very stiff clutch/front brake levers - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-31-2009, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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very stiff clutch/front brake levers

So, I'd put over 3,200 miles on a 14 year old Kawasaki VN750 that I got with about 23,000 miles on it (my first motorcycle), before switching to... a 4 year old Kawasaki VN750 with 550 miles on it. (Yay!)

I hadn't ridden the older bike for about a month but took her out for a spin just now. Aside from some of the "old bike" things I remembered being different -- a noisier engine with a slight tick or rattle, a more worn gear shift (I had to kick harder to shift gears), and the need to get new front fork springs -- I realized the clutch and front brake levers were MUCH stiffer on the old bike. They'd come to me pretty stiff, and while I had never remarked on it when it was my only ride, now that I was used to a much smoother clutch/brake on my newer bike I found it very noticeable.

Is this a matter of lubrication somewhere? If so, where and with what? FWIW, I've taken this bike in to get serviced 2 or 3 times, at different shops for different reasons, and the dealer mechanics have never remarked on the stiffness -- surprises me given how obvious it is to me now.

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 09:53 AM
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Never had a need to "lube" the levers but I do give them a shot of electrical parts cleaner every so often, exspecially if I've ridden in the rain.
But even then they weren't 'stiff', just not making good contacts.
I'd suspect maybe a cable lube would ease up the stiffness. Chances are this yearly maintenance was never done on a 4 yr old bike?

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dianna View Post
Never had a need to "lube" the levers but I do give them a shot of electrical parts cleaner every so often, exspecially if I've ridden in the rain.
But even then they weren't 'stiff', just not making good contacts.
I'd suspect maybe a cable lube would ease up the stiffness. Chances are this yearly maintenance was never done on a 4 yr old bike?
Thanks for the insight!

I can only say that indeed, this maintenance was never done by ME over the course of the past year... As for what it suffered in its previous 14 years I cannot say, though the carbs were pretty well gunked when I got it.

How do I lube the cables? Is this in the Clymer book (I haven't got it with me but I can look it up when I get home)? What kind of lube is required, can I get it at AutoZone or is it M/C specific (so that I'd have to swing by a dealer or order it online)?

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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OK it seems clear I need to get some cable lube and go to town on these things. Is there any chance the cables themselves need replacing? What are the signs of cable wear (as opposed to being just very stiff due to lack of lube)?

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by robardin View Post
OK it seems clear I need to get some cable lube and go to town on these things. Is there any chance the cables themselves need replacing? What are the signs of cable wear (as opposed to being just very stiff due to lack of lube)?
After 14 years it's time to replace the cables. The stock cables are helical wound steel with a plasitc casing, over time the inner cable wears groves in the steel and becomes harder to operate. Motion Pro cables have a nylon sleeve to prevent this and never need lube.

Motion Pro

http://www.motionpro.com/motorcycle/...i/VN_750A/all/


85 VN700 "Old Yella"

REBUILT ENGINE
CUSTOM PAINT
VANCE & HINES CRUZERS
EAR SHAVED AND RE-JETTED W/K&N'S
DUNLOP ELITE K591 FRONT & REAR
VOLTMETER
SYNTHETIC BRAKE FLUID
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SPLINES LUBED
ACCT'S GREASED W/TOC SPRINGS
COASTERD
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LEATHER TOOL AND ROLL BAG
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ORIGINAL STATOR & R/R 14.5v
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Last edited by lance328; 06-01-2009 at 12:28 PM.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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there is a write-up on this somewhere, knifemaker had a nice little trick using a plastic bag with the corner cut out & a rubberband to create a resivor.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 12:34 PM
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I agree, the cable most likely needs replaced for the clutch.

The front brake, on the otherhand, has no cables. It's all hydraulic. You may have a slightly blocked passage-way or dirty pistons.
Have you ever had the brake fluid changed? Brake pads changed?

It is also possible the stiffness is just in the levers, but not likely.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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After 14 years it's time to replace the cables. The stock cables are helical wound steel with a plasitc casing, over time the inner cable wears groves in the steel and becomes harder to operate. Motion Pro cables have a nylon sleeve to prevent this and never need lube.
Yet they also sell lube... I guess that's for non-Motion Pro clutch cables?

Yes, the brakes pads and fluid have both been changed... Very little play on the brakes, not sure if that's a bad thing. The clutch is definitely "sticky" and the throttle is kind of heavy too, now that I have a newer bike to compare it to. So, new clutch and throttle cable for me, eh?

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: the Motion Pro cables -- what's the diff. between the "normal" throttle cable and the one they sell that's +6 inches? Both are described as "push/pull are the same", so why have a cable that's sold longer than the other?

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by robardin View Post
Re: the Motion Pro cables -- what's the diff. between the "normal" throttle cable and the one they sell that's +6 inches? Both are described as "push/pull are the same", so why have a cable that's sold longer than the other?
The +6" is for taller handelbars. You need two one for pull and one for push.


85 VN700 "Old Yella"

REBUILT ENGINE
CUSTOM PAINT
VANCE & HINES CRUZERS
EAR SHAVED AND RE-JETTED W/K&N'S
DUNLOP ELITE K591 FRONT & REAR
VOLTMETER
SYNTHETIC BRAKE FLUID
SYNTHETIC OIL & GEAR LUBE
PLEXISTAR 2 WINDSHIELD
SPLINES LUBED
ACCT'S GREASED W/TOC SPRINGS
COASTERD
LEATHER SADDLE BAGS
LEATHER TOOL AND ROLL BAG
PICKUP COILS GAPPED AT .018"
NGK CAP, WIRES, IRIDUMS
BARNETT FRICTION PLATES & SPRINGS
CUSTOM GRIPS, MIRRORS, LEVERS
ORIGINAL STATOR & R/R 14.5v
DEKA MF AGM ETX15L

Best Auto/Moto Insurance | Motorcycle Protection Today | FREE Trade-In Quote
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