Bike performance rapid decline - Kawasaki Ninja 300 Forum
  • 1 Post By IronWarrior
  • 2 Post By MAL
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 05:10 AM Thread Starter
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Hey everyone. I bought this bike used a week ago with 13,000 miles and its sound and performance have declined steadily. I’ve noticed:

1.) Knocking when I switch gears- especially when down-shifting into first or up into second. It didn’t do this a week ago. It feels “looser” when I shift than only a weak ago. I’m new to riding so have been pretty clumsy with the shifting at times- especially into 1st. Could I have messed up the transmision?

2.) loss of acceleration power at rpm ranges between 6-9k, where the engine sounds like it’s working too hard- almost as if it were red-lining when it isn’t.

3.) While I’m accelerating aggressively through a single gear- usually a lower gear- the bike sounds and acts like the clutch is disengaged for a split second: There’s a loss of power transfer and a reving sound. All I’m doing is throttling.

This is the first bike I’ve ever owned or ridden. It rode beautifully when I got it, accelerating nicely at all rpms. I’ve been riding it every night pretty hard. It seems like it’s gotten progressively worse in some mechanical way every day and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

Any tips, suggestions or insight is appreciated. I’m taking it to Kawasaki on Tuesday but wanted your opinions too.

Also, I have next to no money to spend on expensive repairs at a shop. I’d like to learn as much DIY upkeep and repair as possible

Last edited by Sccollaz; 08-18-2019 at 05:17 AM. Reason: Bad wording
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 12:12 PM
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Start by checking things over - the chain adjustment and condition for one.

Also check other maintenance items like tire pressure, fluid levels, air filter, etc.

You said this is the first cycle you've owned or ridden, and are a bit clumsy at times, then said you've been accelerating aggressively and riding pretty hard. That sounds like trouble coming.

Have you take a rider course? If not, I would.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 03:35 PM
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Perform all the standard maintenance items. Some those symptoms sound like a slipping clutch. At 13k it's possible your clutch is worn out.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 09:13 AM
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Most bikes I've ridden have had pretty clunky gear changes.
The reason you get a bigger clunk between 1st and 2nd both up and down is that N is in between. One pull or push of the lever takes the bike from 1st, completely through N, and into 2nd (or the reverse). Usually this leads to a bit of a noisier CLUNK. I've also heard reports (though never experienced it myself) that oil quantity, quality, and age can impact the shift feel and sound. Where it's a wet clutch, oil can impact the clutch performance too.

How does the bike perform above 9k RPM? I'm not clear on what you mean by "the engine sounds like itís working too hard- almost as if it were red-lining when it isnít." can you give some more detail on this? Is it louder? Higher pitch and whinier? Be as descriptive as you can!

Clutch free-play could be part of your slippage issue. Make sure there's the proper free-play in the cable/lever. If things are too tight, the clutch never fully engages and will cause slipping like you describe.

I'd go through some standard maintenance items like checking clutch free-play and oil level. If you're not sure when the oil was last changed, might be a good idea to give it a swap, a couple of litres of dino oil and a new filter won't break the bank and is a pretty easy task to perform yourself (with some help from forum posts, youtube, etc.)

Technique-wise, how smooth are you working the clutch? Is there a lot of slipping? White a wet clutch can be slipped more than a dry clutch, eventually you can glaze the plates (or wear them out through normal wear and tear) which would lead to slippage under load. Note, too little free-play at the lever can also cause these problems because the clutch is slipping more often.
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2012 Honda NC700SA
2015 Kawasaki Ninja 300
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 11:22 AM
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Have you checked your oil level?

If oil level is okay: depending on how decent or indecent the seller was, they might have just filled it up with whatever they had laying around before the motor oil, diesel, soybean oil...who knows?

I have learned to perform an IMMEDIATE oil & filter change on any gas/diesel powered vehicle I purchase, as I don't trust what has happened beforehand...

Oh, I see now that you're posting the same or similar posts and thus providing a little bit of information in each.
You should change the oil and filter on that bike asap, and hope you haven't cooked the engine and transmission already.

Brand new to bikes + riding it pretty hard every night + no clue of basic maintenance =

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Last edited by MAL; 08-19-2019 at 11:33 AM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 08:52 AM
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Definitely a slipping clutch. Your being new to riding has led you to slip the clutch and you have worn out the last remaining bit of the friction plate. You could check for cable slack but I doubt that is the problem.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 05:02 PM
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if your changing the clutch plates, its worth it to add in a spears shift star. Helps remove any gear popping out issues
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