Jump to content

1987 XR 250 Notchy / Difficult Shifting....

Recommended Posts

I have a very low hour XR 250 (1987) that the shifting has become increasingly difficult / notchy. Seems to be worse when bike is hot / warm but is still difficult when cold. Rode 50 miles of single track and fire roads last night and couldn't shift very well from 2nd to 3rd, 3rd to 4th, etc...  It seemed very 'hard' to shift and was notchy. The only consistent way to get bike to shift on the way back was to 'HEEL SHIFT'  on the way up for gears 3 through 6. I know this is not right. My 1978 RM 100 shifted better than this (so I know something is very wrong). 

Although I'm not very mechanically inclined, I have ridden a few older model Hondas and each shifted very well...... Bike seemed to downshift 'okay' but was still notchy. I did have a hard time finding neutral at the end of ride yesterday when I was done- that was a first. 

I have changed the oil every 2-4 hours of use since I've had it. Oil and filter just changed 2 days ago when getting bike ready for the season. Oil lever is correct and check the exact way as in the Service Manual description. The previous owner who was a Honda guy through and through and used Rotella oil- told me to do same. I used that oil last year but changed to the Honda GN4 when I noticed shifting being a bit hard on the last ride in the previous Fall. Probably not an oil issue (I guess..) but just wanted to try that first. 

I have had no crashes/ falls to damage the bike / shift lever.  A possibly related issue? is that my clutch doesn't seem to be functioning right... The motor only engages when clutch is 3/4 out (away) from the grip. I did a separate post on this but wanted to mention in case it is helpful. 

Thanks for any useful input. I do have a service manual but don't have a mechanical background. I'd like to see if I can have a reasonable chance to fix first. The local Honda shop where I am is not very helpful and they charge alot of $$$$$ to do almost nothing. I took my bike there once and they scratched the shit out of my rear hub and scratched my swing arm when they put my new rear tire on (you get the idea..).

I also recognize that the bike is 31 yrs old..... Not being used much maybe caused some issues? 

Thanks in advance for help and information.

IMG_6032.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just be sure, with the engine cold and the clutch lever released, you have some slack in lever pull before you feel it start to pull on the mechanism. If you measure slack movement at the handlebar levers tip, make sure have at least 1/4" pull slack. It's not unusual for slack to diminish when the engine/clutch pack get to operating temperature while riding.

Check lever slack after riding a while and be sure it still has that 1/4" of slack, as that's the important point. It doesn't matter how much slack it has when cold, but what it has when the engine/clutch pack is hot from being ridden.

Which Rotella did you use? Synthetic or non-synth.

Even with just 25hrs on it, it would help to know how the previous owners rode it, stored it. Was the person you got it from the original owner? How many owners has it been thru since '87? No telling how the clutch has been used/abused by previous owners since '87, even with just 25hrs on it.

When you do oil changes, be sure you're getting it all. Putting back the proper amount and checking level properly. Type of oil and viscosity/weight can make a difference in shifting. If you're running something like a 10wt. oil, switch to a 20wt./50.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your response. Good info and insight as to possible use / abuse of clutch even with low hrs.....

I am 3rd owner. All info / history from 2nd owner who seemed to be a straight shooter and was (is) a pretty seasoned off road enduro rider. Apparently first owner hardly used bike. He dumped it in his field once and there is a mild 'rub' mark on the side plastic that would indicate this happened. Sat in his heated garage but was started and ran several times each season to keep things moving. Second owner got it and hardly used it (supposedly...) . Sat in his shop as he rode his KDX 200 almost 99% of time. That's about all I know. He rode it about 5 times and changed oil and filter twice. 

Rotella used was non synthetic 15w 40. I didn't think that synthetic was good for these bikes but I don't have much in the way of mechanical background. I highly doubt changing the oil is my problem- was probably not a smart thing to do but thought I'd try with the Honda GN4. 

I follow how to change oil / check oil per Service Manual. 

Appreciate your input. Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, XR Fan said:

Rotella used was non synthetic 15w 40. I didn't think that synthetic was good for these bikes but I don't have much in the way of mechanical background. I highly doubt changing the oil is my problem- was probably not a smart thing to do but thought I'd try with the Honda GN4. 

I follow how to change oil / check oil per Service Manual. 

Appreciate your input. Thanks again.

The Honda GN4 oil is good stuff, so no problems there. Same with the 15w40.  I don't like running anything lighter than that. Barring the clutch pack sticking together from non use as discussed before, there may not be anything wrong with it.

Were you having a hard time getting neutral with the bike running or dead? How does the bike shift thru the whole gearbox when not running compared to with it running?

Barring anything else wrong, it hasn't been unheard of for trouble with the shift fork/reset spring. I agree, it should not be as hard shifting as you make it out to be.

Synthetic oils run fine in the xr, as long as they're bike specific and/or don't have the ENERGY CONSERVING label. I ran Mobile 1 in mine for years.

 

Edited by Trailryder42
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your response. I've been working all weekend so I haven't had time to respond.  

I'm going to try and look at things today, pull a couple things apart and evaluate. 

SHIFTING. I think there may be an issue other that just the oil / lack of use. 

a.  I can't seem to get through all the gears. (bike is cold, sitting on stand) 1st can be hard to get to but I can eventually get it. It will go through 2nd, and 3rd but I am not able to to go past that very often. I was able to get into 4th once last night- I just tried once when I go home from work....

b.  Also, I have a very difficult time finding neutral. 

c. I'm not forcing the shifter to do this while it is cold on the stand. It shifts with reasonable pressure but I can't get through all the gears.

On my last ride the previous Fall 2017, it did seem a bit hard to shift but I was always able to get through all the gears. On my 50 mile ride a couple of days ago, I could NOT get the bike to shift past third shifting with my TOE. I had to 'heel shift' which was alot more pressure / force to get it into 4th and above to get home. 

Any ideas of what could this be? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I do have Honda service manual. It seems to me that there is a certain amount of assumption by the writer of the manual that the person using it has a pretty solid mechanical background. Clearly this isn't me.  Does Clymer or Hanyes manuals provide more comprehensive instructions about procedures for a beginner or are they the same? Just curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am I looking at a bent or broken SHIFT FORK...? Been asking some questions and looking things up. If this is the case... my riding season will be on hold for quite a while and I'll have to find a good mechanic. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

when you shift it while not running,it helps to move rear wheel back and forth slowly while trying to shift,helps teeth in gears to line up with one another. Dont just push and pull on shift lever.

Edited by firstplacephoto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, XR Fan said:

Am I looking at a bent or broken SHIFT FORK...? Been asking some questions and looking things up. If this is the case... my riding season will be on hold for quite a while and I'll have to find a good mechanic. 

I threw that suggestion out there because problems with the shift fork can cause what you're experiencing. But again, with only 25 hours on the bike, most would think, how could it be that.

I agree, shop manuals assume you have some mechanical understanding. They're not meant to teach. They're a reference on procedures and how things are assembled and disassembled.

I always thought Haynes manuals were more descriptive than Clymer.

Edited by Trailryder42

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


×