Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Clutch issues after first service

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by rabbit, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. I picked up my bike this morning, after its first service (1000km)

    After letting it warm up for about 5 mins, I held in the clutch and front brake in, and put it into first gear. It stalled. It used to lurch forward, but it never stalled before. I asked the service guy wtf and he said something about the oil viscosity, and that it was normal ?

    After asking if they changed anything related to the clutch, and if the bike would handle any differently, (all no) I went to ride off, but I kept letting the clutch out further and further and it just wasn't going anywhere.

    Turns out that the clutch engage point (where it just starts to engage and move the bike) is now almost at the fully engaged point. So I was sitting there with the revs up and clutch at its usual engaging point and nothing was happening.

    They also seem to have adjusted the clutch lever as I can hardly reach it. It was a hairy ride home.... I was dreading the hill starts as riding the clutch was almost impossible.

    I'm hoping that its just the lever that needs adjusting so I can reach it again. Having the tiniest leeway with clutch engagement is a bit hairy - wouldn't want it to fully engage and essentially dump the clutch when I'm at 10,000 rpm.

    I want my bike back the way it was before. I had it setup perfectly and was feeling quite confident with clutch work. :cry:

  2. Your levers should be adjustable. Big dial on the top, near the pivot point.

  3. From the description, he was right - cold oil creates a lot of friction, sort of. ;-) I guess you just didn't notice this before. The clutch free-play adjustment they also made would have improved this, if anything, not made it worse.

    They have probably correctly adjusted the free play on the clutch lever to the normal amount.

    Free play is the amount that the lever moves (on a cable operated clutch) before meeting any resistance. If you don't have enough free play (about 1 cm measured at the end of the lever) the clutch can stay partly disengaged, and eventually slip under power.

    You will notice this as the engine revs rising without the bike correspondingly increasing in speed. To see the effect just pull the clutch in a little while accelerating, in a higher gear. Don't look down at the clutch lever or the tacho while you do this!

    It sounds as if you had a lot more free play adjusted into the cable before. You can get the same effect again by turning the adjuster screw inwards several turns. The lever will still go out the same distance as before, but the engagement point will be closer to the bar.

    If you do this a crazy amount the clutch will no longer free correctly, and will remain partly engaged even when pulled all the way in, resulting in noisier engagement of first, and the tendancy to creep forward with the clutch pulled in.

    If you have a hydraulic clutch (no cable, a master cylinder on the lever assembly instead) then you probably also have a lever adjustment which controls the engagement point. Easiest solution, if you cannot see an adjusting ring near the pivot end of the lever, is to go back and ask them to adjust it back the way it was...

    They will not have adjusted the way the clutch itself works - dumping the clutch now will be the same as before. The clutch won't "dump" of its own accord, unless you just lose control because it is now so far away.

    There there - please don't cry. Everything will be OK again...

    Trust me (I used to sell bikes!)


    Trevor G

    PS There usually is another adjuster down near the clutch itself...they might have done the adjustment there. Take some pics of the lever and post them - it makes it easier to tell you what to do.

    PPS While some may not agree, it is bad economics and bad mechanically to "warm up" your bike without riding. Better to get on and ride it moderately or gently, and get the choke off also, as soon as possible.
  4. Thanks for the detailed info Trevor, most helpful.

    I'm still not quite sure why / how it can stall when the clutch was all the way in ? I thought that when the clutch was all the way in, that the bike was not in gear, therefore could not stall ?

    I have done this before. Thought I was just riding the clutch too much and letting it out too slowly.

    It used to start engaging when the lever was about half way out.

    Thats exactly what I'm worried about - the lack of play and distance was giving me much less control.

    I saw what looked like the adjuster, but wasn't game to pull over and change it mid ride. I will check out the adjustment tonight and try to get it back to normal. I guess I'm just annoyed that I was told nothing had been changed with the clutch when it had been.
  5. the clutch will feel different if lubed and adjusted. and also different oil
  6. Thanks for the vote of confidence... ;-)

    Well, motorcycle clutches are a compromise - they release enough to let you stop and change gears but can still drag a little. When you engage a gear, it's really the thicker, cold oil on the clutch plates which stops them freeing properly...the bike would probably move forward rather than stall if you didn't have the brake(s) on.

    It sometimes helps to pull the clutch in and wait a second (to allow the transmission shafts to stop turning and the clutch plates to free) before shifting into gear.

    I understand your frustration, but once you know how to compensate, little things like that will no longer be a problem.

    Running a service business of any kind is extremely difficult - we do our best but age and maturity goes a long way to anticipating these sorts of issues before they occur, and then making sure the customer can cope.

    All the best

    Trevor G
  7. Take it back, I say!!

    The GPX has a wet clutch, so you should hold the clutch in when you start it and hold it in for at least 15-30 seconds.

    And my husband also had a GPX for 3 years, never had the problem you are describing... maybe you should try another place for your servicing?
  8. I guess you are referring to the clutch cable being lubed - a new bike should hardly need that.

    The clutch itself runs in oil.


    Trevor G
  9. carolf_au - I don't think I will be going back there again.

    I managed to get the clutch back the way I had it. It does have about an inch of free play in it, but I have short hands, so there isn't much I can do about it.

