Originally Posted by rattletrap
I've had the same complaint about my '04 B since day one. I mentioned it at every service and always got the same answer, "there's nothing wrong, that's just how it is". Recently it started giving me trouble downshifting into first and I found that the shift lever was binding up on the footpeg shaft. Even after taking it apart and cleaning it, the plastic bushings were very tight on the shaft. I honed out the the bushings a little so the shaft would spin freely inside and lubed it up, now it shifts like I always wanted it to. No more "stumbling" or "crunching" from 1st into 2nd gear, no more more issues finding neutral from 1st or 2nd.
I've had this lever/shaft apart a couple times over the years, but I never paid much attention to how tightly it fit together. It might not be the source of your trouble, but if so, it's a quick fix. I wish I had figured this out about 75k ago...
It's all free operating on mine. I've found under certain rpms and speeds it slips right in. The more aggressive the riding with shifts at higher rpms the more the dogs resist engaging without the mini grind thing going on. It is what it is since so many do it, I won't worry about the possibility of the dogs grinding off. They probably are but the effect might not be noticed until a bazzillion miles.