BMWSportTouring

Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable

Posted By: McDuugle

Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/14/17 11:14 PM

This morning on my ride to work my clutch cable snapped. I was in 4th gear. Managed to pull in and stall out in a parking space. Walked to work.... came back now in the evening with my vice grips and thought it would be not big deal to pull the cable choose my gear and roll off into the sunset.... Not so much.

Started the bike, pulled the cable, shifted into 1st and stalled out. Tried it again pulling harder on the cable, same result. Tried shifting into second instead but same result. Any ideas?

Drive into the sunset turned into a walk through the cold night haha.
Posted By: dirtrider

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/14/17 11:56 PM

Originally Posted by McDuugle
This morning on my ride to work my clutch cable snapped. I was in 4th gear. Managed to pull in and stall out in a parking space. Walked to work.... came back now in the evening with my vice grips and thought it would be not big deal to pull the cable choose my gear and roll off into the sunset.... Not so much.

Started the bike, pulled the cable, shifted into 1st and stalled out. Tried it again pulling harder on the cable, same result. Tried shifting into second instead but same result. Any ideas?

Drive into the sunset turned into a walk through the cold night haha.





Evening McDuugle

You might be able to start it on the center stand (rear wheel off the ground), then drop it into 1st, then ride it off the center stand. As long as you don't have to completely stop you can carefully shift without the the clutch.
Posted By: McDuugle

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/15/17 12:56 AM



Evening McDuugle

You might be able to start it on the center stand (rear wheel off the ground), then drop it into 1st, then ride it off the center stand. As long as you don't have to completely stop you can carefully shift without the the clutch.
[/quote]

Will give it a whirl. Any idea why I can get by with the vice grips?
Posted By: McDuugle

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/15/17 03:36 AM

Bike has been recovered. Managed to get a rolling start with engine running in neutral, then kicking it into gear. Shifting while riding and bopping the throttle was so smooth I almost didnt even miss the clutch wink (less clunky)
Posted By: Tri750

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/15/17 05:26 PM

If it broke right where the cable comes out of the clutch lever, very good chance (if the bike is fairly high mileage) that the lever itself is worn where the cable end (barrel) seats into the lever.

The hole becomes egg shaped over time preventing the barrel from swiveling as it should and then the cable just kinks back and forth until it breaks again in 6 months, then the riders claims a defective cable, repeat.

You can sometimes re-size the lever with a unibit or some careful filing and regrease with waterproof grease making sure the barrel pivots smoothly.

Replacing the lever with a fresh one is expensive but will give you another very long run until it wears out.

Regreasing the pivot point with the mentioned waterproof grease will extend the lever life and help prevent the cable from breaking there.

If I'm not mistaken back in the day. It was part of a service.

If the cable broke somewhere else within the sheath,......uh,.....nevermind.
Posted By: McDuugle

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/15/17 06:56 PM

Yeah that where is snapped... right at the lever.

BTW any idea why pulling the cable with the vice grips didn't do the trick?
Posted By: Tri750

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/16/17 01:43 AM

The sidestand was down?
Posted By: McDuugle

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/16/17 04:10 AM

Originally Posted by Tri750
The sidestand was down?


No, the bike was already running, then I would pull the cable with the vise grips and try to shift and it would stall out. It would seam to shift ok when they bike was off with this method but not when running....

Side stand was up, and clutch sensor was bypassed.
Posted By: Jim Moore

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/16/17 09:33 AM

It takes a surprising amount of force to operate the clutch. I don't think you could do it just by pulling on the cable, even with vice grips. You need a mechanical advantage of some sort.
Posted By: lkraus

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/16/17 01:19 PM

Originally Posted by Jim Moore
It takes a surprising amount of force to operate the clutch. I don't think you could do it just by pulling on the cable, even with vice grips. You need a mechanical advantage of some sort.


I managed that trick once, many moons ago, on a Honda CB175. Rocked the curved outer edge of ViseGrips on the switch housing. In spite of that bike's lighter pull, it still did not full disengage the clutch because the pivot point was in the wrong spot.
Posted By: SAS

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/19/17 06:12 PM

I had the same, it broke at the lever. The first time it broke was at about 68k. At that point I just figured that it was time that it broke. I replaced the cable then it broke 3k later. At that point I looked at all the parts and found exactly what Tri750 found. I replaced all parts, the special bolt, bushing and lever. The lever was the most money at $77 dollars. Now what BMW did not tell me was that a new clutch handle comes with a bushing, so now I have an extra. So with new cable, handle, and hardware it was around $150.
Posted By: EffBee

Re: Down and out - Snapped Clutch Cable - 12/19/17 08:02 PM

Some years back, Russell Bynum broke his clutch cable on a trip back to CA from TX. By trying his best to avoid red lights and stop signs, and clutchlessly popping it into neutral when he had to stop, then killing the engine and starting the bike in first gear, he was able to shift without the clutch and make his way safely home. In fact, he wrote about it here and mentioned how whenever he had to leave the highway for gas, food or motel, how it became sort of a game to time the traffic lights to his favor.

It can be done and it's not horribly difficult on a long trip. However, if the bike is used as a commuter amid heavy traffic, then that's an entirely different situation.
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