Well we have narrowed it down to oil, clutch plates, or a clutch disengagement issue. I just checked with previous owner & the oil is Rotella T4 non synth changed 800 miles ago. T4 does carry a JASO MA specification. I know there are many who run it in motorcycles including me. My Honda 1100 V-Twin loves it.
Anyways if & when I ever find the culprit I will report back..that is if I can figure out how one would do that here. Shur nice to know there are folks here ready to help out. Thanks to all!
That's Rotella 15-40 T4
A good functional test for clutch cable free play is to:
- bring the bike up to operating temp
- put the bike in N
- pull in the clutch and shift into 1st
There should be no change in engine RPM between N & 1st. If there is, use one of the cable adjusters to take out some free play. If adjusting free play has no effect, shift between N and 2nd with the clutch pulled in. If there's no change in RPM, then there's a good possibility that there's an issue in the transmission affecting 1st gear.
Temps finally warming so...more info.
First gear, clutch pulled, I hit the starter it lunges foreward. When coasting in first w clutch pulled, rpm's held high - no drag. Let rpm's drop to idle - drag. Seems the drag increases as the bike slows say from 20mph to 5mph, rpms at idle..wierd.
Sure sounds like cluth plates coupling from oil or other. Moving the clutch lever at the basket on the right side by hand confirms there is free play but when it comes up against the end of the free play I Can Feel the bumping that I hear when this engine idles. I thought this loud sound at idle was normal after reading other posts but no clutch should feel like this when it comes up against the throwout bearing if this bike has one. Something is definitely not right in there.
When the rpm is held high when the clutch is disengaged and the transmission is in first gear, there is less speed differential at the clutch plates, hence less drag. When you drop the engine to idle speed, there will be more speed difference between the clutch input and output, hence more drag. This make perfect sense.
I always start all my bikes in gear with the clutch pulled. (I never use neutral except for maintenance tasks or pushing the bike manually). All of them lunge forward a bit when starting when the oil is cold. I consider it totally normal behavior. However I don’t experience the coasting drag that you are describing, but now that I think about it, it could be because I don’t generally coast with the clutch pulled in. I use engine braking until I’m almost at a stop, then pull the clutch.
Well if the cold oil moves your bike at start it should also drag some coasting in first engine at idle rpm's because the transmission input shaft is spinning faster than the engine. The slight coupling of the clutch plates due to oil viscosity is causing this. After feeling the uneven bumping of the clutch lever when moving it by hand, I'm really more concerned about that at this point. Wondering if yours does that when you move the lever in the direction of clutch disengagement as far as you can by hand. Mine bumps my thumb and seems excessive.
To help visualize the clutch mechanism, here’s a photo of mine. That external clutch lever depresses a pin in the center of the clutch basket. That pin rides on a bearing on the square spring loaded pressure plate. I guess that’s the equivalent of a dry clutch throw-out bearing.
You can remove the pressure plate for inspection by loosening it’s four bolts. Removing the square plate will also allow you to inspect the four springs. If you want to remove and disassemble the clutch basket to inspect the clutch plates, you’ll need a clutch basket holding tool. The tool is available in aftermarket versions fairly cheap.
There is no gasket on the clutch housing cover. You’ll need to supply the specified ThreeBond sealant, or equivalent, when reinstalling the clutch cover. Referring to the Honda service manual while doing this work is highly recommended.
After studying the exploded view in the service manual I see what is going on now. I made a colored version to help my brain grasp this and will try to post it here. It looks like the bearing would be an easy replace. Not exactly sure how that shaft engages the bearing as the service manual is not clear. There must be a cam on it that pushes on the bearing. Did you get a chance to check yours and see if you feel the bumping that I do when pushing the lever by hand or is yours smooth? If anyone can check their's and report back that would be a great help. Ok I can not find an option to post an image. How are you guys doing that?