I have a 6 month old Kawasaki W800 I bought new. Sometimes when I ride gear changes seem stiff and clunky. Other times they seem smooth and normal.

Would anyone know what could be causing this? Doesnt seem to matter if the engine is warm or not.

  • 1
    How did break in procedure go? Did you do first (early) oil change? Remember, many motorcycles have wet-sump clutch and gearbox sharing the case with the engine, so they use that very oil. Also, switching to synthetic, may help. My shifts got much better after swapping out stock mineral oil to Rotella T6. By the way, W800 is a gorgeous motorcycle.
    – theUg
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 1:12
  • @theUg yeah break in was fine - I followed the manual and kept revs under 4K for the first 1500klm. I did an oil and filter change a few weeks back to synthetic but the issues is the same.
    – MeltingDog
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 1:32
  • Have you checked your Owner's manual? I know that my 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 900, was recommending different maximum speed for gear changes, depending on how many miles you have, you might still be in break in period. Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 16:18
  • I am experiencing the same issue. My local Kawasaki service says everything is OK, however it is completely not pleasant to ride this motorcycle because of this harsh gearbox. Did you fix your problem?
    – jacek
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 8:15
  • @jacek No. After replacing and fiddling around with the clutch cable tension with no changes I've sort of just accepted it :/
    – MeltingDog
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 1:46

3 Answers 3


As the motor cycle is 6 months from new I would recommend putting it into the suppliers repair shop under warranty. If you were to attempt any sort of dismantling to effect a repair you will more or less invalidate any warranties for the motor cycle.

The symptoms point to either a clutch or gearbox fault.


I know I'm a bit late to the party, and perhaps you are perfectly aware of the following, but I noticed that nobody has mentioned this: do you apply a bit of pressure on the shifter pedal, right before depressing the clutch?

Doing so helps to tremendously smooth out gear changes on many motorcycles, as the new gear is essentially spun up to speed before attempting to actually engage it. You'll find that the motorcycle will pop into the next gear much more willingly than when you just hit the clutch and kick up. Half a second of light pressure is usually enough - don't apply much pressure for a long time, as doing so will cause extra gearbox wear.

Some bikes are very sensitive to this technique, while others show no real improvement - YMMV.

You can even try clutchless upshifting, where you just apply upwards pressure on the gear selector and flick the throttle towards the closed position briefly. By reducing the throttle, you remove engine torque from the gearbox and allow it to shift (which you normally do using the clutch). If done smoothly and correctly, a clutchless upshift reduces clutch wear (since you're not using it!) and yields no extra gearbox wear. The chief benefits are a much quicker shift and less hand strain on long rides.

Note: personally, I don't recommend using a clutchless technique for regular everyday downshifting. When shifting down, good riding practice is to use the clutch in order to roughly rev-match the engine speed to the road speed. If you don't rev-match, the rotation speed difference is absorbed by the bike's inertia. This sharp and sudden engine braking effect can cause your rear wheel to lose grip and induces extra wear on the transmission and final drive. Nonetheless, as mentioned by DucatiKiller in the comments below, it's definitely possible to mitigate this effect and smoothen the shift to some extent by blipping the throttle open.

  • I've been clutchless downshifting since I was a kid. You just need to blip the throttle a bit and put very light pressure on the toe. It will just 'fall' into gear when the transmission synchronizes. Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 19:55
  • I'll edit my answer to clarify. The thing that makes a clutchless upshift smooth and safe is that the forces on the final drive are all in the same direction. Before the shift, the engine is pulling in a forward direction. You release that force (without slowing taking up any of the backlash in the final drive) and shift gears, and the engine starts pushing forward again. With a downshift, it's almost impossible to avoid the final drive going to the other end of its backlash (i.e. engine braking) momentarily. That increases wear and carries the risk of locking the rear wheel.
    – Mels
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 21:16
  • Do note that I'm not saying that smooth clutchless downshifts are absolutely impossible - I guess you wouldn't have been doing it constantly if it yielded a sharp kick every time. A lot depends on the design of the bike, the amount of backlash in the final drive, the rider's agility and many other factors. I've not yet been able to get any smooth clutchless downshifts on my Honda CB650F, for example, while I had no trouble at all pulling them off on a Hornet and a CBF600 before.
    – Mels
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 21:29
  • Well aware of that. mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/16383/… I just don't think that a clutchless downshift is as difficult as you've indicated. The article is there to just let you know I get it and it doesn't really apply to this situation. I think your explanation in previous comment is just a bit off. Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 22:45

It's a Kawasaki, I've ridden two before and they both had fairly clunky gearboxes (especially between gears 1 and 2), it's quirky!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .