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Clutch Cable - Question


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I was riding my '91 XR250L yesterday in the mountains with a group of fast riders on larger bikes. Hard riding through the upper gears on a pavement hill climb up the mountain. In the last few corners before the summit, I tried to downshift and my clutch lever wouldn't disengage the clutch to downshift.

At first, I thought my cable had snapped.🤣 But, it hadn't. What appears to have happened is that the two nuts on the clutch cable adjustment (on the frame) came loose and the clutch remained engaged. Simple fix, move the nuts back down. Rode home fine, but still getting the clutch dialed in (and it doesn't seem to have as much spring strength to snap the lever back into position as it used to have).

Here are my questions: I'm not sure why this happened because I've ridden this bike for almost 20 years without vibrations (on or off road) shaking the two bolts loose. Could my cable have stretched, or could it be separating inside the housing? I also wonder if the two bolts are supposed to be on top of the mount, when all other cables usually have bolts on both sides of the mount? (I did detach the cable within the past 300-500 miles to do top end service) I checked the manual again, and it appears (very few photos - none of them very clear) as though the two bolts are supposed to be on the top of the mount (one as the adjustment and the other as the lock nut). The FINAL question is: could something failing inside my clutch/transmission have caused this?

Ok, lots of questions - any insight that the folks here on TT could provide would be much appreciated. Thanks! 👍

(I plan to buy a replacement cable to carry along in case of further cable mishaps, but is this even necessary?)

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Your question is confusing with what seems to be you using the wrong terminology. Is what you're calling "bolts" actually nuts on the barrel adjuster of the cable end?

Sounds like you've figured out the proper orientation of the nuts. Given that it's a 20 year old clutch, it might be time to open it up and have a look. Check friction plate thickness. Look for glazing on the steel plates. Check the length of the springs. They may be weak and sacked out.

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Yes, nuts... 👍 on the barrel adjuster above the right engine case. Both on top at the frame mount. (The barrel adjuster at the clutch lever on the handlebar is not overly extended or otherwise abnormal).

I figured that clutch wear could be a factor. I will adjust the cable for now (and pickup a spare to carry with me), but I'll be prepared for more major maintenance in the future. Thanks!

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