Clutch Drag problems

Hello all

Got a question for all the mechanically minded out there. My better half has got a VFR400 and its suffering for severe clutch drag.

To explain the clutch has been overhauled and has new metal and friction plates. The basket had grooves on the ‘teeth’ (think theyre called teeth) which were filed down and made smooth. We were also told the cable was good. A couple of other bits and bobs by the lever also replaced and made good.

BUT weve still got the same problem with the clutch dragging when and only when the engine get very hot.

Pulled up outside home last night after about a 14 mile journey and without touching the throttle and the clutch lever fully pulled in to the grip the bike was actually creeping forward. Try to hold it by applying front brake and she stalls.

Its almost like I want to blame the cable but the feeling from the lever is almost like there is a loss of pneumatics or pressure somewhere. It get very soggy and the bite point comes right in to the grip.

Any help or suggestions or anyone eles experienced anything like the before ?


What’s the oil level like?

Oil levels should be fine. Not actually checked myself but the bikes just had a full service so should be good.

first of all, is your clutch cable freeplay set correctly? my NC30 is very sensitive to it.what clutch did you have fitted? i have had an NC30 for years (both road and race use) and any type of aftermarket clutch used to drag or slip. (ebc, barnett etc) only use original honda ones.
did you replace the whole clutch or just the friction plates? if just the friction ones alone (and they are honda original ones) then you probably have warped/distorted steel plates

Really not sure if the clutch as a whole is aftermarket or not. Im also not sure about the plates being aftermarket or not but weve just had both the metal and friction plates replaced, so there should be no warpage.

As for the free play it seems fine when the bike is cold. The feel from the lever is good with the right amount of freeplay to start and tension when pulled andthe bite point is just right. All seems normal. Ride it for a about 11 miles though and get the engine and all other the temperatures up there and then the drag starts. The freeplay gets a lot more and the lever feels spongy with no sort of tension as such (thats why I say it feels like there a loss of pneumatics or pressure) and the bite point just creeps closer and closer to the grip till it eventually just goes past that point where it drags. In the past weve played with the adjustments on the cable when it gets like that and it seems to work fine till the bike cools down again … but then theres no free play and the bite point is way too far from the lever.

Mabe like you say less ham fisted with the adjustments … dont think im that much of a chimp tho.

Thanks for that. Food for thought Mat.


if you find yourself near vauxhall/wandsworth road drop in and il have a quick look at it for you


oval motorcycle centre

15-17 clyston street



020 7720 3621

If it is a hydraulic clutch it could be a leaky slave cylinder
as it’s only happening when the engine is warmed up.
( The master cylinder is at the clutch lever end so would
not be affectd by engine temp ).

It happened to an old car, most bizare feeling when sat at
lights, clutch in, all normal and then after a minute or so the
car started to pull off all on it’s own. Putting it in neutral
and pumping the clutch lever got me a few more seconds
with a working clutch until the resevoir emptied.

i think the bit about adjusting the cable rules that out :smiley:


It was the bit about “loss of pneumatics or pressure” that got me going :slight_smile:

wot actually was filed down? who done the work etc? was the plates soaked for long enough?

Choprocker (15/09/2011)

It was the clutch basket fingers filed down, done by a bike shop. The clutch plates were definately soaked.

A bit more on what Bobby R1 says about the adjustment, we tried to adjust it when cold, it drags 9miles down the road, but if you adjust the cable when it’s hot, you’re slipping the clutch when it’s cold.

It’s hard to get into neutural just before it all kicks off with the dragging, but I don’t think it’s a problem with the gear box, and the bizaar thing is it only needs about 5mins to cool down enough to get it into neutural, not hours… still not comforting in the middle of a junction, but still…

was correct oil used?

Matt … thanks for the offer.

Choprocker … Im assuming the oil used was the correct type but it may be worth a question. Well be taking the bike back to the shop soon. I’ll keep you all posted and let you know what the outcome and/or problem is.

Thanks for the replies.

As promised an update on the clutch drag problems.

Took the bike back to the shop resulting in a bit of to and fro, some head scratching and a bit of a test ride after some cable adjustment at the lever. After the test ride however the cable was adjusted again at both the clutch and lever ends. This seems to have eased the problem and at least the bike is not dragging any more when hot. Not sure if the problem has been solved completely by the adjustments alone though because the bite point now is quite far out when the bike is cold and gets progressively closer in to the grip as the bike gets hotter. Have been told that it may well be the plates (not sure now if it was friction or metal) which were aftermarket and not genuine honda parts, and that once a bit more worn in the bite point will settle and all will be good. That said though there was also the suggestion that if the dragging issues resurfaced then they would change the oil for a different brand.

So thanks to all for their input. Seems it could just be one or the other or everything combined, but with another little electrical problem that surfaced last week (aaaargh) weve not had too much riding time. Will see how it goes from now on and hopefully wont need to post on this again.

In the mean time will keep an eye out for a full new clutch all bits and bobs included. If anyone knows of such a beast lurking around somewhere, gratefull if you please let us know.

Thanks again