Notchy missing down shifts in 1st ,2nd & 3rd - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
    Lag's Avatar
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    I've been experiencing problems with the down shifting on my F700GS,,. 38,000 kms, oil level up and 2000kms on the current oil which is the OEM recommended 15W-50 ADVANTEC,,. This is the only oil ever used on the bike?

    Upshifts are OK, down shifts in 5th and 4th are OK but lately the downshifts from 3rd to 2ns and down into 1st are either missing or very notchy but not consistently so,,. Some shifts into the bottom 2 gears can be relatively smooth,,. Its possible this problem is worse when downshifting at higher RPM,,.

    The only thing I've changed is a new clutch lever with a more adjustable range to it and frankly its come with a lot of twiddling and adjustment both at the lever and down at the clutch itself? I currently have this adjusted to the point of the correct amount of free play approx. 3 or 4 MM and this has been verified by other more knowledgeable F800 owners?
    I've also adjusted to have too much free play and not enough free play in attempt to over come the issue and neither scenario has offered much of an improvement?

    The bike has in the past exhibited a similar notchy problematic downshifting problem when cold, with cold start and first 3 mins of operation and then seems fine after?

    Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated?

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  3. #2
    N4HHE's Avatar
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    Use a different motor oil. My F800S does not like BMW synthetic oils. Shifting now as smooth as if it was a Honda dirtbike. It loves my 10 year old supply of 15W-40 Delo. I don't know what I will do when I run out.
    2016 Yamaha FJR1300A; 2016 Beta 430RS; 2007 BMW F800S; 2009 Husaberg FE450; 2016 Subaru Outback; 2018 F150; 2013 Tesla Model S 85; 1983 Porsche 928S; 9 cats 

  4. #3
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    My F650GS has always had a notchy gearbox, which has never felt very smooth, no matter what oil I use. But it still works, which is a good thing, I believe.

    My recommendation is to adjust the clutch lever so that it has minimal play, then pull the clutch lever in to the grip when shifting and see if that helps. If it does help your shifting then you know what the problem is and you will just have to reduce your clutch cable play to 1 or 2mm. That should be enough play, but check the cable slack when the engine is hot and during hot weather to be sure that there remains some play in the cable under all conditions. Also check the tightness of your shift lever to be sure that it is not wobbling on the shaft.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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  7. #4
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    The thing to remember about adjustable levers is that they can be adjusted in so far that you can't physically move the lever far enough to fully disengage the clutch. The factory levers are designed with this in mind and it's why they don't come in as far as some would like. Freeplay is just to keep from slipping when you turn the bars, full engagement takes travel. Try adjusting the lever back out and see if that helps.

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  9. #5
    Lag's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips Guys,

    1)I think I adjusted the cable all the way from no free play to way to much and the problem persisted, better at times and worse,,.
    2)Tried the new lever all the way in and all the way out, problem persisted?
    3)Previous to changing the lever I never had cause to adjust the cable, was always fine,. Might put the OEM lever back on and see how that goes?

    4)This is from a previous blog and may be my issue, I hope for a simpler solution but sounds the same as my problem, only thing is mine only does maybe 20% of the time?

    I experienced something similar. There are 2 things at play: there's a pawl on the gear selector which must engage the next lower (or higher) post in the rotating transmission gear set (probably not the right words... it would be clear with a repair manual illustration). If you don't lift your foot high enough after a downshift, the pawl won't engage the next location on the selector and you'll miss the next shift.

    When you have difficulty selecting a gear when downshifting and have to increase force on the shift lever, that is possibly a problem with a bent pawl on the gear selector. There's no way for the dealer tech to easily see what is going on as the pawl is inside the gear box and your dealer isn't going to go in there unless there's a for-certain problem. He's going to tell you that you are the problem and more than 90% of the time he'll be right.

    In my case my F800GS suddenly developed a 1-speed transmission: I was stuck in first gear. I was fortunate that the BMW tech rep was at the dealer the day after I rode the bike in and confirmed that he'd seen the same problem on other F800 models but this was the first time he'd seen it on the -GS (it was inevitable since the gear box is the same).

    Apparently the symptom is that you can downshift (possibly with difficulty) but you can't upshift. I found it counter intuitive since I'd never had a problem upshifting. When they took the cover off, they found the problem was that the shift-pawl was bent. When that happens they have to replace the gear selector. The shaft of the gear selector is what the shift lever is attached to. Not a huge operation: the bike was on the lift with the side cover off and only the gear selector was out of the gear box.

