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Thread: '14 GSW clutch lever engagement horrible and flywheel to light, sudden engine kill

  1. #1

    '14 GSW clutch lever engagement horrible and flywheel to light, sudden engine kill

    Very disappointed with the clutch lever action of this bike. The light tension is nice but this thing keeps changing engagement points on me and it's driving me nuts. Upon first startup and ride of the day the clutch always begins to engage at or less than a 1/4 release of the lever. Next thing I know throughout my in town ride the engagement point begins to vary from 1/2-3/4 release from a stop, its totally random. On top of that the transition from when the clutch just starts to engage to full engagement is so short its almost a on/off action at times. So now muscle memory has no effect and I'm putting way to much focus on throttle/clutch work every time I start from a full stop. I'm new to the adventure touring/BMW GS world. Before this I had the 2013 Honda CB1100 and that bike was a dream to "drive" compared to this GS. I became addicted to motorcycling very quickly and found myself wanting to never be off my bike and wanting to travel all over, and off road sounded appealing as well?.so I bought the '14 GSW. Note I said a dream to "drive", that doesn't apply to the whole "riding" experience. I love how the GS handles, how smooth it is, the cruise, ESA etc. But the way it "drives" is such a disappointment and REALLY taking the edge off my enjoyment of the overall ride. Out on the open highway obviously no issues and is great, but for any in town stop and go and not to mention what it's gonna be like when I finally get to go off road in low speed technical situations, this thing is a pain. So to recap, my big issue killing it for me is how the clutch upon first ride of the day engages at a 1/4 or less lever release for the first 5min approx, then the engagement point (from a stop after warmup in first gear and also going from 1st to 2nd) bounces around so I never know when it's going to kick in and end up high revving the engine often, that coupled with the light flywheel and having to rev this guy up is just lame. The Honda clutch was soooooo smooth in it's transition and always engaged shortly after lever release at the same point every time and the flywheel weight was perfect?.very little throttle to roll away. Please tell me this isn't how my new baby is supposed to be, tell me my bike is defective so I can look forward to this bike "driving" like it should and holding up to the motto "Ultimate Driving Machine". Another strange thing is 4 times since I've gotten the bike the engine has suddenly died while coming to a stop with clutch lever full in. It seems to happen within 10min of startup of first ride of the day???? Thanks all for listening to my gripe, I'm just having a love/hate relationship with this moto and I refuse to get divorced?I love to much about her!! :-)

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Sounds as if further dealer involvement may be needed.
    MOA #46783

  3. #3
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum Tobin!
    As it's new, when you return to the dealer for your first service, you can mention what you are experiencing to the dealer and have them take a look.
    There are more and more GSW's coming on board so someone may have some experience they can relate to you.
    Good Luck.
    Gary
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  4. #4
    On my '13 I've found clutch action with cold engine oil different than when hot. This is a minor issue that results in a little extra care the first half mile or so of the day. After that I have not found that the engagement point changes. However, when the bike was new I (and many others) found that the clutch master cylinder was over filled. Excess hydraulic fluid spilled out when I loosened the screws on the cover. I removed the cover and made sure the level was no higher than the MAX indication before re-assembing. That made a big difference in how the clutch operated.

  5. #5
    One other thing with regards to the clutch... the fly-by-wire throttle is much more responsive than any other bike I've owned. I used to apply some throttle a hair before releasing the clutch lever. If I do that on the GSW, especially in the low gears, I'll over rev the engine before the clutch starts to grab. I've modified my habit to instead release the clutch lever a hair before applying throttle. That leads to much smoother shifts.

    at 7.5K miles on the GSW I'm still working on modifying that habit. Once in a while I'll still get the order wrong

  6. #6
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Haven't had a wet-clutch bike in ages, but this might also be a case of the wrong oil being in there.

    When it suddenly dies, does it "lurch" or just expire? Lurching may point to a clutch issue (dragging), but just quitting would point to a computer, F/I, or ignition issue.

  7. #7
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    Sounds like air in the line or clutch slave cylinder.

