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Author Topic: 08 Bullet 5-speed question  (Read 4183 times)

BuckeyeBullet

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08 Bullet 5-speed question
« on: July 24, 2008, 01:54:30 AM »
I'm a new rider and just bought an '08 Bullet 500 w/AVL motor. It's my first bike, though I took a basic rider course in the spring to learn some ropes. Lovin' it so far. My Bullet appears to have a finicky transmission that doesn't like to downshift. Sometimes it needs a stomp to go down a gear, other times it'll go to neutral between every gear (without illuminating the neutral light unless it's a 2-1 shift) and requires a light tap on the shifter to nudge into a lower gear when that happens. I bought it from a dealer as a new bike with 143mi on it already. Just wondering if this transmission thing is normal or does it need an adjustment or?? The clutch engages very early so I'm wondering if it isn't fully disengaging when I pull the lever. It's under warranty but the dealer is about 100mi away so I don't want to go up there unless I really have to. Thanks!
1965 Dodge Coronet 500
2008 RE Bullet 500ES
1943 Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk I

scoTTy

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2008, 02:03:33 AM »
sounds pretty normal.. mine had 18 miles on it when I bought it.. found the transmission to be a little picky.. but as I approach 1000 miles things do fall in place with a resounding clunk..  havn't had any false neutrals for awhile .. forget about coming to a stop with it in gear and try to find neutral ..as if one could see the little green dot anYway in sunlight.. gottA  find nuetral while you are coming to a stop... er ??  there are others here than have ridden the RE longer than me..WelCome

REpozer

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2008, 02:32:21 AM »
Mine had 14 miles, Now I have 660 miles, I sometimes have a skip between 3-4 gear but never down shift. Your clutch adjustment might be worth a phone call to the dealer, they may talk you though it.
2008 AVL Classic Bullet in British Racing Green
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scoTTy

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2008, 03:10:52 AM »
i have fiddled with the knurled nut on the clutch lever.. experimenting..  i find the clutch is disengaged at a stop when I forgot to shift to neutral and had to do the stop light ballet .. that i only have to pull the clutch lever in to within 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch to the handlebar..  I can pull it till it's seated.. but why....  about an inch or so release puts me in gear..  experiment..these transmissions i find to be notchy .. but mind is shiffting  smoother as I listen to the whIRR of the meChAnIcaL noiZes

Tiny Tim

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2008, 08:16:29 AM »
Take care not to confuse clutch cable adjustment with clutch adjustment.

The cable should be adjusted first to provide around 1/4" free play at the handlebar lever. This will ensure that the clutch will not be slipping through the lever not releasing fully.

Next, adjust the clutch at the gearbox end. First remove the "5 SPEED"  adjustment plate on the gearbox with an allan key. Take not that, once the locknut is slackened, a small adjustment of the inner screw (the clutch push rod) goes an awfull long way! Useing the points of the clock as adjustment points is a good idea.

You are aiming for just enough clutch actuation to allow neutral to be selected from 1st and 2nd when stopped and the engine idling.

Once you have achieved this, replace the cover plate, re-check the free play at the lever and gor for a ride. Try going uphill in as high a gear as possible and use more throttle to check that the clutch is not slipping at the top end.

Finally, The UK importers are now supplying a modified clutch actuating arm that replaces the existing in the gearbox housing. It has a swivvel connection to the cable and should eliminate the tendancy for the nipple to come adrift from the cable. It also requires an alternative cable which has a fixed sweep in it from the gearbox housing thus providing a very light clutch lever.

The false neutrals you are experiencing are just that and should be able to be reduced by adjustment within the gearbox which is probably best done by a competent dealer. Maybe on your next service?

Good luck and don't worry about having a go. It's easier than you think and having a bike you can tinker with is the main reason people buy Enfields.

REgards

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Tiny Tim

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2005 Electra AVL

shrugger

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2008, 11:14:38 AM »
Had the same. Plus it wouldn't go up from 1st if stopped. ??? But at around
700-800 miles it sorted itself. It's still clunky, but there's nuthin for that 'cept
maybe a right hand shift.( I got one on the way ;) ) I still have to hunt around
for neutral now and then. But it works pretty good otherwise.
So put a few hundred miles on it first, before you start with the cussing and
the freaking and the BFH swinging.  :P
2008 Bullet 500 Classic AVL

Thumper

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2008, 11:52:37 AM »
BB,

The  clutch action on my 2006 AVL Electra X has been almost Japanese-like in it's smoothness and consistency. There has only been one exception and that has occurred twice: when I adjust freeplay at the lever and don't get it just right, it doesn't want to shift in or out of 1st gear when warm.

With 143 miles, I would take it back to the dealer and have it addressed. It doesn't sound normal to me.

