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Troubleshooting potential clutch issue - 2012 NC700X

dragonaut

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I'm trying to figure out what's going on with the clutch on my 2012 NC700X (manual). The bike has close to 45,000 miles on it and I'm wondering if the clutch is starting to go, although the symptoms don't really make sense to me.

It seems like the clutch does not always disengage fully when the lever is pulled in. If I put the bike on the centerstand, start the engine and shift to 1st, then pull the clutch back in, the rear wheel continues to spin as though the clutch lever has not been pulled. If I tap the rear brake it will stop spinning. I understand that a little wheel spin is normal in this situation due to there being a slight amount of drag from the oil in the wet clutch. Howver, I can be going down the road at something like 45 mph, pull the clutch lever in without rolling off the throttle and instead of the RPM surging like I would expect, the tach remains steady. It doesn't do this every time, but it has happened.

Today I disassembled the clutch lever and the lower adjuster mechanism, cleaned all the old lube and accumulated crud, reassembled and lubed the cable and set the freeplay at 0.5". It's only been about 4000 miles since the last oil change and the oil level is good. Oil is Honda HP4S so I know the type of oil shouldn't be the issue. The chain only has about 3000 miles on it and is kept clean and lubricated. Slack is at 1.5" and it is in alignment according to my Motion Pro gauge, so I don't think a tight or otherwise messed up chain is causing unusual drag or friction, etc., in the driveline.

I've never had to work on clutch internals on any bike so far, but it doesn't seem like what I would expect. Wouldn't a worn out clutch or weak springs not engage fully, rather than not disengage fully? I've read of clutches getting seized up when a bike is stored for a long time, but mine gets ridden almost daily. Whatever's going on has me stumped. But something doesn't feel right lately and the bike seems more jerky at low speeds and doesn't shift as well as it used to either. If anyone has any ideas or has experienced similar, I'm all ears.
 

670cc

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I’m curious what happens if you were on the bike, on a smooth flat surface, engine off, 1st gear engaged, and you squeeze the clutch lever all the way. Can you push the bike forward with your feet, or is the bike not movable?
 

Klap

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I’m curious what happens if you were on the bike, on a smooth flat surface, engine off, 1st gear engaged, and you squeeze the clutch lever all the way. Can you push the bike forward with your feet, or is the bike not movable?
Beat me to it!
 

dragonaut

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Yeah, it rolls in that scenario. Tougher when the engine is cold, as would be expected, and pretty easy once the engine is warm. Can feel it pushing against the "stickiness" of the oil and then it moves a little easier. Doesn't feel out of the ordinary after all.

I don't know, maybe I'm imagining things.
 

670cc

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If you have covered all aspects of external clutch control, such as lever pivot, cable, adjustment, etc., then the only thing left to fiddle with is really the clutch plates. They aren’t terribly expensive nor is it a very complicated procedure to replace them. The work requires removal of the right side engine cover, and you will need a special tool to hold the clutch for disassembly (if I recall correctly).

742FCE74-9E7D-424D-A545-172CE5480E33.jpeg
 

SergeantChuck

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80K on my original clutch. I wouldn't think yours is bad but who knows. Mine is still going strong. Knock on wood.
 
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