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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Happy holidays.

I have been working extensively on my bike recently and remembered an issue I have had that is easy to ignore until you start riding for hours at a time.

I have owned many bikes and a common theme amongst them is an easy to squeeze clutch. Now before anyone goes down the grip strength path, I deadlift over 400 pounds so it's not an issue. I of course don't expect it to be loose but I, along with others who ride non-Ducati bikes, feel that the amount of force needed to depress is too much.

Thoughts?
 

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Happy holidays.

I have been working extensively on my bike recently and remembered an issue I have had that is easy to ignore until you start riding for hours at a time.

I have owned many bikes and a common theme amongst them is an easy to squeeze clutch. Now before anyone goes down the grip strength path, I deadlift over 400 pounds so it's not an issue. I of course don't expect it to be loose but I, along with others who ride non-Ducati bikes, feel that the amount of force needed to depress is too much.

Thoughts?
First, if you can, compare it to another Ducati of the same vintage. Ducatis are known for having stiff clutches, but it's hard to know if what you consider stiff is actually normal, or if there's something else going on.

If it feels the same as others, but you find it too heavy for your liking, there are a number of aftermarket clutch slave cylinders that alter the hydraulic ratio to make it feel lighter. I stole the attached reference chart from elsewhere on the forum - the work is not mine, I just freely re-share it. As you increase slave diameter you generally decrease clutch movement, but the stock system has enough to compensate for about a 10% change with no issues. It's about ratios though, don't just pick the biggest you can find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice. I live in the south where Ducati's are hard to come by so I don't think I'll manage to compare to others but it interesting to know that they are stiffer by design (which could be the ultimate issue here).
 

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Clutch feel is relative. Hydraulic clutches are infinitely "tighter" feeling than a cable operated clutch.

My 996, relative to my Aprilia is a smooth and light feeling clutch. The Aprilia has a far more heavy feeling and more difficult to disengage clutch. Neither is quite as light as the cable operated clutch on my '04 GSXR.

Way back in the mid 90s I lived in Panama City, FL. I was at a shop there with my '89 ZX7. The ZX had a hydraulic clutch. I was just used to it I guess and it didn't occur to me that it was anything but normal.

A sales person happened to squeeze the lever just out of habit and freaked out on me, telling me I needed to change my clutch cable ASAP or it was going to snap.

When I tried to explain that it was hydraulic and there was no cable to adjust, they just looked at me like I was crazy.

I'd guess, just from memory that the clutch lever pull on my old ZX-7 was roughly equal to the clutch pull on my 900SS. Roughly. The ZX may have been a bit more. My 900SS came to me with an aftermarket slave cylinder though.

I'd guess yours has the stock one? When I got my 996 it too had the stock slave cylinder. It was still easier to pull than my Aprilia and equal to the old ZX-7. I've since replaced it with an EVR slave and it works like butter now.

Still not as easy to squeeze as the cable one on my gixxer like I stated above though. Relatively anyway.....sean
 

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My '92 900SS is the only bike I have ever owned where I couldn't comfortably operate the clutch with a couple of fingers. After riding it in traffic for a while I find I am using my whole hand to pull the clutch and eventually my hand/arm gets tired and sore. It doesn't help that with the old coffin master cylinders I can't adjust the rotation of the levers to a comfortable position that also won't have the MC leaking fluid if I attempt to open the cover. I put on a Yoyodyne slave and CRG adjustable levers. It's better but not great; or really even good. I play guitar so it's not a left hand strength issue. However, if it is REALLY stiff, check to make sure that you haven't adjusted the plunger screw to the point where the fluid return hole is blocked.
 

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Since I acquired the 06 st3s in Sept 2018, I have had to add flexor and extensor stretches (top & bottom of forearm) to my regimen. The Tiger 1050 is cable but seems easier, but the Ducati is more fun to ride so I ride it more (before I fall into the open grave).
 

