Tech Tips: How-to Replace and Lube a Clutch Cable

Does your clutch grind and snag as you pull it? Wish you could go back to how it felt when your bike was brand new? Then check out our how-to on replacing and/or lubing your clutch cable.

Remember, if you need to get your hands on a new clutch cable, cable lube, or other tools; hit up

For any other motorcycle parts, accessories, or gear needs, you can find them at

Transcribed version:

Hey, this is Michael Lindsay from Vital MX and we're here at Chaparral Motorsports today. You know, if by any chance any of you have recently grabbed a buddy's brand new bike, one of the first things you'll probably notice is how buttery smooth that clutch is. Now, if you wanna get your bike feeling like that, you can either replace the clutch cable or we can show you how to lube it up and get it feeling brand new. So first up, we're gonna show you how to actually just remove the clutch cable and replace it if need. This is a fairly simple process. About all you're gonna need tool-wise is an eight and a ten-millimeter T-handle and possibly an end-wrench to get the cable off. And then for lubing, also a simple process, you just have to be able to get the cable off the clutch purge, use a cable luber and either a cable lube-specific product or say, like a WD-40 to be able to do it.

So with most modern clutch perches, you have an adjuster wheel. If you peel back the rubber protector, you'll find that the adjuster wheel has a groove. This is to actually get the clutch cable out, so you want to align the wheel to be able to get this open groove. Now from here, you can either loosen the clutch cable enough that there's slack to be able to work it out, or another simple method that I prefer to do, you can also just undo the clutch lever, be able to pivot it out and be able to get the cable out pretty simple. And now, we're able to just pretty simply take our lever out. Now we've exposed the cable. And once again, now that all the grooves are lined up, cable can be the cable's free. So with most bikes, the clutch cable is now routed behind the front number plate. You can either pull it through, or if you just wanna make things once again simple and just be able to see what you're working on, you can also remove the front number plate...and find that the clutch cable, where it is routed to. Now depending upon the brand, you'll find some sort of guide or clamp down here that holds the clutch cable as it goes into the actuating arm. In the case of this 450 we're working on, this guide is a part of the clutch cable that is sold to you. So you actually have to loosen these nuts and just try to remove the entire cable housing from the holder it's in. So we have to screw the nuts off far enough that we can then expose the cable, get it through the gap. And now we have so much free slack, it's pretty easy to just work the other end of the cable out of the clutch actuation arm. 

Now to reinstall a clutch cable, it's fairly simple, you just go back to the steps we went through, you reinstall the end of the cable into the clutch actuation arm, whatever form of guide you have, you reinstall down along the case. Go ahead and slide your cable back up along the radiator through the front of the bike or however it was routed, and then reengage the other end of the clutch cable into the clutch perch and you're ready to go. So basically a cable luber is a little rubber holder with clamps that you use to place the cable inside. And then you wanna clamp down around the end. The idea is we are going to be injecting cable lube inside with all this clamped and sealed down. The only place for the cable lube to go should be down in the cable. And with the cable in the bike, the cable is now vertical, so the lube can run down the length of the cable. 

So if you look at the one end of the cable luber, you'll find a opening in the rubber which you're actually going to spray the lube into. Now, even with it cranked down, these systems can still leak a little bit, so for your free hand-holding, it's good to take a rag and hold it around the end here, or otherwise you're just gonna end up with a handful of cable lube. Just give it a couple slow squirts, don't just grab a handful of the can, otherwise all you're gonna do is load the system so fast, it's probably gonna spray back in your face. And try to move it in and out a little bit just to help try to let that lube slide in and around the binding of the cable as it goes down inside. Depending upon how much grid is inside your cable, it may take a few tries before you either feel improvement for the cable or you find that lube has made it through the cable, all the way down to the clutch actuation arm. You may wanna remove the rubber boot or seal around the bottom of the cable so you can see when the lube has made it all the way through to the end of the system. 

Once you feel like you've accomplished your goal, can remove the cable luber and set your clutch cable back in the perch. So now we're just getting our front number plate back on here, just wrapping things up. You also wanna make sure that you have all your rubber protectors back on the clutch perch, that you've also set the clutch tension or slack where you want it, that you're happy with now the performance of either re-lubing your stock cable or replacing it so you're now ready to go out and ride. And by the way, make sure you check back at for more tech tips.

Credit: Joe Carlino
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