnt any different than that,and it's way more important. Our brake and clutch levers are adjusted way too high for proper use. The ahift

Here's a decent guide that's easy to follow. Notice how there's not a lot of options.......set it correctly, and let that be your normal.

 
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Even if that guy is right I cannot watch him. I've seen him do WAY too many stupid things along with getting lucky and getting things right. His British accent has gotten him further than anything.

Case in point..... I have a set of his forks he "upgraded". What he does, as well as the guys at Catalyst that he used to work with (lawsuits were involved at one point), is pull the forks apart and cross-hatch the lower tubes like it's a damm engine cylinder. His theory was the grooves he cut would catch fluid and get a better seal. What actually happened, and is basic common f-ing sense, is they leak like an SOB. I'm still looking for a spare set of lowers for those forks. I wish I would have paid attention when I bought them.
 

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I agree, he's not much, but he did do a good job on this particular subject. The industry should be ashamed of itself in the way the set-up topic has been ignored to the point where this guy ends up in this position. It's worth watching if a person has no idea how to do this. But no, don't join his fan club or anything like that.

We could go here, instead. He wouldn't goof up your forks.

 

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I agree, he's not much, but he did do a good job on this particular subject. The industry should be ashamed of itself in the way the set-up topic has been ignored to the point where this guy ends up in this position. It's worth watching if a person has no idea how to do this. But no, don't join his fan club or anything like that.

We could go here, instead. He wouldn't goof up your forks.

Yes this is a major thing missing in the industry. It should start at the dealer. The manufacturer should be offering courses and training to service technicians so if a customer asks it can be set up. I used to work as a downhill ski tech and the ski companies train us how to set up skis. Not the same I know but you get my point. My dealership is useless. They didn’t even know what oil filter went on mine lol let alone adjusting anything with ergonomics or suspension. I live in a small province that has no racing industry or people that professionally know how to set up bikes. I watched videos and read many articles on setting up bikes. I got my bike set to me after putting a couple thousand kms on it. I could not believe the difference. The down side of some of us setting up our bikes without enough knowledge is setting them up to be dangerous. I have a friend that made his last two bikes to stiff and has had accidents because of it. He now just leaves his bikes stock.

I want to get an idea of setting my rear preload for two up riding but can’t find anything of any value online. It’s frustrating.
 

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Another problem, at the dealers, is that you often times will get dedicated people, but they are not into what you like.

I worked at a Kawasaki dealer. This dealer was the best in the state, if you liked Jet Skis. Motorcycles? Not so much. If you bought a Jet Ski, from me, it wasn't going to be an amazing experience. Any info I gave you was secondhand, and not nearly as helpful.

I could do a good job on Street bikes or dirt bikes, but I was a complete joke if I had to advise you on your new 4 wheeler, Goldwing, or Cruiser.

Nlmedic, I might add some preload with a passenger, and maybe a tiny amount of rebound damping as I did that. Not much. Unless I'm on my Concours 14, the passenger being there really messes up the riding experience. I'm going to slow down, with he passenger. At that point, good settings are not as critical.
 
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Another problem, at the dealers, is that you often times will get dedicated people, but they are not into what you like.

I worked at a Kawasaki dealer. This dealer was the best in the state, if you liked Jet Skis. Motorcycles? Not so much. If you bought a Jet Ski, from me, it wasn't going to be an amazing experience. Any info I gave you was secondhand, and not nearly as helpful.

I could do a good job on Street bikes or dirt bikes, but I was a complete joke if I had to advise you on your new 4 wheeler, Goldwing, or Cruiser.

Nlmedic, I might add some preload with a passenger, and maybe a tiny amount of rebound damping as I did that. Not much. Unless I'm on my Concours 14, the passenger being there really messes up the riding experience. I'm going to slow down, with he passenger. At that point, good settings are not as critical.
Ok. I left it stock in the back in regards to preload. I’m not really able to check my static and loaded sag Accurately. I don’t have a padock stand yet so it’s hard to hold the bike straight up. I may see if my wife to try and help me.

Of course this is in no way directed at you as a salesman but it’s really frustrating when a sales guy has no clue. My sales guy thought my bike was a two cylinder lol. I know it’s hard to know every make and model of every brand the dealership sells but some training would be nice. My buddy worked at GM and now Mitsubishi and he gets training on every model they sell.The dealership I used sells Kawasaki motorcycles, quads, side by sides,, CF Moto, campers, boats and god only knows what else lol.

Either way it’s all good, we all have this forum to help each other out! Cheers!
 

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My suspension settings are not a secret, but I don't have stock suspension. My settings would be worthless or I would share them.

Before I ever helped someone with suspension, my question was "Why do you want me to adjust it?". That is a good place to start if you can't use measuring devices, and that's difficult without help. Do you have a specific complaint?

I don't sell anymore, but you are right. That's why Ducati has such a better dealership experience. That's all they have to know and you probably won't work there unless you like Street bikes. Most dealerships cycles through sales people so rapidly, you were lucky if they gave you a shirt.

For every guy like you who wants real, accurate and honest information there are twenty five who really, mostly don't. They have their heart set on a bike, or have already bought one, and the last thing they want to hear about are this bikes weaknesses. Look at some of the new bike threads here for proof. Without talking about a specific bike. It's 2022. We start with an engines that are restricted and have to stay below noise limits. It isn't possible to sell one that's tuned as good as it could be. It the law. Yet, they will argue over how awesome it is, in stock form. That's a tough argument when the electronics won't allow the throttle to open.

For many, good enough is just that, and they won't ask, or demand a sales person to be any better than they are, although they deserve better.
 
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