Matt

Sag Harbor~Bullet

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2008, 03:47:48 PM »
I'm a new rider and just bought an '08 Bullet 500 w/AVL motor. It's my first bike, though I took a basic rider course in the spring to learn some ropes. Lovin' it so far. My Bullet appears to have a finicky transmission that doesn't like to downshift. Sometimes it needs a stomp to go down a gear, other times it'll go to neutral between every gear (without illuminating the neutral light unless it's a 2-1 shift) and requires a light tap on the shifter to nudge into a lower gear when that happens. I bought it from a dealer as a new bike with 143mi on it already. Just wondering if this transmission thing is normal or does it need an adjustment or?? The clutch engages very early so I'm wondering if it isn't fully disengaging when I pull the lever. It's under warranty but the dealer is about 100mi away so I don't want to go up there unless I really have to. Thanks!

When I first got my Bullet, I had the same question about finding a false neutral between gears...which is very normal I've been told. That can be remedied with more shifting finesse.

The stomping on your shifter to downshift sounds a bit strange however.
A tap or gentle push is all it should take.

Sounds like something else may be at work...maybe a clutch adjustment may be in order? You should have your dealer take a look just to be sure.
Good luck with that.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 11:18:37 AM by SagHarbor~Bullet »
2007 Bullet Deluxe

PhilJ

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2008, 12:37:12 AM »
In between gears is NOT a neutral, it's false neutral. Just means you didn't get it shifted properly. Never park your bike running unless the green neutral light is on. You may not be able to shift properly if your clutch is out of adjustment as it sounds like yours is. It will get better as it ages (acquires miles). But I think you should try adjusting the clutch at the clutch lever to move the engagement out just a little. Don't be afraid to try it, if it doesn't do what you expect, move it back. Just do one thing at a time, so that you don't confuse yourself.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

Thumper

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2008, 01:02:04 AM »
Never park your bike running unless the green neutral light is on. 

Geeez, if I followed this advice I'd only be able to park about 50% of the time!

Me wise older brother once said, "The only purpose of the neutral indicator is to tell you when the Neutral indicator bulb is working." ...and it doesn't always do that!

 :D

I have the worst luck with neutral switches....

Matt

PhilJ

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2008, 01:25:48 PM »
Well Matt, I guess your right. Nothing works all the time. Murphy's Law!
On one post some time back a new guy was talking about the false neutral deal and in the same sentence talked about liking to put the bike on the side stand and run into quick mart and back out. Ever since then I caution guys against that.

Thumper

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2008, 03:46:38 PM »
Well Matt, I guess your right. Nothing works all the time. Murphy's Law!
On one post some time back a new guy was talking about the false neutral deal and in the same sentence talked about liking to put the bike on the side stand and run into quick mart and back out. Ever since then I caution guys against that.

The one where I hurt myself is having disconnected the sidestand switch: I've got to be real careful that I'm in neutral before kicking or using the starter... I'm getting good at remembering that one!

LJRead

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2008, 06:32:31 PM »
To me, it is easy enough to see things like when it is in neutral when stopped and whether the side stand is down.  But yesterday I took the bike out of her garage, was getting off to go lock the door prior to going for a ride, and the bike started to fall over - forgot to put the side stand down,  So I was straddled the bike, not wanting it to go over all the way, yet not able to lift it upright either.  Finally got my leg over to the left side and could then lift it.  I'm afraid I'm learning by doing things wrong, and so far it hasn't hurt much, but I'm hoping my luck doesn't run out before I get more conscious of doing things right.

Indicator lights won't work for me, too much sunlight and too poor eyesight!

One other thing, about running into the store while leaving it on idle.  I'm finding that if I leave the bike idling for more than a minute or so it begins to warm up.  I'm trying to figure out the effect of humidity and think that if one is riding, creating a breeze, then humidity is positive as it helps whisk away the heat, but in dead air at standstill, it creates a sort of blanket over the engine and heat isn't dissipated as well.  The bike is very easy to start so I'm just going to shut her down whenever I'm stooped for even a short time.

But back to the original topic, I'm finding that my four speed needs a firm foot, if not, I get a false neutral.  Also tweaking the engine when downshifting is getting more refined.

