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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've skimmed over the forum and of course there is a lot of info out there to be had... It seems the majority of this issues are very bike/user specific. So in an effort to get better advice I figured I would list my own problem here.

My 1970 CB350 is mostly original with a little over 2000 miles on it. I've notice the shifter can be a little rough. I'll be going down the road between 40-50mph and when I need to come to a stop it sometimes won't downshift. It will get stuck in 2nd or 3rd. Which is almost impossible to start out in when going uphill. Sometimes it shifts up and down fine and sometimes it is really hard or won't shift. I'd say more times than not it shifts fine (albeit a bit sticky) but the few times in a ride that it doesn't shift properly can be very frustrating.. :? . Any ideas?

Yes the clutch cable is new. But I replaced it when I got the bike, so I can't say whether or not it did it before it was replaced.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Mine is doing this. Where you can't shift from 5th down to first quickly when coming to a stop. The only solution I know of is to let the clutch out slightly til you feel it grab and then shift down again and you'll feel it slip into a lower gear. Rinse and repeat until you're truly in 1st gear. I'm used to riding my much newer motorcycle which spoils me. I think it might just be an age related thing. All of my old 70s bikes have behaved this way.
 

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lots of 350s have this shifting issue. It's especially prominent when they get hot. feed the clutch out a bit between gear shifts and it will let you shift normally. also make sure your shifter linkage and clutch free play are adjusted properly.
it should only be an issue when you are down shifting several gears at a time when coming to a stop.
 

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tbpmusic said:
It might just be the weirdo shift lever linkage used on 350's.
If it's not just right, problems ensue.
Do a Search, this has been covered in depth here......
In my case, the OEM shifter with the linkage has been swapped out for the one piece style you see on newer bikes.

The other day I found it impossible to find neutral too. It was after the bike was hot.
 

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I've never owned a motorcycle that would let you downshift from the top down more than a gear or two without releasing the clutch a little to get the gears spinning a bit (or, at least get 'em loaded for the next downshift), particularly when stopped.

Other " d'oh " things to check include the shift lever (or linkage) hitting something. I struggled with random missed upshifts on my CX500 for a few months before I finally got down to investigate and discovered a slightly bent shift lever would occasionally contact the engine case on upshifts. I bent the shifter away by about 2mm, and never had the problem again! I had another bike that occasionally wouldn't downshift and it was because the shifter was touching the exhaust pipe where it passed beneath.


But I HAVE had bikes with real internal problems, and both times it was the little star-wheel roller on the shift drum had come loose and slipped off the star-wheel. A quick clutch-cover removal and inspection revealed this, and I just corrected the issue and buttoned 'em back up.

Anyway, good luck with it.

Kirk
 

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luketrash said:
In my case, the OEM shifter with the linkage has been swapped out for the one piece style you see on newer bikes.
That's good - never did like that linkage baloney.....

Check that there's no sideplay in the shift shaft. And that it's not bent at all - it should pull out smoothly from the right side (have to pull the clutch off).
Next step would be to pull the clutch and examine the roller/detent stuff on the end of the shift drum - as well as the articulated business end of the shift shaft and the "pins" that it engages on the shift drum.

Beyond that, it's pull the engine, split the cases and examine the shift drum/forks and tranny itself.
 

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I've always been curious if it's just an 'old bike' thing. Like did they behave this way even when new? I remember reading motorcycle reviews from back then and people complained about it.

I'm a scooter guy, so I'm used to having to clutch and shift down through every gear anyway, so it's not worth a tear down ;) I admit it can be embarrassing sitting at a stop light fiddling around with the clutch and shifter though.
 

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Just guessing, but I doubt that any 'old' bike with a "pre-synchronizer" transmission is going to be happy with attempting to shift multiple gears one after the other. They are progressive trannies, one gear at a time per clutch actuation to give the dogs time to spin up to speed. Ride it like the old bike it is.
 

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On the short ride I took before tearing down my CB450, it shifted as good as my DRZ400. Quick and crisp. Same with my CB750. Same with my CB125. You guys obviously have some worn parts.


GB :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, following all of your advice here and from my other rider friends, I have confirmed, downshifting through each gear has made for a much more reliable ride. I have to say, the PA motorcycle safety course I took over a year ago taught us to shift down to first while holding the clutch no matter what gear you were in. (they even instructed us not to let the clutch out, but to go straight to 1st as fast as we can) I think it was purely a safety thing, to insure you were ready to go if anything were to happen while at the stop and part of the license test was also to come to a fast stop in a short space.
Either way, downshifting through each gear has made all the difference in the world on my old bike. I think it's even improved my upshifting performance... seems quicker and easier. I guess mechanical issues can, more times than not, turn out to be user error. THANKS! :oops:
 

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Downshifting through every gear is much more safe in my opinion. If something happens where you need to grab some throttle real quick, you're not left searching for the correct gear, or trying to take off in an inappropriate gear at the wrong actual speed.


GB :mrgreen:
 

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In the safety course I did, we were told to downshift through the gears under normal riding, that way you're always in the proper gear and ready to move. However, in an emergency stop situation, hold in the clutch and keep shifting until your in first, while your braking, that way your in first and ready to go immediately in case you have to.
 
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