You ask we answer. Here's the latest in our "Ask a Mechanic" series.

Q: Why does my 2016.5 factory edition 450 go into a false neutral between every gear?

A: This really shouldn't happen whether you ride the factory edition or any dirt bike and even ATVs. The way the transmission works, a half shift with the bike under movement, will force a complete shift and without catastrophic damage to the transmission there is not really any way that you would have a neutral between any gear accept first and second.

Lots of people will experience an unexpected neutral on an incomplete downshift to first that can seem weird but neutral can be shifted into either direction up or down. Most people don't understand this and tend to go to first and then back up to neutral. Downward force on the shifter makes it tough to find neutral on a down shift on purpose, but easy to hit by mistake.

A lot of times a simple adjustment of the shift lever position or a different length shifter can help avoid accidental shifting. People don't realize that they are sort of resting the tip of the boot on the shifter. Also less experienced riders, and sometimes trail riders, will more frequently shift down into first for slower or more difficult sections of trail or track, then on the up shift not fully pull up into second or overall increase the amount of pull then they accidentally hit neutral instead. Most of the time, for most people first gear is not used on the track unless riding up to the start gate or something like that.

So you are likely hitting neutral between shifts from second to first or first to second by rider error or it means that there is something wrong with the transmission, shift drum or shift fork damage or something along those lines. A grooved clutch basket and other similar clutch damage could cause the clutch actuation to stick in "open" and act as if the clutch is being pulled, but this quickly ends with a worn out clutch or broken clutch fibers, and can normally be felt in the lever when pulled.