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Discussion Starter #1
I seem to have a problem. My bonnie is very difficult to put into neutral when Iam starting her up & at the occasion stop light. Most of the time I hear a "clunk" sound when I do so. Ironically, when I am trying to upshift from first, the bike more often then not, it hits neutral rather than 2nd gear (though I usually I don't hear a clunk sound)! Am I missing some crucial skill or is it the bonnie? Shouldn't it be easier to find neutral @ 0 mph rather than 15 or twenty???? Any insight is appeciated!


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How much freeplay do you have in the clutch - the gap between the lever and perch? I've had dozens of motorcycles over the years and find my Thruxton to be one of the nicest putting in neutral, but I'm doing that just before actually stopping - dropping down from 2nd. Safety courses tell you to be in 1st gear at a stop in case someone comes screaming up from behind, but I always stop in neutral unless I'm doing a balanced quick stop w/ both feet on the pegs.

I seem to have a problem. My bonnie is very difficult to put into neutral when Iam starting her up & at the occasion stop light. Most of the time I hear a "clunk" sound when I do so. Ironically, when I am trying to upshift from first, the bike more often then not, it hits neutral rather than 2nd gear (though I usually I don't hear a clunk sound)! Am I missing some crucial skill or is it the bonnie? Shouldn't it be easier to find neutral @ 0 mph rather than 15 or twenty???? Any insight is appeciated!


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How much freeplay do you have in the clutch - the gap between the lever and perch? I've had dozens of motorcycles over the years and find my Thruxton to be one of the nicest putting in neutral, but I'm doing that just before actually stopping - dropping down from 2nd. Safety courses tell you to be in 1st gear at a stop in case someone comes screaming up from behind, but I always stop in neutral unless I'm doing a balanced quick stop w/ both feet on the pegs.
+1. Best place to start is making sure clutch is adjusted properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for the replies! The bike is new, a 2012 with just over 2,000 miles. I think the oil is synthetic as that was what I asked the dealer for when I did the break-in service back in May. The oil level is ok; the oil was in the middle of the bubble when I had her on the centerstand. As far as free-play goes, I have both the clutch & break lever in the "2" spot on the adjuster since I have somewhat short fingers/ small hands. Otherwise, I haven't adjusted the cables from their initial installation.

I guess I should clarify a little. I can down-shift fine typically. If at a light, usually I down-shift to first, and if it looks like like a long light (and folks stopped behind me), I might pop her into neutral from first. If the clutch is being nasty, I'll "accidentally" shift to 2nd & have to down-shift then to neutral, sometimes after a few tries. What really bothers me is that when in motion, if I upshift from a stop, it'll hit neutral easily instead of 2nd. I feel like that should never happen, even by accident. :/
 

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First of all; I find my Bonneville is the smoothest shifting bike I've ever owned.

When approaching a stop or light I'm downshifting to neutral. As I'm slowing I'm glancing at the rear view. Sometimes I'll keep her in neutral when the bike stops. When I see someone behind me I'll cover the clutch and continue to observe to see if the driver has a clue or not. If the driver is making me nervous, I'll slide her into first.
 

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As far as free-play goes, I have both the clutch & break lever in the "2" spot on the adjuster since I have somewhat short fingers/ small hands.
That's not what we mean by clutch free-play adjustment. That's lever reach.

See these instructions contained in your owners handbook and also ensure the drive chain is correctly adjusted.

As Echoraven states in the previous post, the Bonneville is also the best shifting, smoothest transmission I've ever had as well:

 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just checked the free-play. It was 6 mm! :eek: I was able to adjust it using the lever end adjuster down to 3 mm. Hopefully this was all I needed. Thanks again!
 

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Hope that worked out for you. I had a recent experience with my Bonnie. When I swapped out the bars, I adjusted the lever end free play to where I though it needed to be. However, on the following ride I had a heck of time getting it into neutral and shifting into first was very clunky. Not typical operation for my motorcycle. It was pretty much having the same symptoms that you were describing. I played around with the adjustment some more and now it's buttery smooth and I hit neutral without a problem.

Please report back and let us know if that also fixed your problem.
 

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I also have to agree that these new Bonnevilles are the smoothest shifting bikes I've ever ridden. Sometimes you have to rock your bike forward and backwards while putting the bike in neutral and it should drop in quite nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't thing the ruler was very accurate. I'm getting calipers today to fine tune the free-play. It was better with the adjustment so far. Next week, I'll take to the dealer to check on the chain while I'm there for other stuff. I forget how precise these bike really are. :) Thank again for the help!


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I don't thing the ruler was very accurate. I'm getting calipers today to fine tune the free-play. It was better with the adjustment so far. Next week, I'll take to the dealer to check on the chain while I'm there for other stuff. I forget how precise these bike really are. :) Thank again for the help!


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No need for a caliper for this; I've used a nickel for 45 years :D
 

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I eyeball and feel the free play. Just a "bit" (a few millimeters) of free play is all that should be there.

An old trick when the shifting is balky, which happens every now and then: Pull in the clutch, rev the engine just a bit, then try again.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Things seem to be better now that I"ve adjusted the free-play. The tech @ the dealer today mentioned that the clutch gets only better with time, but that early on a little rev before upshifting helps to pump the oil on the clutch plates. I guess I have the problem of just putting more miles on the bonnie. ;) Thank again!


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