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Steve Case

Worstest of all gearboxes

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Andy m

I don't think the gearbox is the problem, it's the clutch?

 

Ural is of course the worst, but oilhead BMW comes a very close second and Moto-Guzzi not great. All car style clutches,

 

Andy

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dave

My CVT Silverwing is great to lead the Honda Owners Club rideouts, all the manual gearbox bikes clunk as we leave any stop situations, why can't they make a gearbox with a silent first gear engagement, cars don't do it.

I still read roadtests on R series BMW's waiting for comments on the gearbox and clutch, better than the last years model, how many years have they been altering the design and making it no better. 

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Xactly

BMW boxers, before the l/c models as well as Moto-Guzzis and Urals etc all had dry, engine speed clutches. The MZ two-strokes also had engine-speed clutches and a rotten gear-change. It’s probably this more than the fact that they are dry clutches that affects the quality of the gear change. On most bikes the clutch is rotating about 1/3 of the speed of the crankshaft. I’ve always found that BMW and Moto-Guzzis with the car-type transmission go into first gear silently. Pre-loading the gear lever helps smooth changes, at least upward ones.

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Wedgepilot

Bikes - can't really comment with my *cough ahem* automatic licence... DCT is great innit? 👍 😀

 

Cars - easily the Ferrari Testarossa that a very generous mate let me have a go in. When cold, it was like arm wrestling a gorilla, it felt like it belonged in an HGV, not a sports car. Awful agricultural thing. Warmed up and with the engine spinning at a decent speed, it was better, but still needed a firm shove.

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Rocker66
24 minutes ago, Xactly said:

BMW boxers, before the l/c models as well as Moto-Guzzis and Urals etc all had dry, engine speed clutches. The MZ two-strokes also had engine-speed clutches and a rotten gear-change. It’s probably this more than the fact that they are dry clutches that affects the quality of the gear change. On most bikes the clutch is rotating about 1/3 of the speed of the crankshaft. I’ve always found that BMW and Moto-Guzzis with the car-type transmission go into first gear silently. Pre-loading the gear lever helps smooth changes, at least upward ones.

Definitely a knack with airhead Beemers but a decent change is possible if you don’t rush it. Never had much of a problem with the dry clutch on my Multistrada and yes I did like the sound of the latter.

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Foxy

Now we're on cars I had the misfortune to own an FSO estate for about 3 weeks in the late 80's. Worst car I ever had and worst gearbox to go with it, probably something to do with Ural.

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Steve1962

I only had problems with one gearbox on a bike, and that was on my first BMW 1100RT when the input shaft splines on the transmission stripped out on the way home from work. I had the gearbox rebuilt by Steve Scriminger  (sadly now passed away - he was a brilliant engineer and well known  and respected in the BMW bike fraternity) and then sold it a few months later - it had 59k on the clock.

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

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Steve Case

The BMW was a bike that didn't like to be rushed and that included the gearbox, if I didn't rush the change it was acceptable. 

 

However I did rebuild the box with new first and second gears as the previous owner had obviously knocked half the teeth off and it always had the false neutral between forth and top.

 

However unlike the Triumph the change doesn't get worse as the bike gets hot, and boy did the 955 get hot! Should have a sticker on the tank saying DO NOT USE IN TOWN.

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Xactly
20 hours ago, Steve1962 said:

I only had problems with one gearbox on a bike, and that was on my first BMW 1100RT when the input shaft splines on the transmission stripped out on the way home from work. I had the gearbox rebuilt by Steve Scriminger  (sadly now passed away - he was a brilliant engineer and well known  and respected in the BMW bike fraternity) and then sold it a few months later - it had 59k on the clock.

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

I didn’t know Steve had passed away. What a pity; he wasn’t that old. I knew he’d had heart problems because he told me he no longer did complete bike strips because of it when I took an oilhead gearbox for him to refurbish. Those who went to BMW Club rallies will no doubt remember his airhead engine with a prop on it and that he used to prepare the engines for powered hang gliders, so they had to be reliable. He used to start them up, swinging the prop.
Yes, he was a great engineer. He told me that in the early years of oilhead production he’d obtained one of the engines to assess its suitability to replace the 1,000cc airhead motors he was using in powered hang gliders (and in sidecar racing). In this application they need to run flat out more than in a motorcycle eg for take-off. The first engine he tried self-destructed at full speed. I already knew that in the oilhead motor the big ends were deliberately cracked so that the two halves mated together exactly when assembled on the conrod and bolted up. Apparently the cause of the engine failure was that at continuous full throttle excessive wear occurred at the big end because of fretting of the two halves, until the conrod let go. He tried another oilhead engine, rigging up an oil pressure gauge to monitor the engine as he ran it flat out in his test rig. He observed a sudden pressure drop and quickly killed the ignition. He saved the motor but in dismantling it found significant play in the big ends. He reckoned that, whilst the airhead motor was good for extended full throttle running, the oilhead, although significantly more powerful as standard, could not withstand this. He reported this back to BMW. Whether or not they did anything I don’t know, but they did run the Boxer Cup race series using the later 1100S bikes without blowing them up...

