Installing A Hydraulic Clutch on Your KLR

Feb 04, 2015 View Comments by

Many motorcycles, particularly dual sport and other off-road-oriented bikes, still use manual clutch cables. For fear of being stranded in the middle of nowhere by a broken clutch cable, I always carried an extra cable, along with an additional front inner tube and several other tools and repair items for my 2006 Kawasaki KLR 650. To gain greater peace of mind out on—and off—the road, I installed the Magura Hydraulic Clutch Kit from The installation was so easy I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner. Here are the five basic steps in the installation process.

Step 1: Get Ready. (a) Lay out the kit components on a flat surface to ensure everything is present; (b) review the OEM clutch cable components and how they are attached to the bike; (c) obtain necessary tools; and (d) preview the installation directions before beginning.

Step 2: Remove the Old Components. (a) Disconnect the manual clutch cable from the clutch release lever on the right side of the engine on top of the clutch housing; (b) disconnect the electrical connection from the manual clutch lever; (c) disconnect the clutch cable from the manual clutch lever; (d) remove the clutch lever from the handlebars; and (e) slowly pull the cable out from the top. Hand guards may have to be removed before the old clutch lever can be removed and the new one installed.

Step 3: Install the New Components. (a) Screw the hydraulic clutch line into the new clutch lever assembly; (b) fish the hydraulic clutch line down through the same pathway and fasteners used to secure the old manual clutch cable; (c) attach the hydraulic clutch lever assembly to the handlebars; (d) attach the electrical connection to the new lever assembly; (e) relocate the left mirror to the new lever assembly (if necessary); (f) use the new bleed nipple to attach the hydraulic cable to the hydraulic cylinder that actuates the clutch release lever; and (g) attach the cable actuator end of the hydraulic cable to the clutch release lever on the engine. Spring pressure from the clutch release lever will keep the cable in its proper position, eliminating any need for a bolt to attach the cable to the engine clutch housing.

Step 4: Bleed the New Clutch Assembly. (a) Insert the mineral oil supplied into the new clutch assembly, and (b) ensure that all air bubbles are removed from the hydraulic system.

Step 5: Make Final Adjustments. (a) Adjust the new clutch lever’s adjustment screw to ensure that the clutch is being fully disengaged when the lever is pulled, and (b) start the bike and go for a test ride.

One of the side benefits of the installation is that the clutch lever is now noticeably easier to pull, and the lever’s travel distance to disengage the clutch is shorter. This makes for less hand fatigue and quicker shifting, which is especially beneficial when riding in a stand-up position over challenging terrain.


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