Why a motorcycle clutch becomes stiff?

Prior to moving onto what makes your motorcycle clutch stiff let's take a brief about its functionality. 

The clutch works to transform torque from a rotating driving motor to a transmission. 

Without a clutch mechanism it is nearly impossible to to coincide an engine with the transmission and move a motorcycle. 


Now getting back to the main head, 


Why is a motorcycle clutch stiff?

There are multiple factors that stiffs a motorcycle clutch. The factors are:

  • If your clutch cable becomes worn out or if becomes dirty,
  • Dirty lever can also be cause of clutch stiffness,
  • Weary actuator arm commonly known as push rod,
  • Stiffness in the clutch spring.
  • A worn out hydraulic system can lead to stiffness of clutch. 


The clutch stiffens if the provided lubricant dries up within the casing. This prevents the free movement of the cable. If the cable is not properly routed or installed and has crimps or grasp it would also cause problems that might feel stiff to use.

In addition to drying up of lubricants, dust might get accumulated in the clutch cable which can cause resistance in the free movement of the clutch. 


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Should motorcycle clutch be stiff?

A clutch becomes stiff with aging and other factors that are mentioned above. A motorcycle clutch should not be too hard or too easy when pressed. As too stiff a clutch can hinder and start to pain after multiple presses. And if it is easy to press then, there are high possibilities of you not having the right grip on it. 


Thus, the clutch should be moderately tight. It is a very integral part of a motorcycle and varies from one to another. If it seems too tight or easy one may adjust it. But it is adjustable to a certain extent only. And doing this is to be done at one's own risk, for its sensitivity.


Can clutches be adjusted?

Yes, Clutches can be adjusted. This can be done upto a certain extent only. Every motorcycle’s clutch varies from one to another. So are their audacity to tolerate adjustment. Sometimes, adjusting the clutches may turn out futile or not as per your expectation. Getting back from that phase is another complication. So I personally would recommend not to go for clutch adjustments. 

Because usually, motorcycles are made such that it pleases the rider to the most. And these problems should be checked during test rides by you in order to avoid such circumstances. 


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How often should I check if my motorcycle clutch is stiff?

Checking is not a thing in this reference. As you will automatically start to feel the difference in your clutch mechanism when you are riding your motorcycle. When it starts to feel different from usual you will automatically guess it. 


Also when you are servicing your motorcycle you can ask to lube your motorcycle’s clutch. Keeping in maintenance won’t generate trouble. So cleaning and lubricating it occasionally or when sensing a difference while riding does the work. 


Do you fix a tight clutch on a motorcycle?

Yes, you may fix a clutch if it feels too tight. It can be done by cleaning the clutch cable if it is dirtied, lubricating it in case it dries up, or adjusting the actuator arm if it creates issues. 

At the same time, it is also necessary to remember that every motorcycle has an optimum rigid clutch, and a specified adjustment capability. Relaxing it beyond that can cause more troublesome experiences. So this should be done by skilled persons only. 


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How do you soften a motorcycle clutch?

Before you soften your motorcycle clutch it is important to spot what makes your clutch tight. If it is about dust accumulation or dried up lubricant, solve the problem accordingly. 

Apart from this the other ways by which clutch can be soften are,


Adjustment should be made in the pedal linkage, pivot ball, cable or cross shaft. As these might feel stiffness in the clutch when pressure is applied,  if there is a bind in it. 


The hydraulic system should be maintained properly so as to avoid stiffness of the clutch. 


You must put a check on the master cylinder. As it may stiff the clutch in case it is in bad condition. 


What are the signs of a worn out clutch?

Following are the signs that your clutch is worn out are:


  • You will feel difficult or hard to switch gears when riding. 
  • A snick or metallic sound can be heard. This noise tends to become louder with time, so do not ignore such sound.
  • You are ought to experience a poor acceleration, which can greatly hinder your riding experiences. 
  • Due to clutch issues the engine constantly revs at high RPM, forcing the engine to work excessively and leading to more burning of fuel. Hence you can experience a lower mileage. 
  • Sticking the clutch is seen, which is a big problem and makes you realize the urgency of getting your clutch checked up. 


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How do I keep my clutch in good condition?

The clutch can be kept in good condition by cleaning it on a regular basis, lubing it from time to time, taking your motorcycle for service for checking up on the internal parts that are associated with the clutch mechanism. 


Shifting of gear should be avoided until you completely pull the clutch in. Make sure you release the clutch after completion of your gear shift. 


Also the quality of oil you are using to smoothen your clutch working should be checked. As it prevents wear and tear and expands its lifespan. 


How long should the clutch last?

The lifespan of a motorcycle's clutch varies greatly because it depends on factors like, the usage of the motorcycle, the way it is rode, the road condition, traffic condition and so on. 

However from a neutral outlook it can be concluded that a motorcycle clutch generally tends to last from riding 18000 to 25000 miles on an average. With proper maintenance and good service it can survive upto 30000 miles. 

Original clutch tends to survive longer than renewed ones. 



Motorcycles' clutch's condition and flexibility in usage solely rest upon its intensity of usage and maintenance. Taking good care and riding in the proper way can make your clutch longer. However, issues or problems related to clutch should never be avoided and a skilled opinion must me seeked immediately. 


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