Cali Vintage- Gear Selection Problem

Hi, I’m looking for some advice on gear selection problems with my California Vintage.

Since I got the bike, I have experienced the ‘Guzzi false neutral’ thing on a few occasions but put this down to being ‘just the way they are’. But in the past couple of days, the gear selection on the bike has become really difficult - particularly (but not exclusively) from 2nd to 3rd. Sometimes it will simply not go into gear, which, apart from making riding very akward, can be very dangerous, especially on overtakes!

There seems to be quite a lot of free play in the linkage/connecting rod system, which I suspect is the issue and noticed yesterday that the nut on the forward con rod bolt was only finger-tight! I obviously intend tightening all of this up. Do you agree that a slight ‘lengthening’ of the connecting rod adjustment may help the up-change through the 'box?

Any tips greatly appreciated.

bear in mind Guzzi big twin gearboxes are virtually indestructible always look for the simple answer first look for the obvious things, check the gearbox oil level, tighten the linkage as you suggest then check the lever is getting it’s full range of travel not hitting on any thing which might restricting it’s movement it is possible the gear lever return spring is at fault but it’s quite rare on a big twin it’s usually a small block problem. Pleases let us know how you get on, if you are any where near the Bedford, Bedfordshire area feel free to call round as two heads are better than one plus I have many years experience with guzzi’s as a mechanic of over 40 years.

On the Stone, the the linkage clamp on the back of the gearbox was prone to come loose. It was difficult to get at with an allen key. Might be worth a look.

+1 for checking the linkages, almost certainly that will be your problem.

Thanks for all replies. I’m going to check all the linkages - as far as I can see, there is far too much free play and see how it goes from there…

Mick, thank you so much for the offer of assistance. Unfortunately, I live outside Edinburgh, or I would’ve been round to yours in a shot!!

I’ll let you guys know how I get on. I have had nothing but problems with the bike since I got it a couple of months ago but I’m persevering and trying to get through them…

I suspect the two previous owners have ignored the issues and let them mount up! I’ve had to replace two warped front discs, re-attach the fuel pump feed-pipe, adjust the (never-before-adjusted) steering head bearings, replace the steering damper and have a full service done! I’m praying that the gear linkage will be the last problem, at least for a while.

I’m taking this bike to France in two weeks. I must be off my rocker!!!

Oh, and and when low on petrol, the oil light is coming on instead of the fuel light…

unfortunately when buying second hand bikes I have found to my cost they are as good as the last person that owned them and there is always a period of putting right what others have done wrong as you can imagine after 40 years in the business I have seen some unbelievable bodge ups !!

There was a really good post some time back about how to set up the linkage properly. I followed it with my old Cali and it made a big difference.
All the best,

This was exactly the issue when I was having gear change problems on the hydro. It was amazing how simply tightening this one bolt could make so much difference. Tim Hicks spotted and sorted it on my first visit to the Leicester Branch in 2011.

Thanks guys. I really appreciate all the interest and advice.
I have simply tightened the nut on the front connecting rod bolt (ball and socket), and this simple fix seems to have rectified the problem! Huzzah!!

Oh yes!

my vintage was bad at finding neutral and selection of first gear, after checking all the joints and bolts. I changed my vintage selector link pivot from the inner hole to the outer hole after (the one with a spherical joint near the swing arm lock nut) then re adjusted the length of the rod to the heel and toe. it have transformed the change.

  • check all clutch adjustments, not just the cable free play but gearbox rear arm angle, etc. etc. Bad clutch set-up can affect ease of gear changing too.