GearheadS, if you put your bike on the center stand with the engine on and in 1st gear, what happens when you pull the clutch lever? Does the drive train disengage? Or does the wheel keep spinning?
I haven't tried this yet, but I will and report back. I highly suspect it will keep spinning.
But what I found for my bike was the shifting was frustratingly intermittent. It was so random how it would either shift clunky or smooth.
I replaced the clutch, and noticed that the pads were totally fine, it was the steel plates in between the pads that were scored pretty badly.
I have put 8k miles on in the last month, and am very happy I replaced the clutch. Smooth every time as long as the chain is in check.
Good to know, but hard to understand what the actual problem was...the scoring I guess? How does the scoring happen, I wonder? What did that clutch kit cost you?
I have been experimenting with my technique, and that does help. It's definitely clutch drag, the more I go along the more sure I am. The coping strategies are consistent with that, kinda like double-clutching a car with worn synchros. For upshifting, I find that either applying pressure to the shifter before pulling the clutch OR pulling the clutch and waiting a second for the engine to spin down helps with the shift. Kinda weird that two seemingly opposing things both help. For downshifting, if I pull the clutch, then blip the throttle as I shift, it helps. So these are good things.
But I've been riding bikes for 30 years, and none of my others has been like this. They all shifted much smoother, consistently so.
Thanks for the input!