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I hesitate to say this because so many seem to find issues with the clutch, but both my SS and Monster seem fine. In fact, lighter than any of my Triumphs or Harleys. Both have aftermarket levers and the Monster an Oberon slave. That was added simply because the stock one leaked. I don’t find them too stiff at all, and I’m 69 with arthritis in my hands. I hesitate to call you a bunch of pussies, so instead I’m going to say something must be wrong . The adjustable reach levers do help. Check the bleed off adjustment at the master. I seem to remember the Monster feeling kind of stiff when the slave was going out.
 

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I don’t find them too stiff at all, and I’m 69 with arthritis in my hands. I hesitate to call you a bunch of pussies, so instead I’m going to say something must be wrong .
I am but 52. I also have arthritis in both hands. Carpal tunnel too. The legacy of wrenching on heavy equipment for 30 plus years.

I have never, in all the bikes I've ridden found a clutch that required more effort to work than my Aprilia. It's a first generation Mille and I've had it for a long time.

It'll give you Popeye like forearms. Anything else is just way easy. Ducati, Harley, Triumph, BMW or any other make I've ridden is far easier, by a considerable amount than that thing. It's been that way since the day I brought it home too.

Adding the shorty levers surely didn't help matters either. Like I wrote previously, it's all relative....sean
 

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Hey Girls! If you can, find a Laverda triple, bevel Ducati,or a pre commando Norton to compare clutch action to. The newer stuff is nothing!
 

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Has anyone ever changed the clutch? aftermarket clutches often come with springs that are stiffer than stock so if the bike now has say barnett springs you could find it stiffer than normal. I would agree that you should find another similar wet clutch ducati to compare it to. It will be different on a dry clutch (stiffer than yours) and slipper clutch equipped wet clutch bike (lighter than yours).

If you find it is a problem you could likely swap in a apc slipper from a monster thought there may be a oil pump gear issue. this would make it a 1 or 2 finger clutch pull. option 2 is to start deadlifting your ducati by the clutch lever as it should be about the same weight. >:)
 

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Well I did a little experiment.

Clutch is brand new Ducabike complete kit.
Genuine Pazzo lever and the original clutch line, which is about to be replaced with aftermarket.

I used a hand held scale with a strap that I use for weighing luggage.
At the furthest point on the lever where my hand would pull the Pazzo clutch lever, it showed 8kg so about 17.6 pounds at full pull just before the lever touched the handlebar.

Belter's link about the clutch slave is interesting. My clutch slave does not have the white mark, but as it will be off soon, I will look for the vent hole.

Preempting that, Belter, do you have instructions or whatever on how Brad did that drilling modification?
 

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dunno. look at the photo and guess?
No thanks.

I would prefer to know hole diameter, approximate location, how deep to drill and will swarf from drilling F up whatever is inside where the drilled hole goes.

Guess I will just wait to see if mine has been part of the recall.
 

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Did I miss something ? Did something happen to Brad ?
 

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I would take apart the clutch, clean everything and reassemble.

One time after I cleaned the clutch, the lever was hard to pull.

I took everything apart and put back together. Problem was solved.

Till this day I have no idea what was wrong, but something was misaligned.

Good Luck and Happy New Year.
 

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Punch.

The hole is about 7/64" in diameter, it travels to the inside bore between the piston and inner surface. It is intended to bleed off fluid that gets built up between the piston and inner surface from a failed slave or pushrod o-rings. You get the same benefit if you remove the slave o-ring and cut a slice from the pushrod hole to the edge of the slave. It was done when we haad leaks that would hydraulic lock up a clutch and you could not pull the lever at all, it will be solid.

If you had it happen all you need to do to test it is remove the slave, and dump out any oil/clutch fluid from inside the slave through the pushrod hole. Once the slave has no more fluid where it is not supposed to be the clutch should return to normal and work as before until it fills again. This is a test procedure or short term bandaid to get you home the real fix will be finding and fixing the leaking fluid. The hole only hides the fact you have a leak in the first place.

On clutch pull weight keep in mind I think the Op has a wet clutch non-slipper bike so pull weight will be different, that said I think it may help if we get some numbers from different setups to help future questions .
 
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