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Steve Case

Worstest of all gearboxes

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Steve Case

Since I am bored and wish to throw another spoon into the pot of steaming porridge we call life.

 

I am going to start a discussion/bear baiting session on who makes the worst gearboxes...

 

Worst of all time and beyond - there is no equal BMW boxers!

nearly as bad and still prone to false neutrals - Triumph 955 engines

Best ever (pity the paint falls off tho) - Suzuki's generally

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Rocker66

Jawa/CZ although I don’t know about modern ones 

As to BMW boxers again I can’t comment on modern ones but I certainly didn’t find those from the 70s as bad as some claim once you developed the knack on of the engine speed clutch.

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PoppetM

Can't comment, never had issues with a gear box on a Kawasaki, Suzuki or Honda...  

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Ciaran1602

Cagiva.

It wasn't a gearbox, it was parmesan cased in metal.

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slowboy

Never had any issues with gearboxes to be honest, including some that get chastised like Guzzis (two of those) old Brit bikes (two of those, AJS &Norton) or any of my Triumphs or my bikes from the “big four”. 
But then I’m quite insensitive 😎

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MatBin
Posted (edited)

Never had a bike with a bad box, had 2 BMs (R80RT air head and K75S) and 2 955 Sprints amongst others, maybe I have just been lucky. NC box is great, but it is a dct, so I can't claim it's down to me.

Edited by MatBin

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bigbird

Honda Goldwing, 2001-2013

Unless you were spot on with rev-matching  and wearing boots that were flat on the top and lifted directly under the shifter, the trans was sloppy.

The clunking between 1st and 2nd was serious once the oil got hot and thin.

Honda fixed most but not all of the issues when they redesigned parts of the trans for 2014.

they say the '18 and newer models are fantastic, but I only tried a DCT, which ws not.

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Xactly

H-D Sportster 4-speed Evo, easily the worst I’ve had. Reliability-wise my R1100RS. I had to replace mine. There’s a detailed explanation of what’s up with the three goes that BMW had at sorting the 5-speed gearbox in an interview with Getrag, the manufacturer that made them for BMW at that time. I was unaware of the issues when I bought my low mileage RS when it as nearly ten years old and suffered the consequences, having to fit a later box to it eventually, a job I did with a friend.

I can’t say the gearboxes on either my CZ125 or my Jawa 350 twin were at all bad, but I did remove the auto clutch mechanism, rendering the change a lot lighter and more accurate. The slickshift (for that is what it was essentially) wasn’t well-regarded on Triumphs either.

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Foxy

Royal Enfield bullet, (not the later models) 4 gears and 44 neutrals between then. Worst gearbox on anything I have ever owned or ridden and completely unacceptable on almost any bike, however on the bullet it sort of added to the character, as did the fun of trying to get where you were going and keep the false neutrals into single figures. 

 

A really enjoyable motorcycling challenge during my time in India and during my period of UK ownership.

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Xactly
27 minutes ago, Foxy said:

Royal Enfield bullet, (not the later models) 4 gears and 44 neutrals between then. Worst gearbox on anything I have ever owned or ridden and completely unacceptable on almost any bike, however on the bullet it sort of added to the character, as did the fun of trying to get where you were going and keep the false neutrals into single figures. 

 

A really enjoyable motorcycling challenge during my time in India and during my period of UK ownership.

Ah, but I bet you could always find the real neutral.😀 Bit of a clue as to the slickness of a gearbox when it comes with a little lever specifically to find neutral. 

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sandalfarm

Citroen 2v with the umbrella gear lever sticking out of the dashboard but for complete vagueness the Renault 14 we had took some beating like stirring  syrup 

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wingrider.steve
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, bigbird said:

Honda Goldwing, 2001-2013

Unless you were spot on with rev-matching  and wearing boots that were flat on the top and lifted directly under the shifter, the trans was sloppy.

The clunking between 1st and 2nd was serious once the oil got hot and thin.

Honda fixed most but not all of the issues when they redesigned parts of the trans for 2014.

they say the '18 and newer models are fantastic, but I only tried a DCT, which ws not.

