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Motorcycle Repair/96 kawasaki Vulcan 1500 shifting issue


will shift into 1st and neutral only. What could be causing this?

Hello Randy,

First of all, I trust you refer to a riding condition and not stationary...

All mid to high displacement Kawasaki bikes, have a safety mechanism to the second gear.
When the bike is stationary and the secondary shaft isn't spinning, it's impossible to shift to 2nd.

Most times, a problem like yours occurs, due to that mechanism malfunction.

If it happened after an engine overhaul, then most certainly, you'll have to take it apart again.
Something went wrong at the assembly procedure. If you still have the engine on the bench though, try shifting to 2nd while spinning the output shaft (start spinning, and then shift).
If after a long period unused, give it a fresh oil change, warm it up thoroughly, lift the rear wheel of the ground, and give it some sudden and hard spins, either with first gear/engine running, or by hand in neutral/engine off. This "unlocks" the system almost every time.

If none of the above, is it possible that the bike fell or crashed on it's left side?
That may caused the shifter rod to bend, not allowing it to travel past neutral.

I think I covered the subject, but if not, feel free to come back any time.

Best Regards,
Lazaros Ampatzidis.  

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Lazaros Ampatzidis


I can help you on EVERY issue involving POST-1980 Japanese Motorcycles plus KTM and Husaberg. My field of expertise includes Engine, Transmission, Fuel system (carburation & EFI),Electrics and Electronics. Maintenance, repair and tuning. Road and off-road suspension tuning. Please don't ask me about non-Japanese Motorcycle, especially American built on which I have low to zero experience.


I'm a rider and hobbyist since childhood. 25 years motorcycle workshop mechanic.15 years motorcycle racing mechanic. In order of experience high to low:Kawasaki,Suzuki,Honda,Yamaha,KTM,Husaberg.

Hellenic (Greek) Technical School.Internal Combustion Engines Engineer. Automotive Electronics.

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