Motorcycle clutches and how they can go wrong

Published on 14 January 2023 at 18:09

it was a busy day in the workshop but sadly one of those days where things just don't go how you planned them. I had wanted to finish mapping the Triumph but still can't get it to start properly from cold - need to do some more reading as richening the mixture by extending the injector pulse duration does not seem to have done much. The Honda Magna is being a pain too - I need 4 hands but only have two - which is weird. in the mean time I thought I would have a look at the chopper with a view to painting it and I remembered a problem I had with it when I first tried to test ride it.

it would be very hard to get in to gear with the engine running and if you did manage it then getting it in to second or neutral was a non starter. With the engine off it was fine going in to first and neutral - it's not possible on Kawasakis  to go in to second unless you are moving - they have a cunning mechanism to make it much easier to find neutral that basically locks out second gear unless the gearshaft is rotating.

I strongly suspected the fault was with the clutch, I had tried adjusting it but it was still very naughty and wouldn't do as it was told. so, off came the clutch cover plate and the problem was pretty obvious. I will let you watch the video to see what a stuck clutch pack looks like. I stripped it. cleaned it, oiled it, put it back together and it's been perfect ever since.

Motorcycle clutches are wet - they run in oil, unlike a car's clutch. There are a number of steel plates and friction plates - usually about half a dozen of each that are supposed to separate when the clutch is pulled in and grip with enormous force when the clutch is released. If your bike has been sat for years and the oil has drained, this is the first place to look if you have trouble getting it in gear. Make sure you have a new clutch cover gasket  before you get started, you might as well give it an oil change while you are about it as the oil needs to be drained before work commences.


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