How to Adjustment / Inspection / Replacement a Vertigo Clutch

The Vertigo clutch has 3 settings, as part of the clutch basket, that can help the rider fine tune his machine to his riding style and/or adjust as the clutch plates wear with use.

By a simple turn of the green clutch ring on top of the clutch basket, the clutch can be adjusted giving a much more aggressive response for the rider that wants instant engagement or the clutch fingers can be brought back to the original height extending the usable life of the clutch.

Following is a narrative and pictorial guide for adjusting the clutch in all of the Vertigo models.

Before starting any maintenance on any motorcycle I recommend washing the bike, with a hose, not a pressure washer,  washing off any dirt or debris that could fall into the open side case or compromise the resealing of the side case on reassembly.

Lay the bike on it’s left side, this will allow the transmission oil to drain to the left side of the transmission so it does not need to be drained from the transmission. This also allows good access to the right side of the bike to easily remove the rear brake master,  (I have found it is much easier to remove the brake foot pedal, 13mm end wrench, this step will make reassembly of the rear brake much easier).

kick start lever and clutch side cover.  When laying the bike on it’s side rest the left handlebar on a 2” or 4”x 4” block, this will allow the clutch lever to be used in a following step.

Once the bike is securely laying on it’s left side,  remove the kick starter, remove the brake pedal and unmount, but do not remove, the rear brake master cylinder from the frame (this step may not be necessary, but by unbolting the master the brake line can be moved back against the swing arm and out of the way of the side cover helping with reassembly).

Left; After backing out the mounting bolt for the kick starter about ¼ inch, rotate the kick lever back, allowing the lever to engage the top of the bolt head, in turn moving or leveraging the kick start lever body up, off of the splined shaft.

Center; two bolts hold the master on the inside of the frame, remove these and the master will be movable as well as the brake line.

Right; Notice how the brake line is much closer to the swing-arm with the master disconnected compared to the left and center photo, before the master is disconnected.

Now start removing the side case bolts, do this in a criss-cross pattern, backing out all of the bolts about ¼ inch.

Once all of the bolts are loose, go to the left handlebar and pull the clutch lever.  You will hear and see the clutch side case pop and move away from the transmission body. Pull the lever several times to ensure that the side cover is disconnected from the body of the transmission. Now it’s time to remove all of the side case bolts.

Three of the bolts will be about 1/4” longer than the others, 10 o’clock, 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock locations.  I mark these holes with a marker so I know where the longer bolts fit on assembly.

Now that the side case is loose,  place 1 wrap of electrical tape around the splines of the kick start shaft to help protect the shaft seal as it slides over the splines.

With all bolts removed lift upward gently with your fingers,  sliding the case up off of the kick start shaft. Once the case is clear of the shaft, lay the case back against the motorcycle’s side. Since the clutch line is still attached do not force or sharply bend the line, hold the case back from the work zone with a rubber bungee.

Once the case is out of the way you will notice the clutch slave cylinder that is attached to the inside of the clutch side case. On the clutch disengagement shaft, or slave cylinder, you will find the clutch throw out bearing and the washer that presses against the clutch fingers.  If these parts have fallen off the shaft on removal of the side case, place the bearing on the clutch slave shaft followed by the finger washer.

With the clutch side case out of the way the clutch basket is fully exposed.

You will notice the adjustable, “Green Ring”, with the numbers 1, 2 and 3 printed on the ring.  The stock setting from the factory will have the clutch bolts in the #1 hole and every third hole around the ring.  Some of the high performance bikes from Vertigo may come from the Factory with the bolts set in the #2 hole arrangement.

The #1 hole is meant to give the clutch the most progressive and workable feel, as the green ring is rotated and the bolts are moved to the #2 and #3 holes the clutch will get a shorter more positive engagement respectively from the #1 hole to the #3 hole adjustment.

As the clutch wears with use the bolt adjustments can also be used to extend the life of the clutch.

If an adjustment is going to be made to the green ring, using a T20 Torx wrench remove the 12 small bolts around the ring in a criss-cross pattern. Once all of the bolts are removed simply rotate the ring to the desired hole setting, 1, 2 or 3 and reinstall the bolts.

On installation care should be taken to install and only lightly smug each bolt in a reverse criss-cross as they were removed. Once all 12 bolts are loosely snug around the ring, continue to add small amounts of torque to each bolt in the criss-cross pattern until the recommended  torque, 6Nm/4.4 ft-lbs, is achieved. (I generally go around the ring with the tightening process at least 3 rotations, adding torque on each rotation, 4.4 lbs of torque is not much, I get the needed torque with firm hand pressure on the wrench handle, do not over torque these small bolts).

If you decide you want to disassemble the clutch basket for inspection or to install new plates, the following picture layout is a layered breakdown of the clutch basket.  The basket consists of 8 layers starting at the bottom or inner clutch crown and progressing outward to the 12 bolts that hold the clutch basket together.

If the clutch crown or clutch hub is to be removed, a puller as shown, will be needed. An automotive pulley puller can be used, with some work, carefully working below the clutch crown to pull the lightly pressed crown and hub off of the gearbox shaft . Do not try to remove the pressed clutch crown or hub by prying, it will not work and parts could be damaged in the process.

You should not need to pull the entire clutch unless you are working on the shifter components, gears or bearings located under the clutch basket.

The far right picture shows the clutch puller tool that is designed to remove the basket once the small M5X20, below is removed. Only remove this bolt if work is needed under the clutch basket, (if removed, use only 8Nm/5.9 ft-lbs of  re-tightened torque, I would also recommend a small drop of BLUE loctite on installation of this bolt).

I always check that this bolt is tight, even if i am not removing it.

