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Heavy clutch

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Heavy clutch
Started at 12:28pm on the 21st September, 2017 by Dyl-boy
Dyl-boy Subject: Heavy clutch
Hi. I've recently purchased a second-hand 500cc Electra X which I'm really enjoying, apart from the clutch that is. It seems that whatever I do to the clutch adjustments – both cable and internal – the clutch is incredibly heavy. It's certainly rideable, but I'm going to end up with Pop Eye's left arm! It's also reluctant to go into neutral when stationery (when running) as if the clutch isn't engaging properly, but the more I adjust it to alleviate this problem, the heavier it gets. It's unlikely that the clutch itself is at fault as the bike's only done 1500 miles (and has been well looked after). Has anyone else come across this problem on this particular model? (all I can find on the internet is similar problems on other models which have different clutches). Thanks in advance for any help/advice!
Posted: 12:28pm 21st September, 2017
papasmurf Subject: Heavy clutch
I have disability problems with my hands and a light clutch is essential. The clutch operation on my 1996 Electra X (ish) is light. Have you tried taking the clutch cable "out of the bike" so it goes straight from the clutch lever to where it enters the other end and the cable is "out in the air." If that improves matters the run the cable normally takes means it has got too tight a bend in it somewhere or it getting trapped.
Posted: 12:40pm 21st September, 2017
ericpode Subject: Heavy clutch
I ride a 2006 Electra X and can assure you the clutch should not be heavy although selecting neutral while stationary is sometimes difficult. It could be worth removing the gearbox end cover and ensuring the reactor plate grooves are not pitted and the three balls are OK. On mine I found the adjuster screw had to be screwed right in. Turned out the 1/4 inch steel ball that goes between the push rod was missing. Even so it didn't make the action heavy. Tip: a powerful magnet will help you fish out and check that pushrod ball. Lastly, a nylon lined clutch cable goes a long way to reducing friction.
Posted: 01:09pm 21st September, 2017
PeteF Subject: Heavy clutch
Reluctance to go into neutral is clutch drag and means either the clutch itself needs adjusting (plates etc), the cable/operating lever needs adjusting or possibly the wrong oil in the chaincase.
The stiffness problem could be in the cable itself so i would make sure it's lubricated properly and there are no sharp kinks.
You're not comparing this to a modern bike are you? If so it will feel stiff.
Posted: 01:10pm 21st September, 2017
papasmurf Subject: Heavy clutch
Correction to my last should read 2006 Electra X (ish).
Posted: 02:03pm 21st September, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: Heavy clutch
If the cable checks out ok, make sure the pushrod is straight by rolling it on a mirror/sheet of glass. If you take the pressure plate off, do this anyway. It's in three pieces with a ball bearing between two of them.
Posted: 04:28pm 21st September, 2017
Dyl-boy Subject: Heavy clutch
Thanks for all your help guys. It looks like I'll have to get into this deeper and dismantle the clutch. I've had a closer look this afternoon and the cable is fine and having removed both engine casings (either side of the engine) everything appears as it should, i.e.; nothing is obviously broken, missing, buckled, dislodged, etc. Regarding how heavy it actually is; I am used to 'vintage' bikes and understand that these aren't like 'modern' bikes, but I'm having to use all my strength to pull the lever in all the way. Something is definitely not right :-/
Posted: 04:57pm 21st September, 2017
Adrian Subject: Heavy clutch
Something is definitely binding if the clutch needs that much effort to operate it, and you reckon the cable an operating bits are fine. The only thing I can think of is that some 5 speed boxes used 5mm diameter pushrods and ball bearings for the clutch, others used 1/4" diameter with the gearbox mainshaft bored out accordingly. I hope someone hasn't tried fitting oversize pushrods or ball bearings in a 5mm bore mainshaft.

Posted: 05:43pm 21st September, 2017
Felix Subject: Heavy clutch
I've used this method to check for binding or rough operation. Remove the primary cover and clutch springs. Press on the clutch pressure plate with your right hand and work the clutch lever. Any linkage binding or friction can be felt as the plate moves in and out. Perhaps the last owner installed heavy springs. I had tried these but they were way too strong.
Posted: 06:08pm 21st September, 2017
Bet Subject: Heavy clutch
Leave home in the morning, first junction 'dink' into neutral. Select first (easy), by the time 15 miles is over I am fighting with with the clutch and praying the cable won't break. Leaving work is exactly the same. Numerous cables have broken, up-grade operating mechanism broken, various oils in primary tried, new clutch push rods and bearing fitted, new Indian plates fitted, Barnett plates fitted, primary apart every 3 weeks (ish) for clean and check, D.T.I. on everything that goes round, every nut and bolt checked, different combinations of springs tried, primary and final drive chains adjusted and obviously clutch and cable adjustment done, re-done, et-al. After ten years I think I have got used to it's 'quirkiness and uniqueness'.
Posted: 07:58pm 21st September, 2017
papasmurf Subject: Heavy clutch
I have had similar problems with a clutch, (not on an Enfield," I cured it by de-burring the cage slots and making sure they were smooth and doing the same with the tangs on the clutch plates. (I suspect that could be a problem from new with some Enfields.)
Posted: 09:35am 22nd September, 2017
Leon Novello Subject: Heavy clutch
I have put this on before; but it might be of some help.
Posted: 02:47am 23rd September, 2017
Bet Subject: Heavy clutch
Result at last. Fitted a clutch lever from a rice rocket, heavy duty cable routed straight out the lever housing, underneath the handlebar brace (lightly ty-wrapped to the brace), over the petrol tank and a slack ty-wrap to the frame. Looks unsightly, but works much lighter and smoother than before.
Posted: 04:54pm 9th October, 2017
Adam Subject: Heavy clutch
Hi Dyl-boy, I had the same problem on my 2006 Electra X and the reluctance to go into neutral became worse the hotter the machine got. If your fault is the same as mine (and I'll bet 10 pence that it is!) there is a £19.50 solution available from our hosts. Go to the relevant parts book on this site and head for Page 24, End Cover Assembly 5 Speed. The release mechanism, item 29 in it's own little box, features what I believe is called a 'ramp and balls' assembly. The illustration shows an un-numbered lever between item 3-sleeve and item 5-load of balls, you will probably find that lever is fractured but if I remember correctly it is not available separately, the assembly has to be supplied complete. Simple to replace and our host probably has them in stock. Let us know how you get on. Adam
Posted: 09:44am 10th October, 2017
Vijayinder Subject: Heavy clutch
I know this might sound stupid but try moving your handlebar a little, up or down, when it is loose, give the clutch a pull and tighten the handlebar when you think it feels light.
Posted: 02:57am 12th October, 2017

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