Motorcycle Clutch Cable Keeps Breaking: (Quick Ultimate Fix)

Motorcycle Clutch Cable Keeps Breaking Quick Ultimate Fix

Motorcycle clutch cables can break occasionally for several reasons. But if your motorcycle’s clutch cable keeps breaking again and again, it’s essential to focus on proper clutch cable maintenance and adjustment.

The motorcycle clutch cable keeps breaking due to clutch cable fraying, poor clutch cable routing, overly tightened cable, or the clutch cable length being too short. Not lubricating the clutch cable from time to time will increase its chances of breaking.

In this article, you will understand what are the core reasons behind your motorcycle clutch cable snapping repetitively and a quick easy fix to properly adjust and maintain the clutch cable for maximum longevity.

How Long Should a Motorcycle Clutch Cable Last?

Generally, a good quality clutch cable made from galvanized aluminum or steel will last for multiple years. Considering a proper clutch cable maintenance/lubrication is done from time to time or at least twice a year.

You can expect on average for a motorcycle cable to last more than 6,000 miles/10,000 kilometers or more than 2 years.

Motorcycle Clutch Cable Lifespan Poll (Clickable Link)

The poll that I ran for 1 week in a private motorcycle group on LinkedIn came with results that motorcycle clutch cable (if maintained properly) can last more than 10,000 kilometers or 6,213 miles.

But keep in mind that it depends on how you maintain the clutch cable and your riding style.

There are typically two types of clutch cable available in the market. The first one is Nylon and PTFE-lined cables and the second one is Unlined clutch cables.

Unlined clutch cable needs specialized light aerosol specialist clutch cable lubricants. Whereas the modern clutch cables with nylon and PTFE-lined sheaths need less or sometimes zero lubrication.

The Unlined clutch cables are simple with PVC material outer as a jacket/cover. So it needs lubrication at least once or twice a year, depending upon your riding style.

Now you know how long a top-notch quality clutch cable lasts with proper maintenance. 

Common Areas On A Motorcycle Clutch Cable Prone To Breaking?

Motorcycle clutch cables eventually break/snap over time. However, the clutch cable often breaks around 3 areas on the clutch cable where there is the most amount of tension.

1. Clutch Cable Connecting Points

The clutch cable often breaks near the clutch lever or the clutch actuator arm. 

The clutch lever and the clutch arm are the 2 areas on the motorcycle where each end of the clutch cable connects. 

So check near the clutch lever or the clutch cable nipple for any signs of damage such as fraying or corrosion, as these areas on the clutch cable are often under constant tension/stress.

2. Sharp Bends On The Clutch Cable

A poorly routed clutch cable will have sharp bends or kinks which will twist the clutch cable and cause it to break.

Bending of the clutch cable will cause it to become weakened over time and make it susceptible to snapping.

Always route the clutch cable in a sweeping downward direction to avoid any sharp bends or kinks in a clutch cable.

3. Clutch Cable Exposed To Moisture

A crack to the outer jacket of the clutch cable or any exposed area on the clutch cable will make the cable prone to corrosion or rust formation.

The clutch lever dust cover will cover up the exposed part near the clutch lever where the cable connects from dirt and moisture.

Reasons Why Your Motorcycle Clutch Cable Keeps Breaking?

Identifying the root causes of recurring clutch cable issues is essential for effective troubleshooting. Here are common reasons:

1. Clutch Cable Breaks Due To Incorrect Adjustment

An overly tightened clutch cable can strain the clutch cable. The strain on the clutch cable will cause it to wear out quickly. 

The wrong clutch lever free play or the incorrect length of clutch cable (short clutch cable) for your motorcycle will cause the clutch cable to break.

Wrong adjustments of the clutch cable at the clutch lever and clutch actuator arm will cause the clutch cable to go under a lot of tension and stretch.

This tension and stretching of the clutch cable will cause damage and result in the clutch cable completely breaking.

2. Poorly Routed Clutch Cable Can Cause Fraying

A poorly routed clutch cable with sharp bends and kinks in it will weaken the clutch cable’s strength.

Areas on the clutch cable with sharps bends will also develop fraying over time due to stress and excessive tension.

Twisted clutch cable nipple ends which are poorly inserted into the clutch lever will also cause fraying.

Always try to install the clutch cable in a sweeping downward direction to prevent clutch cable breakage or any premature damage.

3. Incorrect Lubrication Practices Of Clutch Cable

Incorrect clutch cable lubrication practices such as using heavy grease or oil will hold onto the dust particles, resulting in unnecessary friction.

Always use a light aerosol specialist clutch cable lubricant for efficient and better lubrication.

Lubrication is not necessary or kept at a minimum for Nylon and PTFE-lined clutch cables.

So first understand what kind of clutch cable your motorcycle has, then perform an accurate lubrication process.

Generally, motorcycle clutch cables are lubricated at least once or twice a year for optimum function.

4. Low-Quality Replacement Clutch Cable

Low-quality aftermarket clutch cable will not have high durability and tensile strength. 

So installing these low-quality aftermarket clutch cables will keep breaking under high amounts of stress while riding in heavy traffic or during frequent gearshifts.

A recommended option to replace your old clutch cable is to always buy an OEM clutch cable for your motorcycle.

Aftermarket motorcycle clutch cable manufacturers such as Venhill & Motionpro also offer reliable and top-notch quality motorcycle clutch cables.

How To Prevent Motorcycle’s Clutch Cable From Breaking Repetitively?

To prevent motorcycle clutch cable breakage, ensure proper adjustment with 10-20mm free play at the clutch lever end or 2-4mm at the start when using an aftermarket lever. 

Wrong Motorcycle Clutch Free play
Method 1: 10-20 mm Clutch Lever Free Play At The End Of The Lever
Method 2: 2-4mm Clutch Lever Free Play At The Start Of The Lever

Properly adjusting the clutch lever’s free play ensures mechanical adjustment of the clutch cable tension to the appropriate level. 

It’s that quick and easy to fix/prevent motorcycle clutch cables from breaking repetitively.

Avoid sharp bends while routing the clutch cable, instead install it in a sweeping downward direction. 

And lubricate unlined clutch cables at least once or twice a year. Install the recommended length of clutch cable for your motorcycle by referring to the service manual.

Most people don’t adjust the clutch lever free play, which can lead to other problems such as: (Click on each problem to read in-depth and how to fix these issues)

So now you know how to prevent your motorcycle clutch cable from breaking over and over again by doing a proper maintenance routine and clutch cable adjustments.

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