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Hagerty Employee

How to improvise when you get shipped the wrong clutch cable

The excitement of the brown delivery truck can easily be quashed if the box it leaves on your doorstep contains the wrong part. Huge buzzkill, honestly. Such a mixup happened to me this week with the clutch cable on my 1972 SL125, but rather than ship back the proverbial lemon, I decided to make lemonade.
Intermediate Driver

Very nice. Typical experience of mine as well ordering generic cables on Ebay/amazon etc. I'm slowly learning to just bite the bullet and order OEM/NOS/good-used when possible. The time I spend messing around correcting/re-engineering cheap aftermarket stuff is simply not worth it most of the time.

That's true if you're only considering the dollars and cents per unit time aspect, and there are powerful arguments for that perspective. But there are those of us who get a twisted kind of thrill from solving it by being clever and resourceful. We just haven't been able to work out a dollar value for thrill per unit time yet.

Intermediate Driver

There is certainly a satisfaction in "figuring it out," but for me it's moreso the frustration of realizing that it's not going to be just a bolt-on job and some cobbling/fabrication on the brand new part is needed. I recently made something similar to Kyle for my GS750 where I was missing the adjuster/cable holder on my bank of Mikuni VM26s. I could probably have found the OEM part number (Suzuki is remarkably good about supporting their old bikes), but it was quicker to just take an M5 screw and drill a hole down the middle on the lathe at work. It's not something that's really visible and functions no worse.
Intermediate Driver

A tidy little repair! Thanks for the good tips!

A terrific hack Kyle, and I can add one small suggestion: wrap any cable you intend to cut with a few turns of tape (masking tape works fine) right at your cut line. With the cable held firmly near the cut line, cut through the tape and cable with a cut off wheel. When you unwrap the tape the ends will not fray.

I've had good luck with a nice set of hardened bypass cutter from the bicycle world. Those mechanics do a lot of cable work and don't have time to futz with tape and grinders. Anything bigger than a cable of this size I'd want to use a cutoff wheel though. Good tip!

Nice work. You pulled victory from the clutches of defeat.
Community Manager

Clutches of de-feet. 



Pit Crew

Lucky that the cable was too LONG. I think the fix might have been a bit tougher if it was too short!

Yeah, I don't have a solution short of making a new bracket on the engine side for that problem!
New Driver

I found it possible to drill the proper size hole in a 1x3 oak scrap from a pallet for the cast metal end. I then cut the cable to proper length, broached the end slightly and dipped in solder paste. With a slot cut into the 1x3 for the cable to be inserted from the side into the hole I heated lead shot to it's melting point and poured it into the hole drilled in the wood. After a few minutes I removed it from the wood and any slag/flash on the newly cast end. Works like a charm on my bike.

Just be sure to know any mods will nullify a return on the part. Don’t modify it and then expect them to take it back if it does not work. 

Most know this but many still don’t consider this till it is too late. 


At first I rolled my eyes reading your comment but then realized that you are totally right. Common sense isn't always common.