Clutch Cables – A Beginner’s Guide to Clutch Cables

Those of us who have driven a motorbike or car know that we drive not only for practical reasons, but also seek performance. In order to improve the performance of a motorbike, car and other vehicles, as well as for overall maintenance, replacing fixings and components should never be overlooked. Whilst relatively inexpensive and small in size, these parts play an integral role in how our vehicle operates and performs. A clutch cable is one such key component.

Here at Venhill, we have been manufacturing high-quality replacement cables since 1970.

In this guide we explore what a clutch cable is and what they do, why we should replace them, as well as why you should choose a Venhill clutch cable.

See more: A Definitive List of Motorbike Parts for Any Enthusiast or Pro

What is a Clutch Cable and What Does it Do?

Simply put: a clutch cable allows the vehicle to change gear.

The clutch cable forms part of the vehicle’s transmission. That is: all the components involved in the routing and transformation of the rotational movement from the engine to the driving wheels. The transmission involves an essential part, namely the clutch cable.

The clutch is the mechanism that is responsible for engaging and disengaging power from the engine crankshaft with the (transmission) gears. The clutch cable is the component through which the rider’s input passes to the clutch’s internals.

The cable itself is designed to slide easily inside a casing with connections at each end. The casing also has a stiff inner layer that is flexible and yet rigid enough to support the cable when it is being used to operate the clutch.

A clutch cable system is the simplest form of clutch mechanism operation, replacing and streamlining older, linkage designs (which relied on multiple moving parts to operate correctly), allowing for smoother operation. A proper-functioning clutch cable then allows the vehicle to change gear smoothly and easily.

Clutch cables therefore play a huge role in ensuring both optimal performance and rider comfort. While it isn’t quite as smooth or reliable as hydraulic systems, many people prefer cable setups due to their ease of installation, ability to accommodate custom applications, simple design, and the lack of expensive parts.

Why Do I Need to Change My Clutch Cable?

If you’ve ever driven a motorbike or car with a damaged clutch cable, you will understand the importance of replacing it.

Over time, standard clutch cables typically suffer from one of two issues, which result in the clutch being difficult to operate and reducing the rider’s comfort and control:

  • The first is that they break, typically at one of the two ends of the cable. The constant stress of the cable sliding in and out of the casing causes the cable to wear and fray, eventually resulting in a snapped cable.
  • The second issue is damaged cable casings, due to close proximity to the exhaust or moving parts. Damaged housings can cause the cable to bend and corrode, resulting in broken or sticking cables.

See more: How to Change Motorbike Cables

How Do I Know if I Need to Replace My Clutch Cable?

A good cable should last at least a couple of years and perhaps much, much longer, but it’s a good idea to check the cable as part of your regular maintenance.

A common sign that your clutch cable is damaged and needs replacing is if the clutch lever is stiff or your gear shifts aren’t smooth.

Once a cable begins to fail, it’s only a matter of time before it fails completely.

N.B. Before replacing the cable entirely, as part of your maintenance it is also worth checking to see if the cable needs lubricating, as this can also cause the lever to become stiff.

Buy Premium Clutch Cables Online with Venhill

In 1970 Venhill started making high-quality replacement cables for motocross bikes. Since then, our fitment list has expanded to include motocross and track motorcycles, both modern and classic, and of all shapes and sizes. It also now includes our premium cabling for cars, karts and quads, as well as control cables for industrial applications.

Our clutch cables (and brake lines) are specifically designed to combat common cable problems like catching, wearing, stretching and also bowing, bursting, leaking and other issues found with hydraulic hoses.

We offer a range of clutch cable kits and universal clutch kits, and they include everything you need to get started. Finished at one end, cut to length and finished as required, our range of different size cables and fittings ensure you can find one best suited to your requirements.

Browse our clutch cables >

We also have a roadside cable repair kit for ay emergencies, which is provided in a convenient pouch to store away.