Motorcycle Maintenance and Check-Ups

How to Diagnose Common Motorcycle Clutch Problems

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: July 28, 2019
How to Diagnose Common Motorcycle Clutch Problems

Changing a motorcycle clutch is something that should be carried out whenever you notice the slightest sign of wear. Otherwise, if you neglect this important maintenance work, you run the risk that the part stops working and your motorbike will stop running altogether. So that you have all the information you need, at oneHOWTO we have a few tips and tricks to help you identify some common motorcycle clutch problems and know when to change the clutch on your motorbike.

  1. How to know if you have a worn clutch
  2. Motorcycle doesn't accelerate
  3. Motorcycle makes a noise
  4. How often to change a motorcycle's clutch
  5. Tips to keep your clutch in perfect condition

How to know if you have a worn clutch

If you are finding it harder to change gears when your motorbike's engine is running, this will likely be due to a worn-out clutch. A clear sign that you should change the clutch on your motorbike is that, when it's running, it'll be more difficult to change than before. This is why getting the feel for your motorcycle and knowing how it should run when healthy is important.

When your clutch is worn, you can't change gear smoothly, i.e. the clutch is stiff. You may also notice your motorcycle making strange noises. If these noises occur at any time when the bike is running, then it is likely something else. However, if you hear noises that were not present previously while changing gear, it is likely worn. Problems when changing gear is the most common warning you should change the clutch.

Motorcycle doesn't accelerate

Another common symptom of motorcycle clutch problems is that when you accelerate, you see the rpm increasing, but the speed does not increase at the same rate. When you twist the throttle, the motorcycle should accelerate accordingly. But, if you have a slipping clutch, then this will be difficult.

A slipping clutch occurs when the plates do not engage properly with each other. If you experience this issue, it is another sign you should change the clutch on your motorbike as it is likely worn and close to the end of its life.

Motorcycle makes a noise

Have you been hearing a chattering or metallic sound while driving your motorcycle? This is another clear sign to help you diagnose motorcycle clutch problems. You may start hearing a faint sound, but it will get louder as the days go by. This is a clear sign your clutch needs changing. However, as we state above, there are various reasons why a motorcycle might make noise, so be sure it is actually coming from the clutch and not from another problem.

How often to change a motorcycle's clutch

While you will need to change the clutch when it is worn, it is better to preempt this happening. It is natural for your clutch to wear down, especially when used a lot. The best thing is to know when to change it, even before you see signs of wear. If you don't, you run the risk of he clutch not working altogether. A very worn clutch will also cause the bike to fault, which can result in accidents.

We recommend checking your bike's manual and noting down the recommended date from the manufacturer to change the part. Each motorcycle will have different times when it is needed to be changed out. If you don't have the manufacturer's manual, you can ask a mechanic or do some research on the internet.

If you drive your motorcycle on trackdays you may notice clutch problems sooner than expected.

How to Diagnose Common Motorcycle Clutch Problems - How often to change a motorcycle's clutch

Tips to keep your clutch in perfect condition

Using quality oil, if possible the one suggested by your bike's brand, will help to slightly extend the life of your motorbike's clutch. With this, you'll be able to delay changing the clutch or, at least, prevent premature wear and tear. Changing the oil regularly will also help prevent wear since it reduces friction.

Using the clutch on your motorcycle in the proper way is key to helping to slow down the wear and tear of your motorcycle's clutch. To do this, don't change gear until you have pressed the clutch down fully and, likewise, do not release it until it is properly in gear.

To change the motorbike's clutch, you can take it to a mechanic you trust or do it yourself, if you're good with your hands have some experience.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Diagnose Common Motorcycle Clutch Problems, we recommend you visit our Motorbike Maintance and Repair category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
My Triumph Trophy 1200 has been in storage for 10 years and I am now in a position to get it back on the road but there is a problem, It starts ok but when I try to put it in gear it makes a rattling noise and wont go into 1st gear. The bike has only done 23000 mls so the clutch shouldn't be worn out, do you think it has seized? If so, is there anything I can do to free it?
OneHowTo Editor
If it is a stuck clutch, the best bet is to put the bike on a stand and get the oil up to temperature. Then, with the engine off, roll the bike back and forth while pulling the clutch lever and it may come unstuck. If not, then the best bet is to take it to a mechanic. Hope this helps!
BB Hathaway
Notice clutch slippage in shifting in 5th gear in 07 HD Dyna When adjusting clutch pin locking nut very tight Normal. and need clutch replaced ? Tnk B
I'm having trouble with my hydraulic clutch I cant slip the clutch when riding it making it hard to change gear as it stalls if I do it seems to either be fully on or fully off does anyone know what to look at and how to fix it I appreciate your help.
Muhammad Baber Zaman
I found this article very very very useful. I have CG 125 Bike 2017 Model. From one month i am having a lot issues like strange noise from engine, pickup of bike is going bad. In first gear it moves good on start but when i change gears to higher, I start hearing strange sounds and bike speeds up very slowly even I put full accelerator.

Thanks for this article. I would definitely change clutch...
OneHowTo Editor
Glad to help Muhammad, thanks for your input!
Fred Dicus
i have a 1985 yamaha venture it shifts into gear but wont run and theres a clattering noice could you tell me what it could be
Tan choose 103
So where is the diagnosis? Have I missed something? 'If your clutch feels different and it's harder to change gear get a mechanical to change it' is not a diagnosis. Seems like this was written by someone who has no engineering knowledge whatsoever.
I wanted to know how to tell if it's plates, springs, cable, setup etc...
Very poor .
Tshering Dendup
i have a bike which i think its a problem regarding clutch as and when i start my bike,it does start normally but when i let go of the clutch, bike doesn't move at all.
bike makes a lout sound and stays in the same place.
recently i have changed engine oil thinking that it was due to engine oil,but its not.
i think its cheap to post it here because its Discover 125 CC 2014 model and giving me lots of problem.
i am posting it here because i might get some help regarding the bike having faced similar problem by some one.
Thank you
same problem i m persist with same bike discover 125cc
Anna Picket
So if the motorcycle is harder to change gears, the clutch might be wearing out. That's good to know, since I wouldn't want it to go out on me while I'm riding it. I'm fairly new to riding a motorcycle, so I want to make sure it is in top condition. I'll have to have a mechanic look it over and see if they can fix that.
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How to Diagnose Common Motorcycle Clutch Problems