False Neutral - Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-02-2017, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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False Neutral

I was trying to ignore this, but...

I've been riding motorcycles for 16 years on the street. I know what I'm doing in the shifting department. I've never had so many false neutrals as I've had on my 2016 AT. Sometimes as many as four in one day, sometimes I go weeks without it happening - that in and of itself is frustrating. After I started paying close attention, I see that it's always between 3rd and 4th, and when it happens, it seems that when lifted, the shifter simply doesn't come up all the way to engage into 4th. If I had to guess, I would say there is an ever so slight defect in the manufacturing of one of the parts in the transmission. Even something a slight as a tiny burr or a wavering groove might cause it to happen.

I learned the hard way on a different motorcycle with similar symptoms, that the most important thing is to know what to do to mitigate damage to the transmission. That is, as soon as it misses...

1. Pull in the clutch. DO NOT let the transmission catch or engage itself. That's where the damage happens.
2. Get the RPMs up.
3. Shift into another gear (I like to go down).
4. Clutch out normally. Carry on.

What I also know about manufacturers in general, is that they'll do anything and everything to avoid a recall. So if in fact there was a small manufacturing defect or anomaly, we're probably stuck with it. The information isn't going to trickle down to the dealers.

Your experiences?

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-02-2017, 09:45 PM
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Same deal for me. I have had 50 bikes in my life. The vast majority have NEVER had a false neutral. It is not my boots, my technique or sloppiness. This bike has transmission issues. Almost all my false neutrals are between 4th and 5th, going into 5th.

It is probably enough to make me sell the bike early.




2016 Rally Red Manual Africa Twin
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 07:10 AM
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I found the same issue with mine and generally had so troubles with other gear, me and the guys played around with it (work in a motorcycle shop), found by adjusting the shiftr arm that comes out of the box down one tooth and adjusting the shift lever itself back up to your preferred position, it gave each shift a slight amount more upshift compared to the movement of your foot, therefore shifting it up to the next gear fine, haven't had any troubles with false neutral since. Hope this helps guys
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 10:28 AM
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The only time this happens to me is when I ride with new or different boots or shoes. Adjusting the lever does the trick.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 10:54 AM
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Definitely worth a try. Will see what this gets me.

Thanks for the tip.




2016 Rally Red Manual Africa Twin
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 12:59 AM
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Maybe Guy Martin who rode a Honda Fireblade around this years IOM TT course can also give his opinion on false neutrals! Seem like it's not just the AT Honda are having issues with.
Myself iv have not had any issues with false neutrals yet...
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 05:56 PM
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This bike ABSOLUTELY has an issue with the tranny.

It's not the worst tranny I have ever used, and not the best, but there is DEFINITELY a problem, and this is NOT a user error.

I have never, in all my years on motorcycles, come to a stop in 5th or 6th gear, clutch lever in, and been unable to shift down to 1st at a standstill.

In fact, the first few times it happened, it was at a quick light change, where I got caught at a red, right before it was going to change.

Slow down quickly, no time to gear down (don't even say anything about 'you need to gear down', that is BS) come to a full stop, and the first shifter tap down results in the dreaded "--" on the display.

Tap, tap, tap...seemingly, something is stuck somewhere in the tranny...so that it is not able to move the f'ing shift fork.

Strangely, it doesn't FEEL exactly the same either, it just doesn't register.

I had literally got in trouble a few times, because there was a quick green, I had people behind me, and I couldn't move!

The remedy? Ease the clutch lever out just a hair so that the clutch discs would start to just spin an inch or two and it would slip right into gear and then I could tap down.

This has probably happened to me 15 times in 4500km.

4-5th false neutral? Unfortunately, I had thought it was my fault with non-completed shifts.

But after seeing it happen maybe 15-20 times now, I can definitely say, that there is some kind of intermittent issue with this tranny.

I can accept it now that I've learned the workarounds (same as OP says, don't force it, just give it a little clutch-out and you can immediately feel the engagement come back.

It's like something just isn't transiting back and forth on a shaft very cleanly.

Like it's just barely hanging up...even with oil stiction...and it just isn't migrating to where it's got to go.

It's disconcerting, because as you know, it happens at the most inopportune times.

To anyone who says 'it's your shifting', I say go straight to ****. You are absolutely unqualified to comment on a bike you have not ridden.

People on this forum want so badly to believe they've bought the 'perfect motorcycle' and reveal their true levels of moto experience by even entertaining such a notion.

I sincerely hope that with a few more thousand km...things will 'wear in' and I won't be experiencing this anymore, but I love this bike, and it's great and everything, but I would hate to learn that this may be something that will affect longevity.

Anyone...ANYONE who soapboxes and continues to try to convince me that there is 'nothing wrong' with the transmission/clutch...has a severe mental problem. If you've not test rode the bike in question, keep your ill-informed opinions to yourself, as they are absolutely groundless, without merit, and insulting.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 06:59 PM
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You hit it right on the head. After just a few days I learned really fast that you need to slip the clutch a little if you need to shift down while stopped and mine gets the dreaded -- between 5th and 6th occasionally but I can live with it. Every bike has its foibles.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 08:16 PM
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My experience, 1 false neutral in 1000 miles, and I could tell it was a "lazy shift". Not saying a thing about other Africa Twin. Defiantly not the best transmission I ever had (few old Ducaties were at least as bad). For example I had more false neutral in my 1200 Multi Strada, and Street Triple.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 09:04 PM
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Here is my experience FWIW:
I never hit a false neutral until I swapped the crappy OEM foot-pegs for a set of Pivotpegz. As soon as the Pivotpegz were on I hit false neutrals all over the place. What that told me is that it is a foot-peg/gear lever position problem. Sure enough, when I adjusted the gear lever position the false neutrals went away and I don't think I've had one since. Getting the sweet spot did take a fair bit of fiddling about though. And I've also noticed that while the shift change is pretty light, it does require a firm shift.
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