The five-speed oilhead gearboxes were notorious for bearing and selector wear. They had three goes at getting it right. The first (M93) rattled like hell in neutral and BMW had so many complaints about it that they re-designed it (M94) with o rings on the shafts but still with the one and a half dogs on the gears, the idea being that to rid the BMW twin of its reputation for clunky gear-changes, by using an undersized dog and a full size one the gears would slip in more easily. The trouble is that the dogs wore prematurely, which then caused (usually third but sometimes second) gear to “slip” because it didn’t fully engage, then engaged. After a while this then wore the selector, resulting in the infamous “golden shower” of metal particles (bronze bearing bits) in the gearbox oil. Only with the final (M97) version did BMW finally put two full size dogs on each gear. Anyone buying an oilhead is advised to go for a 1997 onwards one, or one with the later gearbox (or a modded M94) or to have a lucky star - some gave no trouble for many tens of thousands of miles). The M93 couldn’t be modded and had different internal ratios than the later ones but actually had the sweetest change. The o rings on the shafts on the M94 did get rid of the racket in neutral but at the expense of gear change quality.

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Steve1962
1 minute ago, Xactly said:

I didn’t know Steve had passed away. What a pity; he wasn’t that old. I knew he’d had heart problems because he told me he no longer did complete bike strips because of it when I took an oilhead gearbox for him to refurbish. Those who went to BMW Club rallies will no doubt remember his airhead engine with a prop on it and that he used to prepare the engines for powered hang gliders, so they had to be reliable. He used to start them up, swinging the prop.
Yes, he was a great engineer. He told me that in the early years of oilhead production he’d obtained one of the engines to assess its suitability to replace the 1,000cc airhead motors he was using in powered hang gliders (and in sidecar racing). In this application they need to run flat out more than in a motorcycle eg for take-off. The first engine he tried self-destructed at full speed. I already knew that in the oilhead motor the big ends were deliberately cracked so that the two halves mated together exactly when assembled on the conrod and bolted up. Apparently the cause of the engine failure was that at continuous full throttle excessive wear occurred at the big end because of fretting of the two halves, until the conrod let go. He tried another oilhead engine, rigging up an oil pressure gauge to monitor the engine as he ran it flat out in his test rig. He observed a sudden pressure drop and quickly killed the ignition. He saved the motor but in dismantling it found significant play in the big ends. He reckoned that, whilst the airhead motor was good for extended full throttle running, the oilhead, although significantly more powerful as standard, could not withstand this. He reported this back to BMW. Whether or not they did anything I don’t know, but they did run the Boxer Cup race series using the later 1100S bikes without blowing them up...

The five-speed oilhead gearboxes were notorious for bearing and selector wear. They had three goes at getting it right. The first (M93) rattled like hell in neutral and BMW had so many complaints about it that they re-designed it (M94) with o rings on the shafts but still with the one and a half dogs on the gears, the idea being that to rid the BMW twin of its reputation for clunky gear-changes, by using an undersized dog and a full size one the gears would slip in more easily. The trouble is that the dogs wore prematurely, which then caused (usually third but sometimes second) gear to “slip” because it didn’t fully engage, then engaged. After a while this then wore the selector, resulting in the infamous “golden shower” of metal particles (bronze bearing bits) in the gearbox oil. Only with the final (M97) version did BMW finally put two full size dogs on each gear. Anyone buying an oilhead is advised to go for a 1997 onwards one, or one with the later gearbox (or a modded M94) or to have a lucky star - some gave no trouble for many tens of thousands of miles). The M93 couldn’t be modded and had different internal ratios than the later ones but actually had the sweetest change. The o rings on the shafts on the M94 did get rid of the racket in neutral but at the expense of gear change quality.

 

 

Steve was held in such high regard by everyone who had dealings with him - i never knew anyone who had a bad word to say about him - what you are saying about the early gear boxes makes sense too as mine was a 1996 bike ( the 2nd one I owned was a 98 and so was the 1100R - actually those two bikes had reg numbers that were only one digit apart!!).

