Lurching Clutch

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by RetiredJake, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. RetiredJake

    RetiredJake Junior Member

    How many of you feel that the movement/lurching that occurs when you start your bike with the transmission in gear is a dangerous defect?

    I caught a banner ad on the site this morning and followed the link to see what this was about. Apparently someone started their bike in gear, it lurched forward (his words) and he lost control, dropped the bike and injured his leg. He is now suing HD for a dangerous defect in the design of the clutch. The suit specifically alledges that the clutch is Japanese made and therefore this suit will not affect any US jobs. The ad was a request to join a class action lawsuit.

    Personally, I think it is a bunch of hooey (sorry, Glider won't let me say what I really think :D) and is an attempt by an inept rider who screwed up and is trying to blame someone else.


    Link to requests for joining a class action lawsuit. I would have posted a screen shot of the ad, but it cycled off the screen when I went back to get it.

    Harley Davidson Motorcycle Class Action Investigation
  2. Flashback

    Flashback Active Member

    Was gonna make a longer comment but figured anything I had to say would just get me banned. Suffice it to say if people are too stupid to start their bike they shouldn't own one.................
  3. smkinnan

    smkinnan Active Member

    as usual, I see points to both sides of this argument. I agree that people should be careful when starting their bike. But I also see the need for something like a neutral safety switch. Cars have had them for a while. I know I've had some close calls which were perhaps my fault. I get on the bike and maybe I'm trying to get going a little too fast and my hand has almost slipped off of the clutch lever accidently a couple of times.
  4. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

    I always start any of my bikes in neutral with the clutch pulled in and with the front brake on. Learned that session young When I thought I had bike in neutral (the light was on), it moved forward and fell.

    You can only do so much to protect someone from themselves.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  5. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    The incident described is a great example of a bad habit that in this case had a consequence. Riders should learn, or be taught riding habits that err on the side of safety.

    Under what circumstances would it be SAFE to start the engine with the transmission in gear? ALMOST NONE!! So why develop a habit of starting the bike in such a fashion that this situation could occur?

    I believe that the engine should NOT be started UNLESS the transmission is in neutral AND the clutch lever is pulled all the way in. This would be the MINIMUM conditions prior to pushing the START button. Better yet would be having the brake applied and the bike upright with the rider on the seat ready to take action if something unexpected happens (clutch cable breaks as START button is pushed AND transmission drops into gear - VERY UNLIKELY!!).

    Anything less than the minimum described above has to be thought about. Folks may think, "as long as the clutch lever is pulled in what does it matter if the tranny is in gear". In the Winter when I start my bikes, there is enough viscosity in the cold fluids (especially in the primary) that the fluid drag causes the bike to try to move forward even with the clutch lever fully pulled in, but the tranny in gear.

    Get on the bike, kick up the jiffy stand, pull the clutch lever all the way in, turn on the key switch, grip the front brake lever and apply it, put the tranny in neutral, turn the kill switch on, THEN push the START button.

    As I said at the beginning, it is better to develop habits that err on the side of SAFETY!!

  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    Much easier on the bike and the rider to start it in neutral with the clutch pulled in. The lurch is because of the parasitic drag of the clutch caused by the oil between the plates. If a person looses control because of this, there's a serious problem somewhere.

    I like that word :D See you can do it!
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  7. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Might not be the exact same order but this is what they teach at the MSF Basic Rider Class. Experienced riders often scoff at how rudimentary some of the stuff covered in that class can be but it's all based on real life screw ups and is based on absolutely safe and sound practices. Might be time for me to get out all my class materials and read over everything again!
  8. paulmack

    paulmack Active Member

    I totally agree with Glider on this. This is also another example of what's gon wrong in this country. People don't want to take responsibilit6y for their own actions. They just want to try and put the blame on someonne else and then sue them.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Double + for TQ & Glider...proper starting sequence like common sense is a learned experience...being "stupi'..."...uh..."silly" can be done anytime... and I like "hooey" also regarding that lawsuit!
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  10. Bud White

    Bud White Well-Known Member Retired Moderators

    i saw the lawsuit also was talking about ti with doug09-ultra .. should sign on to see if i can win enought o pay harley off .. yep it lurches big deal its 1" maybe