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For as long as I've had it - years - I have been struggling with the clutch action on my '70 Bonnie. Although the drive take up is at the very end of the lever I can feel the gears in the gearbox when shifting making it seem like the clutch isn't fully disengaging. At the same time it takes multiple kicks on the starter lever before the clutch frees off when I start it from cold. I've readjusted the clutch springs and the push rod gap to no avail. At one point I loosened off the clutch springs slightly and the clutch started slipping so there seems to be a fine line between sticking and slipping. I expect the clutch plates aren't original. The clutch cable is in good condition and the cable runs freely from the handlebar lever to the gearbox entry.

Any suggestions for clutch plates that won't be quite so problematic?

Bruce


1937 Ariel Red Hunter 500
1970 Triumph Bonneville

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Hello;
I have the MAP plates in one bike and the 7 plates conversion by N Hyde in the other.
No necessity to disengage the plates before start the engine or to ride.
MAP ones have at least 16000km (PO and me) but possibly more towards 20000km
Hyde plates with new cable and all adjusted right, is very soft; very easy for the hand.
Also in theory the Hyde s work where the action is (in the "middle" of the plates) so would be better grip; more power to the wheel.

Remember that the oil is for the chain and sprockets not for the plates. May be you have too oiled ones?

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Just to start off with, what springs are you currently running?

I know that some vendors sell 750 springs as 650 springs when the are not the same...

Maybe check that first?

As stated above, there are 7-plate conversions that will help

Look into the SRM alloy pressure plate conversion that uses a needle bearing on the drive side and also check the fulcrum spacing on your lever / perch


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Why are 750 clutch springs so much firmer than those for a 650?

It is essentially the same clutch. The bike is of similar weight. The only difference is the small extra HP and torque of the 750 over the 650.

Many 650’s have been tuned to produce more than the power of the 750, not needing the stronger springs of the 750.

Presumably Triumph had a sound reason for the stronger springs, any ideas?

What it does do is make the clutch pull heavy and puts extra strain on the cable.

I wonder if its strictly necessary, or perhaps it was related to the factory advised 350ml of oil in the chaincase (which is silly IMHO).

The standard clutch with 650 springs (assuming reasonable condition) works well as long as its not flooded with oil.

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Just a fairly feeble attempt to get through the warranty without clutch slip.


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You are as cynical as I!

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...mine says; 150cc in the primary. Then manual says: 70 pounds on the clutch nut but seems that the 650cc is 50...may be due to the triple chain?-

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Hi Bruce, I'd get an Aerco. Cost is less & they work very good. Here's why I feel this way.

I have a few thoughts. I learn new things all the time. Just the other day I learned Emgo steel plates are extra thin to compensate for their extra thick friction plates. So I may change my thoughts later date... I doubt it though.

One thing I certainly do not know is why some owners clutches are so hard to free cold after bike sits overnight or longer. . Oil type seems to play a part. Exactly what oil are you using. 1970 Bonnie clutch shares motor oil. The level will find its own level very close to 150cc which is about 1/2" deep using dip stick behind chain through filler hole.

Obviously the rod adjustment, lever free play must be correctly set. The #1 problem is owner doesn't have enough free play in cable during rod adjustment so 3 ball cam is not in the zero position. This cannot be overstated. If/as needed run cable deeper into trans or on early bikes different spacer for cable or whatever needs to be done. The cable must have enough play to zero the cam.

Wobble of pressure plate doesn't need to be perfect, but reasonably close.

Back to you. This I do know for certain. Unless springs are overtighten so much it's causing spring bind, the type or tension of springs will not effect clutch release. AGAIN THAT IS IF NOT SPRING BOUND! If spring bound the binding of the coils prevents the pressure plate from lifting further so the plates cannot properly separate as they should.

Extra strong sprigs or normal springs tightened deeper (but not coil bound lever pulled) will increase lever effort, but not effect release. Lifting of pressure plate is important. Measured at adjuster screw, a good lift is about .115-.120". More will not cause problem but can change where friction point starts during take off.

I've done several experiments with this. With the exact same correct clutch adjustment. Think about what happens. You let lever out & pressure plate starts pressing plates together. As you release lever further spring tension increases to the point the bike moves forwards, finally the lever is all the way out.

So again spring tension presses enough to move bike. So if you have very strong springs, the press harder sooner so lever is closer to grip at take off.
Weaker springs you need to let lever out further. Again the same rod, lever adjustment.

