Why is my dirt bike hard to shift? (Explained)

Shifting of gears is important to run your dirt bike. Without shifting of gears your dirt bike will not move.

In this post, I am going to share with you about shifting of dirt bike and problems come under the way of shifting of a dirt bike.

If you want to learn this information and process, continue reading!

What is shifting in a dirt bike?

Shifting on a dirt bike is related with the shifting of gears. It is not a very tough task to do. For shifting of your dirt bike first you will need to grip the clutch of it.

Clutch is located on the left side of the dirt bike. Secondly you need to lift or press down the lever of your bike located on the left side of it.

Use your left foot for lifting down the Peg. By following the process continuously you will shift the gears of the dirt bike up and down.

Reasons of hard shifting of your dirt bike

Poor shifting of your dirt bike will depend on how you operate it. The use of dirt bikes and the love of riding a it is increasing day by day.

The sales of it has also been increased in the past few years. But being an owner of a dirt bike you need to know some essential features or tips for maintaining it.

There are many issue which can cause poor shifting. All of them is not related only with engine. They can also relate to other parts of the dirt bike.

Regularly check the parts of it before operating it. Some of the causes for Poor shifting are as follows:

Number 1 : Elements which are outside of the engine

Many problems related to poor shifting are caused by elements which are outside of the engine of your bike. Poor shifting can also be caused due to some changes done recently in your bike.

You are advised to check the external linkage if you are facing some shifting problems. The external linkage can be cramped due to the changes in your dirt bike.

Number 2 : Dragging clutch

Clutch drag is the another problem caused by poor shifting. In certain cases the shift lever of the dirt bike becomes hard and it is difficult for the bike to Shift. Hard shifting in the dirt bike is majorly seen in when the temperature of the dirt bike becomes cold.

Clutch cable is the cause of a cold dirt bike. Loose the clutch Lever a few times and set the clutch Lever so that it become adjusted.

Check the locking mechanism for a good result. This is done to provide 1/4 on to the clutch handle. After all this process, you will see a noticeable difference in your dirt bike performance.

Number 3 : The size of The dirt bike rider

A rider should check before purchasing any bike that whether the bike suits or fits him or not. If you are trying to ride a bike that is much larger or smaller than your size then you will not be able to ride the bike properly.

You will find yourself that you cannot operate the controls of the dirt bike. If you do not operate the clutch lever effectively then it will bring hardships for you to ride that.

So it is necessary to ensure that the bike fits to your personal size.

Number 4 : The Clutch Lever

The clutch lever is the fourth reason of poor shifting. The spines of your gear box should blend together. you should release the clutch lever slowly. Release clutch Lever slowly creates a smooth shift.

A smooth shift ensure that there is no risk after locking the back wheel. To make shifting easier, you can also flip the throttle. by doing this you will also avoid any drag that comes in your way.

All the above practices gives you a smoother shift. it also helps engine system to match with the speed of the dirt bike.

Number 5 : The Gearbox

You can replace your clutch completely when it cannot be adjusted. A worn out clutch cannot be adjusted. A bad clutch can cause you to slip while you were changing the gears hence result in poor shifting.

There are many possible causes like this. Your gear box can be damaged by large number of bats shifts. So, you are recommended to change or rebuild the gearbox by your own or by the help of a mechanic.

Number 6 : The cable tension and the limit setting

The another factor that can cause poor shifting is the cable tension and the limit setting. It is very hard to adjust the cable tension.

When there is lack of shifting precision because of huge wear and tear in the cable systems, it will result in poor shifting.

Lack of cable tension will cause bad up-shifts and more cable tension than required cause bad downshifts.

Number 7 : Drag due to the cables

We always recommend you to use a good quality of cable for better and smooth shifting. When the cables are of poor quality, kinked, or old, it will create poor shifting. You are advised to use a good quality of cable of steel inner cable without coatings.

Number 8 : Bad riding skills

The last but not the least is bad riding skills. Poor Shifting is caused majorly by the inexperience or bad riding skills of the rider of the dirt bike.

A good knowledge of shifting of gears will give you a good and satisfying riding experience. You can understand that “clutch” is the basic and the only element of dirt bike that is responsible for controlling it.

A good clutch system will help in enrich the riding experience. So, before purchasing or riding, go for learning shifting skills that will give you a good ride without any problem.

Dirt bike shifting tips for you

So down below, I have mentioned some important tips for making your dirt bike shifting easy and comfortable. Following are the required tips :

TIP NO. 1 : It is very important to choose right gear on your dirt bike on the right time but when you are in the wrong gear for riding then it can cause problem to you. A high gear at the time of going slow will make the engine to accelerate more and a too low engine can stop your top speed.

TIP NO. 2 : The second tip is to adjust your gear shift lever. Check the gear shift Lever before riding. Fix the gearshift lever just near the foot peg. You can also fix it some bit higher before the foot peg.

TIP NO. 3 : Do not fix your gear shift too low. It can make you difficult to get your foot under it.

TIP NO. 4 : When your gear shift is too low, you can also may accidentally look out of the gear. This may happen when you are in a deeper ruts.

TIP NO. 5 : For shifting up the gears you simply have to lift your whole foot up. You do not need to pivot on the foot peg. do not move back on the seat.

TIP NO. 6 : This is the most important tips from us that always use clutch when you are up-shifting the gears of your dirt bike. When you change each higher gear, always pull the clutch you might upshift your dirt bike without using a clutch but in this you are likely to miss gears.

You can damage the transmission system by breaking the shifting cogs plaud inside the gearbox. this problem can be very serious while riding the dirt bike.

TIP NO. 7 : You do not need to use the clutch while downshifting the dirt bike. this is because in the process of down shifting, the dirt bike do not require its real power going through the transmission.

TIP NO. 8 : You are directed to use the clutch, throttle and gears of your Dirt Bike correctly. the process is to close the throttle first then, nip the clutch and in last keep changing the gears in up shifting according to the need.

Some important things necessary to know about shifting

Before starting any dirt bike, always use the right method to start. A wrong method can create shifting problems for you on the track.

Always check the gas and turn on the fuel to start use clutch while up-shifting, follow kick starting your dirt bike, and get it to be moving slowly. Always shift while in a gear.


So, buying a dirt bike for you or your child can make him more excited on that time onwards. Before owning your favourite dirt bike you should know every criteria of biking regarding gears of your dirt bike.

Here, in this post I have explained about the reasons of hard shifting and you have understood that why is your dirt bike hard to shift?

I hope you have read the whole article and solved your query. If you have any doubt write down below the comment section. We will surely come up with the solution.
Thank you !

Sources : https://www.sportbikes.net/threads/extremely-hard-to-shift,