Clutch, finding neutral problem - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    2017 F800GT, facelift.

    I'm having trouble getting this bike into neutral; it's almost impossible unless I either use the kill switch to stop the engine and put it in with the engine off, then restart the engine or if I blip the throttle and put it in while revs are above idle from second. The difficulty level is above the level of the "difficult to find neutral" which is common on these bikes and it's got worse since I've owned it.

    It's been to an independent mechanic for annual inspection (MOT) who thinks it is probably a worn clutch basket and the clutch is not fully disengaging when you pull the clutch lever in.

    It's been to a BMW dealer for service; not the dealer I bought it off. They can't say what it is other than if it's the clutch basket its a warranty repair (it's an approved used), or if it is worn clutch plates then I'll be paying for it. I'll have to pay BMW about GBP180 to diagnose the problem by taking the clutch apart and inspecting it (if it turns out to be a warranty job then I won't have to pay it). There was an oil change when it was in with BMW which hasn't fixed things.

    Looking for feedback from other owners so I can figure out what to do out of (i) do nothing (ii) get BMW to take the clutch apart with unknown results (iii) get an independent mechanic to fix it which I will definitely have to pay for, but not as much as BMW will charge if it just turns out to be a worn clutch (iv) complain to the BMW dealer who I bought it off and see what they suggest/offer, but they are a 5 hour drive away.

    There is no sign of the clutch slipping. I've opened up the throttle in low gears and in high gears. No slipping.

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  3. #2
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    What's sort of mileage has the bike covered on the current clutch plates?

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  4. #3
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    Check the oil level. I have always found if it is a touch too high, or even at max - trying to get neutral is trickier than when it is a little lower.

    Also try knocking it into neutral before you can to a stop (from second, down to it).
    BMW F800ST, 2010, Black, Fuzeblock, Sat Nav, BMW Tank Bag, Givi Touring Screen, Denali Spotlights, Denali CANSmart, Wunderlich Crash Bars, 62K Miles & counting 

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    Bike has about 10,500 miles on it.

    I am already knocking it into neutral from 2nd before I stop... that's the third way I get it into neutral other than killing the engine or blipping the throttle.

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    Does it change gear ok using the clutch, up and down the box?

    Is the clutch adjusted correctly, and it doesn't drag? Do you have a good bite point and don't have to ride the clutch when pulling away?
    BMW F800ST, 2010, Black, Fuzeblock, Sat Nav, BMW Tank Bag, Givi Touring Screen, Denali Spotlights, Denali CANSmart, Wunderlich Crash Bars, 62K Miles & counting 

  8. #6
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    With my girl, I find that if she is being a bit Pissy (tech term), rocking her gently forward and back a bit seems to help coax her to let me slip in........to neutral.......ummmm the bike.
    I also have noticed that when I'm tired, slipping in it is more problematic for me to apply just the right amount of upward pressure to get her into the sweet spot of neutrality.
    Sometime she feels like some big toe sometimes she don't. Hummmmmmm.

    Hope this helps, if not I'll refund what ya paid for it.

    ~James~

  9. #7
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    If it's been fully Franchised serviced to date and still a BMW Approved machine with relatively low mileage, assuming it's not been abused since you bought it, I'd be surprised and worried if It's worn plates.



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    My 2016 was always finicky about neutral. Bought it with 4,700 miles on it and traded it two years later with 32,000 miles on it. Traded it just because it was hard to find neutral .... just kidding. Never really got it straightened out but what I learned was, hot it was harder, fresh oil it was harder. Last service the dealer did was the 30,000 mile service and they discussed it with me. It was just out of warranty and they wanted to check the clutch. I said no as I was going to trade it anyway but the tech did very carefully adjust the clutch. It worked perfectly for me the rest of the time I had it.

    The previous owner had dropped the bike and the shift lever was slightly bent. I wondered about a bent shifter fork but never pursued the idea. There is a post on the internet about an F800GS and bent shifter from dropping the bike.

    Always had the bike serviced at the dealer and they used the BMW oil I presume. I noticed that just after a service it was more difficult to find neutral and would get easier over the next 6,000 miles. I do not think my clutch plates were worn as the 32,000 miles it had on it were mostly trip miles and the number of shifts were significantly less than normal riding.

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    At a stop I either shift up and find N or it goes into 2 and then I just glide it into N like butter. Best shifting transmission I have owned in 6 motorcycles and is perfect to me.