    Sent from my DROID4 using Tapatalk
    2012 R1200RT
    2012 Super Tenere
    2001 R1100RT (sold)

  8. #8
    I agree that it sounds like air in the line. The variability with temperature changes can be caused by air because the volume of the air changes more with temperature than the volume of oil. I would also check to make sure the sysem isn't overfilled. I'd have a talk with the best service tech at the dealership where you bought the bike. If the shop happens to be one of the weird ones where owners talk to service writers and they keep the real techs hidden in the back then (shame on them) have a talk with the dealership owner or general manager.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by tobinbennett View Post
    Very disappointed with the clutch lever action of this bike. The light tension is nice but this thing keeps changing engagement points on me and it's driving me nuts. Upon first startup and ride of the day the clutch always begins to engage at or less than a 1/4 release of the lever. Next thing I know throughout my in town ride the engagement point begins to vary from 1/2-3/4 release from a stop, its totally random. On top of that the transition from when the clutch just starts to engage to full engagement is so short its almost a on/off action at times. So now muscle memory has no effect and I'm putting way to much focus on throttle/clutch work every time I start from a full stop. I'm new to the adventure touring/BMW GS world. Before this I had the 2013 Honda CB1100 and that bike was a dream to "drive" compared to this GS. I became addicted to motorcycling very quickly and found myself wanting to never be off my bike and wanting to travel all over, and off road sounded appealing as well?.so I bought the '14 GSW. Note I said a dream to "drive", that doesn't apply to the whole "riding" experience. I love how the GS handles, how smooth it is, the cruise, ESA etc. But the way it "drives" is such a disappointment and REALLY taking the edge off my enjoyment of the overall ride. Out on the open highway obviously no issues and is great, but for any in town stop and go and not to mention what it's gonna be like when I finally get to go off road in low speed technical situations, this thing is a pain. So to recap, my big issue killing it for me is how the clutch upon first ride of the day engages at a 1/4 or less lever release for the first 5min approx, then the engagement point (from a stop after warmup in first gear and also going from 1st to 2nd) bounces around so I never know when it's going to kick in and end up high revving the engine often, that coupled with the light flywheel and having to rev this guy up is just lame. The Honda clutch was soooooo smooth in it's transition and always engaged shortly after lever release at the same point every time and the flywheel weight was perfect?.very little throttle to roll away. Please tell me this isn't how my new baby is supposed to be, tell me my bike is defective so I can look forward to this bike "driving" like it should and holding up to the motto "Ultimate Driving Machine". Another strange thing is 4 times since I've gotten the bike the engine has suddenly died while coming to a stop with clutch lever full in. It seems to happen within 10min of startup of first ride of the day???? Thanks all for listening to my gripe, I'm just having a love/hate relationship with this moto and I refuse to get divorced?I love to much about her!! :-)
    Been watching all the chatter regarding the GSW from the sidelines.
    Test rode a couple
    Probably gonna get one.
    Even bought some accessories already, but no bike.

    The only criticism of the clutch that I recall other that yours is from a source that I value.
    Motorcycle Consumer News
    In their New Model Review of the 2013 GSW one of the reviewers says the same thing as you regarding the clutch.

    Goes on to explain that it is a variable assist clutch and that it was the one thorn in an otherwise near perfect motorcycle.

    Check it out.
    Under Tester's Log, bottom Left Column.

    http://www.motorcycleconsumernews-di...8d/?pg=15#pg15+

    Then, under clutch and transmission

    http://www.motorcycleconsumernews-di...8d/?pg=15#pg13



    d'milan
    Last edited by dmilan; 03-11-2014 at 03:25 PM.

  10. #10
    With only 2000 miles on my 2014 GS what I have learned is that it is NOT a soft clutch like the 2007 I had before. I have had to recalibrate my left hand to let out on the clutch lever until it begins to bite and then apply throttle and release the clutch smoothly.
    I still wouldn't trade back for the one that I could smell burn if I had to slip it at all. It does take a little time to adjust .

  11. #11
    Registered User TRJeff's Avatar
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    clutch/throttle

    I have 11600 miles on my 2013 GSW and found throttle and clutch to be a non issue, but I have a 2009 Jeep Wrangler with hydraulic clutch and throttle by wire since new. Got used to the Jeep (with no issues) and found the GSW to be almost the same concerning clutch and throttle response and use. Enjoy

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