Loss of shift smoothness (oil related, not mechanical).

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I've witnessed the same phenomenon over the years with many different bikes of all makes and I know for a fact the clutch was adjusted correctly. It is the oil that makes the difference. My current bike, a 1999 Victory V92 is shared sump and shifts like butter the first 500-700 miles but then gets notchy and stiff. I know the clutch is correct and it does not rotate the wheel when on a stand with the clutch engaged.

Mine actually shifts decent when its cold, say for the first 10 miles but then gets progressively worse as the oil gets hot. This is when I know its time to change the oil and directly equates to oil shearing and thermal breakdown. Current fill is Lucas Syn 10W40 MC oil. It lasted much longer than the Rotella that was in there last OCI.
 
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Bikes can be very finicky with oil, what works for someone in theirs doesn't necessarily mean that it will work in yours. I started breaking mine in with the Kawasaki motorcycle oil but had notchy shifting so I switched to Castrol Actevo which is a blend and it was better but still had issues so I eventually switched to the Valvoline.

Most of those thumpers are going to be air cooled and are better off using a 15w50, 20w50 etc... water cooled are typically 10w40.
 

Retet

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I've witnessed the same phenomenon over the years with many different bikes of all makes and I know for a fact the clutch was adjusted correctly. It is the oil that makes the difference. My current bike, a 1999 Victory V92 is shared sump and shifts like butter the first 500-700 miles but then gets notchy and stiff. I know the clutch is correct and it does not rotate the wheel when on a stand with the clutch engaged.

Mine actually shifts decent when its cold, say for the first 10 miles but then gets progressively worse as the oil gets hot. This is when I know its time to change the oil and directly equates to oil shearing and thermal breakdown. Current fill is Lucas Syn 10W40 MC oil. It lasted much longer than the Rotella that was in there last OCI.
I was thinking of trying our equivalent of Rotella (Rimula) after hearing so many people love it in theyre bikes.
What grade were you using? I hear the 5w40 shears down much quicker than the 15w40 in shared sump bikes.
 
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BLS lives in a regurgitated world of cut and paste, it's fun to have him around for the humor. But I will give him credit, every rare once in a while he surprises us all. Emphasis on rare. It's unfortunate (but has become laughable) to regularly call someone out for absolute hogwash, but some folks just come back for more.
 
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Well, I will back him up on the clutch slip - it's usually a worn clutch, and the oil change is just a coincidence. Just saying....your results might differ.
 

ZeeOSix

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Well, I will back him up on the clutch slip - it's usually a worn clutch,
Well, maybe the clutch was slightly slipping all the time without JASO rated oil, and then wore out early. Chicken or the egg?

Also, the life of a clutch also depends a lot on how it's used. Some people abuse a clutch way more than it needs to be.

and the oil change is just a coincidence. Just saying....your results might differ.
What's a coincidence? That the transmission started shifting a lot better with an oil change? If nothing changed but the oil, then what else would have magically made it shift better?
 
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No, the clutch - when people change the oil and later the clutch slips...it's the oil fault. Have a look at the clutch, more than likely it's worn.
 

ZeeOSix

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No, the clutch - when people change the oil and later the clutch slips...it's the oil fault. Have a look at the clutch, more than likely it's worn.
Of course a worn/glazed clutch, caused by what ever reasons, is more likely to slip. And what causes a clutch to wear/glaze can be caused by many reasons - one of them using oils not formulated for wet clutches. Clutch abuse and misuse by a bad rider is the largest factor. Dirt bikes get a lot of clutch abuse, more than most street bikes.

Once a clutch starts slipping, it's a down hill cycle of slippage causing more wear/glazing which causes more slippage, which causes more wear/glazing ... etc, until it's toast.
 
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And in the riders head, it only happened just after the oil change. My bike developed a vibration last year....just after an oil and filter change. Dropped the Castrol and put in some Penrite, double checked my oil filter (Airhead, they have a $2000 O ring, up to $5000 now with inflation), and everything else I could think of. But why did it happen after the oil change ? Of course it didn't, but my brain latched onto that.
 
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Some oils just don't do well in some motorcycles.
I tried the infamous Rotella T6 in my Honda ST1300. It was clunky and notchy shifting after 1500 miles. Changed the oil and shifting went back to normal. I had purchased two jugs of T6 on rebate, so I tried it again with the same results. Notchy clunky shifting after short miles.

Since then, I've run Valvoline 4T both conventional and synthetic, Mobil 1 4T and Castrol ActEvo. All these oils ran fine with good shifting throughout the OCI. I usually change around 5000mi.
 
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I was thinking of trying our equivalent of Rotella (Rimula) after hearing so many people love it in theyre bikes.
What grade were you using? I hear the 5w40 shears down much quicker than the 15w40 in shared sump bikes.
I used 15W40 and was not impressed. Love Rotella oils in my diesels but not so much in my bike, my old Victory beat that stuff up faster than Tyson in a featherweight match.
 

