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✔ Article reviewed by Ethan Orenstein. Bringing motorcycles back from the dead since 2013. Learn More.

How to Adjust a Motorcycle Clutch

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Ensuring that your motorcycle’s clutch is properly adjust is key to being able to shift smoothly and have full control over your bike.

An improperly adjusted clutch can lead to hard shifting, stalling, or worse.

How to Adjust a Clutch Cable

The first adjustment you can make for your clutch is the clutch cable and the clutch lever free play and friction zone.

Like throttle cable adjustments, checking and adjusting the clutch lever is something that you should do periodically.

First, inspect the cable itself for and damage. Make sure that it’s not getting caught up on anything as it routes from the lever to the clutch cover as well.

You need to adjust the clutch lever’s play so that the clutch engages and disengages properly, while also providing you with an adequate friction zone in the lever that allows for finer control and low-speed maneuvers.

Like the throttle cable, the clutch cable typically has two points of adjustments:

  • One near the lever.
  • One near the clutch cover.

Use the clutch adjuster near the lever for smaller adjustments.

Use the clutch adjuster near the clutch cover for larger adjustments.

To adjust the clutch cable slack, start with the adjuster near the lever, check the play, and move on to the adjuster near the engine if necessary.

A typically amount of slack in the lever is about 3-4mm.

Refer to your motorcycle service manual for the exact steps on this procedure and the proper slack amount.

How a Motorcycle Clutch Works

Your motorcycle clutch works by transferring power from the crankshaft to the transmission and final drive.

The clutch consists of a series of plates and springs contained in a housing, as well as gears that will either engage or spin freely depending on where the clutch lever is positioned.

When the clutch is engaged, power is delivered out through the final drive and powers the bike.

When the clutch is disengaged, power from the engine is disconnected from the transmission and the bike won’t continue to move forward.

To disengage the clutch, pull in the lever.

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Content Editor: Ethan Orenstein

Ethan is not just any motorcycle enthusiast. With a decade of experience riding, maintaining, and restoring a range of motorcycles, Ethan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Many of the tips and tricks shared on this site are born from hours spent wrenching on personal bikes. Paired with his experience as a journalist covering DMV & insurance topics, is a must-visit site for any home-mechanic. Every article has been carefully reviewed and edited to ensure accuracy, authenticity, and simplicity - all to help bring your bike back from the dead and onto the road.

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