Breakdown: the clutch cable

clutch cable
There are universal repair kits nowadays. Handy!

Bad luck en route. That can happen with the best classic. With a modern motorcycle you then have a comprehensive mobility plan. We don't know that. We just have to see what is possible. And from personal experience we say that the coupling cable is often the culprit.

The coupling cable

Most of our engines still have a cable-operated clutch. A cheap, simple and effective system. But what if such a cable breaks? A motorcyclist known to us stood behind a car in front of the red traffic lights. He shifted to the first gear. Then his clutch cable broke. The engine mounted the car for him as an enthusiastic male would do the bitch of his dreams. That was a surprising and embarrassing 'Oops! Moment '. But it can happen. Fortunately, the (temporary) repair of such a cable is not rocket science. Only a few things are needed:

A sharp wire cutter, a screw bit and some patience. Those are not the elements that every motorcycle factory supplies with its product, but the purchase costs change and can make a considerable difference in the pleasure you experience during a ride. Cables usually break at the ends, just at the hinge point in the handle or at the clutch lever. Nowadays, handy boxes with some universal cable repair stuff are for sale. Handy to have on board.

That breaking occurs just as often due to metal fatigue

The cable itself must run smoothly. Sometimes that happens automatically through a Teflon coating, sometimes it needs to be lubricated. The pivot points in the clutch lever and at the clutch lever on the block must be clean and lightly lubricated. The barrels must be able to move freely in their holders. Buckling causes metal fatigue in the steel cable fibers. A broken clutch cable does not have to mean the end of the journey if the engine is not yet suffering from an excess of electronic control cousins. Motorcycle gearboxes are good to switch without clutch. Only driving off deserves attention. Depending on the muscles of the engine, put the gearbox in first or second gear. Start the engine. The horse will start kicking. But if it trots, then with the necessary extra traffic anticipation, you can drive well. But beware: that is the ultimate emergency solution.

A roadside repair

It is better to carry out a responsible roadside repair on the way. If the cable is broken along the way, cut the ragged end straight. The sharp side cutters to perform that operation must of course have been purchased well beforehand if you are not lucky enough to be stranded in front of a tool shop. Then slide the screw bar into place, clamp it between the jaws of the tongs in the on-board tool and tighten the screw firmly in the barrel. Leave as little of the inner cable as possible at the end of the screw cap. Excess length means that the barrel cannot turn in its holder and causes a flexural load in the cable and extra friction. The on-board tools usually do not include a screwdriver that is suitable for this job. But every tool shop gladly supplies them for change. The cable has now become slightly shorter, so it is likely that the length adjustment must be adjusted on the lever or engine block.

The idle stroke on the clutch lever must be approximately 2-3 mm with a cold block. That solution can last for years, but we still recommend purchasing and mounting a fresh outer and inner cable.

Again: You can drive well without a clutch. Only driving off is a trick. Without a starter engine there is some risk. The engine then, just like in the road racing of the past, must be 'pressed'. If the thing then runs away on a trot, it is handy to be on board at that time. Pushing the engine on is safer. Classics with a starter motor can simply be started in first or second gear. You usually do not receive a beauty prize for driving away. But that does not matter.




Select other newsletters if necessary

We won't send you spam! Read us privacy Policy .

One Comment

Leave a Reply
  1. If you don't have to disassemble too much, I find it more convenient to have a complete clutch cable under the saddle. Screw barrels are usually not resistant to the coupling of a Laverda ...

Give a reaction

The email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

The maximum upload file size: 8 MB. you can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

Now on newsstands

View the nearly forty-page preview at this link or a click on the cover.

