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Stiff clutch (hyrdraulic)

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I've read at least 50 threads on this subject but it seems like an issue that doesn't have an easy answer.

My friend just purchased a second hand 2008 KTM 200 EXC. The bike's in great condition except for the clutch which is quite hard to pull. It's at least twice as hard as two other newer KTMs we tested against.

We've tried adjusting the screw near the lever which didn't seem to make any difference. Also tried moving the lever closer to the center of the handlebars and that did help due to leverage. But I'd still like to find a proper solution as it feels quite different in that position.

Most of the threads I've read are inconclusive or deal with cable clutches rather than hydraulic. One or two posts say to change the clutch springs which seems easy enough but then I've come across others who say it won't make much difference.

Could it be possible that the hydraulic line just needs to be bled? I've bled mountain bike brakes before and it was very tedious and messy so I'd like to confirm before trying that. At the moment I'm leaning towards new clutch springs (or possibly a whole new set of plates etc.).

Thanks for any help.

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Ktm sell a bottom bleed tool. A syringe for about $15. makes the job a snap. 08 clutches

should be very easy to pull.

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Wouldnt air or water in the line make the lever easier to pull?

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If bleeding doesn't help try changing the springs back to stock. Some clutch kits come with their own stiff springs that will definitely make the clutch harder to pull. I ran into this on my Ducati that also has a hydraulic clutch.

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Do you know any of the history behind the clutch? i.e. did the previous owner replace it (plates, etc) and/or the springs?

As delleetodd mentioned I've also replaced stock springs with stiffer springs both in street bikes and on dirt bikes. It made the clutch lever significantly harder to pull. I usually reverted back to the stock springs.

Maybe someone else will chime in with some other possible causes...

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I rode KTM 200's for years and I always replaced the springs with Honda springs out of a 125 CR. It made the clutch lever much easier to pull and I never had trouble with the clutch slipping.

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Quite likely the hydraulic piston is crooked in the bore, or else the mating surfaces are chewed up. Pop it apart & look.

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how does this tool work

It works great :smirk: I'm too cheap to shell out the $15.00 for the offcial KTM syringe so I got some from my local dentist. I think Mike In Fresno did a how to on bleeding the clutch, try doing a search.

Basically you take the cover off the clutch reservoir, fill the syringe with Magura oil, open the bleeder port on the clutch cover at the engine and depress the plunger on the syringe forcing the fluid and air up to the reservoir.

If you have ever back bled the front brake M/C you can do the clutch, same concept.

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Thanks for the help. The plan now is to purchase some CR 125 springs and try them out. I'll try 3 out of 6 of them first to see how much it helps. If it's still bad I'll try all 6 together.

I'm a bit unsure of how to tell if the springs are too weak though. Should I ride it in a high gear up a hill to see if I can feel it slipping? I guess it would feel the same as pulling a normal clutch in a bit (i.e. high revs all of a sudden).

I'll also have a look at the piston and give it a bleeding with 2.5 weight oil. I'll post any results here.

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Just for reference, the CR 125 springs seems to have softened the clutch pull significantly. New plates were also put in at the same time so it might have been those.

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How did the basket and hub look? I would guess that notching could affect the amount of effort required. Mine is one finger easy and that's with a KTM Flex lever,which seems to require more effort than the shorter lever that I replaced. I have an aftermarket basket with Tusk plates and heavy duty springs installed too BTW.

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