How To Clean The Clutch Cable On A Dirt Bike

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Learning how to clean the clutch cable on a dirt bike will benefit you enormously. Over time mud, sand and dust finds its way inside the clutch cable casing making the feel of the clutch lever stiffer and harder to pull in. If this is how your clutch feels right now, and it’s creaking louder than your Grandpa’s hips, then you need to clean and lube it – a stiff clutch is a great recipe for arm pump!

How to clean and lube the clutch cable on your dirt bike to make it silky smooth

  • Loosen off the clutch cable using the adjuster that screws into the clutch perch. My Yamaha here has a quick adjuster which you can loosen off using your fingers.
  • Undo the lever bolt and take the clutch lever off the perch. Remove the cable from the lever.
  • Peel back or remove the rubber sleeve and remove the cable adjuster. Give all of these parts and the perch a thorough clean.
  • Locate the bottom end of the cable and disconnect it. If you have a two stroke you will need to remove the magneto cover to do this. Wrap a rag around the end of the cable to catch all the gunk that’s about to come out.
  • Holding the top of the cable up high, attach a cable luber and spray for a minute or two to flush out all the crap. I use CRC or WD40 to clean out the mess first then follow through with proper cable lube. Work the cable up and down the inside of the rubber casing to help get it all out.
  • While you have the magneto cover off make sure you give it a good clean inside and spray with a water dispersant. Once it’s all cleaned and lubed it’s now just a matter of reassembling it all so begin by connecting the cable and screwing the magneto cover back in place.
  • Next, smear some grease on the cable adjuster and screw it all the way into the perch. Then back it off just a tad to make the slits line up so you can put the cable in. Don’t forget to put the rubber sleeve back on!
  • Attach the cable end to your clean clutch lever and bolt back on to the perch. Make sure you grease the lever bolt first and don’t over-tighten the lever bolt or it will stiffen the clutch movement. You want the lever to be able to ‘wiggle’ around a bit.
  • Finally, use the clutch adjuster to tighten the cable. You need to allow a bit of play so the clutch doesn’t engage straight away when the lever is pulled in.

Question: How often should I clean the clutch cable on my dirt bike?

Answer: If you’re racing you’d probably want to do it after every 2nd ride or so, or after every ride in muddy conditions. Personally – I do mine after every 10 to 15 hours – less if I drop the bars directly into sand or mud and make a mess of it. If you don’t clean and lube the clutch cable it will end up fraying, then snapping and you’ll have to replace it. Just hope it doesn’t snap when you’re in the middle of No-wheres-ville.


  • If the rubber sleeve is ripped or torn make sure you replace it as it has the important job of keeping the bad stuff out.
  • Make sure the cable follows a smooth line down to the bottom from the perch. If it has been reassembled and is kinked it will create unnecessary friction.

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Jim Harmer

I'm the co-owner of Dirt Bike Planet. I live in Star, Idaho and enjoy dirt biking with my wife and two boys throughout the Idaho mountains.

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