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Discussion Starter #1
There is virtually no friction zone on the 02 1500 Drifter I just purchased. I thought this may be normal since it's hydraulic and I'm used to cable actuated, but apparently not. My son-in-law purchased an almost identical 01 1500 Drifter yesterday and we swapped for a while today. He nearly dropped my bike during a slow speed turn because of the "grabby" clutch (nearly got away from him). His bike's clutch action is way smoother with plenty of friction zone.

Besides the clutch handle dial (reach) adjustment, is there any other way to smooth it out some?

Another note: Hot, cold, doesn't matter - when shifting from neutral into first the clutch acts like the plates are stuck together and "jumps", every time.
 

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Do you think the problem is in the clutch / master cylinder, or in the clutch itself? Might seem like a stupid question, but if you're used to riding something with a clutch cable, you undoubtedly know what a frayed cable feels like... The same kind of sensation can happen when the clutch lever pivot gets worn or gunky. A quick spray with some silicone might tell you a lot.

It also could be a bad master cylinder. I would crack open the bleeder and pump the lever. Does it operate smoothly? Note that you'll have to bleed the clutch system if you let air get into it, so keep it topped up with brake fluid as you work.

The other easy possibility I can think of is that it's got the wrong oil in the crankcase, or that the oil is contaminated. It seems like one of those topics that gets endless debate, but a lot of the modern automotive oils have friction modifiers that may interfere with clutch function. Since the bike's new to you anyway there's certainly no harm in an oil change with motorcycle rated oil and a new filter.

Enjoy the new bike!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you think the problem is in the clutch / master cylinder, or in the clutch itself? Might seem like a stupid question, but if you're used to riding something with a clutch cable, you undoubtedly know what a frayed cable feels like... The same kind of sensation can happen when the clutch lever pivot gets worn or gunky. A quick spray with some silicone might tell you a lot.

It also could be a bad master cylinder. I would crack open the bleeder and pump the lever. Does it operate smoothly? Note that you'll have to bleed the clutch system if you let air get into it, so keep it topped up with brake fluid as you work.

The other easy possibility I can think of is that it's got the wrong oil in the crankcase, or that the oil is contaminated. It seems like one of those topics that gets endless debate, but a lot of the modern automotive oils have friction modifiers that may interfere with clutch function. Since the bike's new to you anyway there's certainly no harm in an oil change with motorcycle rated oil and a new filter.

Enjoy the new bike!
dsutton24,

Thanks for your input. I probably used the wrong terminology. Grabby may be the wrong description as the clutch pull is very smooth and feels perfectly normal, so I doubt it's a pivot lubrication issue.

I did change the oil to full synthetic motorcycle oil. That didn't seem to help even after 80 miles of wearing it in, so it isn't that.

If there's no adjustment down at the clutch housing arm, then the only thing left is something going on with the master cylinder as you mentioned. I'll bleed that system and see what happens.

And we are enjoying our "new" Drifters.:D They are smooth machines and definitely get a second look from folks.
 

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While you're bleeding that master cylinder, look for the small return hole in the resovior. If that's clogged then it could cause what you're describing. A pin works well for clearing it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
While you're bleeding that master cylinder, look for the small return hole in the resovior. If that's clogged then it could cause what you're describing. A pin works well for clearing it out.
Thanks Phillip. I recall seeing a post somewhere on here like you describe and will be careful probing that small return hole. I read everything I could find on the Drifter forum and if this doesn't work I'll be harassing you guys some more.
 

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There is virtually no friction zone on the 02 1500 Drifter I just purchased. I thought this may be normal since it's hydraulic and I'm used to cable actuated, but apparently not. My son-in-law purchased an almost identical 01 1500 Drifter yesterday and we swapped for a while today. He nearly dropped my bike during a slow speed turn because of the "grabby" clutch (nearly got away from him). His bike's clutch action is way smoother with plenty of friction zone.

Besides the clutch handle dial (reach) adjustment, is there any other way to smooth it out some?

Another note: Hot, cold, doesn't matter - when shifting from neutral into first the clutch acts like the plates are stuck together and "jumps", every time.
dont just bleed it, replace the fluids completely, that includes both brakes. Its 13 years old, you can be pretty confident the previous owners havent done it. kawasaki service manual says every three years. youre way overdue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
dont just bleed it, replace the fluids completely, that includes both brakes. Its 13 years old, you can be pretty confident the previous owners havent done it. kawasaki service manual says every three years. youre way overdue.
Old at 13? Why she's barely into puberty and just starting to date.;)

Will do as you say - inspected the brake pads today & plenty of wear left - taking the rear fender off was easy peasy much to my surprise. Will bleed and replace the fluid in all hyd. systems next. Brand new Shinko tire on the rear was also a surprise but had about 4 pounds of balance lead. :eek:

Sure like this bike!
 

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Brand new Shinko tire on the rear was also a surprise.......
A buddy of mine owns a motorcycle shop and has been putting on a lot of those Shinko tires the last couple of years, especially the 777's. He say's that he's noticed that they seem to wear better if you keep them about 2 pounds over what is recommended on the tire. I don't know why that is, but I've been doing it and after nearly 4k miles mine still look great.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
update

All fluids replaced and the clutch friction zone feels a little better. Still "jumps" a little into first when cold but that's normal - doesn't do it when warmed up now. The clutch fluid was darker than the brake fluids so it was probably older.

The rear brake cylinder has two bleed ports and I bled them both, but the old fluid was completely black coming out of one but not the other :confused:- don't know why.
 

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All fluids replaced and the clutch friction zone feels a little better. Still "jumps" a little into first when cold but that's normal - doesn't do it when warmed up now. The clutch fluid was darker than the brake fluids so it was probably older.

The rear brake cylinder has two bleed ports and I bled them both, but the old fluid was completely black coming out of one but not the other :confused:- don't know why.
because of the two pots, theres a chance of an air lock.
the last person didnt do it the right way round, so the fluid was contaminated by the air, turning it black.

Bleed the lower one first till the fluid is clear and bubble free, then tighten, and do the same for the higher one.
 

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A buddy of mine owns a motorcycle shop and has been putting on a lot of those Shinko tires the last couple of years, especially the 777's. He say's that he's noticed that they seem to wear better if you keep them about 2 pounds over what is recommended on the tire. I don't know why that is, but I've been doing it and after nearly 4k miles mine still look great.
That would be true of all tires including automotive tires. More air = longer tread life, less air= less tread life.
 
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