How To Adjust The Clutch On A Harley

How to Install, Replace & Adjust Clutch Cable on Harley Shovelhead
How to Install, Replace & Adjust Clutch Cable on Harley Shovelhead from


Having proper clutch adjustment is essential for a smooth and efficient ride on your Harley. Over time, the clutch may require adjustment due to wear and tear. In this article, we will guide you through the process of adjusting the clutch on your Harley in a step-by-step manner.

Gather the Necessary Tools

Before you begin, make sure to gather the necessary tools. You will need a wrench, a screwdriver, and a clutch adjustment tool specific to your Harley model. It’s always recommended to refer to your owner’s manual for the exact specifications and tools required for your particular model.

Locate the Clutch Cable

The clutch cable is typically located on the left side of the handlebars. Follow the cable down to where it meets the clutch lever on the transmission. This is where you will perform the adjustment.

Loosen the Clutch Cable

Using the wrench, loosen the cable adjuster locknut located near the clutch lever. Once loosened, you can turn the adjuster screw to release tension on the clutch cable.

Measure the Freeplay

With the clutch cable loosened, you can now measure the freeplay. This is the amount of movement the clutch lever has before it starts to engage the clutch. Ideally, there should be around 1/8 to 1/4 inch of freeplay.

Adjust the Freeplay

If the freeplay is too little or too much, you will need to make adjustments. Turning the adjuster screw clockwise will decrease the freeplay, while turning it counterclockwise will increase it. Make small adjustments at a time until you achieve the desired freeplay.

Lock the Adjuster Screw

Once you have adjusted the freeplay to your satisfaction, use the wrench to tighten the cable adjuster locknut. This will secure the adjuster screw and prevent it from moving unintentionally while riding.

Test the Clutch

With the adjustment complete, it’s important to test the clutch before taking your Harley out for a ride. Start the engine and engage the clutch lever. It should engage smoothly without any slippage or hesitation. If you notice any issues, repeat the adjustment process.

Regular Maintenance

Remember, clutch adjustment is not a one-time task. It’s important to regularly inspect and adjust your clutch to ensure optimal performance. Factors such as temperature, riding style, and wear can affect the clutch over time. Make it a habit to check the clutch adjustment periodically.


By following these step-by-step instructions, you can easily adjust the clutch on your Harley and enjoy a smoother and more comfortable ride. Proper clutch adjustment not only enhances your riding experience but also prolongs the lifespan of your clutch components. Take the time to perform this maintenance task, and you will reap the benefits in the long run.