How to make your clutch last a long time:  Proper adjustment and shifting technique are key!

One day I was hanging out near the shop at  California BMW-Triumph and the owner, Kari Prager, came over and checked the freeplay on my clutch. It met his approval, and later he included a warning in the Autumn newsletter to all of Cal BMW's customers:

"It is extremely important with all motorcycles using single-plate dry clutches (all BMWs except F 650) to keep plenty of free play adjustment at the clutch lever, and to slip the clutch as briefly as possible when shifting or taking off. This is contrary to the advice offered by many of the MSF schools, which encourage low speed modulation by slipping the clutch. Such a technique does little harm to a multi-plate wet clutch, but is not advisable for BMWs. Further, if the BMW is ridden without free-play, rapid and terminal clutch wear will occur. [Your BMW dealer] will be happy to instruct you in the correct feel for proper adjustment, and demonstrate proper clutch technique if you have any uncertainty about this."

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Kari Prager also reminded us of shifting techniques on BMWs: "Many riders find improved shifting feel if the shift lever is lightly preloaded before pulling in the clutch, and pressure is kept on the lever until the clutch is released; the shift will be more positive and there will be less likelihood of jumping out of gear under hard acceleration. If it is difficult to engage first gear, release pressure on the shifter, release the clutch and give a little throttle to spin the gears, then immediately pull in the clutch and depress the shifter. If the gear still will not engage, keep light pressure on the shifter while gently releasing the clutch until the gear is engaged."

©California BMW Triumph - reprinted with permission