Neutral Problem

2003 YZ450F

Looking for some advice. When the bike is running, I have a very hard time finding neutral. When the bike is not running, I have absolutely no problem finding neutral.

When I'm riding and shifting gears, I haven't experienced any issue finding any of the gears. Seems very smooth.

That's caused by clutch drag (clutch not completely releasing). The trans gears are undercut at the locking lugs that engage them so that they hold in gear under a load. When the clutch drags excessively, it loads the gears enough to make it difficult to disengage them, and when they do disengage, you then have so much pressure on the lever that it goes across neutral and gets the next gear.

To a certain extent, it's normal for neutral to be a little tricky to get to at a standstill with the engine running, but it shouldn't be impractically difficult. Things that can cause excessive clutch drag are worn or warped plates, unevenly sagged springs, or a badly notched clutch basket or hub (boss). Occasionally, certain motor oils can aggravate a borderline wear situation.

Thanks so much for the speedy reply and advice. So I guess the next step is a clutch inspection. Hope you had a nice holiday!

Thanks so much for the speedy reply and advice. So I guess the next step is a clutch inspection. Hope you had a nice holiday!

Can I trouble you for one more piece of advice? Is there a clutch brand that you'd recommend that will not break the bank?

The OEM replacement parts are as good as or better than 90% of all the aftermarket stuff. Far better, in most cases. The only exceptions I can think of that are actually better are Hinson and GYT-R plates. If you need a boss, just use the OEM part unless you're going to race the bike really hard and a lot. The Hinson boss is 5 times the OEM price, and for that, you could throw a stock one away every year ans still be ahead. The basket is another matter, however. The stock basket includes the primary driven gear and shock cushioning assemblies, while the upgraded aftermarket units do not (you remove the OEM basket from the gear assembly and replace it) As a result, the Hinson, etc., baskets cost LESS than the original replacement part.

A Hinson basket is hard anodized and very precisely made. The clutch will operate better as compared to stock, and the basket itself will last longer due to the reduced wear at the basket fingers. There are other options as far as AM baskets, too, including the Barnett piece, which has stainless steel inserts lining the fingers. I prefer the Hinson.

Good info on the clutch.

prags -- Sounds like the perfect excuse to get a new bike. As if you needed one. :thumbsup:

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