No. 5

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2008, 03:31:54 AM »
Here is a  post sent to me when breaking in my Electra

"to check the clutch actuating free play -

To do this you need ensure that both cable adjusters (handlebar and gear box) are set nearly all the way in. Remove the oval (5 SPEED) inspection cover that is held on by the two allen screws. Loosen the 10mm nut with the set screw in the center. With the nut backed off loosen the set screw until there is no resistance. Then turn the set screw in to the point that you just feel resistance, back the set screw off 1/8 turn to allow for heat expansion and tighten the locking nut without moving the set screw's position. Replace the inspection cover and gasket. Now adjust your clutch cable freeplay as you would normally do. "

I also found that the rubber insulation or coating on the outer cable sleeve extended past the metal on the gear box end without the bushing like the lever end. This made for a spongy clutch as the outer cable compressed into the adjustment nut at the gear box end. I just trimmed of the extra rubber and cleaned out the fragments and repeated the adjustment above.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 03:40:14 AM by No. 5 »

Thumper

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2008, 12:19:39 PM »
Here is a  post sent to me when breaking in my Electra

"to check the clutch actuating free play -

To do this you need ensure that both cable adjusters (handlebar and gear box) are set nearly all the way in. Remove the oval (5 SPEED) inspection cover that is held on by the two allen screws. Loosen the 10mm nut with the set screw in the center. With the nut backed off loosen the set screw until there is no resistance. Then turn the set screw in to the point that you just feel resistance, back the set screw off 1/8 turn to allow for heat expansion and tighten the locking nut without moving the set screw's position. Replace the inspection cover and gasket. Now adjust your clutch cable freeplay as you would normally do. "

I also found that the rubber insulation or coating on the outer cable sleeve extended past the metal on the gear box end without the bushing like the lever end. This made for a spongy clutch as the outer cable compressed into the adjustment nut at the gear box end. I just trimmed of the extra rubber and cleaned out the fragments and repeated the adjustment above.

The clutch and cable/lever adjustment information in this thread is good. Maybe someone could separate the wheat from the chaff and post it to the FAQ or Tech Tips section...
Since I've only adjusted my lever freeplay at the lever, I don't have the understanding to sum it up with any confidence...
Anyone else up to the challenge?

I know that I'll need to refer back to it one of these days!

Matt

PhilJ

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2008, 12:22:49 PM »
Since some of these wonderful tidbits don't make it that far, I copy and paste to text and save in a maintenance folder. FWIW

fun2drum

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2008, 02:56:53 AM »
Hello, everybody, I'm a new Electra owner too and today I was reading this thread thinking "hey, that's what mine is doing".   Well, right after reading this thread I went out for some errands on the Electra and lost the clutch completely while stopping at a stop sign.  It all of a sudden popped back into gear and I had to lock the brakes and kill the engine to keep from lurching out into the intersection.  I walked home, trailered it over to the dealer (fortunately about two miles away) and was told that some kind of arm that the cable hooks to had "torn" apart.  It's covered under warranty, so no worry there, but I'm wondering if anybody else has had a similar situation or if this is an isolated case.  I also wonder if the symptoms mentioned in this thread could be the warning signs of a defective clutch.  In case you were wondering, my Electra has 720 miles on it.   
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 03:01:38 AM by fun2drum »
The Family Fleet:
2008 Royal Enfield Electra
2002 Buell Blast
1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible
...and a couple of boring and more practicle family vehicles that I won't mention here.

scoTTy

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2008, 03:10:41 AM »
whooo.. bet that was exciting .. :o  i "m close to a 1000 with no problems :)

fun2drum

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2008, 03:27:08 AM »
whooo.. bet that was exciting .. :o  i "m close to a 1000 with no problems :)

Yes, it was exciting, but I'm quite used to wierd and exciting problems because my other vehicle is a Land Rover.  The Electra has been a total pleasure to ride, and this is just a small bump in the road that's being handled the right way by my dealer.  I just can't help wondering if this "false neutral" and "can't shift to neutral" phenomenon could be related to an underlying problem with weakening clutch cable connections down in the transmission. 
The Family Fleet:
2008 Royal Enfield Electra
2002 Buell Blast
1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible
...and a couple of boring and more practicle family vehicles that I won't mention here.

No. 5

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2008, 04:19:09 AM »
You can inspect the cable connection by removing the filler plug on the gear box.

The clutch actuating 'arm' that the cable connects to is what changes the pulling motion of the cable to a pushing motion on the thrust pin that moves the clutch in/out. This is the adjustment behind the 5 SPEED oval that was described earlier. These adjustments are very subtle when compared to your cable problem, so I would say you had both.

I know that there is a school of thought that you need to be in gear ready to move while at a stoplight, but with an Enfield I'm developing a habit of coming to neutral from second (light touch down or you'll end up in first) when coming to a stoplight. You'll find this much easier than walking the bike forward in order to find neutral when stopped.

