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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I have an issue with my clutch. When I start my bike, the clutch won't engage at first. I have to pull the clutch lever, hold it and wait for the engine temperature to rise to around 20-30 Celsius degrees / 68-86 Fahrenheit before the clutch engages. What could be the problem?

Also, when I ride normally, sometimes the bike won't slip into next gear after shifting, neither up nor down, until I have released the clutch lever halfway out. I can feel the gear 'clicking' into place. Is it a related problem or some other issue in its own?

All the best,

Billy Jackman
 

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That is strange. I would be inspecting the clutch. As above check the adjustment to see if it is a quick fix.

I would also test to see if the clutch is both locking up and releasing completely. With the bike off and in gear pull the clutch and try to push it. It should roll with little resistance. Then release the clutch and it should stop immediately.

Pull and inspect the clutch pack & springs. There is a height for the clutch pack in the manual. Stack the plates and measure the thickness of the stack to see if it is worn beyond serive parameters.

One other wild suggestion - oil condition and type. I have seen dirty or wrong type of oil affect clutch and shifting function.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

I'm assuming when you say the "clutch won't engage" that you mean with lever released, bike in gear, the bike does not move?

I would go with Tin's advice first and check the clutch adjustment. I could see that a warming (expanding) engine might provide just enough clearance on the release system to allow the clutch to grab and work.

I don't think your second issue is related. The transmission meshes like your fingers intertwining, if they are lined up, they will not go together. Releasing the clutch momentarily allows them to mesh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for welcoming me and coming up with many suggestions. I'll look into them as soon as possible, working myself through the chain of interrelations, so to speak.

I doubt the oil is causing it, as I change oil and oil filter regularly and as far as I can tell use the correct oil, of relatively good quality (but please tell me if I'm wrong about this). At the moment the bike has a new filter and new oil, I've used Castrol Power1 semi-synthetic 10W40.

I'm assuming when you say the "clutch won't engage" that you mean with lever released, bike in gear, the bike does not move?

I don't think your second issue is related. The transmission meshes like your fingers intertwining, if they are lined up, they will not go together. Releasing the clutch momentarily allows them to mesh.
I'm sorry for not being clearer. What I mean by "clutch won't engage" is the opposite of your interpretation. That is, if I pull the clutch lever, it won't mechanically clutch as a clutch do, the bike eventually has to be forced into gear without the clutch being operational. I of course don't force the bike into gear, but as an illustrating example, I had the bike on this 'swingarm stand' where you lift the rear wheel off the ground and tapped the bike into first gear without the clutch being operational. The rear wheel rotates in the air, as the bike's in gear and gets pulled by the engine, and though I pull the clutch lever repeatedly, the wheel keeps being rotated by engine force. When the engine / oil / other components related to heat generation/distribution of lubrication gets to a certain temperature, the clutch suddenly works smoothly as it should.

With regard to the second issue, will it eventually cause me a lot of trouble, as the gears strike each other when they mesh? Do they get worn or are the metal parts solid enough?
 

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First thing to check then is the clutch cable. When you pull the lever, is the connecting arm on top of the gearbox moving? It should move around 30° or so. If not, try adjusting the cable by winding the adjuster out. If it still doesn't work, new clutch cable.

If the arm is moving adequately, you may have a broken link inside the box or the thrust arm is broken.
 

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hi @Billy Jackman , could you clarify how you know the clutch doesn't release when you pull the lever?

I had the bike on this 'swingarm stand' where you lift the rear wheel off the ground and tapped the bike into first gear without the clutch being operational. The rear wheel rotates in the air, as the bike's in gear and gets pulled by the engine, and though I pull the clutch lever repeatedly
This is totally normal, as far as you have described it so far.

Most bikes there is a lot of drag between the clutch plates, even when released, particularly when cold. All bikes I have ever known will cause the back wheel to rotate off the ground, if you select a gear AND with the clutch pulled in.

If you do that, then brake the rear wheel to a stop on the foot lever WITH the clutch lever pulled in, does it do this OK, or does it stall the bike?

If the wheel, off the ground, can be braked to stop by the pedal, while in gear and clutch lever pulled in, and the bike does not stall, then it is OK.

If it stalls when you brake the rear wheel to stop (with the clutch pulled in) then you will need to take the clutch plates out and clean them up, replace if necessary.

I don't understand what this means either, sorry;
"the bike won't slip into next gear after shifting "
either it has slipped into the gear on shifting, or it hasn't? Please help me understand the meaning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
First thing to check then is the clutch cable. When you pull the lever, is the connecting arm on top of the gearbox moving? It should move around 30° or so.
At first I thought you ment movement on the outside, but there's no movement on the top of the gearbox on the outside and I don't see where there could be any movement, besides on the inside. While checking which bolts to unscrew to remove the cover of the gearbox to look inside, I found a snapped bolt left by a previous owner (see picture). Great, so I'll have to drill that bolt out before I can proceed. Never had to deal with extracting snapped bolts before and I'll be away for the weekend, so I'll give you a update on that later. Anyway, I took a video where you can hear the noise coming from the gearbox when I pull the clutch lever:


Snapped bolt to the right of the coolant reservoir:
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive fuel system Rim



hi @Billy Jackman , could you clarify how you know the clutch doesn't release when you pull the lever?
Well the clutch is at some level operational at all times, which I can now say, as I've experimented with it this evening. It's just that something is off with the clutch; it's a very "rough" move from neutral to 1st gear when the oil's still cold, and I still have the problem when the oil's warm, unless if I hold the clutch in as I warm up the bike or hold it in for some time after the bike's been warmed up. Pull clutch lever + heating up = all good (see video, #2, underneath).

