Clutch Replacement Success VN1600 Classic
I have noticed that ever since I upgraded the exhaust and intake on my '06 1600 Classic that the clutch was slipping under hard acceleration. Reading about this particular model on the internet tells me that the clutch has a fair amount of built in slip and that many people roast them after as little as 10k miles. Mine has 50k on it and although I am not the original owner, I have no reason to believe it had ever been touched.
I'm a big one for going with upgraded aftermarket parts instead of OE so I decided to get a Barnett Carbon Fiber clutch and the upgraded Barnett spring. Without tearing into the bike I wasn't sure which thickness of steels I would need so I ordered a complete set of "standard" steels, which I believe are 2mm. I took it all apart last night and there were no real gotchas to speak of. The exhaust has to come off and so does the right side floorboard / brake pedal assembly. The right hand frame tube section then comes out, and it is a clear shot at the clutch cover. With the bike on the side stand you can remove this cover and lose virtually no oil.
I didn't actually measure the thickness of the friction discs but visually they showed very little wear. The steels were not warped or bent at all. I probably could have gotten by with just a new spring but while I was there it was no harder to replace the whole thing. All of the steels except for one were the 2mm thickness, one was thinner which I believe is the 1.6mm thickness. Since it did not appear burned or warped, I re-used this steel and replaced all of the others with my new ones. Re-assembly was fairly straightforward as well with no major surprises, just pay attention to the order and direction of the washers.
After putting it back together and verifying that neutral actually worked I took it for a spin. The stiffer spring is definitely evident in terms of a stiffer clutch lever. It is certainly not too stiff to use, but it does take some effort. I would not recommend it for the limp wristed. I imagine it will loosen up a little with age, but for now I'll just build up my hand strength. As far as street manners go it feels great. People say carbon fiber is very grabby, I don't think it is. The friction zone is small but very livable. Taking off smoothly is no problem at all, even on a hill. There is no engagement chatter or anything I would consider as bad manners. Most importantly the slip I was feeling under acceleration is a thing of the past.
As a side note I thought I should point out that some people claim after you put a good clutch in these that you absolutely must rev match or you'll be chirping your tire on every downshift. As with a lot of information on the internet, this is total crap. I'm sure you could make it behave that way by altering the thickness of the steels or using additional washers and such, but if don't monkey with it, it is a non-issue.
The attached pictures are from the original clutch.
Last edited by Ahemsa; 06-10-2017 at 03:07 PM.
Reason: adding pictures