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Sportster Motorcycle Transmission, Clutch, Primary & Secondary Drive Transmission, Clutch and primary or secondary drive problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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Old 9th July 2019
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Default Of gears and mirrors

A vicious viral chest infection has kept me off the road for the past three weeks, otherwise I would have asked this a lot earlier.

I'm riding a 2002 Roadster with under 1,000 miles. The transmission shifts smoothly except when dropping into first from neutral. No issues dropping down from second when I'm coming to a stop, but when it first starts up - after filling the tank, stopping for coffee, emptying the bladder, that sort of thing - it just grinds something awful. Nothing seems to make it smoother, not gently rocking it backward or forward, not feathering the clutch, nothing.

It seldom happens that it sits in neutral, because I like to keep it in gear at stoplights, just in case the driver behind me is unaware of the red light because he just HAD to take that phone call. I like to have the option of that extra second to take evasive action. But the grinding sound is driving me nuts. Any suggestions?

And speaking of the driver behind me, how do folks find the stock mirrors? I can get a pretty good view of my shoulders and anybody passing me once they're in that lane, but I cannot quite seem to adjust them to show who is directly behind me. I haven't had this problem with my other bikes, and it makes me a little antsy at red lights. Any suggestions?
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Last edited by Ted Town; 9th July 2019 at 21:35.. Reason: not done
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  #2  
Old 9th July 2019
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My first suggestion is ride the snot out of it.
With the miles so low could just be clutches sticking.

Secondly the clutch is probably adjusted too loose from factory ( this is common as they wear tighter) which if not set correctly will make it bang and clatter when going into 1st from neutral.

Another thing, which I would probably do, is drain the primary fluid and fill with Dex VI ATF for a few miles of constant clutch use, ( This is to clean the old oils from the clutch plates.) Some people like the feel better and just leave in ATF. but I don't like the harsh feel so I go back to factory fluid.

I would change the fluid because it is old and the miles are so low, never good for things to just sit and then run with original fluids.
The fluids are 8 years old if you haven't changed them.

Get out and ride that sporty.
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Old 9th July 2019
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^^What he said! Change the primary fluid, adjust the clutch, and stop worrying about what's behind you.
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Old 10th July 2019
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Seeing behind you is a factor of mirror location and stem length - and mirror location is a factor of style & size of handlebars... With my pull back bars, I can see directly behind me from both mirrors...

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Old 10th July 2019
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Flipped mirrors,(swapped side to side mounted from the bottom up), give you a much better view to the rear at the cost of a small increase in time taken to glance down to them. I’ve tried many types and styles including extensions for the stems and have settled on “bar end” mirrors. Works for me.
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Old 10th July 2019
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Harley sells (or did) extended stem mirrors. They look like the stock mirror but a longer stem to see more than your elbows. That is what I replaced my stock mirrors with.
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Old 10th July 2019
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Thanks everybody. I didn't know about the clutch settings, but it certainly makes sense about the fluids - 17 years is a long time to sit.

Flipping the mirrors sounds interesting, and cheaper than fiddling around looking for long-stemmed mirrors.
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Old 10th July 2019
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Just bought a pair of long stem mirrors for £26, to replace my damaged long stem ones.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pair-of-S.../361791598173?
There must be similar ones over your side of the pond. The stock mirrors are useless!
Good advice on the oil change. Hope you do the engine and filter also!
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Old 11th August 2019
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I rode some while with my mirrors flipped, on low, almost drag bars. I found better visibility, until I loaded the bike with passenger or gear. Then I couldn't see anything. Mounted on top, I see my shoulders and or behind and to the side, not straight back.
New mid-height 8" or 10" bars, I have mirrors on top still because ... lazy.


To combat idjits behind me not stopping, I often aim the bike at a bit of an angle when stopping. This does a few things: 1. Bike is aimed more sideways, out of the way faster. 2. I am now a slightly larger target in their view. Yes, I know of target fixation, but I'm at least larger and thus easier to see. 3. I can look into one of the mirrors and see directly behind me, as my body is now not directly behind the mirror in the line of the lane.


Lastly, maybe you don't worry what's behind you, but I wanna keep my eyes on ALL of the idiots out there. I knew a guy who was stopped at a red, and taken out by a 35 mph taxi that didn't want to stop. He was lucky to be walking at all, months later. Thanks, but I'll stay just a bit worried.


Always remember to check that the nut between the handlebars and the seat is neither too loose nor too tight.
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