First let me roll back a bit to how I got to "clutch lever stopped by handlebars". I have been having some issues with the bike (a 2005) gear shifter becoming harder to shift after waiting in first gear with the clutch pulled in for about 20 seconds. If I wait for a prolonged time, say 30 seconds, the gears can be come so difficult to shift, they effectively become stuck and it feels like I am pushing against soft iron with the gear pedal. There is some give, but you feel like something could break if you really forced it. I believe that this is due to the clutch dragging and upsetting the gear change. If I stop and turn off the bike for a couple of minutes or just carry out normal riding without stopping in first, the gear changes gradually become easier again. What I think is happening is that the clutch isn't disengaging fully (although the bike doesn't try to pull away, so it is mostly disengaged). Then, the friction plates are expanding as they heat up and compounding the problem, but this is total conjecture on my part.
I believe I have ticked off the usual causes:
- Clutch free play is dialed right to the tight end of the spec sheet (hardly any). I've tried it at the loose and tight end of the spec
- Chain tightness is slightly looser than the spec by a few mm.
- Engine oil is topped up and is new.
- A mechanic took apart the clutch and inspected the basket and said it was all clean with no real wear to speak of.
- Clutch cable is a new OEM part
What has just occurred to me is that the clutch lever goes all the way back to the handlebar grip and further movement is stopped by the grip. What I then did (whilst the lever was pulled in as far as possible) was place an adjustable spanner around the actuator lever that sticks out of the clutch, at the other end of the cable. I was able to actuate the clutch more by persuading it with the spanner, than what the lever allows before hitting the handlebar grips.
Now the questions:
- Does anyone know if the missing bit of clutch movement that the handlebar lever isn't able to actuate, is significant. I could imagine it is. I could equally imagine it is a dead zone that makes no difference or a bit of both.
- Is the grip blocking full handlebar lever movement a known issue (if it is indeed an issue in my case - not sure)?
- Is there anything else anyone can think of that I could check?
I should also mention that there is some clutch chatter, but I'm not sure that it is at a level that is abnormal for this bike.
I think tomorrow I'll take the grip off or shave it down a bit near the lever and I'll post what happens.