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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a bit over 1000 miles on my bike. My first oil change at less than 200 miles was to Mobil 1 4T 10/40. After a few hundred miles more, shifting was feeling notchy, maybe a little gritty. There was nothing smooth about the process. As time went on, on occasion downshifting would give a false neutral between each gear when trying to do multi-down clicks on one clutch lever pull. I'd pull the lever and down shift, and a second toe tap to go down one more resulted in a false neutral, I'd have to partially release the lever, hear and feel the transmission engage that lower gear, pull the lever back in, down shift again, try for 2 toe-taps on 1 lever pull, only get one down shift, then partially release the lever and feel the next lower gear engage... over and over from whatever upper gear I was in. This behavior is sporadic but happened maybe a few times with each trip.

This spring start-up, nearing 1000, I drained the Mobil 1 and put in Amsoil 10/40 motorcycle oil and a fresh filter. Much improvement, until after just a couple hundred miles the behavior has started again. Notchy and gritty gearing up or down, and sporadic episodes of false neutrals between down shifts. (When this happens, it happens through the entire down shift range, from whatever gear I am in all the way to 1st.)

My engine oil level is full (not over-full), the clutch lever is adjusted according to the owner's manual and the Dr. VStrom video, and the cable action feels good. I can confirm freeplay at both ends of the cable, but it sure is feeling like the adjustment needed is beyond a cable adjustment. Am I looking at service inside the clutch or transmission?

I'm a gentle 50-year old rider- no speed shifting, no clutch-less shifting, no "shifting to 7th gear" occurrences.

Thoughts? Thanks.
Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yep, still under warranty. My plan will be to take it in to the dealer. I'm hoping someone (unfornately) has some wisdom to what might be happening so I can be smarter going in.

Steve.
 

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Shifting should be firm and positive. A lot of shifting problems can be traced back to a lazy left foot. One shift per clutch pull is how it's designed to work, multiple shifts on one clutch pull may work sometimes, but the transmission shafts are both spinning and needs the lever release between each movement of the shift lever. Also, 1000 miles isn't much, could still need a bit of break in to smooth some rough edges.
Of course, if in doubt, nothing wrong with having the dealer check for possible warranty issue. These bikes are mostly trouble free, but somtimes stuff breaks.
 

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These gearboxes have a notchy feel to them, especially when cold.
I suggest that you be a little more aggressive with the rpms.
I have never been able to change down two gears with one clutch pull, and frankly I have trained myself to keep the revs up to 4,000rpm+ as I slow for a corner so that I am in the right gear to accelerate away as I round the corner. It does not matter, and I am not really sure if I am in 3rd or 4th - I just know that I have the rpms to pull away smartly as the corner opens up. Full clutch pulls are not required, just a quick brmm, brmm, brmm as you pull/fan the clutch and depress the shifter as you lightly brake for the corner.

Practice, and make this your normal riding style. Your V-Strom will respond by making fast exits out of turns and you will also be able to control your lean with the throttle. I tend to attempt a tight lean into blind unknown corners and by having the power on tap with the revs up I can pick up the bike with the throttle when I am turning too tight. This is a far safer way around a corner than risking going wide and either into oncoming traffic or going off the road. I often find myself having to power on half way around a corner to lift myself and the bike up when everything but my wheels is over the roadside grass, or worse still - in the oncoming lane.

These bikes do not like 3,000rpms. Keep those revs up.
 

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These gear boxes can be notchy at times, but what you are experiencing isn't normal. My 650 is extremely smooth shifting, take off your shifter from the frame shaft and lube it with waterproof grease to start, I would also consider adjusting the linkage itself up a bit higher.
 

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I was going to suggest lubing the linkage but Big B beat me too it. You might also double check that your cable has the correct amount of slack in it.
If none of the above I would head to the dealer with it.

..Tom
 

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Doesn't sound normal, as my 2017 has the smoothest motorcycle gearbox I have ever driven.
 

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On my 2017 I was told NOT to change the oil for the first 1000 miles. OP changed it at 200 miles > why ?
According to the dealer and owners manual it needs this time to break in the transmission.
I did experience some false nuetrals a few times. very early on. And failure to shift up or down when rpm's are too low
(as Brockie mentioned) However - My bike will shift down multiple gears on a single clutch pull.
When slowing from 6th I try to shift down 2 gears on each clutch pull and release slowly then repeat. I'm at a shade over
1300 miles and the transmission seems to be getting smoother by the mile.

I was told the factory oil is a break in oil which is more like mineral oil. My bike got the best fuel economy with that factory
oil in it. After the first change it went down to about 58 avg. from 65 avg.

Sometimes changing the oil too soon can be a bad thing. Shoulda, woulda, coulda ship has sailed.
 

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Wow - I was just commenting to my riding buddy - that soon after I went past 3000 miles on my 18XT the shifting became super smooth - and yes the rpms are a factor - 4000 seems to be a sweet spot. Almost feels like you don't need any clutch.
George
 

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Well apart from starting off you really don't need the clutch if you are skilled enough. If your technique is good the clutch doesn't actually do much once moving.

..Tom
 

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On my 2017 I was told NOT to change the oil for the first 1000 miles. OP changed it at 200 miles > why ?
According to the dealer and owners manual it needs this time to break in the transmission.
I did experience some false nuetrals a few times. very early on. And failure to shift up or down when rpm's are too low
(as Brockie mentioned) However - My bike will shift down multiple gears on a single clutch pull.
When slowing from 6th I try to shift down 2 gears on each clutch pull and release slowly then repeat. I'm at a shade over
1300 miles and the transmission seems to be getting smoother by the mile.

