When I bought my Ducati 1098S, I noticed that it had rusty clutch springs. In fact, I also noticed this on an old Monster 1100 I nearly picked up. So I realised an essential skill to learn was how to change Ducati clutch springs.
The good news is that if you’ve got a dry clutch on a Ducati motorcycle — pretty much every large-capacity Ducati motorcycle pre-2010 or so — then you probably have an open clutch cover. People tend to change closed covers to open ones on their Ducatis pretty quickly!
If you do, then you’ll see the clutch springs might be rusty. If you don’t have an open clutch cover — take the cover off and have a look. It’s usually just 4-6 bolts and it’s worth having a look.
Here’s what my clutch springs looked like with the cover off:
Here’s the Ducati clutch spring a bit closer up — apologies for my oily gloved hand:
If you’ve got rusty springs in your clutch, then you should replace them!
Apart from being ugly, they’re likely to be noisy, have spongy engagement, be likely to fail, and did I mention ugly? C’mon, it’s a Ducati, it should look nice.
Luckily there are lots of options for replacements for Ducati clutch springs and they’re really not expensive. Plus, replacing them is quite easy to do, as you are lucky enough to have a dry clutch.
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What you’ll need to replace Ducati clutch springs:
- A metric Allen key set (just 4mm and 5mm should be fine if you have those)
- Replacement Ducati clutch springs
- Optional — replacement Ducati clutch spring caps (I took this option)
How to replace the dry clutch Ducati springs
Nobody explains this on the internet. Probably because it’s so easy!
Step 1: Remove the clutch cover.
On many Ducati motorcycles, you don’t even have to remove the fairing if you’re careful. You just need one Allen key — usually a 5mm.
Lay out the bolts in a pattern on a piece of paper so you remember where the long ones go and where the short ones go.
Step 2: Replace the springs and caps, one at a time.
It’s tempting to undo all of the springs and caps at once, but that’ll make your life more difficult, because it’ll be harder to put the clutch retainer back on.
If you just undo one at a time, it does create an unbalanced force… but you’re not going to go riding like this!
Of course, if you’re replacing the whole clutch pack, now is the time.
Tighten the bolt up but not all the way just yet.
Step 3: Torque the bolts down to 5 Nm.
A lot of old hand mechanics just tighten the clutch “by feel”.
But the official torque spec for this size bolt is 5mm for every Ducati I’ve owned, from superbikes back to (relatively) ancient Ducati monsters.
A word on open clutch covers
When I got my first Ducati motorbike, I thought open clutch covers were cool.
You could see the parts moving! It was louder!
Open clutch covers are cool. They’re unique to Ducati motorcycles, after all (even though my R 1200 S also had a dry clutch, but it seems like BMW owners don’t use open clutch covers).
It quickly got old, and I went to a sound-blocking clutch cover.
Looking at that Multistrada 1000DS… man, that clutch was ugly and in need of some beautification, anyway!
But irrespective of that, an open clutch cover will inevitably expose your clutch to moisture and debris. This doesn’t have to be a problem, but in a humid environment — or one where there’s a lot of salt — you’ll end up in trouble.
That’s how this particular 1098S ended up with rusted springs. Moisture from a humid Queensland (Australia) environment — and they were presumably never changed.
But hey, it’s up to you — you might enjoy the look and sound of the open clutch cover, even at the cost of longevity.
I warped the clutch discs on my 900SS at 2000 miles from new. With the new clutch disc’s and pressure plate, I installed a well vented cover. That clutch has 8k miles on it now with no issues. If you want your clutch to last, put on a vented cover, or ride extremely gently with a solid cover, your choice. Putting one on to increase noise, is unbelievable, since the noise is clanking rubbish, not nice music like exhaust, intake honk, or even slide carbs rattling. My opinion.