I've had all the Goldwings from a GL1000 many years ago right up to my current 2013 1800 and they have never had particularly good gearchanges but strangeley enough the three GL1800's that I've had (04, 09 and 13) have been OK for me but I know some people can not get a slick change out of their 1800 no matter what they do, maybe I've just been lucky to work out a technique that works to get fairly smooth changes.

Having said all that I agree with your comment regarding going from 1st to 2nd being crap a lot of the time but then I don't use 1st gear that often, there's so much torque with the 1800 I normally just start off in second. If I do pull away in 1st I've found the secret is to get into 2nd as soon as possible, the more revs you have on when you change from 1st to 2nd the worse the change!

As for the new 2018 on model, I've ridded both versions and the DCT is great but the biggest surprise to me was the manual gearbox version, that has a really nice smooth gearchange, a first for a Goldwing.

Getting back on topic, I think the worst M/C gearchange I've ever experienced was when I rode my mates Victory Vision. I'm sure the designers were ex Massey Ferguson employees.

Edited by wingrider.steve
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skorpion
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, sandalfarm said:

Citroen 2v with the umbrella gear lever sticking out of the dashboard but for complete vagueness the Renault 14 we had took some beating like stirring  syrup 

 

Strange my Dyane's box was direct no problem at all,  though I find the manual gearshift on modern Citroen /  Peugeot's hard to find a gear until you get used to them especially on the six speed box's.

 

My EAT6 auto is great though.

 

NC750x clunk into first and first to second.

Edited by skorpion

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baben

Austin 1100, horrible thing like trying to wrestle an epileptic octopus.

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Defender

The worst gearbox on a bike was on an early Yamaha TDM 850, 1992 IIRC, that I had a test ride on, it was Yamaha UK's fleet demonstrator. It really was truly horrid to change gear on, I had a 1994 version with the improved gearbox, which was considerably better but still not great, the later/last version of the 850 with the 270 degree TRX engine was better again. The TDM 900 was totally different with a 6 speed 'box that just worked!

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Defender
4 minutes ago, baben said:

Austin 1100, horrible thing like trying to wrestle an epileptic octopus.

I had a 1300 that was awkward, but that was due to the remote control linkage being one spline out at the 'box end.

All the rest of the BMC fwd transverse 'gears in sump' 'boxes were fine, not as slick as a rwd, but it was early days for that configuration.

 

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Ciaran1602
Posted (edited)

If we're bringing cars into it...

 

2015 Peugeot 208. Ironically its the favourite car I've had - probably because of memories associated with it truthfully.. However the gearbox and clutch combo is the worst thing I've ever had the displeasure of using. The clutch's biting point was less of a point, more of a sort of vague space somewhere between Carlysle and Cheltenham. Couple with quite abrupt power delivery (it was a 3 cylinder 1.2, quite torquey for such a small car) meaning it was almost impossible to pull away without leapfrogging like a learner. The gearbox itself was so poorly made it felt less like a gearbox and more like trying to stir golden syrup. When you put the lever in gear you could genuinely wobble the lever itself by about 2 inches from side to side. The distance between 1st and 2nd could be measured in kilometers while the sidewards gate between 1st and 3rd thin enough you can only reliably get it with the aid of a high power microscope. In the end my driving style sort of went into "brute force". Stab the gear lever in hope and floor the throttle everywhere. It was actually smoother to dump the clutch and gun it half the time. Probably why I liked it - couple with the raucous three cylinder which made a noise like a particularly angry swarm of bees, it was remarkably fun.

 

 

Edited by Ciaran1602
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Defender

Worst ever car/van etc goes to the Bedford Midi van with a woeful column gear change that seemed to shuffle the gears and reorder/position them just for fun, a bit like Mrs Pegden (Thora Herd) accused the long suffering Wesley of doing to her Triumph Herald on several occasions!

 

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Trev
3 hours ago, Foxy said:

Royal Enfield bullet, (not the later models) 4 gears and 44 neutrals between then. Worst gearbox on anything I have ever owned or ridden and completely unacceptable on almost any bike, however on the bullet it sort of added to the character, as did the fun of trying to get where you were going and keep the false neutrals into single figures. 

