YZ426 - Down Shifting from 2nd to 1st Ends up in Neutral

Hey All,

I tried a search but didn’t quite find what I’m looking for. I have a new-to-me ’01 YZ426. I ride it in the deserts of Southern California. I put two rides on it and everything seemed fine. I tore it apart and performed a thorough maintenance on it, including changing the oil using Yamalube 10w-40. The bike still runs great but…on a 60-mile trail ride around the desert, in situations where I was on a technical trail or steep hill, sometimes when down shifted from Second to First, I ended up in Neutral! This happened about 20 times throughout the ride. And twice while blasting down a whooped out trail, I *think* the bike down shifted from Third to Second all by itself. It was hard to know for sure because the gears are so close and I really wasn’t paying attention. I just knew the engine was all of a sudden revving a little higher while I slowed down through the whoops. I can however easily shift up and down through all five gears.

I’m suspecting a bent shift fork or worn out something-or-rathers. But first I’ll start with a clutch inspection since that’s an easy place to start. Does anyone have any similar stories and what they did to fix it? If the previous owner shifted without using the clutch, should I expect to find a bent shift fork(s)? I suspect something's up because a fellow '01 YZ426 owner said this problem has never happened to him.

If I do end up replacing gears, since I ride desert, is it possible to swap out a YZ426 Fifth gear for a WR426 Fifth gear? I'm assuming the WR has a taller Fifth gear?



You probably just need to adapt to the bike. The 426 has a fairly positive index for neutral, and it's not unheard of for the trans to hang at neutral unless the down (or up) shift is made pretty deliberately. The "automatic" 3-2 shift was probably you stepping on the gearshift by mistake as you bounced along. You might consider raising the position of the lever a notch to see if it helps.

Thw WR has a higher 5th AND a lower low. It's a different gear set, and while you could just change the 5th gear pair and get by, the ratio spacing from 4th to 5th will be weird, and you'd be happier changing the whole set. The output shaft and shift forks are the same in both cases.

Hey Grayracer513, thanks for the reply. Hmmm...maybe I am spoiled by my smooth-shifting XR650R. I'll try adjusting the gearshift lever as you suggested. I did wonder if I accidentally tapped the gearshift lever like you said, but I'm pretty religious about keeping the balls of my feet on the pegs. Last thing I want to do is clip my size-12 feet on a rock.

Thanks for the info on the WR gears. I may opt to change out the whole gear set if I end up going down that road.

Thanks for your help!

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