ZeeOSix

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And in the riders head, it only happened just after the oil change. My bike developed a vibration last year....just after an oil and filter change. Dropped the Castrol and put in some Penrite, double checked my oil filter (Airhead, they have a $2000 O ring, up to $5000 now with inflation), and everything else I could think of. But why did it happen after the oil change ? Of course it didn't, but my brain latched onto that.
And did you find the cause? If you falsly thought the oil was the cause in your head, then what was the actual cause?

Did you switch back to an oil you've used before to see if the vibration went away?

Sometimes things are just a coincidence, most times they are not.
 
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As I mentioned, the oil filter in an Airhead can be a problem, you need to check it carefully when you change it. So noticing a vibration straight after an oil change, it was the first place I looked. The vibration may have been there before the oil change, or come 1,000km after it, but why at the oil change...? It's the same with a slipping clutch, it was probably there before they changed the oil, but they noticed it after...so it's the oil's fault. So many good and bad effects are attributed to the oil....when it fact it had no effect at all. But they like to say it's because of the oil...special stuff oil.
 

ZeeOSix

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The vibration may have been there before the oil change, or come 1,000km after it, but why at the oil change...? It's the same with a slipping clutch, it was probably there before they changed the oil, but they noticed it after...so it's the oil's fault. So many good and bad effects are attributed to the oil....when it fact it had no effect at all. But they like to say it's because of the oil...special stuff oil.
It really depends on how "in tune" someone is with the machine they have ridden for 1000s of miles. If a clutch was slipping before an oil change, I would notice it. If it was slipping after an oil change, I would notice it. Same goes with the shifting, any time it changes, I'm going to notice it. If the shifting changed right after an oil change, I'm going to say it changed from the oil change ... what else would it be when the shifting quality changed within an hour or less it takes to do an oil change?

So you never realky found out why you all of a sudden noticed it was vibrating more than before?
 
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You can be as "in tune" with your machine as your imagination requires it, but that doesn't change the fact that human mind, perception and our senses can be easily tricked. Just ask any half decent magician.
Many people in the oil forums report smoother running engines, or quieter, or better gas mileage after just an oil change. The claims become more colorful if the viscosity or brand is changed.
I'm not saying all of it is bogus and placebo, but IMO, majority of it is. Hence I do not participate in the oil section. It's mostly just an echo chamber of marketing claims and has been for a while. Don't know how it is now, but I don't care to find out.

Now in the case of OP, since this is an off road bike, I would imagine it gets hammered quite a lot. So some of the shift quality loss could be attributed to oil shearing I guess, but we don't really know the whole story. Maybe when OP notices hard shifting, he has been running a while and the bike is caked with mud, dirt etc. Maybe he's tired. Lot's of maybes and it is hard to put yourself in someone else's mind when they try do describe what they experience. They themselves may omit a lot of details that they think are irrelevant, but in fact may very well be relevant.

To proclaim that this must be oil related and only oil related, when so much is unknown is a bit premature IMO.
 

ZeeOSix

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You can be as "in tune" with your machine as your imagination requires it, but that doesn't change the fact that human mind, perception and our senses can be easily tricked. Just ask any half decent magician.
If shifting quality goes down after many miles of use on an oil, and then there's a night and day difference in shifting quality after an oil change, I doubt it's all in someone's imagination. Especially on a bike they have ridden for 1000s of miles. And obviously, some people are more aware and tuned in to their machines than others.
 
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Shift quality is as easily noted as wiping your backside with a corn cob vs t.p.. I cannot see my backside but I can tell that it's not the same without using data or reference points other than two consecutive wipes with the different things. The way some folks say a person cannot feel the bike when shift quality changes, would necessarily have to argue one couldn't tell the difference between a corn cob and Charmin.
 
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A half decent magician is pulling a deliberately choreographed deception on his audience for the first time when they see it. The main bike I ride for the past 13 years and 86,000 miles has none of those advantages. Many folks can use objective observational skills and note when things are amiss on their bike when something is different. Zee said it well, some folks might not be in tune with their bike.
 
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Shift quality is as easily noted as wiping your backside with a corn cob vs t.p.. I cannot see my backside but I can tell that it's not the same without using data or reference points other than two consecutive wipes with the different things. The way some folks say a person cannot feel the bike when shift quality changes, would necessarily have to argue one couldn't tell the difference between a corn cob and Charmin.
I totally agree.
With my ST1300, Rotella shift quality degraded within 1500 miles (notchy, clunky). Changed the oil and shift quality returned.
Other oils I've used, like Mobil 1, Castrol and Valvoline, I cannot tell the difference in shift quality after 5000 miles after an oil change. This confirms to me that Rotella is a big NO for my bike and Mobil, Castrol and Valvoline are holding up.

Some off road bikes have short oil change intervals for a reason. They hold a minimal amount of oil to keep the weight down and then the engine grinds it up fast. It might just be the nature of the beast in those bikes to change early and often, no matter which oil you choose.
 
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