How to Change the Clutch Lever on Your Harley Davidson

Discover the Importance of Checking and Replacing Clutch Levers on Your Bike

Did you know that regularly inspecting your bike’s clutch levers is crucial for optimal performance? By devoting just a few minutes of your time every three hours of riding, you can ensure that your clutch lever functions flawlessly, reducing the risk of bike slipping, weak clutch control, and inconsistent usage.

To determine whether your clutch lever requires adjustment or replacement, a visual inspection is essential. Look out for telltale signs such as cracks, nicks, or corrosion. These indicators serve as clear signals that your clutch lever needs attention.

In cases where the lever displays severe damage or excessive wear, replacing it becomes imperative. For a thorough assessment, meticulously examine the lever from the engine to the handlebar, leaving no inch unnoticed. This diligent inspection will provide the best results and ensure your clutch lever’s optimal performance.

Now, you might be wondering about the most cost-effective solution for replacing a worn-out clutch lever on your beloved Harley Davidson bike. While a repair shop can certainly assist you, opting for a DIY approach can save you valuable time and money. Let’s delve into a straightforward step-by-step guide to help you change your clutch lever hassle-free.


  1. When replacing the clutch lever, it’s crucial to remove the circlip located beneath it. To facilitate access, it’s recommended to first detach the rear-view mirror positioned on the handle. Utilize two flat-headed screwdrivers to gently extract the circlip from its socket. After successfully removing the circlip, proceed by pushing out the main drop-pin from the lever. Ensure the screws and pins are stored safely, as they will be required later. It’s important to note that the lever cannot be fully removed at this stage. The bottle screw, which is connected to the cables near the engine, still needs to be adjusted.


  1. To properly adjust the clutch cable, it is essential to begin by removing the large clips that secure it. These clips are easily identifiable, facilitating the process. Once the clips have been removed, you can proceed with adjusting the clutch cables. Start by lifting the clutch cable upward, noting that it is larger at the bottom than at the top. Next, utilize a ½ inch and 9/16-inch opening spanner to adjust the bottle screw. It is necessary to completely undo the lock nut to ensure sufficient slack in the cable. Follow the same procedure as with the jam nut to elevate the cable. This action effectively shortens the outer segment of the cable, simplifying the removal of the clutch lever.


When the lock nuts have been properly adjusted, you can confidently and effortlessly detach the clutch lever. This lever is connected to a plastic wrist pin that serves as the link between the clutch wires and the lever. By removing the pin, you can seamlessly disengage the lever from the wires.

With these preparatory steps completed, you are now fully equipped to proceed with the replacement of your clutch lever. Ensure a smooth transition by following the subsequent instructions.


  1. Replacing the clutch lever on your Harley motorcycle is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you complete the task easily:
    1. Insert the new clutch lever into the designated holder, gently securing it in place. Remember, you don’t need to exert excessive force as the holder is designed to provide a perfect fit for the lever.
    2. Take the plastic wrist pin that was previously attached to the cables and the old lever, and insert it into the new lever. This step is simple since there is no need for any screwing.
    3. Now, it’s time to place the clutch lever back into its holder. Once inserted, retrieve the drop-pin that you set aside earlier and push it back into the main socket.

    Please note that changing clutch levers is relatively easy since there are fewer nuts and bolts involved. However, if you are uncertain about the process, it’s advisable to seek assistance from a professional repair shop.


    At this point, we are halfway through the clutch lever replacement process on your Harley. The next step involves setting the slack of the cable. Follow these instructions:

    1. Straighten the cable and position it away from the clutch lever. It’s a good idea to take note of its initial position to ensure accurate placement.
    2. Loosen the bottle screw to allow the cable to fit into its clamp and rest perfectly. Refer to your Harley Davidson repair manual to determine the ideal slack setting for your clutch lever.
    3. Make sure there is sufficient slack in the cable to avoid putting any pressure on the clutch plates within the clutch pack when it is at rest. The recommended slack measurement in the Harley Davidson manual is 3 millimeters, which accounts for heat expansion and contraction in different weather conditions.
    4. Continuously adjust the lever until you achieve the desired distance as per the manual’s specifications.

    By following these steps, you can successfully replace your clutch lever while maintaining the optimal slack setting for smooth operation.


  1. Using two screwdrivers, lower the lock nut after taking your measurements and setting the clutch lever. Don’t make it too tight.
    After that, lower the rubber cable. The rubber cable is not waterproof, so keep that in mind.
    Spray it with WD-40. That will sufficiently lubricate the surface and shield it from inclement weather.


    With the clips you previously removed, lock the cords. The cables will remain intact and be kept from tumbling or loosing as a result.

    Be careful not to pinch or rub any other areas while performing this. If not, the friction will cause the parts to wear out even faster, which is not what you want.

  1. Finally, take the circlip that you took out in the very first step and screw it back in. This will keep the lever intact.

You will need to fiddle with the circlip a little because it’s quite small. But you’ll eventually get the feel for it and it’ll fall into place.

Tips for Replacing the Clutch Lever


Keep in mind that your clutch system’s components are fragile. Especially if you nick or scrape them, they deteriorate more quickly. Be very cautious while handling these components when you change your clutch lever.


This is a big benefit, in my opinion. Make a schedule for when and how to replace your clutch levers. Make a special area in your workspace where you may store the components and tools. It is considerably simpler to repair your bike when every component is secure and identifiable.

How Do I Keep My Clutch Lever in Optimum Condition?

Despite the fact that the topic of this post is changing your clutch levers, you shouldn’t allow your bike to get to that point. Here are some procedures to follow in order to prolong the useful life of your clutch lever.


Wet clutches are increasingly a common feature on bikes. Engine oil is applied to a wet clutch to cool and smooth out its numerous components. Dry clutches are less resilient to harsh weather than wet clutches. They last longer than a dry clutch, which is their opposite.

You must regularly grease your bike’s wet clutch system if it has one. Otherwise, the inside parts would rust and dry out.


Throughout the entire voyage, you can be pressing the clutch without even being aware of it. The clutch lever may deteriorate more quickly as a result of this behaviour. Just utilise the clutch when necessary, always. Never leave your hand on it unattended.


Your clutch lever will deteriorate considerably more quickly than typical if you often perform burnouts or wheelies. The clutch plates, outer basket, and grooves on the inner hub will wear out if you draw and release the clutch forcefully. That could result in slippage and other issues.


Your Harley Davidson’s clutch lever may be changed very easily! If you’re changing the lever for the first time, it can take you a little longer to complete. Changing and adjusting a worn-out lever takes an average of 15 to 20 minutes.
It won’t take you long to get the hang of it because you have to do this around every 20,000 miles.

It is thus ideal if you complete this task yourself. Repair businesses can overcharge for simple tasks that can be completed at home. For expensive motorcycles like the Harley Davidson, these expenses increase.

How to Change the Clutch Lever on Your Harley Davidson
How to Change the Clutch Lever on Your Harley Davidson

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