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Courtesy of AndyAuger.

Andy Auger's Clutch Mantra

Here's the solution to most clutch and shifting issues. This includes hard shifting, slipping clutch, frequent missed shifts, etc. It's always a good idea to have a shop manual handy just in case.

1. Adjust the release mechanism.
- Remove the front sprocket cover.
- Loosen the clutch cable using one or both cable adjusters so you have lots of slack.
- Loosen the jam nut on the lever arm that the clutch attaches to under the front sprocket cover. Use a box end wrench.
- Leave the wrench on the jam nut and turn the screw (actually the release rod) counterclockwise until you are sure it no longer is in contact with the push rod (tip: use a screwdriver with a tip the same width as the screw to avoid conflict with the jam nut). You need a little clearance between the release rod and the pushrod. Now gently turn the rod clockwise until you feel light pressure. Now turn the rod counterclockwise 1/4 turn. Leave the screwdriver in place to keep the rod from turning and tighten the jam nut. This sets the end clearance of the release rod.

2. Adjust cable slack.
- Screw the cable adjuster at the lever in pretty much all the way. Back the adjuster at the engine case out until you have about 1/2" free play measured at the end of the lever. If you can't get down to 1/2" slack using the engine case adjuster alone, use the adjuster at the lever also.

This puts the release mechanism and the clutch lever where they're supposed to be for best function. Consider lubricating the cable while you're fooling around with it. It's easy to remove it from the lever when the adjusters are all the way in.

3. Change the oil.
If your oil is old or has a lot of mileage on it (6 months or 3,000 miles) change it. Consider changing the filter, too. Don't overfill. (Note that if you always ride an hour or more every time you get on the bike the oil can go more than 3,000 miles, but if you don't ride much don't go more than 6 months regardless of mileage).

4. Check the oil level.
The proper way to check the oil level is to put in the appropriate amount, start the engine and let it run about 30 seconds, stop the engine and wait about two minutes. Now stand the bike up vertically and look at the level in the sight glass. The oil level should be BETWEEN the marks. Overfilling will make the clutch drag and cause hard shifting.

5. Clean, lubricate and adjust external linkage.
Take a look at the external shift linkage. Both ends of the tie bar should be clean and lubricated. The best way to lubricate is to pack the joints with something like Lubriplate (white grease) or similar product. Silicon greases (like Dow-Corning 111 compound) work well also. Plain old oil will work, but not last as long.

This next part isn't as common a problem, but it is a fine point that can cause trouble.
Look at the relative position of the "lever arms" at the foot lever and the transmission. They should be as close to parallel as possible. Sometimes when you adjust for good foot position the two "lever arms" are at a pretty steep angle relative to one another. Sometimes you have to remove the lever from the transmission and rotate it a tooth or two from stock position.

If all this doesn't work then the problem could be either in the clutch itself or in the internal mechanism. Good luck.
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