Honda VT1100 Hydraulic Clutch Question

Reader Contribution by Keith Fellenstein
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by Keith Fellenstein

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Q: I have a 1988 Honda VT1100 with a hydraulic clutch. Since I got it last year, the clutch engages as soon as the clutch lever comes off the grip. The previous owner said that’s the way it always was. I’m used to my 1972 Honda CB750 cable-operated clutch engaging near the end of release. The VT1100 clutch doesn’t drag when fully disengaged. I rebuilt both the master and slave cylinders but nothing changed. I don’t have an owner’s manual, so I don’t know if this is normal. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
— Dan/via email

A: Hydraulic clutches sometimes feel odd if you’re used to a cable-operated clutch, but what you’re describing doesn’t sound right. When operating the clutch, does the lever move far before you feel a change in the resistance? As an experiment, while accelerating in 3rd gear on a deserted stretch of road, squeeze the clutch lever and see where it is when the clutch starts slipping. If it doesn’t let go until the lever is nearly at the grip, there’s more to be done, although you may be at the mercy of the engineers’ design of the master cylinder-to-clutch cylinder ratio.

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