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Thread: Arthritis and clutch lever R1100RS

  1. #1
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    Arthritis and clutch lever R1100RS

    I need some help with my newly purchased R1100 RS. I have some arthritis in my left thumb and after a couple of hours of riding it's very painful. Is there a replacement clutch lever that will decrease the reach required or some other help for this problem? Thanks in advance for your help. I'm new and this is my first post.

  2. #2
    Registered User m_stock10506's Avatar
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    My first attempt at this would be to replace the clutch cable. It could still be the original and could be restricted from easy movement. Make sure the barrel that fits into the clutch lever is greased so it rotates easily when the the lever is pulled. Or, you could just grease the installed clutch cable ends before you try replacing it. Don't lube the cable down the sheath, they are supposed to be left dry.
    Last edited by m_stock10506; 12-10-2012 at 05:26 AM. Reason: typo
    Michael Stock, Trinity, NC
    R1100RT, R100, R60/6

  3. #3
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Hi Arlow,

    Welcome to the forum! You'll want to make sure that the clutch actuation machinery is in good shape, and that the grips are angled appropriately.

    As to the actuation: it's possible (or even likely) that the clutch cable is original. Replace it; remember that BMW cables are teflon-lined, and should not be lubricated - lubrication softens the lining and makes things worse. The barrel fitting at the clutch lever end on the handlebar must be free to rotate in its recess and appropriately lubricated. The clutch lever on the handlebar must (with the cable disconnected) move freely on its pivot. The lower end of the clutch cable has another (built-in) barrel end; it must be clean and lubed in the clutch actuation lever. The clutch must be correctly adjusted, which on an Oilhead (I rode one 1997-2010) is not intuitive, but requires specific settings at both ends of the cable, accomplished in a particular order.

    As to the grips: if there's anything not-quite-right with how the grips meet your hands, it won't be comfortable. The grips adjust in-and-out a bit; you may also find that adding a set of barbacks to move the grips up and/or closer to you helps. They look like this: http://store.bobsbmw.com/product/barbax-for-k1200rs although this is a K12 set, they look similar. I had a set on my R1100RSL (1997-2010), and they helped a lot.

    While I wouldn't expect an Oilhead cable-operated clutch to be as light as the hydraulic one on my R12R, with good maintenance and adjustment I didn't have a problem with the earlier one.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  4. #4
    Riding where it's hot! AZ-J's Avatar
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    I have the R1200S version of these and they great! Very adjustable as well!
    My bike shown here
    Jordan M, MOA #24434
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  5. #5
    Rally Rat
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    Like a few others have said, I'd try replacing the clutch cable first. After that, you can adjust the clutch actuation point, AKA the lever freeplay. The clutch lever is supposed to have 7 mm of freeplay. (Maybe someone can post a pic of that measurement?) Anyway, you can make adjustments to the freeplay both at the lever and at the back of the transmission. IMO the 7 mm spec is a "no less than" measurement. You can probably increase it significantly without interfering with functionality.

    Also, you can upshift without using the clutch. Preload the shifter, roll off slightly, then roll back on. Money!

    Cool bike, btw!

    Edit: Take a look here for a graphic of the measurements:

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=847183
    Last edited by JimMoore; 12-10-2012 at 02:45 PM.

  6. #6
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    Somewhere in here Paul Glaves mentioned a handy trick if you are doing this adjustment solo. Once the clutch cable adjustment A is right (12mm) and the lever freeplay B is right (7mm adjusted by turning #2) pull in the clutch and tape or zip tie it to the handlebar to hold it there while you tighten up the lock nut (#1) down below.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

  7. #7
    Bluenoser
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arlow View Post
    I need some help with my newly purchased R1100 RS. I have some arthritis in my left thumb and after a couple of hours of riding it's very painful. Is there a replacement clutch lever that will decrease the reach required or some other help for this problem? Thanks in advance for your help. I'm new and this is my first post.
    A couple of things could be happening and you don't elaborate as to city driving, that requires lots of clutch work, or twisties etc. I find the grips on my HD very hard and after a few hours will get a sore spot on the inside of my thumb. I've just been putting up with it.

    It could be that you are holding on to the grip too hard. You could look for a softer grip. I'm not sure if you researched the after market for a different clutch lever as there are some that are adjustable but I don't know if they have them for the R1100's. Also different padded gloves.

    Victory Motorcycles makes a Teflon lube that comes in a smaller container with a very thin needle like application tube on the end. I wouldn't think this would bother the cables like an oil based product might. I use it on my HD all the time and when I was MSF instructing we used it on all our course bikes. It worked well.

    Yes a new cable & proper adjustment may be in the cards.

    Start with the cheapest/easiest change and then work your way up. Hopefully you'll find something that helps.
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
    2013 DL650

  8. #8
    Scottish Transplant Picinisco's Avatar
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    Arthritis in the hands

    Quote Originally Posted by Arlow View Post
    I need some help with my newly purchased R1100 RS. I have some arthritis in my left thumb and after a couple of hours of riding it's very painful.
    So what if anything are you doing to relieve the pain. I too have arthritis in my finger joints. Have been taking calcium supplements and Glucosimine and Chondritin daily. Hasn't cured my ailment but makes the pain bearable.
    2004 R1150GS 1978 R75G/S Frankenbike
    AMA - BMWMOA - BMWRSOC - AZBEEMERS
    Gilbert, Arizona

  9. #9
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    If your kidneys are in good shape you could ask for a Rx of Relafen, an NSAID that makes them work better-not a "pain pill". The Glucosamine /chondriton is for preventative measure,toward joint movement, not a pain reliever. IOW, over a long period of time you may feel better but is a "down the road effect" by intention.

  10. #10
    Nickname: Droid
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    The 1100RS uses the older style clutch hub spline that requires cleaning, checking and proper lubing of the clutch hub splines every 40k to 50k miles. If the clutch hub goes dry, for one it WILL wear out the clutch hub AND tranny input shaft splines.

    But a dry clutch hub also significantly increases the effort required at the clutch lever. Aside from the proper setup, 7mm free-play, 12mm between the adjuster/locknut, slack adjusted FIRST at the tranny end, a properly lubed clutch hub spline reduces the clutch lever effort to a reasonably light effort.

    Mine is overdue for a lube job this winter, and yet the clutch lever effort is still light and even. Also, the handlebar position on the RS could be putting undue pressure on your palm, wrist and left thumb. I converted my RS to use a standard handlebar mount, and my riding position is now much more RT like. It really reduced the pressure on my wrists.
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  11. #11
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Grip buddies

    Here is a cheap option. I installed grip buddies and my hands are much more comfortable. Arthritis is a real pain and different strategies work differently for everyone; but this did wonders for me.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  12. #12
    Sign Guy Bdiver's Avatar
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    Have you gone 2 the Dr about it? Mine was so bad that I couldnt sleep or have anything touch it. Im on medication that: make it so i can run & jump like all the other boys n girls ;-) Get the clutch looked at and see a doc about medication, you dont have to suffer & give up something you love.
    Brian - Everett, WA
    www.pdq-signs.com
    99 R1100RT - Got Kewl-Aid? IBA - SS1K's, BBG
    I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left!

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