5 Reasons Why Your Motorcycle Get Stuck In Gear

Motorcycle Gear Train

Motorcycles need regular maintenance to work smoothly. Bad lubrication, worn out transmission, loosened clutch cable may all cause problems if you are not servicing your motorcycle frequently.

One such problem can be your gear shifter gets stuck while changing the gears in your motorcycle.

Now, the main reasons for the motorcycle to get stuck in gear can be loosened chain, poor lubrication, problems in transmission, no proper slack in the clutch cable or a worn-out chain sprocket.

If it has been a long time since you have taken your bike for servicing and oil change, then without giving much thought, take your motorcycle to your mechanic.

This is because, even if you fix the stuck gear issue, either the same issue is going to repeat or you are going to face some other transmission problems in the motorcycle.

Having said that, if you are someone who takes care of your bike regularly, let us look into the possible reasons and fixes on why your motorcycle get stuck in gear.

  • No proper slack in Clutch Cable
  • Poor Lubrication
  • Chain Slack
  • Worn-out Chain Sprocket
  • Transmission problems

Let’s look into each problem one by one.

#1 No proper slack in Clutch Cable

One major reason why your motorcycle gear gets stuck is because of improper slack in the clutch cables. If your clutch plates are dragging and they are not fully releasing whenever you are pulling the clutch lever, then there is little to no doubt that it is your clutch cable that is causing the gear problems.

The reason why clutch cables with insufficient slack can cause problems is because of these reasons:

  • If the slack is too high, i.e., higher than the required specifications, the clutch can slip even when you have fully released the lever.
  • If the slack is too tight, i.e., lower slack than the required specifications, pulling the clutch wire completely will not be enough to fully release the clutch plates.

So, it is very important for you to adjust the clutch by giving it a proper slack. Ensure that the wire has some free play to operate and at the same time, the slack should not be too much.

A simple thumb rule is to maintain the clutch slack at about 2mm to 3mm. However, if your auto-manufacturer has provided specific slack measurements in the manual then go for the prescribed specifications.

If you do not have any company specifications, try adjusting for 2mm to 3mm. Check whether the motorcycle works fine, if you feel it is still too tight or loosened, adjust accordingly.

#2 Poor Lubrication

Another possible reason why your motorcycle gets stuck in gear is because of poor lubrication in your motorcycle.

Most of the motorcycles use wet clutches that requires the clutch to be well bathed in the engine oil. If the lubrication is not right, there is often wear and tear due to the dryness in the clutch which makes the gear shifting difficult.

Poor lubrication can be because of 2 reasons:

  • Oil level is too low in the motorcycle.
  • The engine oil you have used is not of the right viscosity, i.e., poor quality oil.

How do you know that poor lubrication is the cause here?

If it has been a long time since you have changed oil in your motorcycle or you have traveled more than 8000 miles (or whatever the manufacturer’s specification for oil change is), then it is time for a round of servicing.

Even simpler, if you feel the gear changing is not smooth, it is more often than not, the lubrication problem.

So, change the oil with the right quality oil if it is a poor lubrication thing causing your motorcycle to get stuck in between gears or causing any other gear shifting problems.

#3 Chain Slack

While not the most common reason for your motorcycle gear being stuck, it helps to check whether the chain has enough slack or not.

Checking and adjusting the tension of the chain is a simple task and it goes a long way in improving the performance of your motorcycle.

If the chain is too tight, then the chain loses all its slack and becomes a rigid transmitter. Once this happens, the tires might lose traction and your motorcycle might go dead.

On the other hand, if there is too much slack, the chain might actually come off the motorcycle losing its grip. This again might lead to disastrous results.

So, firstly, find out the optimum slack required for your motorcycle. This can be found in the user’s manual by the manufacturer.

The next step is to loosen the nut on the wheel axle as well as the nuts on the threaded chain adjusters.

Now, adjust the chain slack accordingly and as required for the motorcycle. Then, tighten the nuts so that the wheel is free to move with enough tension in the chain.

One simple tip, make sure to check the rear wheel is perfectly aligned before tightening the nuts.

#4 Worn-out Chain Sprocket

Another reason might be a worn-out chain sprocket in your motorcycle.

If the chain sprocket is damaged, the gear transmission may not take place smoothly and as a result, the gear might get stuck.

However, checking chain drive components are easy since chain can be inspected visually.

The objective here is to determine whether you need to replace the existing chain with a new chain and sprockets or not.

Get ready to get your hands dirty. You can use gloves if you want. Pull the chain away from the rear end of the sprocket on your rear wheel. If you have a worn-out chain, you will see about half a tooth of the sprocket. A good conditioned chain will wrap around the sprocket tightly and will not be easy to pull away.

In addition, you need to look for rust and other damages. Spin the rear wheel to see whether the chain maintains the same tension throughout. Examine the entire length of the chain to check for any signs of damage or worn-outness.

You also need to look for the sprocket during the entire course. If any teeth is chipped away or damaged, you have to replace them.

Now, if it is confirmed that the chain is worn-out and you have to replace it with a new one, then it is better to go to the mechanic for replacement.

However, if you decide to replace it by yourself, make sure you know the make of your motorcycle and organize the components you remove in an orderly fashion.

#5 Transmission problems

Sometimes, it is the transmission problems that might cause issues in gear shifting or gear being stuck.

The major issues that can cause problems in gear being stuck are:

  • Seized Transmission Gear
  • A foreign object stuck between the gears
  • Bent shift shafts
  • Incorrect assembly of the transmission gears

These problems result in you not being able to change or shift the gears easily. There will be a strong resistance while shifting from one gear to the other.

If this is the case you are facing and suspect one of the above problems is the issue, then you need to immediately take your motorcycle to your mechanic.

Any one of the above transmission problems is lethal to the gear system. If you let it rot, you might end up paying a higher repair cost for a damaged transmission system.