 

A really enjoyable motorcycling challenge during my time in India and during my period of UK ownership.

 

My 'modern' 2008 efi is still a bit clunk click and has a neutral, or at least a 'not a gear' between 4th and 5th but you have to look for it or be expecting an Enfield gearbox to be like a Suzuki. Best ever is the Swiss watch like little jewle that is the Suzuki GT250 X7 gear box, absolutely gorgeous to use, can snick up and down clutchless with ease, always finds neutral when stopped and hardly a click into first even when cold.

 

Worst ever car, my first and only Mini, an early one with the long gearlever, the one where first is in the glovebox, hideous contraptions all round so I was lucky when I wrote it off before I got my licence :whistle:  The box on my 2017 Mustang is pretty agricultural as well, at least when cold, it has only done 6,000 miles and is getting smoother but just don't try to hoik from first to second in anything like a hurry.

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Xactly
1 hour ago, skorpion said:

 

Strange my Dyane's box was direct no problem at all,  though I find the manual gearshift on modern Citroen /  Peugeot's hard to find a gear until you get used to them especially on the six speed box's.

 

My EAT6 auto is great though.

 

NC750x clunk into first and first to second.

My Dyane -  didn’t some Irish? group have a hit record with that? Did yours ever smile for you?

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wobble
1 hour ago, Defender said:

Worst ever car/van etc goes to the Bedford Midi van with a woeful column gear change that seemed to shuffle the gears and reorder/position them just for fun, a bit like Mrs Pegden (Thora Herd) accused the long suffering Wesley of doing to her Triumph Herald on several occasions!

 

Maybe you were unlucky, I loved the Midi column shift

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Wierpig

The BMW boxer gearbox is truly horrendous.Clunky shifts, crunching, false neutrals the lot...feels like youre doing irrepairable damage.They are getting it right though.My 2019 RT1250 IS OK...Not as good as the NC though.

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Grumpy old man

Can't say I've had any really difficult bike boxes I suppose the NC has been the 'worstests'. Once rolling of the ferry in Holland I heard a herd  of Harleys select gear all at  the same time, that was cracking. 'Worstest' gearbox I've ever experienced was a Roman Diesel 6 wheel tipper, 5 speed Column change, crash change,

The gear lever was like, move it somewhere and cross your fingers, it was a nightmare especially when fully loaded going up or down hill.

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Gringo

In all my years of motorcycling the 'box that gave me the most grief was the second-hand BMW R90 one that we fitted to my R100T. The one on the R100T had seized through lack of use (it had been standing for 10 years). The later was eventually reconditioned and put back on the R100T. It's been fine since (touch wood). 

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lipsee
13 hours ago, wingrider.steve said:

I've had all the Goldwings from a GL1000 many years ago right up to my current 2013 1800 and they have never had particularly good gearchanges but strangeley enough the three GL1800's that I've had (04, 09 and 13) have been OK for me but I know some people can not get a slick change out of their 1800 no matter what they do, maybe I've just been lucky to work out a technique that works to get fairly smooth changes.

Having said all that I agree with your comment regarding going from 1st to 2nd being crap a lot of the time but then I don't use 1st gear that often, there's so much torque with the 1800 I normally just start off in second. If I do pull away in 1st I've found the secret is to get into 2nd as soon as possible, the more revs you have on when you change from 1st to 2nd the worse the change!

As for the new 2018 on model, I've ridded both versions and the DCT is great but the biggest surprise to me was the manual gearbox version, that has a really nice smooth gearchange, a first for a Goldwing.

Getting back on topic, I think the worst M/C gearchange I've ever experienced was when I rode my mates Victory Vision. I'm sure the designers were ex Massey Ferguson employees.

Yeah the GL100 has not a particularly good box,,but as for BM boxes  my R1200RT is ok,,it does clonk abit putting into first ,but its kindof characterful,,(unlike my old norton its not a joyfull experience but it gets the job done),, I remember old brit bikes of yore being ok  ,the engine may have been crap but we could make a decent box...Still not a patch on Suzukis though...

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