1997 CR125R Clutch issues

I got this bike and noticed that the cable adjusters were all maxed out, to remove any slack. I took off the flywheel cover and when I lift the lifter arm it feels way too easy.  It rides fine, but when I try to idle it never works, it stalls whenever its in neutral.  I don't think the re-engages as it should when I release the clutch lever.  Sometimes when I am in neutral it doesn't quite roll freely, while other times it does.  What should I do?

Remove the right side clutch cover. It is the circular cover on the right side of the motor.

Next remove the 6 bolts holding the clutch pressure plate & springs. Pull out the clutch pack & inspect the "fingers" on the basket. If they are grooved, you will need a new basket.

Let me rephrase.  I checked the fingers on the clutch basket and they are smooth.  There was play on the lifter arm near the flywheel, I thought, but then after you lift it halfway you feel the resistance from the clutch springs, which is good.  However, in order to remove all the slack from the clutch cable, I have to extend both the collar and tensioner to the max.  When I looked at the clutch, I noticed that even when I pulled the clutch all the way, the inside of the clutch wouldn't spin smoothly, it was really tight.  Even when the spring plate is lifted off with the lever (making it not even touching the outer friction plate)there is still so much resistance to the inner clutch spinning freely.  I know its good to have a clutch that doesn't slip, but it seems the oposite is true.  When I had the clutch open, I tried loosening out the 5 springs and it really made it easier on the clutch lever, but there was still alot of slack in the cables.  What I want is more travel to the clutch pushrod, while having softer spring tension.  Is there a way I could do that?  I'm not sure if there is a part missing between the clutch lifter arm, pushrod, ball and end cap.

Look up a parts diagram & take your clutch apart. See if you are missing any pieces.

If you are not, your clutch may be excessively worn which makes a larger gap from the pushrod to the clutch.

also check the length of the clutch springs, possible they are below spec and you need new ones.


also replace the clutch cable, if the cable is not the issue you have a spare..

If your bike is not rolling freely in neural it's most likely not a clutch issue (unless the clutch grenaded). Neutral is neutral so the clutch is not necessary for the bike to roll - it's not in gear.

If your bike is not rolling freely in neural it's most likely not a clutch issue (unless the clutch grenaded). Neutral is neutral so the clutch is not necessary for the bike to roll - it's not in gear.

Good observation on noticing it does not roll good in neutral. If it is not rolling well in neutral, stop riding the bike until you find the problem. You could possibly ruin your engine. Let us know what you find.

Thanks.  I misspoke (again, sorry).  It rolls fine in neutral.  I meant that when the clutch lever is pulled in with any gear it kind of sticks.  The steel and friction plates seem to be in quite good condition and there is a lot of life left in them.  I think I have a sticky clutch, I know that the clutch pressure plate is getting enough travel, but the two halves of the clutch (inner and outer) won't exactly spin easily when clutch disengaged.  I plan to do an oil change and lightly sand the metal clutch plates with high grit sand paper.  I've heard this can fix the issue.  The cable is very clean and seems new, but possibly too long.  I think this should fix my idling issue (right now it won't idle) as well because with such a sticky clutch the engine is always under a load even when clutch is disengaged.  So for the cable slack issue I plan on just adding a spacer on the outside of the cable to act as more housing.  As for the hard lever pull, I think that's just due to the strong clutch springs and I'm gonna be stuck with that.  What do you guys think?

Something is wrong because it shouldn't drag while in gear eith th he clutch pulled in. Also, the cable & adjusters shouldn't need to be all the way out.

Did you replace the clutch pack recently? Some clutches sre a tad thicker than others. This will move the pressure plate further out which will require the adjusters to be adjusted way out.

I did not replace the clutch however, when I removed it and cleaned all the old oil off and then put new oil in, even when it wasn't in the engine it still seemed to stick.  I thought about using thinner oil like ATF-F but then I read that dirt bikes shouldn't use that and put in 80W-90 gear oil (Honda recommends 80W-85).  Since you said that the plates might bee too thick, could I remove one of each plates?  This will make the tension less and the slip a little more which would be great. This is getting frustrating...

