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The bike is an 86 Honda Nighthawk 700. Problem is that it doesn't want to downshift unless the bike is turned off. It used to be a little stiff sometimes coming down out of 4th but the other day it completely stuck on me coming off the interstate. I ended up having to put some serious force stomping on the shift lever to get it in to 4th so I could slip the clutch and get home.

The bike has 18k miles and has been maintained pretty well. The oil is clean still, no glitter or anything in it to show a mechanical failure in the trans. I don't really know where to begin tearing in to this thing. I'm pretty mechanically inclined but all of my experience has been building cars so I'll need a little advice on the bike. If I can come up with a shop manual for this thing I would be able to get through it fine, I just don't know if this sounds like a problem that's going to cost more than the bike is worth. But up until this point it has ran perfect, I wouldn't have hesitated to take it across the country with anything more than a tire kit and hand tools.
 

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I'd check the shift linkage (from the shifter pedal to the shift arm on the side of the motor) for looseness. Nuts like to work themselves loose from time to time. Also, I think there is a lever which comes out of the case at a right angle. I'd check it to see if it is bent or something, preventing it from completing the shift action.
 

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How long has it been since the oil and filter were changed? It could be the linkage, etc., but if it's been a while (6 months or 5,000 miles), start with the oil.
 

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Gah, Ray.. stop that! You always have to chime in with normal, routine stuff that I forget about. You're making me look bad. :twofinger
 

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Try letting the clutch out each time you downshift a gear. If I come off the interstate and slow to a stop before I downshift, my bike won't shift from 6th to first without "popping" the clutch
 

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Gah, Ray.. stop that! You always have to chime in with normal, routine stuff that I forget about. You're making me look bad. :twofinger
I tend to start with the simple stuff first. No sense tearing down the transmission as step 1.

Bumblebee and veefer may be on to some other possible causes as well. :)

Diagnosis over the internet isn't easy. :boink
 
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