Turning springs tighter or looser will have similar effect as stronger or weaker springs. I learned a lot about this trying to reduce lever effort. Was very repeatable.

Turning to 7 plate clutches, the small friction pads give more PSI in a concentrated area. Indeed the contact patch is very small compared to stock size friction pad. However the concentrated pressure in fact creates more friction than the normal size friction pad. So it will slip less with the same spring pressure as a normal friction pad would. The down side is if the 7 plate is allowed to slip at all, it will wear very quickly. Much quicker than normal plates. Many times quicker?? I think so.

Regarding freeing, I really don't know why the 7 plate clutches free so well. Maybe the small friction pads let go easier?? Or is it the friction material??
The only two 7 plate kits currently on market is Norman Hyde & Aerco. I have lot of experience with Hyde, a certain amount of experience with Aerco.

I have ridden both extensively now. I have installed both. I've examined the plates side by side new & used. Hyde has a smaller friction pad circle than Areco. That seems to be the only difference. They look to have exact same friction material & overall construction of the steel plate part of friction plate. The inside diameter if Aerco friction circle is smaller. Aerco has less "grooves" in the friction surface between the pads.

On the road both feel very similar in normal riding & take off. I feel the smaller friction pads on Hyde gives it more overall grip with same springs/tension. There's more though...

It also depends on pressure plate. This cannot be overlooked if maximum performance is wanted. On normal riding not so important.

The friction pads are in a circle. The factory steel pressure plate has about an 1/8" pressure face, with pressure circle of this face in about the center of the friction pads. Two factors. The width of the face & the placement of pressure circle in relation to size, position of friction pads.

All the friction pads have about the same outside diameter. But the inner diameter of the friction pads is greatly different. This is what makes the 7 plate pads so small. The inner diameter of the pad circle is larger.

How does this relate to the pressure plate? What difference does it make. The steel plates are fairly thin & somewhat flexible. The flexing of the steel plates becomes important. Remember the original pressure plate pushed pretty much in center, but not with 7 plate kits...

The Hyde has a friction circle so large that the original pressure plate just covers the inner area of the friction pad. This allows the steel plates and friction plates to flex slightly which reduces effective pressure on friction pads. This can be seen by an uneven wear pattern on the top 3 plates or so. Again not an issue at all for normal riding. Higher horse power or higher gearing can cause slip.

Aerco has a larger friction pad. The pad is large enough where the steel pressure plate presses on the friction circle about 1/3 way up pad. In real life this works quite well with the normal steel pressure plate.

Special large diameter pressure plates were made specifically for the friction circle of 7 plate clutches. These work very well with Hyde clutch. I strongly recommend purchasing one if you choose Hyde. These also have a wide pressure face so they fully press on friction pad, giving maximum grip with the least spring pressure. Of course if you go higher power on motor, you'll need both the special pressure plate & strong springs.

The only pressure plate currently on the market that has this large CORRECT pressure circle is MAP Cycles. They have a special rod & ball, but I think you can use with normal rod & screw. Britech used to sell a pressure plate for Hyde. Out of production now. I don't know if Jay is going to actually make more or not. I have one on my bike, Dave has one on his. They work really good. Both these work perfectly with Aerco. I'm currently using Britech with Aerco.

I just did a search a few weeks ago, yet again. To be clear no other alloy plate other than MAP is an real improvement over the steel plate with either of these clutches. In fact all the others are smaller diameter than the factory steel plate. In my experience if you get any alloy pressure plate other than MAP you will be wasting $70, but more importantly going backwards for good pressure circle.

I experimented back to back with Britech & factory steel on exact same road test, same springs, same adjustments. Trust me, the steel pressure plate works perfectly good with Aerco plates.

End of day, if I had your bike I'd install Aerco 7 plate kit & use 650 springs. That is a very winning combination. If your springs are factory original they may be still good. The only aftermarket 650 springs I'll use are JRC Engineering. They are to original 650 spec & excellent quality.

Regarding 65/750 springs, 750 springs are substantially stiffer. Way stiffer. You can feel this most decidedly in lever effort. Regarding slip, I got set of JRC 650 springs. Adjusted nuts stud flush with dome. Experienced slight clutch slip. Not all, but many I've spoken with that installed 650 springs also experienced clutch slip. In all cases reinstalling 750 springs cured slip.