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    "I'm having trouble getting this bike into neutral;"
    Pretty much describes my tranny/neutral on my 798cc 2015 F700GS, now at 45,000, it was never any better at 13,000 either, if you rock the bike it helps but its such a hit and miss affair that I don't bother with neutral at stops,,. I've basically gotten used to keeping the clutch in rather then go fishing for neutral, its there but its such a fine touch that it ends up in second 80% of the time, then usually back into first again?

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    [QUOTE=Biscuits;2887135]2017 F800GT, facelift.

    I'm having trouble getting this bike into neutral; it's almost impossible unless I either use the kill switch to stop the engine and put it in with the engine off, then restart the engine or if I blip the throttle and put it in while revs are above idle from second. The difficulty level is above the level of the "difficult to find neutral" which is common on these bikes and it's got worse since I've owned it.

    It's been to an independent mechanic for annual inspection (MOT) who thinks it is probably a worn clutch basket and the clutch is not fully disengaging when you pull the clutch lever in.

    It's been to a BMW dealer for service; not the dealer I bought it off. They can't say what it is other than if it's the clutch basket its a warranty repair (it's an approved used), or if it is worn clutch plates then I'll be paying for it. I'll have to pay BMW about GBP180 to diagnose the problem by taking the clutch apart and inspecting it (if it turns out to be a warranty job then I won't have to pay it). There was an oil change when it was in with BMW which hasn't fixed things.

    Looking for feedback from other owners so I can figure out what to do out of (i) do nothing (ii) get BMW to take the clutch apart with unknown results (iii) get an independent mechanic to fix it which I will definitely have to pay for, but not as much as BMW will charge if it just turns out to be a worn clutch (iv) complain to the BMW dealer who I bought it off and see what they suggest/offer, but they are a 5 hour drive away.

    There is no sign of the clutch slipping. I've opened up the throttle in low gears and in high gears. No slipping.[/QUOTE
    Dear friend, I had the same problems and finally worked it out. In January this year I bought a F800R, 30,000 km looking pretty good, but with the hard to find neutral issue. Early I learnt that a fast short revving and holding the shifter upwards made easier to find neutral, also changing gear before stopping. This technique goes along with with gas strokes for smoothing downshifting. Near to the oil change at 40,000 km asked my trusty mechanic to open the clutch and check what was going on and we found that the disc's made marks on the basket of the clutch making it difficult to move freely, asked to bmw for the price of new basket and it was about some $120 usd and mu friend told me that he wanted to smooth the surface of basket and counterbasket with a fine file. He worked on both pieces and ended with a brand new looking parts. To make a better reparation we also changed the 9 slip disc's (not the metal ones, they were in good shape), found them in China on ebay for $25 usd, free shipping to Mexico and closed every thing back with torque specs and bolts order on the clutch cover, poured Castrol power 1 10W50 full sinthetic oil, and problem was totally solved. Now I can shift confidently with or without gas stokes (in spanish its golpe de gas, maybe its called different in English). Also can say that the fast short revving technique for shifting used to become almost useless when engine developed a higher temperature. Reparation was made about a month ago and two weeks ago I did a trip 300 km away going thru Mexico City with heavy traffic, means engine that engine was very hot and neutral was still available softly all the time. Give this hint a try and I'm sure you will solve this problem the same as I did.
    Have a good riding
    Cheers!

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    I have a 2017 model which had problems with finding neutral, almost from new. I was a new rider so didn't realise this was a problem . At the 12,000 mile service (13,000 miles) by BMW, the tech. mentioned the clutch and said if it was under an Approved Bike Warranty he would have put a new clutch in, due to the neutral problem. I told him the bike was under a BMW extended warranty and he basically said no chance and it would be chargeable. He did say the plates could be removed and soaked in oil which might help. At 19,000 miles it was almost impossible to get into neutral, so I decided to change the clutch plates (not the basket) myself and, wow, what a world of difference. Getting it into neutral was like sliding a knife through butter and it had never been that easy. As yours is under warranty, I would push for the clutch to be changed - check the policy wording as my reading of the policy suggests that BMW may also cover the plates as long as their not burnt and the metal plates not blued. It's too late for me, but might help you. Best of luck .

    BMW F800 GT

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    My wife's 2014 F700GS does the same thing. Hard to find neutral when she is trying to park, always finds neutral when riding. I try her bike and I have about a 60/40 percent chance of hitting neutral when stopped engine running. Unlike my wife I don't ever find neutral when riding. But when stopped engine off it seems to find neutral more often than not.