I was told the factory oil is a break in oil which is more like mineral oil. My bike got the best fuel economy with that factory
oil in it. After the first change it went down to about 58 avg. from 65 avg.

Sometimes changing the oil too soon can be a bad thing. Shoulda, woulda, coulda ship has sailed.
No......there is no mystery break in oil, it is simply oil. There are numerous bikes which come factory with full synthetic oil, I know for a fact that many Ducatis come with a crankcase full of Shell advance 4T, and I believe that BMW and Aprilia also has bikes coming from the factory with full syn oil.
 

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@stevet

I won't add to any debate about regular vs synthetic oil during break-in, but I'm surprised by your description of the shifting behaviour. But I've ridden two 2017 650 'Stroms, and the shifting was excellent on both; considerably better than my previous Honda CB500. So I'm just suspecting that something isn't right. Esp neutral between gears other than 1 & 2.
That said, if you are a gentle rider, you may not really have things 'broken in' quite yet. Still, I'd have the dealer look at it, and as was noted, get it in the record.

I find the gearbox on my bike excellent and it was also on the bike I demo'd. That is one of the things I consider a stand-out bonus on the Strom.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks All.

Being a "gentle rider" only means that I'm not excessive in how I treat or operate it. I don't use it like a sport bike, but I don't baby it, either. I guess I'd say I ride it in a normal, average fashion. From my '07 DL650, and with this new one, I know it is not an engine/tranny package that wants to be lugged at low RPMs for any reason. Higher RPMs are the norm, as others have suggested.

My early oil change from the factory fill was in an effort to flush out the junk left inside from the manufacturing process. Sure, the oil filter catches junk before it gets distributed onto parts, but I don't want to leave that stuff inside my engine any longer than I need to. An early oil change has been my normal procedure on all new vehicles I've bought for many years. It's a subjective behavior, I admit, but it's what I do.

A friend has the same bike, bought within weeks of mine. We haven't been able to swap rides this spring to test each other's operation, but he describes his shifting as "buttery". Mine would not share that description at all. I'll take a closer look at DIY adjustments, but unless conditions improve very soon, I'll get it to the mechanic.

Clutch adjustments at the engine have changed between the previous generations and this newest 2017+ generation, have they not? I recall on my old VStrom a linkage adjustment made next to the front sprocket (which improved shifting performance on my old bike), now I'm hearing those adjustments are made inside the engine cover from the right side of the bike. What's the story there? Has anyone delved into this yet? <pause> I think I found my answer- this is the road to go down to adjust the clutch on the 2017+ (maybe 2012+) DL650? https://www.stromtrooper.com/maintenance-how/199937-2012-dl650-clutch-adjustment.html This looks like fun...

Steve.
 

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You might also check the angles of the various parts of the shift linkage. If the angles are too extreme it may bind up, even if the lever is where you want it for your foot.
 

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The 2012+ DL650 got the newer adjustment system. In over 138,000 km mine clutch never needed adjustment. The cable did (especially when it was about to break.)

Beyond checking and lubing the shift linkage and cable slack (and also that nothing is interfering with you fully pulling in the clutch lever) I wouldn't do anything else. It's a new bike and the dealer should be able to sort it out.

..Tom
 

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I agree with Tom. I would adjust the clutch cable free play and ensure that the shifter is working smoothly. If I was still unhappy I would see the dealer.
Organising a swap and ride on your friends bike first would be a good idea.
 

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My '13 has never had a false neutral in 17000 miles. Missed shifts sure (me) sticky return yes (me) new boots (adjust) I will say at 6500 miles I needed to be positive and firm on the shifts. At 17000 I can just suggest a shift and it pops right in with very little if any clutch. Do it fast and at higher rpms and you will be smiling. If not, then as suggested get it in for a look over.

kfh000
 

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Discussion Starter #19
With 1120 miles on the clock, we went for about 240 miles of riding today, 60 miles of freeway for me, and 180 of fun in the countryside twists, turns, and sweeps for Team VStrom. We swapped bikes for about 20 miles of varied riding and in the end the "shifts like butter" of my friend's bike and the "notchy and gritty" of mine end up not being that much different from each other. Before the ride I spent some time checking and lubing the gear shifter system and rechecking the clutch lever and cable adjustment. No adjustment needed at the clutch lever and the cable moved nicely. The foot shift lever linkage before and after lubing felt very similar, but it certainly didn't hurt spraying it.

(What is the preferred lube for this linkage? I was spraying down the chain at the same time so I hit the linkage joints with the Original Bike Spirits chain lube.
And how about the gear shifter shaft as it enters the engine/transmission case, should I shoot some lube in at that location as well?)

The bikes parked side by side, I checked the action of the foot lever by hand and both felt quite similar to each other. His bike has about 800 more miles than mine so he has a bit more break-in on his. By hand, I felt a spot of grittiness in the throw of both shift levers, and while riding both had similar notchy feelings clicking up and down the gears. He reports never having an issue with multiple downshifts on one clutch lever pull (a normal procedure for him), and throughout the day I only had it happen to me once.

Overall, we thought both bikes shifted gears similar enough that if I wasn't having the sporadic downshift behavior, we'd think they work the same.

I'll stop worrying for now. I'll keep track of it as the bike continues to break in, and when I'm at the dealer in the coming weeks for the gas tank gasket recall I'll talk with them about it.

Thanks for your help.
Steve.
 

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Stevet - Qucik Q - Both bikes running same lube? No oil discussions allowed here. I run T6. I think keep breaking it in is a good plan. And avoid low rpm shifts. kfh000
 
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