Adjusting the Clutch in a Vulcan 900

by Chris Gilliland

A slipping clutch can put Kawasaki Vulcan 900 owners in a state of panic, as the condition is a warning sign of clutch failure, but it can also be caused by an improperly adjusted clutch cable. This often occurs when the clutch cable is too loose, preventing the clutch from fully disengaging when the clutch lever is pulled in. Conversely, an over-tightened cable can prevent the clutch from engaging and increases the possibility of breaking the steel cable. Making the necessary adjustments is achieved through a set of threaded adjusters at the top and middle of the cable.

1

Grasp the left handlebar and apply slight pressure to the clutch lever until it begins to pull the clutch cable. Measure the air-gap between the edge of the clutch lever and the clutch lever perch, using a ruler. Ideally, the air-gap should be exactly 1/8-inch wide. If the air-gap is greater or less than 1/8-inch, the clutch cable slack must be adjusted.

2

Loosen the knurled lock nut at the end of the clutch lever perch. Turn the upper cable adjuster, located at the end of the clutch lever perch, clockwise to loosen the clutch cable, or counterclockwise to tighten the cable.

3

Recheck the air-gap between the clutch lever and the clutch lever perch. If the air-gap cannot be attained using the clutch cable adjuster, you will need to adjust the cable through the lower cable adjuster located at the midway point of the clutch cable.

4

Follow the clutch cable to the lower cable adjuster near the left frame down-tube, the tube that extends down from the steering pivot in front of the engine. Pull the rubber dust boot off the cable adjuster. Loosen the cable adjuster lock nut using a 10 mm crescent wrench. Turn the lower cable adjuster clockwise to loosen the clutch cable, or counterclockwise to tighten the cable.

5

Recheck the air-gap between the clutch lever and the clutch lever perch. Make adjustments, using the clutch perch-side cable adjuster, as needed.

6

Tighten the lower clutch cable adjuster lock nut and the upper cable adjuster lock nut. Slide the rubber boot over the lower cable adjuster.

7

Start the motorcycle and shift into first gear with the clutch lever pulled in. If the motorcycle begins to roll forward, an indication that the clutch is not fully disengaged, the clutch cable must be tightened. Slowly release the clutch lever. If the motorcycle does not begin to roll forward, the clutch cable is too tight. Make adjustments, starting with the lower cable adjuster, then attain the clutch lever air-gap, using the upper cable adjuster.

Tip

  • check The air-gap between the clutch lever and the clutch lever perch is necessary to provide a small amount of slack in the cable, which is used to compensate for clutch wear and alleviates stress along the cable.

Warning

  • close Do not use a cable that cannot be adjusted to a 1/8-inch air gap. The cable will be too stretched out to effectively operate the clutch and may snap during use.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman's Garage.