  18. #14
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    Finicky at best, I got heavier ADV style boots this season and my missed shifts, accidental neutrals is way up, finding neutral at a light is an exercise in frustration at best,. You really need to be focused about shifting with this gear box,,. My Kawi by comparison is a dream, always find neutral and rarely a missed shift all season long,,!!

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    To everyone saying this bike naturally comes with a transmission Neutral problem that is just not true. And just curious, you all test drive it and then bought it, even though you couldn’t find Neutral? That is bizarre. People have been complaining about BMW Neutral issues for 37 years that I know of and there actually was a problem with the Getrag transmissions in the old R Series. The K Bikes did not have transmission problems, but all other brand riders still bashed BMW transmissions…. On this bike it can be shifted at a stop into N from first sometimes and if not you catch 2ND and then slide it into N like butter. Is that really so difficult for motorcycle riders? But if your bike cannot do that then it’s time to get your transmission fixed and not say all of our bikes are “broken.”

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  21. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighning View Post
    ....
    complaining about BMW Neutral issues for 37 years that I know of and there actually was a problem with the Getrag transmissions in the old R Series. The K Bikes did not have transmission problems...
    Not entirely sure where you got the 37 years bit from, there are several members of this forum who have owned, rode and worked on boxers for far longer than that.

    Boxers and bricks have a totally different design and layout to the F range.

    For the clutch, the most obvious difference being that the F range have a wet clutch layout while the boxers and bricks have/had a dry layout.

    As such you're comparing apples to pears.

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  23. #17
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    So what is your point? That I know about what was going on 37 years ago in the BMW motorcycle world and you don’t?

  24. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighning View Post
    So what is your point? That I know about what was going on 37 years ago in the BMW motorcycle world and you don’t?
    I'll restate my point as you seemed to have missed it :-

    ".... Boxers and bricks have a totally different design and layout to the F range ..."

    Do you agree or disagree?

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    Sorry, there must be a problem with the translation. I stated the old “BMW transmissions are junk” mantra goes back to the old Boxers with the Getrag transmissions like the one I had in my BMW R65 37 years ago. I have had 3 BMW motorcycles since then and they have all been excellent transmissions, but N was not easy to find from 1st in any of them (maybe that is because they learned from the Getrag and all of its false Neutrals?). And here we have multiple people saying our F bikes have problem transmissions. I think they may have broken transmissions but don’t extrapolate that to say all of our transmissions have problems. That is not how logic works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighning View Post
    …. On this bike it can be shifted at a stop into N from first sometimes and if not you catch 2ND and then slide it into N like butter...
    I concur
    Sundog 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighning View Post
    Sorry, there must be a problem with the translation. I stated the old “BMW transmissions are junk” mantra goes back to the old Boxers with the Getrag transmissions like the one I had in my BMW R65 37 years ago. I have had 3 BMW motorcycles since then and they have all been excellent transmissions, but N was not easy to find from 1st in any of them (maybe that is because they learned from the Getrag and all of its false Neutrals?). And here we have multiple people saying our F bikes have problem transmissions. I think they may have broken transmissions but don’t extrapolate that to say all of our transmissions have problems. That is not how logic works.
    I fear that I don't understand what on earth your trying to put across.

    I stated the fact that the design and layout of the clutch on the boxers and bricks, is totally different to that on the F range.

    Where did I imply that there was an inherent issue with all gearboxes by this manufacturer?



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    Not sure where anyone here claimed that there was an inherent problem with all BMW Transmissions, or even all F798 Transmissions,,.

    However, there are no shortage anecdotal claims as in this thread that would lead one to conclude that at the very least this F798 setup has an inherent Neutral problem with some of there transmissions including models with low mileage and this could even be regarded as a high percentage depending on your experience,,. I personally have two friends with this F798 setup that make similar claims to what I and others have made here and I really don't know too many folks that have this setup,,.

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    Search “Neutral problem” and the number of hits on this site is practically endless. But “Bikerbill” finally solved the “problem” of finding N from 1st gear on his new F800. How? BMW completely stripped down his transmission and now it “Shifts Perfect!,” according to him. He ends with, “Don’t let BMW tell you it
    is normal!”

    That is what I am talking about.

  30. #24
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    Perfect, BMW floods the market with intermittent neutral and then we can all line up and pay them to resolve it, good for BMW but not for the average owner,,. One of the reasons I plan to trade this F798 away this winter is because I'm totally trying to stay away from BMW service?

