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XT250 Clutch/Shifting issue

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Hi everyone.   I've got a recently acquired 08 xt250 with about 1500 miles on it (about 500 were from me).   Recently it has been refusing to drop gears unless I slightly lift up on the shift lever before downshifting each gear.   I am a new rider but have ridden bike before that were tough to get into first and you needed you let out the clutch a tad or rock the bike back and forth,  but this feels like a different problem.  There is a little more play in the clutch lever than spec.   I don't know if that is the culprit or maybe a lose return spring or something.   If someone has and ideas,  I'd like to hear them. 

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sounds internal to me.  but 1st,  is the clutch arm is aligning with the mark on the case in the applied position?

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Hmmm... I didn't see a mark on the case.  I looked at it again yesterday and took it for a ride and it seems to be working fine now.  Weird.  The day that it was acting up, I had put on about 50 miles of heavy stop-and-go city traffic riding.  Maybe it was misbehaving because it was hot.  Don't know if that makes sense though.  I looked at the lever this morning before setting out and when lifted up or pushed down it is centering correctly.

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Hotter it is, the thinner the oil gets.  Because bikes use motor oil to lubricate the transmission, it's entirely possible that excessive heat was the cause. 

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Yeah, but the heat is causing what to happen?  I was thinking it was a broken spring, but that seems to be unlikely now.  I guess I will take it out this weekend and get it hot and see if the problem reoccurs.  This is with an essentially fresh oil change.

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