On reassembly of the clutch basket, start with a fiber disc on the clutch hub and continue in the  reverse order that the fiber and metal plates were removed.

Once the 3 fiber and 2 metal discs are installed, reinstall the 12 fingers around the clutch, then place the heavy clutch pressure plate on top of the fingers.  The fingers as well as the pressure plate will lineup with the bolt studs around the clutch. When the pressure plate is placed on the fingers, the fingers should pivot upwards.

Next is the spring ring, placed on top of the pressure plate, the spring ring does have a convex, outward curve to it.  The outer edge of the spring ring facing down, towards the clutch, and the inner edge facing up or towards the outside of the bike.

The final step on reassembly is to install the green ring, lining up the desired bolt holes, 1,2 or 3 over the bolt studs.  Once the green ring is in the proper position, start, but do not tighten each of the 12 Torx head bolts, once all bolts are started tighten using the T20 Torx in the same criss-cross method as the ring was removed.  Continue to criss-cross around the ring at least 3 times increasing torque on each cycle, finishing with a torque of 6Nm/4.4 ft-lbs, as described above.

Installing the green ring is the final step in the reassembly of the clutch basket or you may have  only adjusted the ring from one number setting to another.

When putting the outer clutch case back on, be sure that the single wrap of electrical tape is still around the top of the kick start shaft.

Check that the throw out bearing and finger washer are still installed correctly on the clutch slave shaft, the bearing goes on first followed by the finger washer, since the washer is what will contact the fingers on activation.

Press on the clutch slave shaft, pushing it back against the side case, shortening the overall length of the clutch slave shaft. This will help in setting the case back in place over the clutch assembly.

I hold the bearing and washer on the shaft with a small dab of grease applied to the shaft.  This will help keep the assembly together as the side case is held over the clutch and kick start shaft and slid downward.

Also put a little grease around the inside of the kick shaft hole and seal, to lube the seal as the shaft is slid through.

Make sure the reusable clutch case gasket is in good condition and in the proper place around the outside of the transmission housing, being held in place by the centering sleeves.

Taking care to slide the case straight down lining up the kick start shaft, clutch slave shaft and finally the three case cover, centering sleeves around the outside of the clutch housing.

If the case was hard to remove, it could have been stuck to one of the centering sleeves, the sleeve could have come out of the case and is stuck in the case cover or one of the sleeves could have come partially out of the case mounting hole.  It is much easier for the case cover to slide over the centering sleeves if they are in the transmission case. Even if the centering sleeves are still in the transmission I will gently tape the sleeves to ensure that they are fully seated before installing the outer case cover.

The case should slide easily over the kick starter shaft and the clutch slave shaft, with some resistance felt once the case reaches the centering sleeves.  Make sure that the case and gasket is aligned properly and a firm tap with your fist should set the case on the centering sleeves in preparation for installing the case bolts.

Three of the 8 case bolts are slightly longer as noted above.  You should have noted and/or marked the location of the longer three bolts on removal.  Install these bolts and criss-crossing again applying some torque to the bolts, gently moving the clutch outer case down over the centering sleeves.

Once the cover is aligned and moving into the proper location on the transmission housing install the remaining five bolts and proceed with the criss-cross tightening pattern ending with 8Nm or 5.9 ft-lb of torque on all 8 bolts.

Once the clutch case is secure I like to stand the bike up on the kickstand and let it set for a few minutes to make sure the case has a good seal between the gasket and transmission housing, if for some reason the seal is not good it will not take long for transmission oil to run out onto the skid plate.

If you detect a leak it is much easier to disassemble and realign the clutch cover before installing the kick start lever and rear brake master.

If all looks good, no oil leaks, lay the bike back on the left side and install the master brake cylinder. (I have found it is much easier to line up the bolts in the cylinder if the brake pedal has been removed). Once the master is attached, hold the pedal from behind and run the lower foot peg/brake pedal pivot bolt though the frame and threaded pedal bushing.  If the bolt and bushing threads are clean with a small amount of lube on them the bolt should run through the bushing in turn tightening the pedal bushing to the frame without the need for an open end wrench (17mm) to hold the bushing, securing the foot peg and mounting bolt. Once this is done place the washer followed by the 13mm nut on the bolt end and secure the brake pedal with an open end wrench.  I like to use a drop of BLUE loctite on the nut.  Once the bolt and nut are secure check that the pedal is free to move as needed for rear brake application.

Reinstall the kick lever,  note that the lever is correctly installed with the lever pointing upward at about a 1 o’clock position.  If the lever is too far forward it will hit the exhaust pipe when in the  rest position.

Tools needed to work on the Vertigo Clutch;

➭Electrical tape, to tape the kick start shaft splines.

➭Grease, to lube the kick start shaft and help hold the throw-out bearing and finger washer in        place on assembly.

➭Clamp, to hold the rear brake line back along the swing arm.

➭Bungee cord, to hold the clutch case out of the way while working on the clutch.

➭Torx T20 wrench, to take out the 12 clutch bolts, around the green ring.

➭4mm Alan wrench, kick start bolt and case bolts.

➭5mm Alan wrench, rear master cylinder bolts.

➭13mm end wrench, brake pedal pivot nut.

Optional tools, not pictured;

➨17mm open end wrench, if needed to hold the brake bushing during removing/installing.

➨Clutch basket puller, center bolt style or pulley puller style, for removing the entire clutch basket.

➨Blue loctite, center clutch basket bolt, kick start lever mounting bolt, brake pedal pivot nut.

As with all maintenance on any Trials machine a clean bike before starting the work is important.

Set aside enough time to do the project, be patient and take your time and the project will go much better if you are not in a hurry.

And, contact Thumbs Up Trials if you have questions or run into problems with any Trials related maintenance project or issue and I will do my best to help.

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