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    Personally, I take everything on the internet with a grain of salt.

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    I have never had a problem finding neutral on my 2009 F650GS. However, I don't consider it to have a very smooth gearbox as the shifting between gears is kind of stiff and notchy, even after 48K miles of "break-in".
    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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    Has it ever crossed anyone's mind that some of what is assumed by the group to be a widespread problem is really of little consequence? This group, according to the home page, has 58,768 members. If a dozen or so members complain about a particular issue, rather than treating this as a common complaint, logically it is only a very small, almost infinitesimal, percentage of the membership who are experiencing the problem.

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  35. #28
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    I agree. You can tell if something is garbage and this bike and transmission is not it.

  36. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lag View Post
    Perfect, BMW floods the market with intermittent neutral and then we can all line up and pay them to resolve it, good for BMW but not for the average owner,,. One of the reasons I plan to trade this F798 away this winter is because I'm totally trying to stay away from BMW service?
    Biggest problems I had were (IMO) due to service errors. I had five 6,000 mile services in 2 years. In fairness to the dealer I must say my bike had the most miles for an F800GT that they had seen. That in addition to there are not that many around means very little experience with them. So after the first couple of services they were trying to figure out what to do - had to look it up. That plus they were always in a time crunch - I bought a fixed price service plan that had a 24 hour guaranteed turn around. Recipe for problems, too little experience and too little time.

    That said the service on these bikes doesn't seem to be that difficult, a number of the folks here do all their service work. I had all of mine done by the dealer because I bought a 3 year unlimited mileage service agreement mainly to save money and keep warranty intact. Seems like the most necessary tool is the diagnostic scanner.

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    When I bought my 2020 F800R this summer with 3000 miles on the clock, I struggled to get it into neutral sometimes (not always). I discovered the movement of the gear lever to get into N has to be very small and gentle and sometimes it will only go in N if I put it in second gear first. I have just been putting up with it as the problem does seem to have improved slightly. But after reading some comments that the problem can be solved, I will speak to my BMW dealer and see if they can fix it as it is still under warranty.

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    I think the internet was fibbing on that. None of my last 3 BMW’s went super easily from 1 to N and I personally think that is how they design their transmissions. But let us know how the BMW mechanics explain it to you.

  39. #32
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    My F800GT has 23,000 miles on it and the transmission is the smoothest shifting bike I have ever owned....finding neutral is easy.

    I do take the shift lever off every winter and clean and grease the bushing..........and do the same for the pivot bolt on the handlebar levers.

    If the shift lever is lubed and moves easily - then there must be some clutch drag that is causing a small amount of torque on the transmission gears when the clutch is pulled in. Taking the clutch apart and looking for warped plates or some other malady is likely necessary.

    Clean and grease the shift lever.....and if that doesn't help I believe it is time for the clutch to be taken apart and inspected.

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    My bike: 2013 F8ooGT: re the "difficulty in finding neutral": Some of what is described may be the difference in the nature of a drive train with a wet clutch vs dry clutch. If one is used to a dry clutch, say with a BMW Getrag transmission, the wet clutch shifting may feel strange. The Getrag neutral is decisive "CLUNK". My wet clutch F800GT tends to have a somewhat difficult to find neutral from second gear. I deal with this by "finding" the neutral at 1-3 mph as I stop. In motion, it "snicks" right in. Once stopped, neutral is elusive. Kill switch method then helps. My GT wet clutch is adjusted properly, but oil coupling of small torque to wet clutch plates still occurs, making neutral sometimes elusive. No big deal, maybe nature of the beast.

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    It could just be me and I haven’t ridden my new bike very much, but can finding neutral vary on a wet clutch because of oil temperatures or something? All day long I was finding N like nothing and then at the end of a long night ride the same day it took me a few tries to find it when I got home. Nowhere near a problem and I just chalked it up to a little fatigue. Btw the dealer gave me a free Major Service with purchase so everything is good.

  43. #35
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    Mine is definitely more finicky when the bike is hot,,. With this thread in mind I've observed my neutral position location to be quite good on my last few outings but my riding has been mostly shorty errands around town,. I see I have a bit of clutch drag as well so will do an adjustment before I go out again,,.

    One thing I've noticed is its worse if you go from 3rd down to 1st with the clutch in as in a quick stop for a light change, I need to release the clutch while still moving in 1st or its seems to be impossible to locate neutral, back & forth between 1st to 2nd, 1st, 2nd 1st, no neutral,,.

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