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Hello, this is my first time posting here!

I recently bought my first bike, a '13 Phantom with about 34k miles on it from the original owner. The more I rode it the more I realized 1st and 2nd were a little off and I believe that the original owner rode it pretty hard. When letting out the clutch on 1st and 2nd there is a spot when releasing the clutch where the gears feel clunky. If I am in 1st on a hill starting and I let the clutch out to this spot without enough speed the bike will stall even with a lot of throttle. This is easily avoidable by only letting the clutch out until that spot (it is probably 70% engaged at this point), getting enough speed (>~7mph), then letting it the rest of the way out. I still feel the gears being clunky in 2nd when the clutch passes that point but in 2nd I always have enough speed so it never stalls here. Occasionally I will feel this clunkyness letting the clutch out in 3rd, but I can barely feel it here. I suspect the same issue is happening in higher gears but because I am moving at higher speeds the issue isn't felt much.

From research I have a couple of culprits: Either the shift forks are bent or there is wear on the engagement dogs in the transmission. Unfortunately, none of these seem to be simple fixes. Fixing the former I think I could do but it would be a pain and the latter is out of my league.

If anyone can help shed some light on this I would greatly appreciate it!
 

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2002, Shadow Spirit 1100
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Welcome. Do you have any other bikes? All makes and models seem to shift a little different to me. I bought my 2002 Spirit at 27,000 miles and I didn't like the way it shifted at all. It seemed clunky and I would miss 2nd or put it in neutral quite often. The biggest recomendation I have read was to put a very light pressure under the shifter before pulling the clutch in. Once you pull the clutch in the shifter pretty much falls into place. I have been doing this for a while now, adding a little extra pressure and now I really don't have any issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Welcome. Do you have any other bikes? All makes and models seem to shift a little different to me. I bought my 2002 Spirit at 27,000 miles and I didn't like the way it shifted at all. It seemed clunky and I would miss 2nd or put it in neutral quite often. The biggest recomendation I have read was to put a very light pressure under the shifter before pulling the clutch in. Once you pull the clutch in the shifter pretty much falls into place. I have been doing this for a while now, adding a little extra pressure and now I really don't have any issues.
I’ve had a scooter for about a year but this is my first real bike. The problem isn’t with the shifter tho, it’s with the clutch. Shifting my bike is fine, occasionally it’ll shift into N instead of 2nd but that’s rare and more annoying than anything else. This is a problem when letting the clutch out while in 1st or in 2nd. It’s like there’s a spot on the clutch where the gears grind or grab weird.
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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Maybe the PO put in stronger springs or clutch plates to have a very good engagement with no slipping, but it can cause a grab instead of a smooth take off. Try to raise the idle speed a couple of hundred RPMs to help with take off and see if you will get used to the engagement. Like a racing clutch they can be very abrupt at engagement.
And it is a heavier machine than a scooter so it takes some power to get it moving.
Up hill is always a challenge so that is a get the feel of the bike thing.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Maybe the PO put in stronger springs or clutch plates to have a very good engagement with no slipping, but it can cause a grab instead of a smooth take off. Try to raise the idle speed a couple of hundred RPMs to help with take off and see if you will get used to the engagement. Like a racing clutch they can be very abrupt at engagement.
And it is a heavier machine than a scooter so it takes some power to get it moving.
Up hill is always a challenge so that is a get the feel of the bike thing.
Hey, thats an interesting thought but I doubt it. He said the only modifications he had done were the exhaust and handlebars. On top of that the bike already idles quite high, I have actually been meaning to take it in to get it lowered (its fuel injected so its way over my head to adjust idle speed). I also don't think its operator error since I had my friend ride it and he noticed the same thing after riding for a little while without me mentioning the issue prior. He also rides a Shadow but his is an '08 spirit.
 

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Honestly I think this is rider error. I would have to try the clutch out but some clutches are different from others.

First bike and " On a hill letting 1st gear out" , that puts a red flag up for me. That's the hardest thing you can do especially if you are turning on that corner.
 

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On my 2001 750 Ace, replacing the stock clutch springs with Barnett springs made it a whole new bike, engagement was much smoother and a more linear feel to the engagement. Stock clutch springs wanted to be dis-engaged and engage the clutch abruptly right near the end of the travel,
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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I have heard of various brands of stronger springs making an improvement and they are all relatively inexpensive, I've been a Barnett fan for decades.
I ended up with a full Barnett clutch kit on my bike so I can't really comment on the effect of just the springs other than to say they are a bit stiffer at the lever, but as bikes go still not very heavy.
I have never been caught in traffic and having my wrist start to complain as it has been known to eventually with some performance bikes in the past.
I gueess what I'm trying to get across here is not to be afraid of the added pressure from swapping out the OEM Honda springs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Honestly I think this is rider error. I would have to try the clutch out but some clutches are different from others.

