2.18. Clutch adjustment

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Adjusting the XS650 clutch to work so that you can always shift into neutral at a stop is nearly magic ! It can be done but as the engine temp changes with the outside temp things don't always work the same. It would be nice if we all had 70° F riding all the time !!! So to get the bike into neutral the clutch plates need to be freed up, a slight blip of the throttle as you lightly pull up or push down with your toes helps greatly. New lubed clutch cable with as much of the tight bends taken out helps too ! Sanding the metal discs and three new heavy springs helps too if you're up to it.

2.18.1 Causes of Clutch Drag

  • Misadjustment. Follow the adjustment procedure at the lever and at the worm gear on the left side case (see section 2.18.2 below)
  • Oil. 20W40 motorcycle oil is recommended by Yamaha. People have other favorites, but be sure that you're not using standard automobile oil that may be too slippery for the XS650's wet clutch.
  • Overheating. Riding the clutch will cause it to heat up and drag. Too much heat can warp the clutch plate.
  • Clutch cable. The clutch pushrod may not be moving far enough to completely disengage the clutch because the cable does not have enough free length to allow the push screw mechanism to return. Easy fix is to replace the clutch cable with a good quality nylon-lined cable.

2.18.2 Adjustment Procedure

1. Make sure there is about 1/8" free play at the lever. The free play can be adjusted by loosening the lock nut at the lever and turning the length adjuster in/out.

2. Remove the clutch adjustment cover on the left side engine case. You can pry it off with a flathead screwdriver.

3. Loosen the lock nut and turn the adjuster screw in just until it sits against the clutch pushrod. Then back off the screw 1/4 turn and tighten the lock nut.

4. Snap the clutch adjustment cover back into place.

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