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How to Adjust the Clutch on a Yamaha 650

by Justin Wash

The clutch on your Yamaha 650 motorcycle allows you to effectively cut the power that drives the rear wheel. Doing so allows you to shift between each of the gears in the transmission, making your ride exponentially more enjoyable than it would be if you only had one gear. However, if the clutch goes out of adjustment, it can be near impossible to shift accurately, leading to stalls and other malfunctions that can put a damper on your ride. Learn how to keep your clutch adjusted properly and never deal with errant shifting problems again.

Take your Yamaha 650 for a short test ride to determine the exact issue you are having with the clutch. Does the clutch not engage all the way, causing the engine to "slip" when you are not depressing the clutch lever? Or does the clutch not disengage completely, making it difficult to shift from one gear to another? Determine which of these most nearly describes the problems you are experiencing.

Park your Yamaha 650 on a level surface and put the kick stand down. Get off the bike and observe the clutch lever mechanism. Make sure that there is no debris causing the clutch lever itself to stick or otherwise malfunction. Sometimes an errant rock can find its way in there and cause problems. If everything looks clean, get out 10 and 12 mm wrenches and get ready to work.

Loosen the barrel adjuster of the clutch lever -- the threaded hollow part that houses the cable -- using a 10 mm wrench. Twist the barrel adjuster clockwise all the way in toward the lever. This will effectively reset the barrel adjuster's position, allowing you to make minute adjustments later.

Follow the cable housing that runs from the clutch lever to the clutch casing on the right side of the engine. At the end of the housing you will find the lower cable adjuster. Loosen the cable adjuster locknut using a 12 mm wrench.

Tighten the barrel adjuster by turning it counterclockwise until it is difficult to twist by hand. Turn the adjuster two full turns counterclockwise and tighten the locknut using your 12 mm wrench. Return to the front of the bike and squeeze the clutch lever. You should have about 1 mm of free play in the lever pull, meaning it is incredibly easy to squeeze and doesn't pull the cable at all. If your lever shows no sign of free play, return to the lower cable adjuster and turn the barrel adjuster two more turns counterclockwise.

Test-ride your bike. Since you have effectively reset the clutch to its factory adjustment standards, it should feel quick and responsive and disengage easily. However, if the engine still slips when you don't have the lever pulled, you will need to return home and loosen the lower cable adjuster again. It's tedious, but it can take several test-rides and counterclockwise twists of the adjuster before the clutch behaves properly.

Items you will need

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About the Author

Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., Justin Wash began his professional writing career in 2004 with an online freelance copywriting business. Over the years, he has written for a myriad of clients including China-Vasion and The Executives Closet.

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