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Thread: Transmission Variances

  1. #1
    Senior Member c3powil's Avatar
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    Transmission Variances

    Hey there fellow Buellers.

    It seems like most of us have owned one or two of these machines, at least. I've read/heard more than once that the XB transmission is fairly clunky and unrefined, not great for clutch-less shifting, and doesn't hold a candle to that of Japanese bikes.

    Coming from a history of mostly Japanese bikes, I didn't find this to be the case with my '06 Uly. It was "clunky" in comparison to my Honda, and I did struggle to find neutral sometimes, but most of the time wasn't an issues. The '05 City-X that I have now, however, is noticeably better. The neutral is a breeze to find, it thuds into each gear with a moderate amount of force, and up-shifting without the clutch is a piece of cake and very satisfying in the upper RPM range.

    So, in my experience there is a bit of a variance in the transmission feel between these two bikes But I have to think, based on the amount of criticism, that there are Buells out there with a lot worse transmissions as well. So, is it luck of the draw, maintenance quality, or something other than the recommended Formula + in the primary? I know my old Uly at least had fairly decent maintenance done to it by the PO, based on his detailed documentation, and I replaced the primary oil with Formula + pretty soon after taking ownership. The City-X had Formula + added at 6500 miles, and she's sitting at 7300 now.

    Just curious and thought others might like to weigh in.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Barrett's Avatar
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    Have owned approx 20 assorted XB's to date. With proper exacting adjustments made to the clutch pack...clutch cable....primary drive chain....20W50 Amsoil or Mobil-1 in the primary....they all have shifted very nicely and no problems finding neutral or false neutrals during shift sequences. Smoother than any XR1000 or XR1200's I've ever owned. My Buell ownership has been split equally between the 984's and the 1203's. The 984's always shift smoother than the 1203's. I attribute it to the primary gearing being "lower" than the 1203 gearing. Just an educated hunch.
    I'm told by a few of the corporate blokes that the company sourced Formula+ fluids are outstanding for the XB-XL-XR primaries, though I've never used it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    I'd agree with Barrett that the transmissions themselves aren't that bad. But Buellers being Buellers most are abused and by riders with only hammers in their toolbox

    Most of the complaints are attributed to clutch issues anyway and not even gearbox related. Have you adjusted you clutch this year? last year? Ever? lol most haven't. Even though 20w-50 is acceptable for a Buell primary (make sure its MA1 or MA2), I have found Formula+ to be less 'sticky', but no matter what go with the clutch plate MFGs recommendation if it's been changed to non OE.

    Bubbles and I both just rode 2023 Harleys, 3353 miles in ONE WEEK, 988 miles on the very first day... and neither bike would find neutral worth a damn. Both our clutch hands ache.

  4. #4
    Senior Member c3powil's Avatar
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    Good to know. Thanks for the input, gents.

    I never adjusted the clutch on my Uly because I never felt it had a problem, but after riding my City-X, I'm pretty sure it could have been better. I've got no complaints with the Harley Formula +, so I'll keep using that.



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