Clutch cable too short on brand new '12 450?

Picked up my new '12 450 last night and headed to some local single track. It was running great, everything seemed good. I rode a new trail that has a pretty long, steep, techy climb where I was feathering the clutch the whole way up it. When I finally topped out the clutch was slipping pretty bad. I turned the bike off and coasted downhill to let it cool down, it was off for probably 5 minutes. When I went to get started again, I would put the bike in gear and nothing would happen in any gear. After messing with the clutch cable and bringing it all the way in I could get it to engage right at the very end of the lever stroke, enough to creep back to the truck.

When I got back to the truck I saw that the barrel adjuster on the cable itself was dialed pretty far out. I brought this all the way back in and I now have a clutch that engages like it should, about half way out on the lever.

My concern is that there is no free play in the clutch cable with the perch adjuster dialed all the way in and the adjuster on the cable dialed all the way in as well. The manual says 7-12mm and I don't have that.

Is the cable too short? Did the dealer set the bike up with the clutch cable way too tight and now I've burned through enough of the clutch plates that it's engaging much further out than it should and taking up more cable?

I took it into the dealer. Confirmed with them that the clutch cable was definitely out of adjustment even with everything dialed all the way in. We also confirmed that how the clutch cable was, with the barrel adjusters on the perch and the cable itself, is how they come from the factory.

Today the dealer pulled the clutch apart and they are saying it's completely "smoked". Needs to be replaced. They are going to try to talk to Yamaha but I may be paying for this out of my pocket.

How is this possible? I literally rode the bike for probably an hour and a half. The steep hill that I mentioned in my OP was probably 2 minutes top to bottom where I was feathering the clutch. The rest of the time it was pretty normal, mellow trail riding without much clutch use.

Has anyone else had issues with clutches on these new bikes?

That is very peculiar. Good luck getting it resolved.

How it's possible is that the new clutch wore in enough to loose all its free play (whether it was correctly adjusted to begin with is a question), and then the bike was ridden that way until the clutch got fried, which won't take too long, actually. Running no play is like riding around with the clutch lever pulled 1/3 in all the time. Guaranteed to screw things up. Maintaining adjustments like that is normally the responsibility of the owner in warranty situations. One of the things you need to keep an eye on.

I completely agree with you except for the fact that this happened within the first hour to hour and a half of riding a brand new bike. Does the clutch wear faster when it's brand new? Is there a break in procedure for a new clutch? Am I expected to stop and check the clutch cable free play every 5 minutes if this is what happens in an hours worth of riding?

Not attacking your or anything gray, just trying to comprehend how this could be normal on a brand new bike. I've ridden much longer hill climbs on my '03 many, many times and I'm still on the same clutch as when I bought it 2 seasons ago.

Edited by dfinn

It sounds like some punk ass kid was in the dealership playing with on the fly adjustment and your bike was the demo.

I don't think so unfortunately. We compared how my cable was adjusted when I first looked at it after having issues to how a brand new bike was adjusted, they were identical. New bikes are coming with both the perch and cable barrel adjusters dialed out a little bit, same as how mine was.

Yamaha is covering the parts, I'll have to cover the oil and labor. I'm not that psyched to have to put $200 into a bike that got ridden for an hour but I suppose it could be worse.

Does the clutch wear faster when it's brand new? Is there a break in procedure for a new clutch? Am I expected to stop and check the clutch cable free play every 5 minutes if this is what happens in an hours worth of riding?


i just bought a 2012 myself, took it out yesterday for the first time to go through the break-in procedure. I did not notice anything out of the ordinary with my clutch, or anything else for that matter.

You guys didnt do the break in process. You cant hop on a brand new bike and go balls out on the trails or track. Or even go past half throttle within the first 30 minutes of running you new rig. I got a 2012 Yz450f brand new, broke in the engine and it has ran like a raped ape ever since.

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