If you do that, then brake the rear wheel to a stop on the foot lever WITH the clutch lever pulled in, does it do this OK, or does it stall the bike?
If the wheel, off the ground, can be braked to stop by the pedal, while in gear and clutch lever pulled in, and the bike does not stall, then it is OK.
Then that's OK, at least. It can be seen in the video underneath.

I don't understand what this means either, sorry;
"the bike won't slip into next gear after shifting "
either it has slipped into the gear on shifting, or it hasn't? Please help me understand the meaning.
Underneath you can see me starting up with a cold bike, pulling the clutch lever, shifting from neutral to 1st gear, back to neutral, then 2nd gear, then neutral, then 1st, then doing some brake testing, and then proceed to 2nd, 3rd and so on to 6th gear, and then down shifting again to neutral (in this process, you can hear a sound indicating a "rough" move from neutral to 1st, as forementioned; it's important to note that this is only happening when the bike's cold). When it comes to "the bike won't slip into next gear after shifting", I'm sorry about the unprecise language. What I mean is that the bike won't slip into gear immediately when I try to shift, but slips into gear with a 'clonk' when I let go of the clutch lever and it's about halfway out (you can see me releasing half of the clutch levers range to slip the bike into some of the gears while shifting). This happens randomly and rather seldom, but I got lucky today and I'm able to show you (it's winter and snow and I can't do test rides atm.).

Video #2:

Please let me know if there's still something I need to clarify, and thanks again for all your answers
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK, does your clutch cable fit into a pivot joint or does it go through grommet into the box with the connection inside? It's the pivot joint I was referring to.
I'm not used to all the English terms, I'm sorry, but If I have understood it correctly, a pivot joint is an 'arm' connected to another 'arm', at a certain angle, so the first arm push and move the second arm; with a grommet the cable goes right through an oblong screw with a nut at the seeable bottom. If this is right, then the clutch cable goes through a grommet. I have tried to crop out a picture of a video to show where the clutch cable ends on the outside of the gearbox. The clutch cable goes in a straight line above the marking, but is not visible:

Automotive tire Gas Automotive wheel system Auto part Rim
 

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Not an answer to the clutch question, but the broken off bolt.

Isn't that the chain cover? If so, you should be able to take out the rest of the bolts holding it and slide it off the broken one. Then just take the remainder out with vice grips.

Easy Outs usually turn into a disaster on smaller hardware as they like to break off if the hardware is stuck at all.
 

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Underneath you can see me starting up with a cold bike, pulling the clutch lever, shifting from neutral to 1st gear, back to neutral, then 2nd gear, then neutral, then 1st, then doing some brake testing,
Looks completely normal to me up to 1'25". The way the wheel accelerates with the clutch in is 'pretty normal', can't tell that there is anything wrong with that.

I mean, OK, maybe it clonks more than it should and is more 'draggy' than you'd like, but that would be consistent with a bike that's been standing around a long time, which I get the impression it has, and maybe the oil is a bit thick and not changed recently.


and then proceed to 2nd, 3rd and so on to 6th gear, and then down shifting again to neutral (in this process, you can hear a sound indicating a "rough" move from neutral to 1st, as forementioned; it's important to note that this is only happening when the bike's cold).
The clutch actuation sound very weird at this point. I can't really tell if it is or is not changing, but the way the lever jerks seems odd.

When it comes to "the bike won't slip into next gear after shifting", I'm sorry about the unprecise language. What I mean is that the bike won't slip into gear immediately when I try to shift, but slips into gear with a 'clonk' when I let go of the clutch lever and it's about halfway out
That may be because of some strange clutch movement behaviour, that we just mentioned.

It is not abnormal for gears to not go in immediately, if the wheel is stationary and the dog clutch is not in the right place, you have to have the wheel turning before you know if that is really an issue.

All I would say is that up to 1'25", that bike looks to me ready to ride. Just get it on the road and give the clutch some good slipping as you pull off, loosen the friction surfaces up.

From your description, it seems to me you've not ridden this bike, and it has been standing for a while. Is that so? And then you've been checking it out, tested it on a paddock stand and started worrying about this.

TBH, engine sounds good, does mostly what it is meant to do. Time to get a crash helmet and gear on, and give it a run, get that clutch slipping to burn off the top layers of disc surface, they are designed to be slipped not sit static for months.

Then once you're persuaded it might all be over-thinking it, and it's actually working OK after all, change the oil as the friction discs will have shed their top layers into the oil.

Sounds to me like it's running nice, TBH.

