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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2020 890 R with 800 miles here.

The issue I'm having is that the free play in the clutch lever when adjusted to the 5mm book spec changes dramatically between when the handlebars are straight or turned full left. When I set the play with bars straight and turn the bars full left, there is NO play and the lever is tight.

To be safe, I set the play at the tight spot, bars full left but, the lever is sloppy when bars are centered.

Anybody else experiencing this?

Pics for reference (this is not where I measured the spec, just for reference)
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Bicycle part

Automotive tire Automotive design Bicycle part Carbon Automotive exterior
 

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My standard 890 is the same, I think I adjusted somewhere in between and just made sure the clutch wasn’t dragging or anything full lock left. I think my shop manual said something about there being an issue if it’s tight one way or another but I checked the whole cable and it’s all fine. Maybe a bit short from the factory? I don’t worry about it much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Just checked mine, does the same. Although does not affect me too much because I don't adjust it to factory spec. I adjust to bite point so running around 10mm play straight ahead.
Thank you for taking a look at your bike. I appreciate that. At least it's normal for this bike. I posted in a reply to the next comment what I ended up doing to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My standard 890 is the same, I think I adjusted somewhere in between and just made sure the clutch wasn’t dragging or anything full lock left. I think my shop manual said something about there being an issue if it’s tight one way or another but I checked the whole cable and it’s all fine. Maybe a bit short from the factory? I don’t worry about it much.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm not gonna worry about it either....ok, that's a lie. What I ended up doing is watching the cable as I turned the bars. You are close thinking the cable is short...but just the opposite (I believe). When turned fully left (in my bike anyways) the cable is so long that it bunches and kinks a bit. Looking at the cable, there are printed white marks from the factory that are supposed to align with securement points in the cable....where it is supposed to be zip ties to or clipped to the frame. I clipped the (1) zip tie behind the left black cover below the tank shroud and loosened the clip on the frame near the shock remote reservoir. I was able to feed a bit of cable back toward the rear of the bike and re-secure.

This helped a bit but, did not solve it. Since this seems to be normal, I'm going to do like you and Mohawk said and adjust at its tight point and run it. Thank you for the help.
 

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It's not uncommon for the clutch cable to get tighter while turning the bars to the stop.

I would not be too concerned with having the "correct" about of free play. It's really a personal preference issue in my book.

For me the stock free play amount has the clutch engaging too far out in the lever travel. I prefer to have the clutch engage sooner than later in the lever travel. To achieve this I have to set up with about 8 mm of free play. Works good and lasts a long time.

No worries mate...no worries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's not uncommon for the clutch cable to get tighter while turning the bars to the stop.

I would not be too concerned with having the "correct" about of free play. It's really a personal preference issue in my book.

For me the stock free play amount has the clutch engaging too far out in the lever travel. I prefer to have the clutch engage sooner than later in the lever travel. To achieve this I have to set up with about 8 mm of free play. Works good and lasts a long time.

No worries mate...no worries.
I agree...if this is normal for this bike, then I'll just make sure I have enough play and run it. My motocross bikes and Buells had consistent play. This just surprised me a bit. My 690 SMC R and past KTM m-x bikes have hydraulic clutches. Kinda spoiled me.
 

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I agree...if this is normal for this bike, then I'll just make sure I have enough play and run it. My motocross bikes and Buells had consistent play. This just surprised me a bit. My 690 SMC R and past KTM m-x bikes have hydraulic clutches. Kinda spoiled me.
I'm tracking with you on the hydraulic clutch. They are super smooth and low maintenance.

All my past KTM's had a hydraulic clutch. I loved not having to mess with a cable. I guess this was one area KTM used to help keep the price point down.
 

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2021 KTM 890 Duke R
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2020 890 R with 800 miles here.

The issue I'm having is that the free play in the clutch lever when adjusted to the 5mm book spec changes dramatically between when the handlebars are straight or turned full left. When I set the play with bars straight and turn the bars full left, there is NO play and the lever is tight.

