Stuck in gear!

I got quite a fright yesterday when my bike got stuck in fifth gear in the middle of a busy junction, stationary. I eventually managed to get it into third and slipped the clutch to escape my ‘sitting duck’ position. Once moving it selected gear again but got stuck once more a little further down the road.

Stopping somewhere safe, I hopped off to see if I could find the problem.
It was apparent that the lever wasn’t returning to it’s central position once the pressure of my boot was released, hence the next gear couldn’t be selected. I’ve subsequently read on this forum it’s happened to quite a few of you.

The cause is the levers pivot bush being ‘gummed’ up. Whether this is because it was assembled dry at the factory or subsequent use through winter and the odd jet washing I don’t know, but it caught me out. My bike is less than 2 years old with 11,500 miles on, so shouldn’t be seizing up yet!

Lashings of WD40 (Hobson’s choice rather than preference) got the lever moving eventually once it worked into the joint, and got me home.
I’ve stripped and cleaned it today and it’s as good as new again. A fairly simple task that might save you a lot of agro in future if you’d care to have a go, alternatively you may like to get your mechanic do it next time your bike’s ‘in’.

You’ll need a 6mm Allen key, 13mm spanner , some emery cloth or similar and some grease.
Simply remove the nut and bolt, the lever is then hanging on it’s tie rod. You can work on it there, under the bike if the sleeve slides out of the bush easily, apply some grease and reassemble.
As mine was tight I took the lever off the bike completely by unclipping the ball joint (retained by a little clip) to make life easier.

I pulled the ‘top hat’ sleeve out of the bush, there is an ‘O’ ring each end of the bush to keep the grease in (and the shpit out), and cleaned all the crud off the inside of the bush and the outside of the ‘top hat’ sleeve.
I reassembled using some silicon grease (my preference as it doesn’t affect the o ring rubber).
The ‘penny washer’ clamps against the end of the ‘top hat’ sleeve on reassembly allowing the lever to be free to move with the clamping bolt tight.

Hope all that makes sense, and maybe of some use to someone.

component parts and rough sketch.


Cleaned bush.


O ring in place and greased.

opposite o ring and top hat sleeve inserted and greased.

bolt in loose (picture from beneath)


Clamped in tight ( picture from beneath)

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I had the same happen to me, I flagged it to the dealer as dangerous and was ignored. I also stripped the whole thing and the bush had never seen any lube. Similarly the brake lever so do both. My wife’s bike has also done 15000 miles and it has never had a problem. Guess it depends who had the grease that day!

yes this happened to mine, still under warranty so dealer fixed for no charge (to me) and was very good about getting it sorted asap.

for future reference though once it becomes my responsibility thanks very much for this excellent guide.

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Have the same bike ,2023 model,good info for future ref, any one know of a good workshop manual for a V85TT?

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:+1:t2:nice one, thanks Cali 1963.

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Many thanks, have printed the maintenence pages out, hope i don’t need the strip down and repair pages!

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Good report and photos. Would be good if you could send it in for the next Gambalunga.

Have had this on old Japanese break leavers and to my faded memory a GS550 gear leaver but all had done considerably more miles and a lot older.

Great post thanks. I did my gear lever tonight and the bush was dry. I had previously just greased the bolt unaware of the bush and o rings.

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Great post, thanks. It has happened to me. It sorted itself out on the ride, but I bought some WD40 and drenched the lever for good measure. I mentioned it to the dealer at the next service, but I don’t know how much attention he gave it. I now carry a can of WD40 with me, just in case.

Hello all,
Same happening to my Cali Evo.Had not been selecting very easily.My head fell off,so like you I WD’d it and its great.
Now this would need to be done regular I reckon.Maybe it would be better to use a better lubricant? Some grease perhaps.The problem occurred after a jet wash.Food for thought.That is a brilliant post.Thank you.

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Thank you for this timely post. Mine (8300 mi, 3.5 years) had the beginnings of some corrosion on the top hat at the inside end. Some grease still visible, and lots on the thread of the bolt (why?). Ten minutes and some caliper pin grease and all sorted.

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Same thing happened years ago on my Breva 1100.
The gear change shaft goes through a bush on the footrest hanger. No grease and year round use ended with it seizing on a National Rally.
I fitted a grease nipple and give it a regular dose.

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