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How to Change a Motorcycle Clutch Cable

Although a motorcycle's clutch cable is made from steel, the cable will stretch after repeated use. A stretched cable can make the operation of the clutch difficult and will snap eventually if left unchecked. For most motorcycles, replacing the cable is a simple affair that requires very little in the way of tools. However, be sure to take careful note of how the cable is routed from the motor to the handlebar, as improper routing can cause the cable to bind and create wear that can damage the new cable.

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  1. Loosen the tension on the clutch cable, turning the cable adjuster on the clutch lever perch clockwise until it is completely seated against the perch. This will place the clutch lever at its loosest point.

  2. Remove the clutch cable's end barrel from the recess on the bottom of the clutch lever. Pull the cable out of the channel in the clutch lever. Twist the cable adjuster counterclockwise to unscrew the cable from the clutch lever perch and pull the entire cable away.

  3. Remove the clutch cable's end barrel from the clutch mechanism on the motor, slipping the barrel out of the notch cut into the mechanism. Unscrew any retaining clips that secure the cable to the motor with a screwdriver.

  4. Remove the clutch cable from the motorcycle, cutting away any cable ties that may be securing the cable to the frame with scissors.

  5. Attach the new clutch cable to the motor. Slide the cable into the retaining clips on the motor, tightening the clips with a screwdriver to secure the cable. Slip the barrel end into the notch cut into the clutch mechanism.

  6. Route the clutch cable to the left handlebar. Insert the cable's barrel end into the clutch lever's recess. Pull the cable through the channel cut into the clutch lever. Screw the cable onto the clutch lever perch and adjust the cable tension using the cable adjuster. Turn the adjuster clockwise to loosen the cable, counterclockwise to to tighten the cable. Allow the clutch lever an 1/8 inch of free play.

  7. Secure the clutch cable to the frame using cable ties.

  8. Tip

    Lubricate the new clutch cable before installing it onto the motorcycle. Only use motorcycle-specific lubricants on the cable to avoid binding.

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Scissors
  • Clutch cable
  • Cable ties

About the Author

An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman's Garage.

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