650r clutch problem

okay last night something weird happened on my new to me xr650r. i was trying to kick start it, but was getting tired (it started up first kick then stalled and was being stubborn). so i bump started it down this hill i was on. then i got to a light and i had the clutch in at first and it was starting to pull forward, so i started to go and when i started to release the clutch it totally engaged like i just let go completely and the front end went straight up.

thankfully it didn't loop, but after i landed it i went to the next intersection and pulled in the clutch and nothing happened, it was like i had broken my clutch cable...but there was still resisitance on the cable. i rode for another block until i realized the clutch wasn't working at all.

at that point i pull over and check out the cable. all was working as it should and i tried to adjust it. the adjuster near the lever was a bit stripped so i thought well maybe it was adjusted further out and just stripped just now. so i adjusted the other end of the cable about 3 times and each time it was still locked into being engaged. at this point i was at the end of adjustment so i decided to start it up, jam it into second and try to ride back to my hotel.

so i do that, the bike lurches forward and goes about 20 feet when the clutch totally disengages...since it's was then adjusted so far out i didn't need to use the lever. so i pull over again, adjusted it back out, and viola it works fine.

normally i'd take the clutch cover off to see if anything was fishy, but i'm in CO and my workshop is in CA. i'm just a bit worried about it since i'm riding it back to norcal and i don't want to be stranded somewhere because of this.

so has anyone ever had this happen? could it have happened from a short..err...no warm up time? any guesses?

the only thing i can really note is that when it was adjusted to the max it would make a rattling sounds when i pulled the lever, but i think that was just because it was adjusted so insanely far out.

any guesses as to &%$#@! happened?

clutch basket bushing seized.

What year is the XR?

it's a 2001

The bad news, as Burned mentioned, is that there is a large chance that the clutch bushing seized. In 2002 (may have been 2003, don't know; mine are 2001) Honda replaced the bushing to a new part # that addressed the problem, but previous year bikes with the old part had a tendancy to seize the bushing onto the main shaft, especially under street-riding conditions. Given your bike year and the circumstances, it sounds like that is what happened. Unfortunately, it's a serious issue that can't be cured on the roadside, so if you don't have access to a shop where you can remove the entire clutch and grind off the bushing (there are probably other ways to remove it; try searching for 'clutch bushing' as here are countless previous posts on this problem), then you need to find a shop that can do it and you need to order the new part. :ride:

hmmm, well the bike has started working again, so can i assume it got unseized? but has a high chance of seizing again?

Not sure if it "unseizes" itself or not...hmm

Read here: pig pen clutch upgrade

Hmmmm... well, if it somehow unseized itself, you are very lucky. Either way, I wouldn't ride the bike until you tear into it or have a shop tear into it; if it happens again, you could be in for a real headache.

yep, i rode it straight to eddies shop and he's going to check it out for me.

he set my bike up for the trip back to california and he was nice enough to squeeze in my bike today to take a look at it. so hopefully i'll be good on my ride home.

either way i'll let the bike warm up more and shift to neutral at lights.

wish me luck on my 1300 mile ride home!


the bushing had mildy seized like ive seen many times before.

i did not have a new bushing on hand so i beveled the edge of the bushing where it was damaged and cleaned up the inside of the bore.i also cut oil flow grooves in the bushing for better oil flow to the surfaces.

ive done this to many 650's with great sucess.

curious to whether I am having this problem.... here is the story.

The bike is a xr650r 2003. I recently moved and have not ridden the bike at all. about 6 months ago I started the bike and rode it around the block. and shut it off, everything was fine. fast forward to today and I was trying to start the bike and the bike wont start. I have the bike in neutral and all seems fine. I shift the bike into first gear and pull in the clutch lever and the clutch is still engaged. I adjusted the clutch cable and all is working fine with the lever but it is as if the clutch is not disengaging... any thoughts?

Like I said it is a 2003 and has sat for a while. anyway to free it up?

It takes just a few minutes,(or seconds if you have a airwrench), to remove the outside clutch cover.Sit the bike on it's side so you don't have to drain the oil.

It could be just stuck plates from sitting.

Fairly sure,,by 03 they had taken care of the bushing problem with a better design.

Once I get the cover off, how do I unstick the plates?


Just pull the pressure plate off and slide the clutch pack out. You should be able to pull the plates apart or carefully pry them apart if they are really stuck. Just keep them in order and facing the way they were when installed.

And i forgot to add...after the clutch plates are out,the inside hub should spin freely when it's in neutral.If not youv'e got a bushing issue.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now