Clunking downshifts just a BMW thing?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by JasonF, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. JasonF

    JasonF Been here awhile

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    I'm riding a new to me 07 GSA with 7000 miles on the clock. I am quite surprised at the magnitude of the thunk this thing emits while performing clutch-in 3-2 and 2-1 downshifts as I'm slowing to a red light. I feel like cars next to me must hear it and think the tranny is about to drop out of this thing. The 08 GSA I test rode a couple months ago was the same way. My metric-bike experience from many years ago were nice smooth mechanical downshifts as I would expect when clutched in. What is it about these BMW trannys that make them so darn clunky?

    Jason
    #1
  2. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Jason,

    If you do it quickly it is usually not so bad, but if you pull in the clutch and wait a few seconds, it will clunk nicely!:evil

    Jim :brow
    #2
  3. holckster

    holckster dougholck

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    German Engineering.

    Turn up your I-pod.

    Like Jim says, its all in the timing.
    Upshifts are also cleaner if you apply slight up pressure just before you bring in the clutch.
    #3
  4. pinecone

    pinecone 任意人

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    That is the phenomenon known as the Teutonic Shift. For years, BMW used straight cut gears with large dogs to change the gears. The Japanese tend to use synchros with a number of smaller teeth. This distributes the torsional forces over a larger number of small teeth instead of a few very large, strong teeth.

    I wouldn't say the BMWs shift clunky, but I will say they have a positive shifting characteristic. IOW, big meaty pieces of metal engaging precisely for a positive transmission of torque.

    Your bike is fine. If it grinds while it's doing the magic, that's a problem.
    #4
  5. Waco

    Waco Renegade Sickle Hound

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    My 1150 boxer doesn't seem particularly clunky.
    #5
  6. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    That's because you are so smooth!:evil

    Jim :brow

    PS The R1200 is significantly better most of the time, though my R1100RS with 70K on it was like butter, or maybe it was just me! I miss that bike! :cry
    #6
  7. Nialis

    Nialis Super Motarded

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    I apply light pedal pressure and blip the throttle as I downshift rarely hear any clunking.
    #7
  8. pinecone

    pinecone 任意人

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    Neither does my 1200 but I'm used to BMW gearboxes. A bit of pre-loading before you shift and a decisive motion of yer foot will get the jorb done.

    You wanna talk about a weird gearbox, try riding a Guzzi. You gotta move yer foot way far to get the gears to change. Otherwise, you will hit one of many neutrals.

    :lol3
    #8
  9. Waco

    Waco Renegade Sickle Hound

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    I've found that wearing work boots with thin uppers seems to help me learn to time my shifts better. :1drink
    #9
  10. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    I love the clunk.. I call it "positive engagement".. :lol3 When I ride other bikes, I'm never sure if I'm fully engaged or in a false neutral.. so, the clunk is reassuring to me. :D
    #10
  11. Voltar

    Voltar Jr Asst Road Captain

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    You will learn the bike over time and downshift at speeds that make the 'clunk' minimum. Sometimes you will screw up and it will 'clunk' anyway.

    Or at least that's how it works for me...
    #11
  12. Kit_McConnico

    Kit_McConnico Regular Adventurer

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    From what I understand the 'clunk' is normal. I think the quote used for new to BMW riders is 'they all do that.'

    On a slightly related note I've been upshifting without using the clutch when going from 2 to 3 to 4 to... it's super smooth if you cut the throttle for half a sec and preload. If I've read correctly this is not uncommon, but what if any negative consequences or wear could this mean for my fine German machine ('05 R1200 GS, ABS, handsome rider)

    I don't mean to jack your thread Jason but these people seem to know more about shifting than us noobs.
    #12
  13. johnjen

    johnjen Now, even more NOW!…

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    There is the 'preferred' technique of shifting BMW's that when perfected will result in smooooooth shifts.

    Pre-load the shift lever and coordinate closing the throttle (for downshifts blipping the throttle) with fanning the clutch. When mastered, it's amazing how smoooooooth the tranny can be.

    JJ
    #13
  14. Kit_McConnico

    Kit_McConnico Regular Adventurer

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    so blip the throttle open (as in more gas?) for downshifts? I noticed that the downshifts were much more difficult (I didn't want to force/break anything) without the clutch.
    #14
  15. bodybomber

    bodybomber Been here awhile

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    I thought the clunk was excessive as well. When I preload the shifter to up shift it is worse but if I dont and catch it just right there is no clunk at all. For the down shifting I just do it at a slower speed.
    #15
  16. johnjen

    johnjen Now, even more NOW!…

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    Yes, blipping is the thing… :gerg

    JJ
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  17. Norsman

    Norsman ...a GSophile

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    I love my clunker... :D !
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  18. Litre

    Litre AKA JimiChanga

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    Try riding a VTX. The GS is quiet comparitively speaking. Downshifting to first sounds like you've banged a shovel against a signpost.
    #18
  19. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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    Compared to an old airhead the 1100gs snicks through the gears like a proverbial japanese sport bike. (when I'm all dialed in, that is)

    Sometimes though when I'm not having the spirit move me I get a reassuring thunk from time to time.

    Seriously though I think the thunkie sounds are pretty normal for a dry clutch configuration.
    #19
  20. jantarek

    jantarek Long timer

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    SMILING AND CLUNKING ALL DAY LOONG :trp
    #20