No matter if you’re an adventure rider, sport rider, stunt rider or a squid, you all have clutch and brake levers in order for your motorcycle to work properly. You probably have broken a lever at some point during your riding career, whether from a drop, or wear and tear. Experienced riders shouldn’t be dropping that often, but when it does happen, one of the first things on your bike to get damaged are the levers. It’s a good thing they are fairly cheap, and replacing them can be a simple do-it-yourself task if you’re familiar with simple motorcycle mechanics. Make sure you purchase compatible clutch and brake levers, because each type of motorcycle will have a different type of system installed. There are two main lever systems: hydraulic and cable. Hydraulic levers are a bit easier to replace because there are no cables involved. Clutch levers are more commonly cable systems, while it’s typical to have either hydraulic or cable brakes, depending on your specific model.
Before installing your new levers on your motorcycle, you’ll need a few tools to help you do the job. Channel lock pliers, an open-end wrench and a clear, well-lit work area should suffice. You may need different tools based on your bike maker, so do a quick Google search, or check your owner’s manual to see the specifics that apply to your motorcycle’s design.
Continue reading to find out how to replace your motorcycle levers.
Removing a Clutch Lever
The clutch lever is on the left side of the handlebars. Don’t rush the disassembling process, because you don’t want to lose any parts that you remove.
To remove a broken clutch that is cable operated, you need to move back the rubber cover on the handlebar, if your specific model comes harnessed with one. Give a quick, gentle pull on the clutch cable to move it out of your way. Loosen the tightening bolt on the clutch cable with your finger, so that the cable has more room to maneuver around the handlebars. Next, use a wrench to remove the mounting bolt and nut (don’t lose these, keep them safe!) that tighten the clutch lever in place. You should now be able to pull the lever forward, away from your handlebars. When the lever is detached from the perch, separate the clutch cable from its port at the end of the lever.
Installing a Clutch Lever
Now it’s time to install your brand new clutch lever. Remember everything you just did to remove your broken lever? Well you’re going to follow those steps again, but backwards. Before you begin, you will want to throw some lube on your clutch cable. You will need to also separate the bottom of the cable in order to do this. Start by placing a cloth underneath the cable to catch any muck that might get away, then apply your cable luber to the top of your cable. Spray some WD-40 into the luber, and work the cable up and down for about a minute, to remove any grime. The cable should be able to move smoothly once you have finished this step. You can now reattach the bottom of the cable to the clutch.
Once the clutch cable is polished, place it into the port in your new lever and slide the lever onto the mounting perch. Next, check your bike’s manual to find out what it’s standard “free play” amount should be. Using the tightening bold you loosened earlier, fasten the clutch cable to the suggested standard. Once you slide the rubber cover back in place, your lever is ready to go.
If your clutch lever uses a hydraulic system, you won’t have a cable to disassemble. Follow the same steps above, neglecting the steps about the tightening bolt and clutch cable. Once your lever is installed, you can adjust it for personal preference.
Installing a Brake Lever
Changing your brake lever is almost exactly the same as changing your clutch lever. If your motorcycle uses a cable system, then you will have some detaching to do. You should follow the same steps used for the clutch lever if this is the case. If you have a hydraulic brake system, again, you will not need to remove any cables. Use the same steps above for either the cable or hydraulic brake lever.
That’s that. You should now know how to replace your motorcycle levers. If you have any questions, ask away in the comments below.