PS: Just an extra thought. if you do ride it on the road and you're worried about whether the clutch might fail and it'll keep going with you on it, nah, the brakes are more powerful than the idling engine. If your clutch really does fail, just roll off the throttle and leave it closed, keep it in a high gear, and brake to stopped and stall the engine out. If you have presence of mind and enough time, it wouldn't hurt to flip the run switch to 'off' before you come to a stop. But not essential, just keep squeezing the brake. Be aware like that the bike will stop suddenly just at the end, be ready to stabilise it with your feet. I am saying this bit only from thinking through what would probably happen, can't honestly say that's ever happened to me.
 

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It looks and sounds normal to me.
Clutch seems to be working fine. (Still good idea to check adjustment procedure in the workshop manual.)
Clunk into First is normal. Cold oil and new oil is still fairly thick, so you will get a bigger clunk.
Also, you should be releasing the clutch between each gear change and downshift, because a moving
wheel helps the gears mesh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Not an answer to the clutch question, but the broken off bolt.

Isn't that the chain cover? If so, you should be able to take out the rest of the bolts holding it and slide it off the broken one. Then just take the remainder out with vice grips.

Easy Outs usually turn into a disaster on smaller hardware as they like to break off if the hardware is stuck at all.
It is, but seemed to me to be more to it deeper behind that cover as it seamlessly covers a much bigger «area» than the chain and sprocket, it seems to be including much of the gearbox, but I’ve so far only been able to glimpse under and from the sides and stick a finger in to check the sprocket. Should it eventually first have been approached from the other (right) side, maybe?

I’ll try to slide the cover off first and hopefully I can grab the broken bolt then, would be wonderful!


The clutch actuation sound very weird at this point. I can't really tell if it is or is not changing, but the way the lever jerks seems odd.

All I would say is that up to 1'25", that bike looks to me ready to ride. Just get it on the road and give the clutch some good slipping as you pull off, loosen the friction surfaces up.

From your description, it seems to me you've not ridden this bike, and it has been standing for a while. Is that so? And then you've been checking it out, tested it on a paddock stand and started worrying about this.

TBH, engine sounds good, does mostly what it is meant to do. Time to get a crash helmet and gear on, and give it a run, get that clutch slipping to burn off the top layers of disc surface, they are designed to be slipped not sit static for months.

Then once you're persuaded it might all be over-thinking it, and it's actually working OK after all, change the oil as the friction discs will have shed their top layers into the oil.
If you mean the way the lever jerks when 'clonking' the gears into place, I'm the one who makes it so, by quick finger movements. The clutch lever feels smooth.

I got the bike in may 2022. The issues I've described was present at the time and I rode the bike for the 22-season without any trouble. The bike is overall in very good condition as far as I can tell, though I'm obviously not a mechanic myself (should maybe have done more than basic maintenance myself earlier in life, as I'm now clearly behind on what I need to know when I'm on my own). Unfortunately had some seasons without a bike before I got the GSXR and it is my first R-bike, so I figured I'd rather ride and hope for the best regarding potential issues with the clutch/transmission, I could not stop myself. The GSXR immediately gave me such euphoria that riding reached another level for me. Rather ride and end up with having to fix the bike somehow, than to start trying to fix something that may not be broken and no matter what, not ride at all. That was my reasoning.

Then I parked the bike in October 22, as winter approached. Been doing the usual maintenance all over through the winter months, and changed some worn out parts here and there etc. Then I came to my concerns about the clutch etc., my thoughts started gallopping as I'm not used to the clinks and clonks and other noises that this relatively big bike (to me) makes. Figured I should look into it as it's still winter and time to fix whatever needs to be fixed before spring 2023 comes. Found out about this online community for GSXR and here I am.

I'll intentionally slip the clutch some more than usual when spring comes and do another oil change, then.

(Still good idea to check adjustment procedure in the workshop manual.)

Also, you should be releasing the clutch between each gear change and downshift, because a moving
wheel helps the gears mesh.
I'll check the adjustment procedure, absolutely. I'll also stringently shift properly.


Thank you all for your good answers and the time you took to help me out. I'll stick around, nice place to be








 

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If you mean the way the lever jerks when 'clonking' the gears into place, I'm the one who makes it so, by quick finger movements. The clutch lever feels smooth.
Yes, that is what I referred to.

In that case, just get riding it. Any more fiddling you might break it! ;)

I'd forget about the broken bolt this season. Is it leaking? Doesn't seem to be. Even if the head is broken off, it might still be tensioned and holding that piece on where it is meant to be.

That's actually one reason, myself, why I've not bothered to check the valve clearances and change the chain this winter season because, TBH, it works, maybe a bit of chain rattle at idle sometimes, meh. I might cause who-knows what problems when it seems to be having none at all, I'll get another season's miles on it first in case I really do find a problem!

You can try to make an old bike perfect, and there is a hobby pleasure in that, I like to do that myself. You can do as much riding as possible and neglect the bike, which is not great. Or just follow a pragmatic path between neither extreme, and just enjoy an older bike that does the job, albeit with a few age related 'characteristics'.
 
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