Hey all,

If you've read enough of my past posts, you would know I don't typically work on my bikes. So the 'dummy' reference is me. However, if anyone else doesn't usually touch their motorcycle, but you want to give it a go, it is straightforward.  If this is your first time, I would allow 5 minutes to adjust the cable, plus test riding time.  Your second adjustment will only take 1 or 2 minutes.

But first, let’s discuss the reason for adjusting the clutch cable?

Generally speaking, the cable adjustment is to make the gear change smoother. If your gear changes have become clunky or hard to shift into gear, you might want to adjust your clutch cable.

In my case, I could not shift from 1st gear to neutral once the gearbox warmed up.

So, if your next bike service is still some months away and you want your gears to shift smoothly or with less effort, you might want to try this for yourself.

For Scout and Bobber owners

This video will explain everything you need to know. You will need 10mm and 12mm spanner set.

For Chief, Chieftain and Roadmaster owners

Do watch the above video first. The adjuster is located on the left-hand-side of the frame, but right next to the engine. You will need 11mm and 14mm spanner set.

The adjustment procedure is similar, BUT I find the Thunder Stroke clutch to be little more temperamental. The spacing at the clutch lever the video showed for Scout will not work on your Thunder Stroke Indians. More on that in just a moment.

Here is a step-by-step guide:

1/ Straighten your handlebar (it does not matter if the bike is leaning on its side stand or held upright)

2/ Slide the rubber boot to one side so that the adjustment nut and the adjustment post are fully exposed. As in the video, I sprayed a bit of silicone spray beforehand (easier to slide the rubber boot).

3/ Loosen the locking nut (small, ordinary-looking nut) with 14mm spanner, one or two turns so that there is a small gap between the nut and the adjustment post (long, finger length nut).

4/ Adjust the clutch cable by turning the adjustment post with 11mm spanner.  I would start by turning the adjustment post one full-turn counter-clockwise.

In my case, I couldn’t shift into neutral from 1st gear after the gearbox warmed up and the engine running. It took 2 full turns to restore smooth shifting.  So, I suspect somewhere between 1 full turn to 4 full turns would be sufficient for most Thunder Stroke Indians.

By turning the adjustment post counter-clockwise, it looks like you are extending the clutch cable, but in reality, you are extending the black sleeve on the outside, which makes the cable inside shorter. 🤔   Over time, clutch cables stretch, but never shrink on their own.  So the adjustments will almost always be made counter-clockwise.

5/ Re-tighten the locking nut.

6/ Take the bike for a 5 minute (or longer) test ride. Remember the characteristics of your gearbox may change as it warms up.  So focus on how the gearbox feels at full operating temperature, not when it is still cold. If the gear changes are still clunky, turn the adjustment post another full turn (2 full turns at this point).

7/ Test ride. If need be, adjust one or two more times (only 1 full turns at a time). I would be hesitant to go much past 4 or 5 full turns overall. I think the bike would have been unrideable if the clutch cable were out by that much.

8/ Once you are happy with the way the gears shift, re-tighten the locking nut and slide the rubber cover back over the adjuster nuts.

On my bike, when the gearbox would not go into neutral from 1st, the clutch lever at the handlebar had 1mm of play.  By the time I adjusted the post 2 full turn, my bike shifted into neutral smoothly.  However, the clutch lever had zero play.

9/ As a precaution, check the friction point of your adjusted clutch.  For clarity, when the clutch lever is fully released (or the clutch plates are fully engaged), let’s call that ‘0% Grip’.  When the clutch lever is fully squeezed (or the clutch plates are fully disengaged), let’s call that ‘100% Grip’.  A typical friction point might be about 60% Grip to 90% Grip.  If your engagement point is below say 30% Grip (nearly at the end of fully releasing the clutch lever), now or before this clutch cable adjustment, I would encourage you to take your Indian into the dealer for an inspection.  I am concerned that your clutch may slip (due to lack of friction - see below) and overheat or faulty in some ways.

How Do I Know If I Have Tightened the Clutch Cable Too Much?

If you adjust the adjustment post by 1 full-turn at a time, it would be difficult to over do it or stuff it up in a big way.  However, it is a good idea to make a note of this.

In higher gears (say 5th or 6th gear), when you twist the throttle wide-open, you may 'feel' the clutch slipping. That is, your engine rpm will clime up the revs, but the bike will not move forward at the expected velocity matching the climbing rpm.  If this happens, your clutch cable is too short.  It is the same as if you were riding with your fingers partly squeezing the clutch cable.  Turn back the adjustment post clockwise until the slip disappears.  If turning the clutch cable adjuster 5 full turns or less made your clutch slip, it may not have been adjusted properly at the last service.

I hope this post helps someone to achieve smoother gear changes between services!
Let's be kind to one another.
Melbourne, Victoria
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That is a nice write up there my man.  Don't require it as yet myself but you have made it very easy to understand for everyone.  Goodonya V-T! ðŸ‘
I'm Not Completely Useless . .
I Can Be Used As A Bad Example!

Kwinana W.A.

Ulysses   #48275
IMRG      #100932
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