The December issue, containing:

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Super
    Erik van Putten explores the timeless charm of the Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Super, with images of Bart Spijker and himself. The story delves into the world of Alfaenthusiast Koen de Groot, whose family is deeply rooted in the Alfa Romeo culture. Koens' special relationship with his Giulia, a car he has cherished for years and which will soon receive an impressive upgrade, is highlighted. The Giulia symbolizes car love and heritage, a passion enriched by Koen's father Frans, a Alfa Romeo expert and enthusiast.
  • Double Used Type Designations
    Peter Ecury unravels fascinating stories from the automotive world in the 32nd episode of his series on double-used type designations. This edition provides an update on the rumors surrounding Peugeot and Porsche and delves into the history of the type designation '142', used by brands such as Volvo and Austin. Ecury also discusses the evolution of the term 'GT' and the controversial use of the letters 'SS' in car names after WWII, with examples such as the Chevrolet Impala SS and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS.
  • Ducati 750GT, 860GT and 900GTS
    Hans Smid highlights the Ducati round carts, produced from 1972 to 1974, which combine minimalist beauty with unique technology. This article describes Ducati's drive for innovation and the creation of these models, highlights the challenges and costs of collecting them, and shows Ducati's journey from near ruin to iconic status.
  • Horex Imperator
    Marina Block tells the story of the Horex Imperator, an iconic motorcycle from the 50s, known for its sportiness and advanced technology. Despite the closure of the factories, Horex remained known, partly due to the cartoon character Werner and recent reissues. The Imperator, with its innovative parallel twin and overhead camshaft, inspired later designs and has been praised for its quality and design, despite limited sales success.
  • ClassicPost
    Readers of Auto Motor Klassiek share their discoveries and experiences. Eddy Joustra discovers a Peugeot 203 pickup in Heerenveen, while Robert Reessink photographs a unique Moto Guzzi moped in Italy. Stories range from Chris van Haarlem's Scottish scooter adventures to Bram Drooger's discovery of a Rolls-Royce Corniche and two FIAT 850s. Ben de Man finds a special Chevrolet Step-Van in the Netherlands, and readers share corrections and additions to previously published articles.
  • Nissan Silvia 1.8 Turbo
    Aart van der Haagen reveals the history of a rare Nissan Silvia 1.8 Turbo, originally registered as a commercial vehicle. The first owner transformed the car into a family-friendly vehicle, and Jan Manenschijn now cherishes this unrestored gem with only 67.000 kilometers on the odometer.
  • Peugeot 205 collection Team VCC Twente
    Aart van der Haagen highlights Team VCC Twente's collecting passion for Peugeot 205 models. Brothers Peter and Niek Olde Veldhuis collected unique examples such as the GTI and CTI, and even a rare 1.9 GTI Dimma. Their collection shows the transformation of a once ordinary model into a special classic.
  • Volvo and Classic Cars
    Alain Pondman from Volvo Lotte speaks about the true value of classic cars. He criticizes the trend of cheap, poorly maintained classics on Marktplaats, emphasizes the importance of making memories with vintage cars, and advises buyers to invest in quality and durability.
  • Volkswagen Beetle 1955 - Second life
    Max de Krijger tells the story of Hendrik Jan Hofman, a passionate Kever restorer. Hofman brought a badly damaged 1955 Beetle back to life with a dedication to perfection and detail. This green Beetle, complete with handmade high chair and open roof, reflects his craftsmanship. Hofman is now considering selling the Beetle to focus on a new project.
  • ClassicPost
    In the KlassiekerPost section of Auto Motor Klassiek enthusiastic readers share their unique finds and personal experiences. Eddy Joustra comes across a rare Peugeot 203 pickup in Heerenveen. Robert Reessink captures a unique Moto Guzzi moped on camera in Italy. Chris van Haarlem shares his Scottish scooter adventures, including an unexpected encounter with an Austin A30 on the Isle of Skye. Bram Drooger spots an elegant Rolls-Royce Corniche and two FIAT 850s. Ben de Man discovers a special Chevrolet Step-Van in the Netherlands. This section illustrates the diversity and deep-rooted passion of classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts, with stories ranging from local discoveries to international treasures. In addition, readers provide valuable corrections and additions to previously published articles, such as PBTM Matthijssen's input on the Ardie/Dürkopp Dianette, which contributes to the rich and versatile content of the magazine.
  • Once again almost twenty pages of short messages about everything that has to do with classics
  • And of course our section 'Classics' where you can shop around in search of your next classic.

The perfect reading material for an evening or more of undisturbed dreaming. It is now in stores. A subscription is of course better, because then you will no longer miss a number and you are also much cheaper. Not bad in these expensive times.

wheel bolts

The Kaag en Braassem police report: Loose wheel bolts

Streuer and Schnieders

Other Times Sport dominated by side pair Streuer and Schnieders