The lever effort of 750 springs is a killer to old hands like I have. Using 7 plate with 650 springs allows the easier lever effort without slip. 650 springs are much easier on clutch cable as well. I will only use Barnett cables as they are the very strongest due to the swaged, not soldered steel ends. I lube with motor oil. Same easy pull as Featherlite cable, with much greater strength.

Moving onto steel plates.... The 7 plate kit comes with a smooth steel plate. The friction material on 7 plate kits wear more quickly on etched original plates, yet doesn't seem to grip better either. The friction pads also wear the etching off rather quickly. If short on money, reuse your 6 steel plates so long as they are flat & good. But if you can afford it, I strongly recommend getting all new steel plates.

I you reuse your old steel, put the new steel under pressure plate, so the last steel installed.

How do they get 14 plates of the 7 plate kit in space of 12 normal plates? The friction pads are paper thin when new. That's how. All the other adjustments remain the same. Rod, lever play, wobble adjust etc.

All the 7 plate kits I've installed are thinner than original stack height of the 12 plates. The effect is you have reduced spring tension with dome of nuts flush with studs. Measure all 14 plates stacked together. Nominal is 1.400". If your stack is thinner, set nuts flush, then go deeper by amount the stack is thinner. This compensates the spring tension. Coil binding is not factor as the spring is not overtightened. Just brought to spec. This works really well for worn plates also.

Since the friction pads are so thin, the first friction plate may hit/bind on back corner of basket. Check for this carefully. Chamfer backside of the steel part of
friction plate as needed to insure plate sets flat into basket. This is very important. A cause of 7 plate problems. If it binds, clutch will work horrible & slip. LF Harris baskets will usually bind with 7 plate. The back corner is rounded, not sharp like original basket. Not hard to chamfer, just use a file.

If your basket, hub are worn, grooved etc. no clutch plates will work properly.

On the bikes that clutch is hard to free, with all adjusted correctly, the owners report the 7 plate kits cures it & it doesn't seem to start sticking again.
Don


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Hi All, I've pondered why T140 or even my 750 Tiger wants to slip the clutch more than 650. I couldn't use 650 springs without slip.

I'd like to know how the T120RT 750 was on clutch? I really don't know & haven't heard much about that aspect of them. Maybe Triumph clandestinely installed stronger springs?? Barnett "racing" springs have been used in 650 clutches for years.

One factor is gearing. My friend FreshPrince over on RAT group went through motor high performance & went to 21t front sprocket to increase cruising speed. Clutch slip became problem much worse with higher gearing. Had Hyde 7 plate with off brand weak 650 springs. Tightening springs helped, but no cure. Installing Kibble White T140 springs (Bonneville Shop) 100% cured problems. Started extra deep, then back off to flush. Still perfect. Lever effort as expected not easy with the T140 springs.

I installed 20t on my '70 TR6C did not cause slip.

I think somehow the torque curve of the short rod 750 pulls a little harder than 650 even though overall power is not much different. I don't know, just a guess.
Don


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Surflex plates are hard to beat, used them for years, road and racing.
Barnett are pretty good too.
Always packed as many in as i can.
Racing, used norton or very heavy springs, i could strangle crocodiles with my left hand easier
than operating the clutch on my sidecar outfit. Just learned to live with it. (4 spring clutch).

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Back when I rode a Morgo kitted T120 I used it for years with 650 springs, but would occasionally experience slip. I ended up using 750 springs, but as one would expect, lever pull became much heavier. I was young and strong so it mattered little in itself, but clutch cable breakage became an annual event. Highly annoying, but I lived with it for years, accepting it as one of the quirks of such a brilliant machine.
I have in later days converted a few T140/TR7s to a Hyde 7 plate kit and 650 springs, and it just works.
Today, at 63, I still have fairly strong hands, but the 750 kitted TR6 I'm building will be fitted with some kind of kitted clutch and light springs. 25 seasons on modern machinery have spoiled me.

SR

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Back when it was running, my '66 T120 with Routts 750cc kit 10.5-1 cr, P&M 1060 cam, 20T. c/s sprocket used the stock old clutch and springs and Ford ATF in primary...don't ever remember any clutch slip. 1-2 kicks to break free when cold. The new project bike (MAP 775cc,9-1cr) will use MAP belt drive dry clutch kit and hydraulic lever kit to save my old hands...1970 T120 with Routts 750 (MAP pistons) will hopefully get one of D. Madigans new design wet clutches using diaphragm spring, KTM plates and cush drive. Time is my nemesis....Mark

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Hi Don,

“Turning to 7 plate clutches, the small friction pads give more PSI in a concentrated area. Indeed the contact patch is very small compared to stock size friction pad. However the concentrated pressure in fact creates more friction than the normal size friction pad.”