    I'd suggest getting an appointment with your dealer and tell them about your complaint. But don't expect them to tear into it until you can't shift. At least there will be a record of your concern.

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    It is axiomatic that when something is wrong with a motorcycle the most likely cause is something the owner did to the bike, ostensibly to make it better. Don't feel bad, most of us have done it. Sounds to me as if you have adjusted the clutch into a problem and replacing the new lever with the OE lever and adjusting the cable to its previous condition is a good place to start in fixing your problem. Good luck!
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    Ok, so switched out the levers and re tested and problem persists,,.

    Further investigation leads me to this as the likely culprit? For putting around this problem is not bad but for city or more aggressive riding it represents a considerable safety hazard so I'm going to the dealer in a week, if they have a quick fix I will let them do it, if not I will follow the instructions from the pasted thread,,. Its a bit dated but sounds like somewhat of a common problem for this type of bike?

    "Update on my 3rd to 2nd shift problem. It finally got the better of me at 34000 klm's so I followed a good youtube video on removal and repair of the gear selector. Mine was not as bad as some examples I found on various forums but was visibly bent or deformed. It seams to be a soft metal and taps into shape fairly easily. I did not use heat as in the video but as I said mine was not as badly damaged. More like wear and tear. After reassembly and test ride the problem appears to have been fixed. If it reappears in the future I will buy a new one. AUD $160.00. The job itself is not difficult. I'm no mechanic and managed it easily. I found the best info searching for F800GS gear selector problems."

  13. #8
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    have you got new boots? i had trouble for 500kms, until i got the feel of the boots. also try changing gears down alittle sooner while the revs are higher, good luck.

  14. #9
    Lag's Avatar
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    Hi Bever,,,.No sometimes the brake lever wont even budge into second, other times its notchy but the gear doesn't change so definitely the problem is this bent paw,,.

    "When you have difficulty selecting a gear when downshifting and have to increase force on the shift lever, that is possibly a problem with a bent pawl on the gear selector."

    Have Friend coming tomorrow and we will open up clutch cover and see what we can see,,. I think this is minor as its working in all gears and 75% of the time in 1's and 2nd,,. Hopefully we can straighten it,,.

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    Good luck, Lyle. Let us now how it turns out. Taking a few photos of anything interesting would be great, too.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

  16. #11
    Lag's Avatar
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    Sorry Richard, didn't see the request for the photo's till now,,.

    So my very knowledgeable friend came over,,, we laid the bike at a 45 degree angle and removed the cover side stand and foot peg to access the internal shift mechanism,,. We removed the "gear selector assemble," and as suspected it looked to be in pristine condition,,. There were a couple of little minor burs from manufacture, one of the fork tongs was rubbing on the plate so we did some minor touch up with a file,,. My friend thought he could see a very minor bend in the soft brass plate that usually gets bent however I could not see it,,. He did a slight bend with a crescent wrench, we reassembled, road tested 40Kms and "Bobs Your Uncle",,,, problem resolved,,!!

    I would say the 1st,2nd & neutral shifting is "not " smooth as silk when compared with my Ninia 1000, however its likely within the design spec for the little GS,,.

    Needless to say, I'm happy as can be and very thankful my friend paid me a visit yesterday,,!!

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  18. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lag View Post
    I've been experiencing problems with the down shifting on my F700GS,,. 38,000 kms, oil level up and 2000kms on the current oil which is the OEM recommended 15W-50 ADVANTEC,,. This is the only oil ever used on the bike?

    Upshifts are OK, down shifts in 5th and 4th are OK but lately the downshifts from 3rd to 2ns and down into 1st are either missing or very notchy but not consistently so,,. Some shifts into the bottom 2 gears can be relatively smooth,,. Its possible this problem is worse when downshifting at higher RPM,,.

    The only thing I've changed is a new clutch lever with a more adjustable range to it and frankly its come with a lot of twiddling and adjustment both at the lever and down at the clutch itself? I currently have this adjusted to the point of the correct amount of free play approx. 3 or 4 MM and this has been verified by other more knowledgeable F800 owners?
    I've also adjusted to have too much free play and not enough free play in attempt to over come the issue and neither scenario has offered much of an improvement?

    The bike has in the past exhibited a similar notchy problematic downshifting problem when cold, with cold start and first 3 mins of operation and then seems fine after?

    Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated?
    ...have you shot a proper lubricant into the moving parts after reassembly? Outside stuff needs proper lubrication as much as those on the inside.

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