Although we use it every time we ride, most riders rarely think about their bike’s clutch. Even though we may do the right thing by adjusting and lubricating the cable occasionally, or perhaps flushing the hydraulic fluid according to the factory maintenance schedule, do we ever consciously think about the daily abuses our clutch undergoes each time we pull away from a stop? Never. That is, until something starts to go wrong.
The reality is that your bike’s clutch wears every time the plates slip over each other as the clutch is engaged or disengaged. An aggressive launch increases the strain exponentially. Consequently, at the first sign of clutch failure, you should replace it. Don’t wait until your clutch fails completely, stranding you miles from home and possibly taking more expensive engine components with it. The signs of clutch wear include: slipping under power, loss of clutch “feel,” grabbiness, or some other marked change in clutch function. While you might be able to get away with only replacing the clutch’s fiber plates, riders who want to be certain their bike is performing at its very best, however, will replace all the plates and springs at the same time. Motorcycle clutches are typically the multi-plate type, but a few BMWs and Moto Guzzis have used single-plate clutches. Wet-type clutches, which reside in an oil bath, are most often used in motorcycles; dry clutches are less common.