Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Halifax, NS
Thanked 33 Times in 33 Posts
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.
2012 Honda NC700SA
2015 Kawasaki Ninja 300