Bike will not shift, stuck in 2nd gear - Kawasaki Ninja 300 Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Bike will not shift, stuck in 2nd gear

So I was out riding the other day when suddenly the shifter would not shift up into 3rd gear. When I went to see if I could downshift, I found it was stuck in the 'up' position (higher than it would sit untouched). Now this had happened three times before, and in each one of the occasions I would pull over, reach down, maybe turn the bike off and tap the shifter with my heel, and the problem would suddenly disappear. After the second time I carefully looked over all the connections and made sure the shifter was not bent or binding.

So I put another 500 miles on the bike, and had it happen again. But this time when the lever 'released' from the stuck position, it did not feel normal, and it was stuck in first gear. After a bit of back and forth, I was able to get neutral and 1st to work, but the bike would not go into second. I rode a bit in 1st (I wanted to get it home to take a look) I was able to shift into 2nd gear, but I had to hold the lever up right with my toes, or it would drop into neutral.


I made it home, and the next day looked over everything and took a short ride. Now the bike is in 2nd gear, and will not go into any other gear, or neutral. The clutch seems to be working fine, and doesn't seem to be the culprit, since I would be able to shift without it into 3rd if that was the problem area.

After a bit of research, it seems most people that have a problem like this get it from the bike being dropped and bending the lever. I have no doubt this bike was dropped at least once before I bought it, but all the parts look fine and the lever is straight and not binding. A reddit user noted that he had a similar problem, and he solved his by putting some type of spacer on the splined shifter shaft, essentially pulling that shaft a bit to the left (maybe to counteract it moving to the right after being dropped?).

I feel that the actual shifter lever has the same amount of travel up and down as it did before, but there is no ratcheting or clicking into the next gear. I am worried the 'pawls' (Is that what they are called?) that spin the shift drum are out of alignment somehow. I was tempted to take the clutch cover off to take a quick peak, but it seems the clutch would block a decent view, and messing with that for the first time seems unwise.

So before I putter off to some unknown bike shop in 2nd gear, I figured I'd ask you all if you had anythoughts on what it might be. The bike only has 4000 miles, with 2000 being from me doing pretty relaxed driving, about 25 miles per day. The previous owner really didn't seem like the type to abuse the bike (I don't think he ended up enjoying riding) but I do know he laid the bike down at least once, which required a new right side fairing. Again, all the external stuff looks fine.


So, any thoughts? And any thoughts on whether I should go digging into this on my own? I have decent hobbyist skills for auto work, and the tools, but just moved and don't want to take up my now small garage for an extended period of time.


Thanks all
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 02:49 PM
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So you're issue is either the external linkage of something in the shift mechanism in the transmission.
You can verify the external linkage by removing the arm that attaches to the shift shaft going into the trans. It's clamped to the rod by a 10mm bolt to the splined shaft. With that pulled off the shaft you can verify that the shifter moves freely and there is no binding. Honestly the shifter and linkage are pretty simple and you can pretty much verify it without taking anything apart but this way you can be sure.
If that is ok and it's stuck in a gear with the bike off there is something wrong internally such as a bent shift fork or the rachet mechanism is messed up. These kinds of issues are normally not simple to fix unfortunately and unless you know what you're doing it may be best to have a professional look at it.
You could take the clutch cover off and look at the ratchet mechanism but it is pretty obstructed by the clutch basket.

Last edited by Kennylxix; 09-07-2019 at 02:57 PM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Yea, so I had previously removed the external shift linkage parts to make sure they were all straight, and the splined shaft would spin (it did, but its surprising the amount of leverage that little 5 inch linkage puts on the spline, it was tough with a wrench but I think that was to be expected).

I had a new development today. I was all ready to go out and just remove the clutch cover and make a mess of things (not a certainty, but obviously a possibility for a first timer).

I rolled the bike back and forth (50% of issues I've seen with ninja 300s seem to be bent linkages, and 45% were people who had their problem solved by rolling the bike back and forth...)

I pulled the clutch in and tried to find it into a gear with no luck. But then I left it in gear and rolled the bike forward while keeping pressure on the linkage (upshifting). As the bike rolled, I could feel movement in the linkage, and it felt like it was mostly going into the next gear.

I'm a fairly handy person, and while I've never taken apart a motorcycle transmission, it felt like the selector drum was spinning, but then getting caught before full engagement. I suppose it could also have been a 'pawl' rotating to the next gear but not disengaging, which brought me back to my original thought that the return spring (not sure if thats the right name, but there is one at the far right end of the splined 'shifting shaft' ) was getting bound up, or wasn't working.

The final killer is that the battery was dead, and since all my tools are scattered, my garage is 1/3rd the size and filled with moving boxes, and I can't find my trickle charger, the bike will just be going to a professional. I actually have a motorcycle shop .4 miles away that does mostly 'classics', but I'm hoping they will take on my problem. Not only will it save a headache with getting the bike there, but I really want to see what the ultimate problem is. I guess I'm not just the kind of guy to say "Well, now it works!" and this has become a little mystery for me.


So I will let you know, but its internal. I guess its now a question of 'Where', 'Why', and "How Much'?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 06:46 PM
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Ok so many transmissions will have trouble shifting gears sitting still with the engine off. It's perfectly normal. I assume you were having these problem while actually riding the bike as well right?
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, yea, for sure. I mean, I rode a pretty good distance in 1st, then eventually 2nd gear to get home And then a very brief spin around the block the following day in 2nd to try some things out.

I suppose I have never tried to change gears with the engine off and with no clutch, but in theory that should be possible if the engine/gears turn enough right? It was more than just rocking it back and forth. I noticed because I usually push my bike out my driveway and down a bit to keep quiet from the neighbors, and I wanted to see what I could do to get any movement or feel from the shift lever.


So, something is definitely broken or bent inside, and I will report back in case anyone has a similar issue in the future.

It is worth noting the bike only has 4000 miles, with 2000 from me over 4 months. No hard shifts or real 'hard' riding, just a pretty basic sub-urban commute. Pretty amazed that anything on one of these ninjas would break in that mileage, so I think it could be helpful for others to find out what is actually going on.

I just wish it happened three weeks ago, in my old massive garage, with all my tools accessible, and an extra vehicle to use while I dug around. I kind of hate bringing something to a mechanic and not actually seeing what is being fixed. Oh well

thanks for the help
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 09:14 PM
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Well I say pull the clutch cover and just a have a look see. A shop will do it anyway. You might find something really obvious though I kind of doubt it.
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