2.7 New Clutch

My Ducati Monster, until very recently, had the stock clutch:original steel basket, steel plates. With 30,000 miles on the original unit, I was impressed at its durability: it never slipped at all. But the steel plates rusted when it rained and stuck until the bike got hot and they worked themselves loose. Which is a pain on a cold-blooded bike with no choke…

And worse, while the clutch gripped very well, the fingers on the steel plates were badly worn, looking more like an I-beam in cross-section than a nice healthy rectangle.

Clutch Worn Plates

The extra play this caused led to a hammers-of-hell sound at idle that had more than a few bystanders trying to tell me that my bike was “broken”. Which was both true and not true, depending on how you feel about a worn clutch that still grips.

I finally decided to order a new clutch from MotoWheels, a nice EVR unit that had more teeth than the stock unit, and was much lighter, to boot. Unfortunately, MotoWheels didn’t warn me that it was out of stock when I ordered it, and didn’t mention the backorder situation until the second or third phone call…

Three months later, it arrived. Hey, I’d already waited this long…

Clutch Old Steel Basket

I’d read through my Haynes Manual to make sure I knew what I was doing and booked some time with my friend Greg, who has much more skill than I do, figuring he’d come in handy when I tried to pull apart a 19-year-old dry clutch without factory tools.

Also, he has a nice torque wrench.

"Now, me and the Mad Scientist got to rip apart the block... and replace the piston rings you fried..."
“Now, me and the Mad Scientist got to rip apart the block… and replace the piston rings you fried…”

In lieu of the clutch-holding tool, Greg ingeniously fabbed up a tool to lock the clutch and engine by welding a steel and a friction plate together. Which worked great, except we kept turning the engine over… I definitely need those high-compression pistons! Eventually, we got it apart, and then back together using a bit of angle-iron cut to the right length and some elbow grease.

Clutch New Basket

The bike is much, much quieter, shifts better and revs a bit smoother: a definite improvement! Now I just need to sort out the suspension…

Rizoma pressure-plate back in place!
Rizoma pressure-plate and spring-caps back in place! Note cool oil filler-cap temp gauge.

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