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Helping keep British Motorcycles on the road for over 30 years - established 1977

A Word On Clutch Drag

A clunk or grinding noise when initially going into first gear on British bikes with wet clutches after starting up is not unusual, due to "oil cling" and if everything else
is OK, can almost always be avoided by kicking through the bike with the clutch pulled in before starting the engine, to free up the clutch.

Persistent clutch drag, causing hard shifting, can be caused by old clutch plates being warped, friction plates being swollen, or tabs being damaged. When the
problem persists after installation of new clutch plates it is sometimes mistakenly attributed to the brand or type of friction plate material, but is almost invariably
caused by other factors, among them:

a) Incorrect clutch rod adjustment
b) Incorrect cable adjustment, or too spongy an outer sheath on a poor quality cable
c) Too thick an oil in primary case, and/or too high an oil level or dirty oil
d) Too tight a primary chain
e) notched clutch drum or centre
f) Springs coil bound at full lift, incorrectly adjusted, or incorrect type.
g) In the case of a Norton diaphragm clutch, mismatched components, since there are two thickneses of friction plates and pressure plates. Norton's also had one type of release arm for Commando, and one type for earlier bikes, and if wrong type is fitted, clutch release will be affected.

h) Misaligned sprockets or bent main shaft
i) Binding clutch bearing(s) or thrust washer
j) Insufficient clutch lever travel due to wrong type, or too thick a handlebar grip.
k) Worn clutch release mechanism