Adjust The Clutch Cable For A Sportster

You should adjust the clutch cable on your Sportster when depressing the shifter lever becomes difficult. A clutch adjustment is recommended approximately every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. With a properly adjusted clutch, you should have approximately a quarter-inch free play in your clutch lever, and you should not feel your clutch dragging when you drive the motorcycle.


1. Lift the rubber protective boot off the clutch cable adjuster. The adjuster is located on the front down tubes of the Sportster’s frame.

2. Loosen the jam nut on the clutch adjuster with a wrench.

3. Wiggle the clutch lever located on the left handle bar to determine the amount of “free play” in the lever. The correct amount is a quarter-inch. Free play is the distance the lever moves towards the handlebar without resistance.

4. Turn the clutch cable counterclockwise to remove free play, or move it clockwise to add free pay.

5. Check the clutch lever again to ensure the correct amount of free play exists. Repeat step 4 and 5 until you get the correct level of free play in the clutch lever.

6. Tighten the jam nut on the clutch lever adjuster using the wrench.

7. Slide the rubber cover over the adjuster.