Clutch Lever and the Friction Zone


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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XJSRider
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:45 pm
Location: New Britain, CT
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500A

Clutch Lever and the Friction Zone

Post by XJSRider »



I have never before had a bike with a hydraulic clutch and would appreciate some insight...

In the past, with cable clutches, as the clutch wears the friction zone gets closer and closer to the BEGINNING of the clutch lever travel, ie pull in just a hair and clutch starts to slip.

On my wing I feel like the slightest little pull on the lever and I can start slipping the clutch. It being a new to me bike and a general sense of mechanical paranoia until I have more experience with the machine, I was afraid of clutch on the way out. Please help me talk myself off the ledge. Some things I've considered:

1. No slippage under power, at all, even a little bit.
2. No issues changing gears. Sometimes 3-4 gets a little click click instead of the normal, crisp "clunk", maybe that's just me. Happens randomly.
3. Being a hydraulic clutch with a reservoir, and this one I think is most important, the friction zone should always remain in same place due to make up fluid? This one is just a guess on my part...



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blupupher
Posts: 110
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 5:47 pm
Location: Katy, Republic of Texas
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 SE

Re: Clutch Lever and the Friction Zone

Post by blupupher »

Hydraulic clutches take getting used to for sure. I have only owned bikes with hydraulic clutches since I was a teen, so cable clutch bikes are what are strange for me.
The clutch disengages differently with a hydraulic clutch, the point is set at factory and can't be adjusted, where as a cable clutch can be adjusted to how you like it. Many don't like hydraulic because of this, I personally love it.
Yes, the friction zone remains constant through the life of the clutch. No adjustments are necessary. Once you learn the spot, it stays there.
The fluid in the line does need to be changed occasionally (some say every year, I think the manual says every other year).
Here is a how to for that.

The 3-4 clunk is a common issue (I have it, as well as the occasional "ghost" shift into 4th). Some say it is a sign of the 4th gear shift fork going out, but so long as your bike is quiet at idle in neutral facing downhill, you should be fine (LINK).
"Preloading" the shifter (putting a little upward tension on the shifter) prior to shifting into 4th helps. I tend to have an issue when I am getting on it and shifting in 4500+ rpm range and don't preload the shifter. These are not sport bikes, so the transmissions are a bit crude compared to many, but are pretty reliable overall.
If your bike does not have a shifter pivot, get one, it makes shifting much better. If you have a heel toe shifter, this makes an even bigger difference in shift quality. Also, if you have a heel-toe, don't ride with your foot resting on the shifter, some say that contributes to the issue.
I know when I took off my heel-toe shifter and went back to OEM my shifting got much, much better (bike came with floorboards and heel-toe, which I did not like).
1994 GL1500 Goldwing SE

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CrystalPistol
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Location: Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
Motorcycle: 1997 GL1500SE/'98 Lehman Trike

Re: Clutch Lever and the Friction Zone

Post by CrystalPistol »

XJSRider wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:36 am
I have never before had a bike with a hydraulic clutch and would appreciate some insight...

In the past, with cable clutches, as the clutch wears the friction zone gets closer and closer to the BEGINNING of the clutch lever travel, ie pull in just a hair and clutch starts to slip.

On my wing I feel like the slightest little pull on the lever and I can start slipping the clutch. It being a new to me bike and a general sense of mechanical paranoia until I have more experience with the machine, I was afraid of clutch on the way out. Please help me talk myself off the ledge. Some things I've considered:That's normal as when you start pulling the lever, fluid is moved from the master cylinder to the slave cylinder, it is pretty much a non-compressible fluid too … so if you move 1cc out of the master, 1cc is put into the slave and the piston moves to allow room for the 1cc, the clutch is starting to disengage.

1. No slippage under power, at all, even a little bit.Good
2. No issues changing gears. Sometimes 3-4 gets a little click click instead of the normal, crisp "clunk", maybe that's just me. Happens randomly.Just don't slow drag the shift, snap the shifter full stroke as you quickly pull & release the clutch lever. Timing is key. I "slightly preload" the shifter with a little pressure if anticipating a shift, but I do not preload for long to minimize shift fork wear. That way, when I pull the clutch lever, it's a fast snap as soon as the clutch is disengaged.
3. Being a hydraulic clutch with a reservoir, and this one I think is most important, the friction zone should always remain in same place due to make up fluid? This one is just a guess on my part...It will as long as there are no leaks in the hydraulic system.
How's that?
Make Courtesy your "Code of the Road" …

… & Have a Safe Trip!
:)

XJSRider
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:45 pm
Location: New Britain, CT
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500A

Re: Clutch Lever and the Friction Zone

Post by XJSRider »

Thanks fellas appreciate the feedback!



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