Q Why does changing gear fill me with fear?
My 107,000-mile, 1995 BMW R1100R has developed a strange gearbox fault. Because of the weather I have not used the bike for around five weeks and when I went out on it today it took several attempts to go from second to third, then fifth wouldn’t hook up from fourth. Changing down was still good. It was very hit and miss over a 70-mile run, but got slightly better towards the end. Ken Jaques, Hull
AAnswered by Ian Taylor, Motorworksuk They did have a few problems with these early (pre-’97) gearboxes, mainly worn selector forks. But that issue would gradually get worse, rather than one day fine and the next day unusable.
Because this has come on so suddenly, I’d first check that the gearlever is operating correctly. It has two nylon top hat bushes that can swell with age and get tight so the lever doesn’t return to its rest position. If that happens you will be trying to engage the same gear again and again.
If the clutch adjustment is set right, I’d check the condition of the release mechanism as it sits at the back of the gearbox and catches a lot of road muck.