No do not remove a plate. If the lift arm travel is good & the clutch is opening all the way, there is something simple that is causing problems. Keep looking.

OK, what about if the clutch lifter arm was worn, how would I be able to tell?  I can remove the plate keeping it in place, near the flywheel/stator but to fully pull out the lifter arm, do I have to remove the flywheel?  I ask because I don't have the tool.  I don't think it is worn because I get good enough travel when I squeeze the clutch lever.  

Here is what I have so far.

Clutch cable: seems like its not stock and a little lengthy, causing the adjustments to be maxed out, but the cable moves through it very easily.

Clutch plates: no warping, bluing, yellowing or smelling, friction plates have good life to them.

Clutch basket: good condition, little to no grooving, I've seen worse and had better performance.

Clutch lifter arm: seems good? but not quite sure...it does what it is supposed to but there really isnt any engagement till its at the horizontal position.  Still allows for good travel with pressure plate.

Clutch springs, seem too stiff.  I have tried the clutch pull with the springs not tightened all the way (engine not running) and it definitely makes the pull more bearable, but I can't leave them loose. However, even if they are too stiff, I can still pull the pressure plate far enough away so that there is no pressure on the clutch disks so that's not the cause for the sticky clutch.

Lube: like I said I used 80W-90 gear oil is this OK?

How easy should it be to turn the transmission half of the clutch (with the plates packed in and oil on them) within the clutch basket (with the pressure plate and springs not even on)?  I've tried doing just that and I can get it going but it takes a lot of force, more than I think it should require. For example, if I did this with it in gear it is sticky enough to turn the wheel.

Yes you need to remove the flywheel & stator plate. The arm could be worn & will affect the function.

Remove your pressure plate & confirm the "throwoutbearing" has a steel washer on both sides of the bearing. If it does not, get the missing pieces.

I would also get the proper cable.

There aren't washers but its all there: 


Clutch Diagram.png

OK, I opened the clutch again today.  Here's what I found.  I assembled the clutch without the friction or steel disks.  With it like this I could determine that the clutch lever pull is just right, its easy on the hand, and there isn't much slack in the line.  The clutch lifter arm also engages correctly beginning when its at 90 degrees to the cable or horizontal, and it moves the pusher thing with the ball in it out a good amount.  Again, will someone tell me if I should be able to spin clutch by hand if its in neutral (with no pressure plate or springs attached)?  Because right now when I try that they spin as one instead of being disengaged, as if the oil acts as glue or something.  I mean with the clutch disks removed the disks would really stick together.  Now back to putting it together.  When I pack the clutch disks in the basket, and put on the pressure plate, I noticed that there disks being in there causes the pressure plate to be slid outward and now the pusher thing with the ball in it doesn't touch the pressure plate until you pull the lever a little bit.  This causes more slack in the line, so I put a washer inside the pusher before the ball goes in.  This takes up slack, but if its too much then the pressure plate when relaxed wont grab onto the disks and the clutch will slip, I think.  I still cannot roll the bike with the clutch pulled in, the plates are too sticky.  Why is this and again please tell me how sticky they should be.

I'm not even sure you have a clutch problem. There is usually drag when in gear even with the clutch lever pulled in. That's just how it is.

The washers would be on item #8. They may be held on with a clip & if that's the case, they would still be there. So no worries.

If the bike doesn't move when it's running & the clutch is pulled in, your are fine. If it wants to creep or stall the engine there is a problem.

Edited by KPRacing

The bike wants to creep and stall.  The clutch disks are too sticky for some reason, I'm not sure why, I sanded the steel ones with 500-grit sand paper and it did help make the stickyness less, but it still is too sticky to the point where disengaging the clutch still doesn't disconnect engine from transmission.  There is no pressure being applied to the clutch disks when I pull the lever (which is good) but the plates don't turn freely enough why!!!  I also noticed that the clutch lifter arm isn't really engaging the rod until its about 10 o'clock position (as seen if you were sitting on the bike).  So has got to be making the lever pull so hard because I can't get as much torque as when its at 9 o'clock.  I think I will purchase the flywheel puller so I can get the clutch lifter arm out and if its worn, I will replace it (hopefully its cheap and easy).  

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