My Motorcycle Won’t Go Into Neutral? [Must Check 4 Reasons!]

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Expert motorcycle drivers are known for their smooth handling of their motorcycle, this means that they must be well aware of the gear of their motorcycle and, in turn, be good at shifting the motorcycle from one gear to the next.

It is then detrimental to the driver if the shift does not happen successfully and can easily cause some distress and put you into a bad situation when driving a motorcycle.

These problems could be the result of clutch issues, Lack of oil, warped clutch plates, kill-switch engagement.

Another major issue regarding this is that the problem with motorcycle transmissions can occur for various reasons, which is why it becomes even harder to identify and fix the problem.

This problem extends not just shifting into gear but can also prevent you from shifting back into neutral, which can be a huge concern.

In this article, I will be trying to ask,” why won’t my motorcycle go into neutral?” Apart from answering the question, I will also explain the neutral position in motorcycles and how you could fix the problem.

What Is Neutral In A Motorcycle?

Diagnosing why your motorcycle cannot shift into neutral

Neutral is the state of your motorcycle where the engine is on and running, but you do not want any power being transferred from the engine to the wheel, resulting in motion.

Two methods achieve this state; the first being you just pull the clutch lever with your left hand. This will keep the motorcycle in a neutral state.

The second method is setting the motorcycle in to the neutral gear state by shifting the gears to neutral.

This will allow the transmission to get power, not transmit it to the rear wheels, and prevent you from constantly holding the clutch. It is this method that most riders tend to default to and is afflicted with the most problems.

How To Go Into Neutral

To set your motorcycle into the neutral position, you must first slowly bring the motorcycle to a stop and, while doing so, downshift the motorcycle’s gears to the first or second gear as it is between most motorcycles where the neutral position is found.

While doing this, make sure that you know which gear the motorcycle is so that you do not downshift directly into neutral and suddenly stop while driving.

To put the motorcycle into the neutral position, if the motorcycle is in first great, you must shift upwards. If you are in the second gear, you have to downshift.

If you lose track and do not know which gear you are in, just downshift multiple times to get to the first gear and then shift upwards.

Purpose Of Neutral

The neutral purpose is to keep the engine on and running while making sure that the motorcycle is not moving.

This is useful in situations where you want to keep the motorcycle on but have to stop for a short time, for example, when you are in front of red light and the light is close to becoming green.

This state for the motorcycle can be achieved by holding the clutch, but this is not preferred or comfortable for the rider.

The neutral state offers exactly what the rider wants and does not force them to hold the clutch for long periods. You simply set the motorcycle to neutral and shift to gear when done.

4 Reasons Why The Motorcycle Won’t Shift Into Neutral

Now that you know how the neutral state is achieved and why it is so integral for riders, I will now explain the common reasons why your motorcycle will not shift into the neutral and go into detail about them.

1. Clutch Issues

Usually, the most common reason the motorcycle does not go into the neutral position is due to issues in the clutch.

This can occur if the clutch plates are dragging, preventing them from fully releasing when you pull the clutch lever. This means that you aren’t going into neutral simply because the clutch isn’t activated.

Also, make sure to have a proper amount of slack. Too high, and the clutch will slip. Too low, and you might not be able to release the clutch plates. It is a fine balance that you have to set.

You can identify clutch issues by noticing:

  • Hard gear shifts
  • Poor acceleration
  • Sticking clutch
  • Metallic noises

2. Lack Of Oil/Quality Oil

The clutch requires proper lubrication to work smoothly. This means that you must have a good amount of quality oil present to avoid improper shifting and issues like this.

If you do not have enough oil, the clutch becomes dry and harder to shift to neutral and other gears. A lack of oil can also cause a lot of wear to the clutch, resulting in a lot of damage in the long term.

Make sure to change the oil every three months and use good quality oil as viscosity also plays an important factor.

3. Warped Clutch Plates

This issue is not as common as the above ones. However, it is still a valid reason why your motorcycle may not go into neutral.

Warped clutch plates can make it extremely different when shifting into neutral as the plates might get stuck on each other or not release properly.

This problem could arise from overeating the plates when riding for long periods, which deforms the plates and warps them.

This issue can be easily avoided by preventing overheating from happening entirely and driving within the bike’s limits.

4. Kill Switch Engagement

Many motorcycles are now coming with kill switches that prevent them from starting at all when active. This switch stops the engine from activating and going into the neutral position at the start of the journey.

While you can easily toggle the switch to fix the issue, the main problem arises when the switch is unintentionally activated while driving, which could immediately turn off your bike.

While this may be more of a simple problem, it can still be an issue while your motorcycle may not go into neutral. This could be the result of a defective switch or a fault.

3 Tips To Fix And Avoid Problems When Shifting To Neutral

Here is how you can fix why your motorcycle won’t go into neutral once you have identified the problem affecting your motorcycle.

1. Regular Maintenance

Performing regular maintenance on your motorcycle, whether or by the hands of a mechanic, is integral. It allows you to keep the clutch and other components in top shape and helps you identify problems early on to fix them before they grow and spread. Making sure that your motorcycle receives regular is a quality of a good and responsible motorcycle owner.

2. Clutch Repairs And Replacements

If you have identified that the problem is with the clutch, i.e. with the clutch plates or the system entirely, you will have to take the motorcycle in for repairs.

If the clutch plates are warped or damaged, you can replace them. If worst comes to worst, you may have to replace the entire clutch system of your motorcycle, which may be an expensive repair.

3. Good Driving Habits

Sometimes the best fix is to prevent the issue from ever happening in the first place. Driving the motorcycle within its limits, making sure that all the systems are in working order, and preventing the motorcycle from overheating are good habits and ones you should adopt as it prevents problems when going into neutral and maintain the performance of your engine and motorcycle.


The neutral position is one of the most integral states for a motorcycle. Now that you know everything from how the neutral position is engaged, drivers must activate.

I have stated above the various issues that can cause the problem from arising. How to avoid and fix them, you should easily be able to figure out why won’t my motorcycle go into neutral and determine the best and most cost-effective way to fix the issue and prevent it from ever happening again.

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