 

 

Steve

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Steve1962
24 minutes ago, Xactly said:

I didn’t know Steve had passed away. What a pity; he wasn’t that old. I knew he’d had heart problems because he told me he no longer did complete bike strips because of it when I took an oilhead gearbox for him to refurbish. Those who went to BMW Club rallies will no doubt remember his airhead engine with a prop on it and that he used to prepare the engines for powered hang gliders, so they had to be reliable. He used to start them up, swinging the prop.
Yes, he was a great engineer. He told me that in the early years of oilhead production he’d obtained one of the engines to assess its suitability to replace the 1,000cc airhead motors he was using in powered hang gliders (and in sidecar racing). In this application they need to run flat out more than in a motorcycle eg for take-off. The first engine he tried self-destructed at full speed. I already knew that in the oilhead motor the big ends were deliberately cracked so that the two halves mated together exactly when assembled on the conrod and bolted up. Apparently the cause of the engine failure was that at continuous full throttle excessive wear occurred at the big end because of fretting of the two halves, until the conrod let go. He tried another oilhead engine, rigging up an oil pressure gauge to monitor the engine as he ran it flat out in his test rig. He observed a sudden pressure drop and quickly killed the ignition. He saved the motor but in dismantling it found significant play in the big ends. He reckoned that, whilst the airhead motor was good for extended full throttle running, the oilhead, although significantly more powerful as standard, could not withstand this. He reported this back to BMW. Whether or not they did anything I don’t know, but they did run the Boxer Cup race series using the later 1100S bikes without blowing them up...

The five-speed oilhead gearboxes were notorious for bearing and selector wear. They had three goes at getting it right. The first (M93) rattled like hell in neutral and BMW had so many complaints about it that they re-designed it (M94) with o rings on the shafts but still with the one and a half dogs on the gears, the idea being that to rid the BMW twin of its reputation for clunky gear-changes, by using an undersized dog and a full size one the gears would slip in more easily. The trouble is that the dogs wore prematurely, which then caused (usually third but sometimes second) gear to “slip” because it didn’t fully engage, then engaged. After a while this then wore the selector, resulting in the infamous “golden shower” of metal particles (bronze bearing bits) in the gearbox oil. Only with the final (M97) version did BMW finally put two full size dogs on each gear. Anyone buying an oilhead is advised to go for a 1997 onwards one, or one with the later gearbox (or a modded M94) or to have a lucky star - some gave no trouble for many tens of thousands of miles). The M93 couldn’t be modded and had different internal ratios than the later ones but actually had the sweetest change. The o rings on the shafts on the M94 did get rid of the racket in neutral but at the expense of gear change quality.

 

 

Hi,

I know I wrote that Steve had passed away ( I'm sure I read it somewhere on another forum) but now can't find any information about it so I think I'm mistaken and got him mixed up with Phil Hawksley (Boxerman) who sadly died on August 12th 2018, not very long after he retired.

Apologies.

 

Steve

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Xactly
2 minutes ago, Steve1962 said:

 

 

Hi,

I know I wrote that Steve had passed away ( I'm sure I read it somewhere on another forum) but now can't find any information about it so I think I'm mistaken and got him mixed up with Phil Hawksley (Boxerman) who sadly died on August 12th 2018, not very long after he retired.

Apologies.

 

Steve

I knew of him too; a sad loss.

My 1100RS was a 1996 (M94 box); whilst my 850GS was a 2000 (M97 box). I acquired an M97 for my RS for when it started skipping. I had Steve Scriminger recondition the M97 before a friend and I replaced the original in my RS at around 30,000 miles....

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Sweaty Sock
On 02/03/2021 at 06:45, Wierpig said:

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.

 

Not all... my old 1150GS has a sweet box (for a Beemer). My old VFR is exceptionally good. 

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Hickky

Well, I have obviously had a number of vehicles with sub par gearboxes CZ250 with its odd clutch on gearleaver thingy was just awkward. MZ 250s broke second gear fairly often. NC750 DCT just didn't suit and I found it poor to filter in heavy traffic. 
Mini 850 with super long gear leaver kept jumping out of third when you hit a bump. Baben is correct about Austin 1100/11300, vague, but sort of OK. Getting a Ford made me understand just how good a gearbox could be, but, compared to a 1300, were rolly polly and didn't go round corners well. Just how did BL make a MG Maestro handle so well with a decent 5 speed box?