While this might seem reasonable in an intuitive way, it’s not the true explanation.

With given materials, so a given coefficient of friction (say that of the friction pads and the steel plates) the actual frictional force only depends on the force pressing the 2 surfaces together.
The area of contact is not a factor affecting the frictional force.

The crucial matter is where the frictional force is applied, how far from the axis. This is leverage or torque, and the further away from the axis you can put the friction pads the more torque can be handled.

If it were possible to install a larger diameter clutch, that would be one way to improve its torque capability, but not generally a realistic option.

As it is the average axial radius of applied frictional force (via the friction pads) that matters for torque, that average radius can be increased by increasing the inner radius of the friction pads (such that they are pads with their inner sections removed).
To maximize this gain, you would leave just narrow strips of friction material at the outer limit of the plate, but this small contact area would wear absurdly fast. So it’s a compromise between moving the average radius outwards and leaving a reasonable wearing surface.

The friction pads on a standard plate are ~20mm deep with an average radius ~65mm.

Removing the inner 10mm of the pads will move the average radius outwards by ~5mm (so to ~70mm).

So the torque capability increases by a factor of 70/65= 7.7% with this change alone.
Remember this is with std plates.

The Hyde plates are utilising this principle fully, with their small friction pads at the outside of the discs.
The Aerco seems to be going along a different route, maybe using a better friction material that provides that extra friction without reducing the inner parts of the pads.

Of course, using thinner plates, allowing the extra friction and plain plate, so 2 extra friction surfaces, beyond the std 11, in itself affords 13/11 = 18+% extra torque capability.
That is the major factor.

Though I haven’t tried either, if I had to I’d go for the Aerco, as I think it will do the job and the plates will likely last much longer than the Hyde.

The downside of thinner plates is the tangs in the grooves are also less resilient, but that may not be important when the plates need replacing more often anyway (they have such thin friction material to begin with).

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Hi Bruce,

On Don's advice last winter I fitted a 7 plate Aerco clutch conversion, and 650 springs. I also fitted a new basket and centre, thrust washer and rollers.

I then added a new Venhill cable to my 73 TR7RV.

All I can say is that the clutch is light, and works perfectly. Expensive fix, but it'll see me out.

Last edited by Andytheflyer; 10/15/20 6:28 pm.
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Hi koan58, Both Hyde & Aerco the steel plate of friction plates is same thickness as stock Triumph plates. Only the friction pads are thinner.

From looking at the plates side by side, both new & used I’d bet the friction material is the same.

The Aerco ID of friction is much smaller than the stock plate.
The Aerco friction pad has fewer “oil grooves”.

In my testing I indeed found Hyde grips better all things being equal. Especially with the correct large diameter pressure plate.

They feel of the friction pads is definitely different than cork while riding. With cork I can sort of feel it compress, a softness to engagement. When 7 plate grips, it grips.

I don’t have enough miles, experience to know if Aerco will last longer. On paper it should. Real life gives surprises sometimes.

So far as I know, no sellers in USA stock Hyde kits. Ordering from U.K. is no problem. Depending on exchange rate price of Hyde with shipping tends to be much higher in USA then Aerco.

In USA Bonneville shop has sold Aerco for years. Free shipping continental USA. They work well with steel pressure plate. So that is savings. So about $150 US cheaper than Hyde + MAP pressure plate.

I don’t know who else in USA or Canada sells Aerco.

So far in normal street use I’ve been most happy with Aerco. About 5k miles or so on it now.

After running 7 plate in my bike & many others, I’d never go back to 6 plate. I don’t recall anyone changing back.

Thinking of pressure & friction is both brands have a narrower friction point. Especially cold they can be slightly grabby or notchy on take off. Heat soaked after 10-15 miles it smooths nicely. Friction point is always narrower. Trading bikes no one has ever noticed it. I pay attention to every detail in comparing clutches.
Don


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Thanks for that Don,
I wasn’t intending to suggest that any of your experiences/observations were incorrect.
Only the factual science of the matter.
I personally do not have a problem with the standard clutch (though I have gone to considerable trouble and expense with new spider, rubbers, core etc).

