Clutch Freeplay, Riding the Clutch, Maintaining & Adjusting the Clutch

buddazero

.060 Over
Joined
May 19, 2018
Messages
149
Location
New York City
Ride
Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster 2018
Hello everyone 🖐

Below is my personal experience about motorcycle riding for the past 5 years, and my learning journey with the rocket. My questions are highlighted in bold, and if anyone can answer them, please do so, as I am still learning.

I've been riding my Rocket 3 Roadster 2018 for 4 years now, in New York City. I've gotten 11k miles on it, and in that time I've learned plenty of things. Unfortunately I only learn more about motorcycles when I **** up my bike, since I've only been riding bikes for 5 years, started with a 950 cc Yamaha then 7 months later got my Rocket! When I thought I had learned enough, I recently came across a problem where no power was going to my bike. It wasn't accelerating, felt slow, when I took it to the shop that told me that I burned out the clutch. Didn't know what that meant, but they explained it.

It was my fault, they suspected for the last 1000k miles or so I adjusted the cable wrong (which I did because I didn't know what I was doing), and essentially I didn't have any freeplay whatsoever! So, it was as if I was constantly riding my clutch, especially in New York City. Long story short, they changed the clutch, and my bike feels brand new, especially with the Dave Platt Exhaust, Ram Air Kit. It not only feels brand new, but more powerful. And I don't want to **** it up.

One of the things I've started practicing, is to not ride the clutch in slow speeds. In the Motorcycle Safety Course, I was taught to ride the clutch for slow maneuvering turns, and I translated that into riding the clutch between 0 and 15mph (yes I know, very bad). So, what I've started doing now, is just roll on the throttle slightly and ease off the clutch, and then I'm off it when going 10, even 5 mph. Rear wheel is engaged and I'm not feathering the clutch.

The dealership explained to me what "freeplay" was on the clutch and how to adjust it, I didn't understand it at first, but going over what he said and watching a video, essentially the freeplay is the looseness of the clutch before you start to feel the tension, is that correct?

He said that right now, the freeplay is about 2 nickels, and then he doubled that, so I have a bit more freeplay then usual, and because its a brand new clutch, that freeplay will go down slightly and he says that it's normal, or something like that, is that true?

I also want to clarify something; riding the clutch is when you fully don't let go of the clutch, when moving forward and giving it gas, is that correct?

Is it also riding the clutch when only the torque is pushing me forward , and I'm not giving it gas?
I'm under the assumption that you're only riding the clutch when you're feathering the clutch while giving it gas.

When I'm at a red light, I know that I pull in the clutch all the way to disengage, but can I hold the clutch lever a little open slightly at a red light (before it hitting the friction zone), and let it just stay there, or do I need to hold it it fully nice and tight?

I know what I just said was a lot, and I thank you for reading. Hopefully my experience, and the questions answered, will help a beginner with their journey.
 

Sparky59

The Guy With The Most Toys Wins!
Joined
Oct 21, 2017
Messages
802
Location
Downers Grove,Il.
Ride
2008 R3T, 2018R3R,2015 X 1954 & 1958 Cushman Eagle
Better to put the trans in neutral when waiting for a full red light, as with anything mechanical, a clutch or the actuating hardware could fail, and push you out into traffic....
 

TURBO200R4

stand up straight and grab the world by the a$$
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
8,269
Location
TUCSON AZ
Ride
07 rocket III classic
Better to put the trans in neutral when waiting for a full red light, as with anything mechanical, a clutch or the actuating hardware could fail, and push you out into traffic....
You make a good point there and i know several who does that however i leave mine in gear so i can make a quick get a way in case someone is going to run over me.
I would guess best to make a decision on where you drive.
 

Claviger

Aspiring Student
Joined
Jul 25, 2014
Messages
6,560
Location
Olympia Washington
Ride
'21 Z H2, '14 R3R, '02 Daytona 955i
Freeplay using the manual states measuring method is confusing AF IMHO. I'm on my original clutch, 20k miles total; 5k at stock, 6k at 190hp, 9k at 250+hp. My frictions and steels look like new still. Sure I've annihilated transmissions but not the clutch 😂😂

How I adjust it:
I use the arm down at the engine case the cable connects to, let's call it Carm.

Loosen the clutch cable until there's obviously too much slack.

Start bike in neutral, on kick stand.

Touch the Carm with one hand while pulling in the clutch lever with the other, you can feel the point where the internal fork touches the mushroom headed lifter, that's the nono zone. Not where it's actually opening the clutch, just the touch, it transfers through the Carm as a slight vibration (and on some bikes sound) change.

Tighten the cable until it requires a few mm of pull on the lever before you can feel the fork engage the mushroom headed lifter through the Carm.

That dead space is what prevents the fork from burning through the lifter head.

Now check it using the Triumph method. Don't be surprised when youre not within the Triumph spec. Their spec sucks IMHO.

9/10 rockets I check this on are adjusted too tight by using the Triumph method which leaves the fork touching the lifter head full time.

That's how they burn out, and in my opinion why people kill clutches prematurely; it's not ever reaching 100% engagement because of over tight cable.

PS: The adjustable lever reach "feature" will throw this adjustment off. Find your reach position, then adjust the clutch.
 

Claviger

Aspiring Student
Joined
Jul 25, 2014
Messages
6,560
Location
Olympia Washington
Ride
'21 Z H2, '14 R3R, '02 Daytona 955i
As for your other questions:

Rocket clutch needs no babying. Ride it as any other bike, use the slip zone all you want. It's literally a stolen design straight out of the Gen 1 Hayabusa. It's phenomenally stout.

The only burned clutches I've seen from anything besides over tightened adjustment cables are the result of one of 4 things:
-Supercharger
-Turbocharger
-Drag Racing with modulated clutch through 1st gear
-High mileage (50k+).

This may hurt some people's feelings....sorry but those are my observations.

I've spent hours and hours in traffic in the friction zone going under 5mph. Once for over 5 hours in over 100f ambient in Hawaii, and countless 2-3 hour jams in WA.

PS: Changing oil more often than manual states also helps.
 

TURBO200R4

stand up straight and grab the world by the a$$
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
8,269
Location
TUCSON AZ
Ride
07 rocket III classic
Riding the clutch is when you do not let it come out to where you have free play. This will cause damage to the componets that release clutch.
When setting at a light u need to hold the clutch lever to the bar. Now you don't have to hold it in a death grip/squeeze just near the bar.
Set it at 2mm i don't think it is going to change but keep an eye on it.
Riding the clutch is slipping the clutch/clutches
I have sand in my road so i slip/ride the clutch to maintain about 5 mph. Release the clutch to go and pull in to slow down. Now if u do this for an hour you are going to burn clutches (turn to charcoal) then then the material will fall off and be metal to metal. (Your walking)
 

r3badboy

Supercharged
Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
230
Location
New Zealand
Ride
06 Rocket 3 & all years parts built R3
You make a good point there and i know several who does that however i leave mine in gear so i can make a quick get a way in case someone is going to run over me.
I would guess best to make a decision on where you drive.
I do the same...at least until the car or even bike has come to a stop behind me 👍😎
 
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