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I own two motorcycles, a 2008 Honda Rebel 250cc (my first bike, I bought it used), with 7500 miles, and a 2001 Yamaha V-Star classic 650cc (my second). I became a first time rider in the summer of 2015. The Yamaha has 13,000 miles and had at least 2 previous owners.

I’m trying to get used to Yamaha, but it behaves strangely. On my Honda, I let out the clutch lever and the friction zone (where the clutch starts to engage and I feel the bike start to want to move) is about halfway before the clutch lever is completely out. As soon as I feel the clutch start to engage I can START giving it some throttle and I can accelerate without stalling. It’s relatively effortless for me. And the Honda Rebels I learned on in the motorcycle riding course all behaved the same way.

On the V-Star, on the other hand (after the engine is warmed up, choke closed) the clutch starts to engage when the is almost completely out (not near the halfway point), I feel the engine pulling the bike, but not very strongly, and the engine stalls immediately if I don’t have any throttle going simultaneously at that point. Yeah, the Yamaha weights more that the Honda, about 530 lbs. vs 330 lbs., but it has an engine that’s more than twice the size (and power) too. These situations happened in my driveway, which is level, and I don’t have a steep incline to get into the street.

Dumb question: is there an easy way to adjust the clutch so it engages halfway thru its range and not nearly all the way out? But even if I were to change where the clutch engages, is there a Yamaha quirk that requires me to start opening the throttle before I completely let out the clutch? Is this a sign of some other mechanical problem? I did manage to get the Yamaha about a half block from my house and clutch situation made it hard to keep it from stalling, and it even stalled as I was trying to shift into 2nd. I expected a bigger bike should start moving as easily as my small Honda. (One thing I noticed is that the Yamaha doesn’t stall so easily if I try this with the choke all the way out, and I guess I can try riding the bike with the choke all the way out, after the engine all warmed up, but I’m not supposed to do that. This also tells me that there may be a fuel mixture problem).

I'm not a mechanical expert so I may not be seeing obvious problems. Thanks for any info anybody can provide.

5,634 Posts
yep Farmall nailed the solution

Same deal with me, took the MSF course on the same Honda, very wide friction zone
then got my 650 about a week later.

Its not that the clutch on your bike is bad or the engine is stalling out. You got use to the honda wide zone riding the bike for as long as you owned it, and now your 650 is ... well its just different.

Its the same deal if you have two very different cars with manual transmissions, it takes a while to switch from one to the other so you can engage the clutch without thinking about it.

One thing to keep in mind, motorcycle clutch plates are in the motor oil bath, so you would have to try really hard to burn one out from slipping it too long, they are oil cooled. In a car 3 or 4 seconds slipping the clutch is too long. On a motorcycle you should intentionally be slipping the clutch to control the speed of the bike when going slow, like doing the 8's and U turns during the class.

Go back and do the class practice on your Vstar. Keep the bike stopped, find the friction zone and feel the bike pull forward, holding it back with your feet... Let the bike inch forward about a foot, then push it back, slip the clutch letting the bike creep forward, then push it back

do this several times till you feel the zone. Do it when you are stopped at a light if you want, let the lever out till the bike is pulling.. then if you need to crack the throttle a bit thats ok too.

If you do this then the bike is cold and it keeps stalling you pushed the choke back in too soon. When my 650 is dead cold I pull the choke all the way out to start it, and burp the throttle just a bit when it fires, then immediately push it in one click.... check the lights and brakes and push it in another click and take off.

Dont push it in the last bit all the way till you ride a 1/4 mile or so. When the bike is cold it will stall on you, which sucks if you are going around a corner (because the bike will then spiral into the turn harder).

On level ground you should be able to slip the clutch all the way engaged with a warm engine without giving it any gas and without stalling the bike. If you try several times and it wont do this, your idle screw might be set too slow. Its right on the side of the carb, you can turn it with your fingers to adjust the idle.

If you have the idle speed too high the bike will feel like its coasting when you let off the gas, instead of slowing the bike down from the engine back-compression.

Dont be afraid to tinker with it till it feels right for you.

And if you cant get use to the narrow friction zone, that modified lever is the way to go.
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