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Thread: More clutch lever pull needed for higher gears?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Endopotential's Avatar
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    More clutch lever pull needed for higher gears?

    On the theme of our bikes shaking everything loose...

    I tried to ride my '09 XB9SX with 14k miles over the weekend and for some reason couldn't get into 3/4/5th gears. Even clutchless upshifting didn't work.
    Trying to stay on the freeway past 55mph in 2nd gear was fun. Shifting 1-N-2 seemed to be OK, though harder than usual.

    Back home I figured out that there was excessive slack in the clutch cable, fixed by adjusting the big barrel nuts. Not sure why, as it had ridden fine previously. Primary chain tension and oil level were OK. I took it for a test ride afterwards, and all back to baseline Buell happiness.

    Trying to mull over the mechanics of what happened. Even with a clutch broken, you should still be able to do clutchless shifts given appropriate RPMs no? Or do the higher gears need more force from the shift forks or whatever?
    Last edited by Endopotential; 02-05-2021 at 09:40 PM.

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    Senior Member BuellyBagger's Avatar
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    I clutchless shift all the way up through the gears if I'm ripping on it. Cant say theres any difference per gear so your deal is strange for sure.
    Seems really strange for the clutch cable adjuster to rattle loose too.
    I did have the clutch adjustment jam nut (in the primary) come off on my Harley which caused similar symptoms. Might pull the derby cover off and check the full clutch adjustment?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    It should actually be easier to clutchless shift in-between the higher gears, not harder because the ratio difference is smaller between the higher gears. Going into 2nd is the hardest one to get smooth.

    Clutchless shifting is the perfect description, no clutch needed. Don't know why yours wouldn't do it, adjusted or not. I have gotten home more than once with a completely snapped clutch cable that way Last time was 300 miles home from Laughlin. Are you used to shifting that way? Does it clutchless shift fine now? I'm hoping its operator error

    It's also VERY strange for that adjustment (any adjustment) to get out of whack that much, that fast. I would DEFINITELY pull the primary and check the clutch ramp for damage before it leaves you stranded. While its apart, look around behind the clutch basket at the shift pawls and little springs to make sure all is good there too.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Endopotential's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thoughts. Yes, I did take off the small round cover and things looked OK, at least to the point of checking that inner screw for tension. I didn't take off the round hook / "clutch outer ramp" whatchamacallit that the clutch cable attaches to. Can you inspect the shift pawls and springs without pulling off the clutch?

    I've been riding long enough to think my clutchless shifting has gotten pretty decent. Though my KTM Duke 790 with the quickshifter and autoblipper is making me lazy. When the bike was misbehaving, I couldn't get the shift lever to move up even with a fair bit of force.

    Just for the sake of my learning - even if the system from lever through cable to the round clutch ramp disc is broken, the bike should still be able to shift right? As long as the clutch plates are engaged, the motor and transmission should run, and shifting should work with just RPM matching?
    Last edited by Endopotential; 02-05-2021 at 04:01 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuellyBagger View Post
    I clutchless shift all the way up through the gears if I'm ripping on it. Cant say theres any difference per gear so your deal is strange for sure.
    Seems really strange for the clutch cable adjuster to rattle loose too.
    I did have the clutch adjustment jam nut (in the primary) come off on my Harley which caused similar symptoms. Might pull the derby cover off and check the full clutch adjustment?
    This is not recommended without a quickshifter to unload the transmission, which allows the gear change to happen safely and smoothly. Eventually something in the trans is going to give. Of course if you break a clutch cable (or it is way out of adjustment) you gotta do what you gotta do to get home, but it may require some extra throttle activity to get it to change gears.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    Check to make sure the primary cover isn’t starting to crack.

    Read this

    https://www.buellxb.com/forum/showth...-Primary-Cover

  7. #7
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    I just installed a kit from David Flack for this issue. Wife lost her clutch on her 09XB12 down at the tail in October. Very simple repair/mod.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Barrett's Avatar
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    David: i would NOT continue to ride it until the exact cause is identified and repaired. in all probability, your simple "barrel adjustment" is a temporary cure with a predictable short life-span. steps to identify what might have caused this situation:
    1-upaero is correct. i have seen countless XL/XR/XB trans and shifter assemblies turned to scrap from "clutchless shifting". not recommended unless it's your only option while riding.
    2-common motorcycle myth is that a clutch cable "stretches". it does not. the outer cable assembly, over time, compresses...resulting in excess play at the lever and requiring adjustment.
    3-if the lever itself....lever perch....pivot hardware is all in good order.....then a sudden and pronounced excess amount of lever play on an XL/XR/XB is alway an internal problem and needs to be immediately addressed.
    4-your situation not uncommon as these bikes continue to age. in most cases it is the result of either poor clutch pack/cable adjustment procedures thru the years...or sitting in gear, engine idling, clutch disengaged...for excess periods of time.
    5-Josh correct as usual regarding Dave Flack repair kit. Dave is the go-to guru for this, short of buying a new primary cover.
    6-check the following for signs of imminent failure:

    A-clutch pack release assembly commonly referred to as ramp-and-ball component. rare that they fail but check
    B-primary cover release assembly floor. it is the round aluminum lip that the release rides against when doing it's job. fairly common for this to crack and disintegrate. Dave Flack repair masterfully solves it.
    C-adjustment release bearing. not sure why this wasn't mentioned. seeing these now failing mostly from abuse. failure symptom precisely what you described. highlighted for you.

    good luck.
    SM clutch.jpg
    Last edited by Barrett; 02-05-2021 at 12:51 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BuellyBagger's Avatar
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    1-upaero is correct. i have seen countless XL/XR/XB trans and shifter assemblies turned to scrap from "clutchless shifting". not recommended unless it's your only option while riding.
    Really? I was always under the impression that shifting by blipping the throttle correctly at proper rpm was perfectly fine on any motorcycle trans. Guess I'm being unduly hard on stuff?

    (Sorry for minor thread derail)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuellyBagger View Post
    Really? I was always under the impression that shifting by blipping the throttle correctly at proper rpm was perfectly fine on any motorcycle trans. Guess I'm being unduly hard on stuff?

    (Sorry for minor thread derail)
    Blipping the throttle to "RPM match" for downshifting is perfectly fine, but when upshifting you need a quickshifter if you want to "bang through the gears". Each of my bikes including an HD Nightster has QS because I think it's so much fun. It's also mandatory for the track.

    We now return you to the regularly scheduled thread path.



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