    I'm going to look for an aftermarket clutch lever - I remember reading someones post about levers that have an extra dog leg in them or something.
  10. leaving too much freeplay may not allow the clutch to disengage fully when pressed. it's recommended freeplay is 1-2 mm. since gpx is a wet clutch it 'might' be okay
  11. When I recently got my major service done on the zzr, riding off it felt fanbloody tastic, as they'd adjusted the clutch to a much more optimal setting for the friction point, and it made for smoother shifts - thus a much smoother ride in general.

    On the clutch you can swivel the adjuster to a different setting to change where it engages.
  12. ?? Where is that 1-2mm measured?

    It's much easier to measure about 1 cm at the ball end of the lever.

    Free play is just that - there should be no resistance to lever movement before it starts to take up the clutch movement itself.


    Trevor G
  13. Actually, the shop did not do anything technically wrong - from your description they correctly adjusted the free play to specification.

    You have the clutch free play adjusted "improperly" for another reason which might be OK in the long run, but will mean you have to explain this whenever you book it in for a service.

    Another lesson learned! Adjustments are easy when you know how.

    Lots of bikes on showroom floors have insufficient or no free play...

    You will still end up being unable to pull the clutch in as far as if the free play was adjusted correctly.

    However, except on cold starts, it probably won't make a lot of difference. On those occasions you might have to hold the clutch in for longer to allow the thick, cold oil to disperse before the clutch will properly free and allow a quiet or jolt-free snick into first.


    Trevor G
  14. Trevor,

    You really are putting in maximum effort to perpetuate your ignorance lately. There is no doubt that the way a clutch feels and operates is directly influenced by the weight and age of the engine oil it runs in.
  15. My main gripe is that the service guy said they didn't change anything with the clutch. Clearly they did.

    Sounds like I need a knowledgeable person to check it out and make sure its not going to damage anything with the way it is currently set.
  16. I understand your gripe - it happens a lot (misinformation AND gripes, I guess :)

    As a customer I get a lot of strife at times keeping my cars serviced or repaired under warranty. It takes effort...lots of effort if you want things done correctly.

    As a service manager (in another field) I know how hard it is to get technicians to follow store proceedures - many just want to do things their own way, in spite of all requests. And then sometimes they will lie about it when they didn't do what they were asked...

    It won't actually damage anything - too much freeplay is not a problem, really, except in the areas I have already mentioned. If you can get it into gear without it lurching forward or making horrendous grinding noises (always engage gear firmly, not slowly) then you won't have any long-term problems.

    At the best of times a multi-plate clutch as fitted to 95% of motorbikes does not really free fully - there is usually enough friction to keep gears spinning without any load on the transmission.

    In other words - don't worry. :)


    Trevor G
  17. Sounds like you got it almost sorted. But having a GPX, and my husband having had one, both from brand new, we can't understand how the service people managed to adjust the clutch in such a way on the first service. It should have been exactly the same as when you dropped it off.

    Maybe they adjusted the clutch lever to suit the way they ride/think it should be when you ride. Next time you get a service, have a list of anything you think may need attention, and any questions, even if they sound silly, and leave that with the service department. Check it off when you pick your bike up.

    My list says - don't clean/detail the bike (I'd rather do it myself), don't check the tyre pressure (I have nitrogen), don't leave it out in the rain (ruined a sheepskin seat cover once), don't oil the chain (I use Shell, they use some stuff that splatters everywhere) and then a list of any concerns I may have.

    I even turned up one day and asked how the choke was supposed to work, because the way my husband explained it just didn't seem to work for me. The guys were more than happy to explain, checked the idle, made sure everything was good before I rode off.

    Take the time to find a mechanic who listens to your concerns, does what you ask, and treats your little 250 as well or better than the most expensive bike in the shop - it's your pride and joy and they should respect that!!

  18. Except that I think you will find the service schedule calls for the clutch to be serviced at the 1,000 km mark, and at each service point after that. That means adjusting the free play to the recommended 10-20 mm at the end of the lever at those times. The shop should be commended for following the service book.

    Unless you tell them that you have deliberatley mis-adjusted something (and have a good reason for doing so that won't cause a problem) they have every right in terms of warranty protection to return a machine to the way it should be according to normal practise.

    However, a little communication will usually solve any misunderstanding, and I would be loath to suggest that the shop has been anything other than diligent. It seems such a minor thing, and to drop a service shop because they set something to the specified adjustment seems a little rash...

    The suggestion that they "lied" about adjusting the clutch might be more serious, but I still see no evidence that they are or were trying to rip off their customer - just the opposite.

    Excellent suggestions. :)

    BTW, how do you like the nitrogen? We use it in our cars...and it certainly produces a softer ride with low profile tyres. It still needs topping up regularly, at least bi-monthly, which means a 5km trip to the tyre place.


    Trevor G
  19. Are you sure you didn't ride my bike? I just bought it and the shop threw in a free first service since it was at 900km... this afternoon i had the EXACT(word for word) thing happen... warm up bike 5 mins till it runs ok without choke, clutch in, step down into 1st and the bike dies cause the clutch wouldn't engage.


    Also they adjusted my clutch handle exactly the same as yours... it's practically all the way out when it bites.. can't say I'm a fan but then again this was my 1st time on a bike after the pre learner course.

    I'm now guessing it'll stretch a little and I'll get used to it

  20. I had almost exactly the same issues after my 1000 km service. It took a couple of days to get used to the new clutch feel, but I figured they adjusted it how it should be. Used to it now, no problems.

    Just make sure when you change into 1st from N that the clutch is ALL the way in and it shouldn't stall - that's what I found at least. It used to lurch into 1st but doesn't seem to do that now.