I have not figured out what to do when stopped at the top of a hill and need to hold the bike with rear brake, shift to first, let out the clutch, give it gas, not stall, and not get creamed by the person turning left in front of me. I do it every day, but never the same way. I'm sure I look like an idiot. Right foot down, left foot down, right foot down, left foot down, now GO!  :-)
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 04:29:08 AM by No. 5 »

PhilJ

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2008, 11:48:28 AM »
Front brake.

fun2drum

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2008, 11:58:00 AM »
...The clutch actuating 'arm' that the cable connects to is what changes the pulling motion of the cable to a pushing motion on the thrust pin that moves the clutch in/out. ...

In my case, the dealer told me that actuating arm appeared to have been ripped apart as if it were paper.   ??? 
The Family Fleet:
2008 Royal Enfield Electra
2002 Buell Blast
1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible
...and a couple of boring and more practicle family vehicles that I won't mention here.

No. 5

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2008, 01:58:16 PM »
That's the first I've heard of that.  ???  I assumed the weakest part was the cable. I'll bet the bad arm caused the cable to fray and break. In my limited experience with the Electra, it is most always the simple answer. sometimes so simple, it is overlooked by over thinking the problem. In any case, I'll be checking my actuating arm, if I think it needs adjusting :)

to PhilJ
Front brake?  :)

I should've added that I have small hands and rheumatoid arthritis and a fairly steep hill - but most of all - as my wife will tell you, I don't seem to mind looking like an idiot. :)

fun2drum

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2008, 05:33:22 PM »
I just got back from the dealer where my bike is still apart.   I saw the arm and it actually looks like the cable somehow tore through the metal and ripped itself free.  The arm is not only "torn" but also pulled apart between the connecting holes.  I think that it was probably failing and slowly pulling apart over the past hundred or so miles and that is why it was getting harder to find neutral and requiring more effort to change gears. 

It's really freaky looking.  The dealer and I agree that it must have been a bad cast when they made the arm.   Anyway, if any of you are experiencing those symptoms you may want to double check that arm while you're adjusting the clutch. 
The Family Fleet:
2008 Royal Enfield Electra
2002 Buell Blast
1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible
...and a couple of boring and more practicle family vehicles that I won't mention here.

PhilJ

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2008, 06:44:57 PM »

to PhilJ
Front brake?  :)

I should've added that I have small hands and rheumatoid arthritis and a fairly steep hill - but most of all - as my wife will tell you, I don't seem to mind looking like an idiot. :)

Arthritis would do it. When I put that reply there I was thinking that it would be easier to hold on a hill with the front brake, mine is, and it lets me do the little dance you described. When I come to a stop my left foot is the one making ground contact first. I won't come to a stop with just the front, landed on rocks before and fallen over like the Laugh-in trike guy.


PaulF

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2008, 06:51:06 PM »
I just got back from the dealer where my bike is still apart.   I saw the arm and it actually looks like the cable somehow tore through the metal and ripped itself free.  The arm is not only "torn" but also pulled apart between the connecting holes.  I think that it was probably failing and slowly pulling apart over the past hundred or so miles and that is why it was getting harder to find neutral and requiring more effort to change gears. 

It's really freaky looking.  The dealer and I agree that it must have been a bad cast when they made the arm.   Anyway, if any of you are experiencing those symptoms you may want to double check that arm while you're adjusting the clutch. 



Do you know when your bike was made? I'm curious to know if this was perhaps a bad run and, if there was a run of bad castings, what dates they might have been used on the line. Just reachin' here.

cyrusb

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2008, 07:01:22 PM »
Hey FuntoDrum, Did it look like this? See all the gory details in "Gearbox Apocolypse" Classic Model Forum..Today!!!
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 08:07:51 PM by cyrusb »

Jon

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2008, 07:49:13 PM »
I was sorting the garage out yesterday and started browsing the magazine pile
there was a comparison "test" in CBG between a fifty year old 350 Bullet and a
fairly new AVL Bullet the comment of interest in this context is that the gearbox
on the older machine was much more positive and slicker to use, maybe they
just take a long time to bed in?

fun2drum

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2008, 08:01:11 PM »
Did it look like this? ...

It was similar, except mine was a little more bent up and mangled-looking.   
The Family Fleet:
2008 Royal Enfield Electra
2002 Buell Blast
1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible
...and a couple of boring and more practicle family vehicles that I won't mention here.

fun2drum

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Re: 08 Bullet 5-speed question
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2008, 08:03:18 PM »
...Do you know when your bike was made? I'm curious to know if this was perhaps a bad run and, if there was a run of bad castings, what dates they might have been used on the line. Just reachin' here.

From the VIN I got this:
Manufactured in 2008
Engine number 502311

There may be more specific info on the bike itself, but I don't have it here to look at. 
The Family Fleet:
2008 Royal Enfield Electra
2002 Buell Blast
1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible
...and a couple of boring and more practicle family vehicles that I won't mention here.