Tiger 955i clutch lever stopped by handlebars - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
Tiger's 885i & 955i - Mods & Workshop Workshop and technical talk for the 885i & 955i Tigers

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
Minitwins
Main Motorcycle: Triumph Tiger 955i 2005
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Tiger 955i clutch lever stopped by handlebars

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.

Last edited by BaconStorm; 01-02-2019 at 12:46 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 05:53 AM
World SuperBike
Main Motorcycle: 2006 Tiger '955
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Hi mate,

I've never had any clutch issues with any of my Tigers, so I'm not sure what your problem is ??

But, if you have the free-play dialed out at the lever, you should be able to engage the gears with no issues, so I wouldn't start shaving anything off the grips. You don't have an aftermarket lever on do you, maybe one that the previous owner put on as he had very small delicate hands ?? The Tiger clutch lever is quite a stretch even for those of us with hands like shovels. You may not be getting full lever travel ?? If you let me know what the distance is between the end of the lever and the grips, I'll let you know what mine is to see if it's the same ??

And......if that's not the issue, maybe it's time to take the the whole clutch assembly off and investigate further ??

Safe riding.
Regards,
Graeme.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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Originally Posted by Tiger-G View Post
Hi mate,

If you let me know what the distance is between the end of the lever and the grips, I'll let you know what mine is to see if it's the same ??
If I push the lever forwards, there is 11cm from the back of the lever to the handlebars, if I take the measurement at the handlebars at the end of the rubber grip. To the best of my knowledge they are OEM levers. Definitely interested in knowing what measurement you get. Thanks.

I'll hold off on the scalpel for a while
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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A bit more info

I've also just tried dialing out the free play another quarter turn tighter than the spec. This should have had a similar effect to slicing off a bit of the handlebar grip in actuating the clutch just a bit further. It didn't help.


Suspect I'll be taking the clutch apart shortly. The upside to owning an old bike like this is it is forcing me to learn a lot more about motorcycle mechanics than if I had a fancy bike that I just dropped off at the dealers for its servicing. I'm getting through its issues one problem at a time and I'm finding it a mix of anxiety an enjoyment when getting my hands dirty.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 11:40 AM
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I may have missed this, but have you adjusted the clutch cable at the engine end?

I only ask as I had to make quite an adjustment when I replaced the clutch cable on mine to be able to adjust it correctly at the lever end.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2019, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaconStorm View Post
If I push the lever forwards, there is 11cm from the back of the lever to the handlebars, if I take the measurement at the handlebars at the end of the rubber grip. To the best of my knowledge they are OEM levers. Definitely interested in knowing what measurement you get. Thanks.

I'll hold off on the scalpel for a while

Well.....I never thought I'd be checking the distance on my clutch lever in a freezing cold garage in January

Okaaaayy......From the underside of the lever, just before it tapers off towards the ball end, to where the rubber grip ends there is 11cm without any pull on the lever. With the freeplay taken up, there is 10cm. Hope that helps

Safe riding.
Regards,
Graeme.

Last edited by Tiger-G; 01-05-2019 at 05:22 AM.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger-G View Post
Well.....I never thought I'd be checking the distance on my clutch lever in a freezing cold garage in January

Okaaaayy......From the underside of the lever, just before it tapers off towards the ball end, to where the rubber grip ends there is 11cm without any pull on the lever. With the freeplay taken up, there is 10cm. Hope that helps

Ok, looks like the same as mine. Thanks.

I've now taken the clutch apart. What I found in there wasn't what I expected. The Haynes manual said there should be 9 friction plates. I have 10, but they are thinner, which is as per the sprint, not the tiger. Not sure if the manual isn't appraised of all the variations or a previous owner has shoved another clutch in there from another bike. It all looks good. Very little wear and no warped disks. Just not sure where I go from here.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee337 View Post
I may have missed this, but have you adjusted the clutch cable at the engine end?

I only ask as I had to make quite an adjustment when I replaced the clutch cable on mine to be able to adjust it correctly at the lever end.
My understanding (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that provided you can get the correct free play, it shouldn't matter which combinations of upper/lower adjustment you use. However, the lower was set so that there doesn't have to be too much upper adjustment, thus allowing easy future upper adjustment to account for cable stretch as it occurs. So, I think I'm answering yes to your question.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaconStorm View Post
Ok, looks like the same as mine. Thanks.

I've now taken the clutch apart. What I found in there wasn't what I expected. The Haynes manual said there should be 9 friction plates. I have 10, but they are thinner, which is as per the sprint, not the tiger. Not sure if the manual isn't appraised of all the variations or a previous owner has shoved another clutch in there from another bike. It all looks good. Very little wear and no warped disks. Just not sure where I go from here.
Hmmm.....some difficult and potentially expensive decisions to make

A quick check on Ebay says a set of plates are 65. But do you waste 65 just to find out if that's the issue ??

I've never had to "do" a clutch on a Tiger, so can't help. I wouldn't even know how to check the plates to see if that's the issue ??

Safe riding.
Regards,
Graeme.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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Looks like the number of friction plates changed from 9 to 10 after engine number 232539. My Haynes manual doesn't include that variant. I can't find the clutch plate wear tolerances anywhere for my engine number. I'm going to give the clutch plates a light scrub with some 300 grit sandpaper to clean off the surface then give them a good soak in oil. They seemed a bit dry upon extraction, but were not stuck together. One of the steel plates that butts up against the judder spring has a very shallow wear groove in it. I've replaced that and the judder spring. Trying to decide whether to replace the oil&filter or not, since it only has a few hundred miles since the last oil change. Probably will.
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