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Topic-icon Clutchless shifting

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1 month 2 weeks ago #3361 by Bret
Bret created the topic: Clutchless shifting
Wondered about opinions on clutchless shifting. I have a 1984 R100RT and have put about 1000 miles on it. This is my first airhead. I have been riding 40 plus years mostly on Jap bikes with pressure lubed transmissions.

My airhead's clutchless shifts are smooth but not as smooth as a Jap bike. I have no missed shifts, nor do I do jackrabbit starts and acceleration. Over years of manual labor I have developed mild tendonitis in my wrists and prefer using the clutch as little as possible.

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1 month 2 weeks ago #3363 by 14724
14724 replied the topic: Clutchless shifting
I have found I can do clutchless shifting as long as I am gentle and the RPM and speed are just right. I do it mainly from fourth to fifth gear. I have also found I do not have to fully pull the clutch lever in when shifting as long as the RPM and speed are just right.

Remember you have a BMW with a dry clutch and a different gearbox than a Japanese bike. Apple and oranges.

If you are not grinding gears, I don't see a problem with clutchless shifting. St.

Beware! I do not suffer fools gladly! St.

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1 month 2 weeks ago - 1 month 1 week ago #3366 by Wobbly
Wobbly replied the topic: Clutchless shifting

Bret wrote: Wondered about opinions on clutchless shifting. I have a 1984 R100RT and have put about 1000 miles on it. This is my first airhead. I have been riding 40 plus years mostly on Jap bikes with pressure lubed transmissions.


The pressure-lubed gearbox has more to do with them running the gear set in engine oil instead of a true gear-rated oil. So that "feature" won't determine the types of shifting you are allowed or not allowed.

Bret wrote: My airhead's clutchless shifts are smooth but not as smooth as a Jap bike. I have no missed shifts, nor do I do jackrabbit starts and acceleration. Over years of manual labor I have developed mild tendonitis in my wrists and prefer using the clutch as little as possible.


What you are seeing on the Jap machines is the much lower inertia of a lighter flywheel (typically only the weight of the alternator), aluminum clutch plates, and an aluminum clutch basket. This is becasue the Jap bikes were primarily designed to take the "sport machine" market away from the British. Any Jap touring bike offering was generally the same engine and frame with an added windscreen.

Compare that to the BMW, which in the 60's, 70's and 80's BMW was the top touring bike. Touring bikes need to be smooth and trouble-free, thus the large steel flywheel and rugged gearbox. No one expects a touring bike to shift fast; it's simply not a requirement. It wasn't until the late 80's and 90's that BMW tried to move into the "sport machine" market where they are today.

Therefore several thoughts come out of this...
• Your comparison was between sport machine and touring machines. Apples and oranges, my friend.
• Later model Airheads do have vastly improved shifting qualities, but your RT (a true touring machine) falls right at the end of BMW's reign as top touring machine.
• I'm with 14724, if you're not getting an audible report from the gearbox, then keep doing what you're doing. You must be doing it right.
• If you search these pages you'll find a similar complaint from me about the shifting on my 1979 RT being slow and clunky. I can only tell you to hang in there. The bike/rider harmony level tends to gel after 5000 miles, and one day you wake up with no gearbox complaints. In other words, you need to get used to each other.

Helpful hints...
• Due to the large flywheel, it feels like you can ride around at 2200 RPM, but don't do it. You'll want to ride around with a minimum engine speed of ~3000 RPM. And 3000 RPM should become your minimum shift point. Added RPM really helps.
• A change of gearbox oil REALLY helps. Once I changed g/b oil to a synthetic there was a dramatic improvement... which oddly enough took about 500 miles to manifest itself. No need to buy the $50 a quart stuff, you'll see the same difference with the $12/qt stuff from the local auto parts store. I'm using Valvoline 75/90.

Hope this helps.

Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150
Last Edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Wobbly.

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1 month 1 week ago #3372 by Bret
Bret replied the topic: Clutchless shifting
Thanks for the info guys. No more worries about transmission problems or wrist pain. Now it's just throttle elbow and I can live with that.

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1 month 1 week ago #3379 by 8244
8244 replied the topic: Clutchless shifting
I have heard that puttering around at too low rpm accelerates spline wear. Any insights?

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1 month 1 week ago #3380 by 14724
14724 replied the topic: Clutchless shifting
Wobbly says to keep the RPM up above 3K. I agree with him 100%. I was told when I bought my first airhead "don't lug the engine, keep the RPMs up". Both my bikes run terrific when ridden this way.
I myself have never heard of accelerated spline wear due to low RPM just due to dry splines. St.

Beware! I do not suffer fools gladly! St.

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