To be safe, I set the play at the tight spot, bars full left but, the lever is sloppy when bars are centered.

Anybody else experiencing this?

Pics for reference (this is not where I measured the spec, just for reference) View attachment 9608
View attachment 9609
I'm glad I found this forum, and this topic, thought I was going mad. I have this same issue (brand new 2021 Duke 890 R). This does create a problem: I discovered this when I attempted a full lock turn to the left with a slipping clutch. As I straightened the handle bars, the bike jumped forward. I cursed my lack of clutch skills, repeated, same result. Got my partner to do it, he had the same experience. Traced it to this problem: free play changes depending on handle bar position, clutch engagement change when handle bars position changes. Not pretty in some situations. The manual clearly states that "The free play of the clutch lever must not change" no matter the handle bar position, and that the cable routing must be checked if this is not the case [page 263]. Currently at the dealer, who first tried to justify this with "all of them are like that". If that is true, then there is an issue with KTM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm glad I found this forum, and this topic, thought I was going mad. I have this same issue (brand new 2021 Duke 890 R). This does create a problem: I discovered this when I attempted a full lock turn to the left with a slipping clutch. As I straightened the handle bars, the bike jumped forward. I cursed my lack of clutch skills, repeated, same result. Got my partner to do it, he had the same experience. Traced it to this problem: free play changes depending on handle bar position, clutch engagement change when handle bars position changes. Not pretty in some situations. The manual clearly states that "The free play of the clutch lever must not change" no matter the handle bar position, and that the cable routing must be checked if this is not the case [page 263]. Currently at the dealer, who first tried to justify this with "all of them are like that". If that is true, then there is an issue with KTM.
What helped but not cured the issue is a few posts above this one. Check it out. And sadly, it seems that they all do it. I set my free play at the tightest point and just deal with the sloppy lever when the bars are straight.
 

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What helped but not cured the issue is a few posts above this one. Check it out. And sadly, it seems that they all do it. I set my free play at the tightest point and just deal with the sloppy lever when the bars are straight.
Thank you. I'll do that if the dealer can't fix it; it's currently being looked at. It beggars belief that a high end bike like this one has an issue like that. I traded in my trusty MT07 for what I believed was a much better bike. And it is in many regards, but I feel let down big time that this bike has a problem like that, and that it's impossible to truly fix, despite the manual explicitly stating how it should be configured. And KTM get away with it.
 

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The main reason for this issue is that KTM set up the bike with very little cable slack. Add to this the cable routing and the hardware that rigidly holds many of the cables tightly in place.

I added 1 inch bar risers on my 790 and made this issue even worse...ah but it sure made for a more relaxed riding position for my old carcass.
 

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I'm glad I found this forum, and this topic, thought I was going mad. I have this same issue (brand new 2021 Duke 890 R). This does create a problem: I discovered this when I attempted a full lock turn to the left with a slipping clutch. As I straightened the handle bars, the bike jumped forward. I cursed my lack of clutch skills, repeated, same result. Got my partner to do it, he had the same experience. Traced it to this problem: free play changes depending on handle bar position, clutch engagement change when handle bars position changes. Not pretty in some situations. The manual clearly states that "The free play of the clutch lever must not change" no matter the handle bar position, and that the cable routing must be checked if this is not the case [page 263]. Currently at the dealer, who first tried to justify this with "all of them are like that". If that is true, then there is an issue with KTM.
Hmmm, that might explain a similar problem I've been having. Practicing pull-out turns, full lock from a standstill. I can do them no problem on my other bikes. Not on the 790 Duke. And I've tried it dozens of times.

