Harley recalling 27,000 motorcycles for clutch problem

Includes 14 models from 2016 lineup

Harley-Davidson headquarters
Harley-Davidson Inc.'s headquarters in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson is recalling more than 27,000 motorcycles from its 2016 model year after discovering the clutch may not disengage in certain circumstances, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Harley-Davidson headquarters
Harley-Davidson Inc.’s headquarters in Milwaukee.

The recall covers 14 different 2016 models, including Electric Glide Ultra Classic, Electra Glide Ultra Classic Low, Ultra Limited Low, Ultra Limited, CVO Street Glide, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Road Glide Special, Road Glide, Police Electra Glide, Road Glide Ultra, Fat Boy S, Softail Slim S, and CVO Softail Pro Street Breakout.

The condition can cause loss of control of the motorcycle when it is started in gear or first shifted into gear after being parked for an extended period. Riders may notice a large amount of “free play” when they first squeeze the clutch, if the condition is present.

The company discovered the issue during its post-recall monitoring of a recall for 2014 and 2015 models after seeing a spike in warranty claims on the 2016 models.

Harley had sought to address the issue, which involved the potential for a chemical reaction and the development of a gas bubble in the clutch master cylinder, through process changes meant to ensure a higher degree of cleanliness.

The company determined the process changes may not have eliminated the problem on a number of motorcycles produced between July 2015 and the end of March. Motorcycles built after April 1 were constructed with clutch master cylinders that have been washed with an ultrasonic washing process to eliminate the issue.

Harley has already begun notifying dealers and owners about the recall. Those with affected motorcycles should arrange for service with an authorized dealer.

If covered, the dealer will flush the clutch system with the recommended wash solution and rebuild the clutch master cylinder using the recall kit provided. This service will be provided at no charge to the customer.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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