First bike and " On a hill letting 1st gear out" , that puts a red flag up for me. That's the hardest thing you can do especially if you are turning on that corner.
I really don't think that is the case. Sure I am somewhat new to riding but I had my friend ride it (who has been riding for years and has a very similar bike) and he noticed it without me mentioning it prior. The clunkyness also happens in the same spot when letting out the clutch in 1st and 2nd and not really in any gear above that. I took my bike to a business park when I first bought it (and I had some decent experience at this point having taken an intro riding course and riding friends bikes from time to time) to practice hill starts. I noticed when letting out the clutch once it gets to a certain point (~75% out) it feels clunky when on flat ground and will stall on a hill when under ~7mph no matter how much throttle. So I learned to let the clutch out until that point, get over 7mph, then let the clutch the rest of the way out. I just took this as learning the sweet spot on my clutch but the more I feel the clunkyness the more I think there is an issue with my shifting forks or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
On my 2001 750 Ace, replacing the stock clutch springs with Barnett springs made it a whole new bike, engagement was much smoother and a more linear feel to the engagement. Stock clutch springs wanted to be dis-engaged and engage the clutch abruptly right near the end of the travel,
In my research I hear a lot about these Barnett springs. Right now I am thinking I will open the transmission to inspect and possibly replace the shifting forks. It seems like replacing the clutch springs might be worth my while while in there. Thanks for the recommendation!
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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I'd try just the clutch springs first, just the side cover needs to come off.
Splitting the cases to inspect the shift forks, effectively a complete engine pull and teardown to get there, seems excessive to me with such low miles.
Maybe pull the complete clutch and look at the shifter arm mechanism and star on the shift drum, that is as far as I'd go.
Unless it is kicking itself out of gear I would not go further.

No offence intended: In all honesty it sounds like a clutch adjustment/rider experience problem to me.

The VT750 clutch and transmission is not the smoothest thing in the world and unless your experienced friend with a similar bike rides a version of one I wouldn't put a whole lot of weight on his opinion. I have actually joked in the past that Honda made the shift into first "clunky" so it would sound like a Harley.

Baring being there which is rather difficult through the forum and over the internet pipes to experience it, I sure would like a VT750 experienced rider to try the bike and get their take on it.
 

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. I'd have a Honda mechanic check it out. Pay them for a diagnosis before pulling the engine and splitting the engine cases.

Or just get the Barnett springs and a cover gasket and go from there. Note: do not over-tighten the clutch spring retaining bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
. I'd have a Honda mechanic check it out. Pay them for a diagnosis before pulling the engine and splitting the engine cases.

Or just get the Barnett springs and a cover gasket and go from there. Note: do not over-tighten the clutch spring retaining bolts.
I think my plan as of now is to order Barnett springs, replace those, inspect the transmission forks for any obvious wear, and replace those if need be. If doing that doesn't fix the issue I will take it in for a diagnosis. I am really hoping it doesn't come down to splitting the engine case as that sounds $$$$$.
 

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I think my plan as of now is to order Barnett springs, replace those, inspect the transmission forks for any obvious wear, and replace those if need be. If doing that doesn't fix the issue I will take it in for a diagnosis. I am really hoping it doesn't come down to splitting the engine case as that sounds $$$$$.
As stated above, maybe you missed it, to "inspect the transmission forks for any obvious wear" as implied, you would need to remove the motor from the frame/remove the heads/cylinders and split the cases.
Are you prepared to do that and have all the required special tools ?

Not sure why you are stuck on that, just change the clutch springs (I like/prefer Ebc springs) and while you are in the clutch measure the friction discs to determine if they are in "spec".
Put it back together and test ride it...for the rest of the season because it'll be "fixed".
(y)
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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There are some shifting components outside of the cases under the clutch assembly, but the shift forks for changing gears are inside.

 

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There are some shifting components outside of the cases under the clutch assembly, but the shift forks for changing gears are inside.

yep, My son bought a 700 that wouldn't shift into 1st gear, found this out AFTER buying it.
It turned out to be something bent in the shifting stuff under the motor/outside of the cases.
Whew, that was a relief,

And sometimes just lubing the lever linkage pivots can smooth-out the shifting.
Those pivots as well as the brake linkage pivots get dried out from trips to the car wash.
:D
 

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Just a quick suggestion. I bought a used 2013 Honda Shadow 750. After riding a bit, i realized the clutch was grabby and not very smooth. Since I was unsure of the quality of The engine oil, I replaced it and the filter. Made a big difference. Since your bike a has a wet clutch, the oil type and viscosity can have an effect. It’s pretty inexpensive to try a good motorcycle-rated oil before tearing into it.
 
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