Motorcycle Repair/clutch


Honda Shadow VT100 1993

clutch not working completely at neutral to first gear
at start while idling when engage clutch and shift the gear the bike moves forward - so the clutch

Seems to be OK after a shift or two but not right at beginning


thank you

Kevin, the clutch release is controlled by the clutch master cylinder and the clutch slave cylinder on the engine case.  #6

When bikes sit overnight, the oil thickens up and often the first shift to 1st gear goes in with a clunk, then as the clutch plates get lubricated and things warm up, the function returns to normal. That is not unusual at all with motor wet-clutch plate motorcycle engines.

What may be happening is that either the master cylinder piston cups/bore is worn, so the fluid is bypassing a little bit so that the full hydraulic pressure isn't being passed down to the clutch slave cylinder. The slave cylinders can leak past the piston seals, causing fluid loss and eventually the level of the brake fluid in the clutch master cylinder goes low and it starts pumping air. More of a worst case scenario, though.

Make sure that the little tiny bleed hole in the floor of the master cylinder reservoir is open, too. When it gets plugged up it can hold pressure against the slave cylinder piston which will keep the clutch from engaging all the way.

Any air trapped in the fluid lines will cause weak hydraulic pressure, as well.

Bill Silver

Motorcycle Repair

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Bill Silver


Need help with vintage Hondas from the 1960s? I am an expert with 250-305cc bikes in particular and most all of the other pre-91 models, in general. I do NOT claim to have a great deal of experience on Gold Wings, Cruisers, ATC/ATVs and dirt bikes.


I have owned/ridden/maintained Honda motorcycles for 35 years. I have written five books on Honda repairs and collecting. I was a service manager for two Honda shops back in the 1980s.

VJMC (Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club) of North America

VJMC newsletter, as editor for two years and as contributing editor currently.

3 years auto shop in high school, teacher's aide in Automotive Technology in Jr. College, Diesel mechanic course in college, self-taught mechanic and automotive writer.

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