I have a 2011 CVO Harley Davidson Ultra glide with a 6 speed gearbox, and while it has always been a little clunky (it's a Harley tourer, not a Yamaha sport bike) recently I have been noticing a new issue:

When slowing down for a junction, I used to be able to come to a stop in 3rd with the clutch in, and then kick down to first while stationary, but if I try that now, the kick will not engage and the bike will stay in 3rd. Releasing the clutch a little so the bike starts to pull does let me downshift.

So I have been taking to downshifting as I'm decelerating - which certainly feels more natural, and is more like I would do in a car - blip the throttle and downshift with only minimal clutch, but training guidance from motorcycle groups seems to indicate that this is wrong and I should be coming to a halt and then downshifting the final couple of gears.

I can't imagine I'm doing any harm - other than maybe some clutch or gear wear if I get my gearshifts very badly wrong - but is the fact I'm needing to do this now a symptom of something failing in the gearbox?

  • 1
    I'm wondering if you just need some clutch adjustment. Apr 20, 2022 at 9:37
  • Try lubing the clutch.
    – GdD
    Apr 20, 2022 at 9:52
  • I have found that the oil in the transmission can have a significant effect on the ease of shifting in many bikes. So before you assume it's bad or failing, you might try using a different brand of oil and see if that help. Be sure the type is proper as specified in your owners manual.
    – jwh20
    Apr 20, 2022 at 11:57


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