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Sat for a very long time (8 or 10 minutes) in gear with the clutch depressed due to traffic. Once I got back into motion my clutch seemed to have been blown.

After the bike cooling down (half hour), everything seemed to be fine. Had no clutch during the problem, back to normal after.

Anyone know anything about this?

  • What is the year/make/model/miles of the bike? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 17 '16 at 0:19
  • Don't really know how to explain, but obviously this is the behaviour of a wet clutch. I have experienced this on my motorbikes, I had many different motorbikes in my life, and they all, if they had a wet clutch, they did the same thing. I didn't really have any decent bikes, they was pretty old, but technically the clutch is the same and works same way. – Arturs Bolsunovskis Jul 17 '16 at 11:00
  • If you provide the make/model/year of the bike we can provide instruction on howto remediate your issue. – DucatiKiller Sep 13 '16 at 20:55
  • make/model/year? – DucatiKiller Sep 27 '16 at 21:32
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Background

Your clutch overheated due to the neoprene and metal discs rubbing together slightly while you held in the clutch. The neoprene (depending on old your bike is) plates are driven by your outer clutch basket that is driven off the crank. The metal plates are engaged by letting out the clutch and drive the inner clutch basket that is attached to the primary shaft of your transmission. This means that the outer clutch basket is always spinning when your engine is running.

Here is a diagram.

enter image description here

  • Outer clutch basket is number 1

  • Inner clutch basket is number 6

  • Neoprene clutch plates are number 11

  • Steel clutch plates are number 12

Issue

When you sat in traffic your neoprene and steel plates were rubbing together. They became very hot and possibly received damage as a result. The reduced friction from the heat allowed them to slip when you attempted to release the clutch in order to move forward.

When the clutch cooled the friction co-efficient went back up and you were able to engage the engine to the transmission via the clutch and be propelled forward.

Overheating your clutch is bad. It can warp your clutch discs (steel) or burn them up (neoprene). This can lead to future issues of clutch engagement. Overtime the situation can become worse and worse and aggravate itself until you need to replace both sets of neoprene and steel plates. This is not an outrageous cost if you are concerned.

Resolution

You need to properly adjust your clutch. I'm assuming you have a cable adjustment on your handlebar

Adjusting a clutch cable on a motorcycle is an art form. You need to take your time and move the handlebars to the far right and left stops and check your adjustment each time. You want to have a little play in the lever. When you turn your handlebars far right on that model it WILL take up some of the play. You will need to adjust accordingly. When the handlebars are pointed straight there should be play in the clutch lever. It might seem a bit wonky but it's correct. Of course, you will want to keep the play to a minimum. Hence the art form. Find balance.

At the clutch cover Perhaps I should have put this above but what are doing is adjusting the clutch at the point where it joins your clutch cover with the adjustment and locking bolt. Be sure you have the second bolt to lock down the primary in order to keep your adjustment from changing. You will want to adjust here and at the handlebar. You want the clutch adjustment screw at the handlebar to be about halfway in the landing, you find the point by adjusting at the clutch cover, then you fine tune the adjustment up top.

You should have a big mess of graphite down here because you did such a great job of getting the liquid graphite into the cable. If you don't have a big mess, you did it wrong. Wash, rinse, repeat. You cannot have enough dry graphite in the cable housing.

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It sounds like your clutch overheated. I guess your clutch is still slightly in contact when you hold the lever, because of a bad cable setting.

I had this problem when moving at very low speed for a long time, almost always on the clutch, with a passenger and a heavy bike. The clutch faded away and didn't transmit anything, I let the bike cool down for a few minutes and the clutch was back.

So IMO you have to look at your clutch cable setting if it is a cable, or you have to check for leaks or missing liquid if it is hydraulic.

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  • I've had similar stuff happen with my Jeep while off road. And yeah, it usually seems to be fine once it cools down. – Sponge Bob Sep 27 '16 at 20:19
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As a mechanic for my local police department, clutch issues were always present. I agree with all of the above with one exception. The clutch cable must be completely free. If in doubt, remove the cable from the lever. Then, adjust the actuator according to manufacturer specs, usually 1 turn from a seated, or no slack position. Then lubricate the cable and the cable end at the lever. at that point, the free play at the lever can be set to the operator's preference. Best of luck. It's really not that hard, but it is critical.

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the steel/metal plates in your clutch got hot and expanded while sitting at idle, you must have been slightly engaged while idling, my first guess. check the lever on the engine, adjust until you have just hair of play in the lever on engine not hand clutch, make sure cable is not binding when turning, if this doesnt solve your problem, you need to remove engine side cover and inspect clutch plates, the fiber plates should not swell very much with heat, make sure there are no burrs and diformites on any plates, and everything is sliding properly. thats about it aside from replacing clutch plates.

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