Ultimately I put it down to the Duke turning tighter and accelerating away more readily - but the clutch friction point moving underneath me explains it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you. I'll do that if the dealer can't fix it; it's currently being looked at. It beggars belief that a high end bike like this one has an issue like that. I traded in my trusty MT07 for what I believed was a much better bike. And it is in many regards, but I feel let down big time that this bike has a problem like that, and that it's impossible to truly fix, despite the manual explicitly stating how it should be configured. And KTM get away with it.
I totally get your disappointment but, this is more of a nuisance than major flaw to me. Coming from Japanese stuff myself, There are some nuances with Euro stuff. In my eyes, the Japanese stuff is of very good quality and somewhat conservative. In contrast, the Euro stuff is very well executed and less conservative and more complex. KTMs can be prone to issues unlike the Japanese stuff but, they just run and handle so damn good.

My 20 690 SMC R had a few issues (clutch slave, countershaft seal, fuel pump)....but it is a beast and nothing the Japanese make compares. I guess it's a KTM thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hmmm, that might explain a similar problem I've been having. Practicing pull-out turns, full lock from a standstill. I can do them no problem on my other bikes. Not on the 790 Duke. And I've tried it dozens of times.

Ultimately I put it down to the Duke turning tighter and accelerating away more readily - but the clutch friction point moving underneath me explains it.
I'm glad that you found this useful. In my case the cable was bunching next to the steering head at full left lock turns making the slack at the lever disappear. As said above, I resituated the cable and adjusted slack at the tightest point (full left).
 

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I’ve not noticed any clutch issues in 6,000 miles on my 21 890R. I mean nothing. Never even entered my consciousness as being an issue. I do have my bars moved to the forward position. :unsure:
 

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I'm glad that you found this useful. In my case the cable was bunching next to the steering head at full left lock turns making the slack at the lever disappear. As said above, I resituated the cable and adjusted slack at the tightest point (full left).
Yeah, thanks I will inspect and adjust as necessary. Currently the bike is hanging from the roof with a strap under the steering head, awaiting the return of the re-sprung forks - so I can't fully check this.

My bike came with the PP flyscreen fitted, plus a bigger Givi screen. As the weather turned cold in May I swapped to the bigger Givi screen, and noticed the clutch cable was a bear, seemed to be wedged in place with little free movement. I don't like the Givi screen so I'll deal to the clutch cable when I swap back to the PP flyscreen ready for the warmer months.
 

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In contrast, the Euro stuff is very well executed and less conservative and more complex.
In other ways, they are simpler. I get frustrated working on Jap stuff due to the excess junk fitted to them that gets in the way of simple jobs, and the wide variety of fastener heads. Even simple jobs require many more tools than the KTMs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
In other ways, they are simpler. I get frustrated working on Jap stuff due to the excess junk fitted to them that gets in the way of simple jobs, and the wide variety of fastener heads. Even simple jobs require many more tools than the KTMs.
You do make a solid point. Here's my take on my KTMs vs Japanese bikes as compared to women. Lets say an MT09sp vs an 890 R. The MT is like a hot chick that may do a shot or two and pull her shirt up. The 890 R is a baaaad girl that makes you do blo off her boobs and likes to see what your limits are. You're not sure if she'll hurt you but, it's so worth it.
 

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I totally get your disappointment but, this is more of a nuisance than major flaw to me. Coming from Japanese stuff myself, There are some nuances with Euro stuff. In my eyes, the Japanese stuff is of very good quality and somewhat conservative. In contrast, the Euro stuff is very well executed and less conservative and more complex. KTMs can be prone to issues unlike the Japanese stuff but, they just run and handle so damn good.

My 20 690 SMC R had a few issues (clutch slave, countershaft seal, fuel pump)....but it is a beast and nothing the Japanese make compares. I guess it's a KTM thing.
I get it, the fun of the KTM, it is a beast and that's why I bought it. But really, should a sophisticated bike like this have issues with the clutch routing? Engineering is all over the marketing of this bike. You'd think they can fix a simple issue like that. And, it is actually dangerous. When your bike suddenly accelerates when you don't expect it to, then that's an accident waiting to happen. Accidents probably have happened because of it, but the rider probably put it down to their lack of skills, like I did initially. I don't think it's good enough for a bike like this.
 
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