Originally Posted by headtube
The shift lever on my 79 RS has a lot of play. So much play that I'm getting false neutrals and missed shifts. Is there a way to eliminate this play without replacing the entire lever?
Not sure if you are trying to cure the same problem, but here’s a direction I went with my R65 (1984 23,000 miles). Its gear lever had about 7 or 8mm of lateral free play before I used a shim to remove most of the play (I had replaced the needle bearing assembly a short while earlier with the thought/hope that this would help reduce "slop" - it did not) . By comparison the same measurement on my R100RT (1994 33,000 miles) showed no more than 2 mm lateral free play (more miles but less gear changing wear and tear?). After the modification the end free play on my R65 was about the same as my R100RT.
I used a 1/2-in id, 3/4-in od, 0.032-in peel-away shim (McMaster Carr #90805A162). I ended up peeling away three 0.002-in layers. I simply took the lever off the ‘bike, trial-fitted the shim a few times and stopped taking layers away once I had a non-binding fit. This really was a ten minute start to finish job.