The main factor for me with the standard clutch, is minimising the amount of oil in it. Then it works just fine. This means just minimal oil in the chaincase, such that there is enough to splash the chain, and no more.

I wonder if Triumph decided on stronger springs with the 750 just because the primary oil level could vary a bit with the “self-levelling” system. Connect with TT’s last comment.

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My T140 certainly has more power than a stock 750. And I use the power .It has a Aerco 7 plate clutch with 650 springs adjusted with a stud thread past the nut face. It never slips , the engagement is reasonable, easy to ride in traffic. I use Brembo style levers and perches, not dog legs. Stock Triumph levers are shaped poorly and create clutch pull issues with feel and effort .Treat the problem,not the symptoms ...


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons..
“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
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Hi Hillbilly, What do you see as the problem?

Out of curiosity what is your pressure plate lift?
What pressure plate are you using?
Don


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Hi Koan58, No offense was taken. Not in the slightest. Every thing I do, say should be questioned. That is correct & proper to do.

Free & open discussion with different points of view is very important. It benefits all of use.

In person we see & know what others are, do.

Online forums is a totally different thing. For all you know I might not even own a bike & I get my photos off the internet. Kind of like the catfish show on tv.

Keep the dialogue coming!
Don


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Don, the problem is the shape of the stock lever.they are excessively curved outward because the distance between the bar and perch pivot is too short at two inches .The Brembo type have a 3 inch bar to pivot so the lever is more parallel to the bar and assumes a pull in arc more favorable to a human hand.
And while the Bremo has a pivot to cable measurement of 1-3/16, the first thing I noticed wth the stock clutch was the pull was easier than the Triumph levers. In my opinion unless a stock lever is required for a show bike, there is no reason not to swap...Of course there are different types of Brembo and the master cylinder can also be changed to take care of the master cylinder ratio and for balanced appearance. They are not a bolt on and require a bit hobbyist engineering..
I have never measured plate lift but is more that stock due to the pivot to cable distance being greater than stock . The pressure plate is stock Triumph...


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons..
“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
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Hi Hillbilly, Thanks for the reply & great info.

Dave put it think a modern Triumph lever on his ‘70 TR6.
Sounds similar in construction. The fulcrum distance is large. This lever is dog leg. Lever travel is much smaller than stock, yet it pulls similar amount of cable. I’ve ridden the bike. The lever gives a narrower friction point to a degree. But the feel to my fingers is very natural & since fingers more bent the effective effort is less. This makes the friction point easy to feel & modulate.

I’ve pondered the levers for some time. At the moment I’m committed to keeping stock switch consoles which limits my options.

I could fabricate a front perch half though.

The front master cylinder is another subject! Did Triumph road test prototypes?? Sure it stops good. I’ve gotten used to it, but I certainly wouldn’t call it user friendly. I’d sure like to try a LF Harris 13mm. I’ve thought about backing off cyl. 1-2 turns & adding spacer or longer spring or rod length. I don’t know if that’s practical or not. I don’t even mind the lack of feel as much as lever reach is so far. Dog leg would be good here too.
Don

Last edited by TR7RVMan; 10/16/20 4:38 am. Reason: Changed sentence

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https://www.thebonnevilleshop.com/p...ville-clutch-pack-pn-tbs-3210-57-1362-a/

I just put a set of these in my T120V. Using six dead flat steel plates they work well, no slipping, clutch frees on the first prod. I had some high-RPM slipping with the stock plates, gone now.
I also use T140 springs with the adjusters flush at the top. Maybe a bit stiffer lever, but my other Triumph is a T150, I'm used to a stiff clutch lever.


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Don, yes it requires new switches, I found a 2013 Triumph left hand switch is perfect, lol....To be honest I just really enjoy working on bikes and doing at sorts of modifications.


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“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
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Hillbilly, can you post a link or a pic of the type of brembo cable lever you're using?


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Thanks for all the suggestions. As winter is fast approaching here in the Great White North I've got lots to chew on over the next six months or so. Just to add to my initial post I use 20W50 oil as recommended by the factory. I have installed a new high quality clutch cable and I believe I have set up the release mechanism correctly. The clutch isn't binding. I can't comment on the spring tension but I do have some new springs I will probably install when I replace the plates.

In the past I have put high mileages on several Triumphs including a '71 TR6R and never had clutch problems so my issue with the Bonnie is a bit of a head scratcher.

Bruce


1937 Ariel Red Hunter 500
1970 Triumph Bonneville

Making the scene with the gasoline
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