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Wierpig
3 hours ago, Sweaty Sock said:

 

Not all... my old 1150GS has a sweet box (for a Beemer). My old VFR is exceptionally good. 

Haha, yes they were better on the 1150 but at a cost.They used sealed bearings to reduce the inertia in the shafts.So no lubrication from the gearbox oil. When the internal bearing lubrication wore out it all went tits up 😆😆

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Xactly
1 hour ago, Hickky said:

Well, I have obviously had a number of vehicles with sub par gearboxes CZ250 with its odd clutch on gearleaver thingy was just awkward. MZ 250s broke second gear fairly often. NC750 DCT just didn't suit and I found it poor to filter in heavy traffic. 
Mini 850 with super long gear leaver kept jumping out of third when you hit a bump. Baben is correct about Austin 1100/11300, vague, but sort of OK. Getting a Ford made me understand just how good a gearbox could be, but, compared to a 1300, were rolly polly and didn't go round corners well. Just how did BL make a MG Maestro handle so well with a decent 5 speed box?

By not putting the b awful Maxi box in it....

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Xactly
19 hours ago, Hickky said:

Well, I have obviously had a number of vehicles with sub par gearboxes CZ250 with its odd clutch on gearleaver thingy was just awkward. MZ 250s broke second gear fairly often. NC750 DCT just didn't suit and I found it poor to filter in heavy traffic. 
Mini 850 with super long gear leaver kept jumping out of third when you hit a bump. Baben is correct about Austin 1100/11300, vague, but sort of OK. Getting a Ford made me understand just how good a gearbox could be, but, compared to a 1300, were rolly polly and didn't go round corners well. Just how did BL make a MG Maestro handle so well with a decent 5 speed box?

I had a CZ125 and Jawa 350, both of which had what was essentially the Triumph quickshift clutch. I disabled it on mine once the novelty of moving off without touching the hand clutch lever wore off. Result was a much lighter and accurate gearchange. I also ran the CZ on Petronio, removing the posisquirt pump which was prone to getting air locks however many times it was bled.

Just now, Xactly said:

I had a CZ125 and Jawa 350, both of which had what was essentially the Triumph quickshift clutch. I disabled it on mine once the novelty of moving off without touching the hand clutch lever wore off. Result was a much lighter and accurate gearchange. I also ran the CZ on Petronio, removing the posisquirt pump which was prone to getting air locks however many times it was bled.

Petronio, the new Italian Petronio mix with added aroma....

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Steve1962

Truimph Toledo circa 1972........had one as my first car....I found the gearbox to be more vague than any question ever answered by a politician......

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lipsee
On 3/1/2021 at 13:31, Rocker66 said:

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.

I can talk about modern BM boxes,,  the gear change itself is ok,,(still chunks in 1st but thats no bady,,,   But its not the sort of box to abuse,,it does not like the be lugged,,can,t take the strain,,what happens is, it breaks the internal shaft,,be it lay shaft or the other and you need a new box  (ask me how I know)

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lipsee

Actually I remember in the 70s most British bikes having a pretty good change,,,pity the same could not be said about the motors..

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baben
7 hours ago, lipsee said:

Actually I remember in the 70s most British bikes having a pretty good change,,,pity the same could not be said about the motors..

Nothing wrong with the motors - once they were put together properly.

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Mr Toad

I have to say that the gearbox on my Enfield is lovely, very smooth and clunk free. 

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lipsee
13 hours ago, baben said:

Nothing wrong with the motors - once they were put together properly.

Did you have a Norton?

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Tex
16 hours ago, lipsee said:

Did you have a Norton?


I did. A 750 Commando one of the last of the ‘Made in Plumstead’ models. It had it’s woes but all those have been answered now and I would have one as a daily rider. Of course the problem is affording one! I can’t afford old bikes and have to buy new now.. 

 

I would have this back too. A miserable looking ‘Tex to be’ in 1974 with my new T150V. ;) 

 

6-DF3-EF0-C-7-CC8-4174-924-F-2-E1-DD9265

 

 

Edited by Tex
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Rocker66
20 minutes ago, Tex said:


I did. A 750 Commando one of the last of the ‘Made in Plumstead’ models. It had it’s woes but all those have been answered now and I would have one as a daily rider. Of course the problem is affording one! I can’t afford old bikes and have to buy new now.. 

 

I would have this back too. A miserable looking ‘Tex to be’ in 1974 with my new T150V. ;) 

 

6-DF3-EF0-C-7-CC8-4174-924-F-2-E1-DD9265

 

 

Was looking miserable because somebody had just told you that for the same money you could have had a Rocket3?😂😂

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