Lubing the cables

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How to lube the clutch cable

This is a fairly easy task that should be done at least once a year, more often if the bike is parked outside or exposed to salt air.

Here's the genuine Kawasaki cable lubrication tool:

Clutch cable lube 1.jpg

Disconnect the clutch cable from the lever (loosening it at the clutch cover first makes this task easier):

Clutch cable lube 2.jpg

At this point, do yourself a favor and depress the clutch switch (a small, 1/8" diameter, 1/4" long spring-loaded piece of plastic that is activated by squeezing/releasing the clutch lever) and use a piece of tape to keep it depressed while you are working, as it is very easily broken off. It can be difficult to do this before starting, so wait until after removing the cable. The switch is most prone to breaking while reconnecting the cable. Don't forget to remove the tape when you are done.

Clutch switch.jpg

Clamp the tool to the cable. The thin part of the tool goes on the cable and the wider part attaches to the sheath. This lets the lube run down the cable, inside the sheath, without making too much of a mess.

Clutch cable lube 3.jpg

Connect the lube and spray; a bit of lube may force its way out at the tool, so you may want to wrap it with a rag while you spray. It's a good idea to put a rag down at the other end as well, as when there's enough lube inside the sheath it will start dripping out down there. Move the cable back and forth inside the sheath to make sure it moves freely and the lube gets on everything inside.

Clutch cable lube 4.jpg

Hook the cable back up, adjust the slack, and enjoy silky smooth clutch action.

Other available tools

Protect All Cable Luber

Motion Pro Cable Luber

Cable breakage

The clutch cable tends to break more often than many people think it should, usually right here:


Since dealers quite often don't have these in stock, you might want to get a spare cable and zip-tie it to the current one. Should your cable break, it is just a matter of hooking up both ends and you are on your way home. That or shifting clutchless for the rest of your ride.

What should I use for lubricant?

Pretty much anything that won't gum up your cables will work. There are a couple things you shouldn't use, though. WD-40 is not a lubricant. Also stay away from chain wax. You don't want something waxy building up. It doesn't cost much to get the right stuff. Your motorcycle shop should have something similar to the Protect All Cable Life Kit. You can also find multi-purpose lubes such as those made by Krylon or Dupont in many hardware stores and big boxes. If you have a good bicycle lube that will work fine as well.

Lubing the throttle cables

Lubing a throttle cable is done in the exact same fashion as lubing a clutch cable. Use the same cable lubing device. Work the cable back and forth a few times throughout the process. There is one difference, though. The throttle cables are a bear to get off and then back on correctly, much more so than the clutch. Putting all the throttle components back in the correct place can be an exercise in frustration. Also, there are two throttle cables: one to open the throttle and one to pull it back closed. It is very difficult to get a cable luber on the opener cable. It has this weird, J-shaped guide on it that can't be removed, and if you pull the cable far enough to get that out of the way, there's a big plastic thing on the end of the sheath that won't budge, or fit in the cable luber. What to do?

Don't try to lube the throttle cable from the bar end. Go down to the carb end and work from there. Mark or measure the position of your cables relative to the adjusters, so that when you put them back together you won't have to readjust them. Then, simply loosen the adjusters, put your cable luber on the end of the cable, and spray until you see the lube coming out the top end. You will want to have a rag at the top to collect drippage. Wes says he's been doing it this way for seven years and has had no problems with the switches.



  • Remove the #2 phillips screw holding the brass plate to the carbs. This is the plate that holds the throttle cables.
  • Next, juuuust barely loosen the throttle cables enough that you can sneak 'em out of the brass bracket.
  • Put one cable into your cable luber tool, TIGHT, and wrap it with a cloth.
  • Squirt lube up there until it drips out of your control pod onto the rag you put there.
  • Repeat the last two steps for the other cable.
  • Put the cables back in the bracket and tighten the nuts (assuming you were happy with their previous adjustment)
  • Put the bracket back on the carbs
  • Verify throttle cable free play (2-3mm for each cable with bars centered)

This same method can be used for the clutch cable, if you like.

How to lube the speedometer cable

Speedo cables will sooner or later dry up their original lubrication, and you will see the needle start to jump on the dial. It wants lubrication. If ignored, it will get worse and break. The cable is a tiny, long, coiled spring with square ends formed on it for a drive. You can lube the cable by disconnecting the knurled knob on the speedo gearbox on the front axle with your fingers. No need to disturb the upper end fitting at the speedo.

With great care, twist and pull the cable out of the housing. It makes some tight bends so will be a little tight. Don't yank on it or it will be ruined. Using a MOLY (only) chassis grease available in tubes from NAPA or good auto parts stores (commonly used with a grease gun for car and truck chassis lubrication). Coat the cable thoroughly on its whole length with the grease, using your fingers to make sure it's thoroughly greased. But don't really glop it on, or shove grease up the housing, because that has been known to get grease up into the speedo head and ruin it.

Now, ease and fish your cable up the housing, very gently, around the tight bends. Turn it a little, which will help. You will also need to turn and ease the square drive end up into the speedo head itself, using no force at any time. Eventually you will see the cable is fully installed in its housing, as it was when you detached it from the axle gearbox. Now, re-attach it to the axle gearbox, once again carefully making sure the square end of the cable properly enters the gearbox. After tightening the knurled finger nut, you're good to go. You will find that the cable will run smoothly a long, long time with this moly-grease treatment.

It's not a bad idea to clean and grease up the speedo drive on the axle whenever you've got the wheel off. Both gears will come out of the unit, letting you remove any gunk and particles that may have settled there. Pack it real well w/ regular bearing grease when re-assembling it.