Motorcycle Clutch Cable Adjustment Tips

Fast and simple freeplay adjustment on the fly

Your bike’s clutch needs to have a little freeplay in the adjustment so that you’re not riding the clutch even when the lever is fully out. If your clutch is adjusted too tight, this will happen, which will not only wear out your clutch plates quicker and make your clutch fade sooner, but all that extra clutch friction creates more heat for the engine. For this tip we used a CRF-F kids’ trail bike with a ‘standard’ cable clutch that requires a wrench to loosen the lock nut. A lot of modern bikes have quick-adjust clutch wheels at the perch so you can tighten up your clutch without any tools, even during a race. If you are a rider who adjusts the clutch on-the-fly, you especially need to be sure to check that you still have the proper freeplay once the bike has cooled down. And that’s the key here, check this freeplay with the engine cool, not after it’s warmed up. To gauge how much is the right about, use a nickel; you should be able to pull the lever away from the perch ‘freely’ for about a nickel’s worth of movement where the lever separates from the perch before you feel the cable beginning to disengage the clutch.