Your motorcycle is a machine, and eventually, parts of that machine will wear out. Under normal conditions, your clutch will last quite a long time. Hard starts or anything that causes excessive slippage will wear out your plates, and eventually you’ll notice excessive play in your clutch lever. Instead of engaging in the middle of the clutch lever throw, your clutch won’t engage until the lever is almost fully released.
Harley clutches are “dry clutch” assemblies, so they’re much easier to service. Most Japanese bikes have “wet clutch” assemblies, where the clutch is bathed in oil while the engine is running.
Adjusting the clutch plates is simple, and you can do it when you’re changing your oil. As always, if you don’t know your way around your motorcycle and your tools, you might want to have your mechanic take care of it until you’re more comfortable working on your bike.
The first thing you’ll need to do is relax the tension in your clutch cable. Then, you’ll need to remove the access plug in the middle of the clutch (derby) cover, if you have one. Otherwise, remove the entire clutch cover.
After you’ve removed the cover, you’ll want to gently remove the adjusting screw lock plate.
Grab the adjustment screw with two fingers and feel for any play by pushing and pulling against the screw. To eliminate any play, turn the adjusting screw counterclockwise until it starts to turn hard, and then turn it one additional turn counterclockwise.
Reinstall the lock plate and your clutch cover (or your access cover). The last step is adjusting your clutch cable – you should set it so that there is 1/16 to 1/8 inch play in the clutch lever.
As you can see from the short list of steps, adjusting the clutch on your Harley is an simple do-it-yourself motorcycle maintenance task you can easily handle yourself. If you have any other questions about your motorcycle’s clutch or do-it-yourself maintenance in general, please call us at 512-735-5151. If you’re tired of working on your old bike and you’re ready to trade up to something bigger and better, come check Dream Machines of Austin – we’ve got the best selection of used motorcycles in Austin and prices that can’t be beat.