The Cable FAQ - Classic and GS/Dakar
compiled & edited by Kristian #562; updated by Scott ID, #1244
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.

For Replacement Clutch Levers (On Handlebar) refer Aftermarket Levers FAQ.


Stiff or Non-engaging Clutch
by Flash 412 (CO)

The other day my clutch started acting funny. It didn't seem to want to engage properly.

I adjusted the cable at the handlebar for more free play and it seemed to work reasonably well. But the engagement was SOMETIMES non-linear and jerky. Other times it was as smooth as always. I figured that maybe one of the metal strands in the cable had come loose and was sometimes catching. Since I had a spare cable, I figured I would change it out. When I got both ends loose, I inspected them each for as far as I could pull out the inner cable core. Nothing visibly wrong. I pushed the core back and forth in the sheath and compared that to the feel of the new cable... no difference. Hmmm.

Recalling that at the 30k service, well over 1500 miles ago, I had elected to neglect to lube the cable pivots "until later," I figured that maybe now was later. It was. The clutch lever was rough on the bottom side where it contacts the perch. I dressed it with a file, cleaned it well and then treated each and every possible friction surface to a generous coating of powdered graphite, rubbed in. Reassemble in reverse order.

Now it is as smooth as butter.

While I had the little tube of powdered graphite out, I did the same for the brake lever (being careful not to lose my druckstuck in the process).

Throttle Cable Play

by Kristian #562 & Todd#389

Q. What is the Throttle Cable Play and how do I adjust it.?
A. The GS Manual notes 1mm (0.04 in) for those who like it exact.

Broken Throttle Cable (Classic)

by Kristian #562 & gar


There are TWO different retainers (holes) for the throttle cable end inside the Throttle Tube assembly. The first (closest to the front) is where the throttle cable actually goes. The second notch is for a return cable which is not a part of the throttle assembly of the Classic. My F-650 is the only bike I have owned newer than 1980 that does not have a push-pull throttle. Most Jap bikes (street, dirt bikes still have single pull) now have 2 throttle cables. The second (on OTHER Bikes) is a safety cable to pull the throttle cable closed if the open cable breaks and for some reason caused the throttle to stick open. The stock throttle tube (obviously from an outside supplier) has the notch for the second cable, I assume because it is easier and cheaper to sell something you already make and will work (i.e. push-pull) instead make a new part just to delete something that doesn't need to be deleted. If anyone knows the exact throttle cable tube off a Jap bike, the info would be useful.

The hole tends to wear fairly badly as well, if they are badly oval, it might pay to check the handgrip/throttle assembly before you make a big trip. On the Classic, undo the TWO Screws on the RH Instrument Cluster and gently prise the two Sides apart. NOTE the position of the Large Plastic Washer is INSIDE the Housing, up against the side of the Flange of the Plastic Throttle Tube. (If anyone can provide Photos for this FAQ I'd be grateful .k)

My lower (front) retainer broke, so as a
temporary measure I put it in the upper one. I had to hacksaw a gap in the slot between them to make the cable fit properly otherwise it kinks up over the divider. You'll know what I mean when you see it. Like this it is inherently weak, so you can't use it for long.

For those of you who yank the throttle all the way to the stops, THAT is not good for it. So if your neighbours 15 year old son does it one day you might want to ask him to desist. Not having one in Downtown traffic or worse on the road is not fun, but repairable (as above) with a hacksaw or a knife (but it's HARD Plastic), and a Screwdriver to get the instrument cluster apart.

Broken GS Throttle (GS/Dakar)
by Haakon #626

Q. Does anyone know the right part number for an '01 Dakar throttle cable? The dealer had two different cables that were slightly different lengths (about 10mm) and they didn't know which one was correct.

What does FG ZF 62502 mean?


Z means Exchange, Retroactive Exchange, Utilization of Both Old & New Part Possible.


(I think) I know what a single cable/double cable disc is. My '01 Dakar has TWO holes for the end of the throttle cable in the plastic disc attached to the throttle body. One of them lines up with the cable, and the other one is off to the side by maybe a half-inch or so. If you put the cable in the wrong one, you'll break your throttle cable. Robin #790

So the answer would appear to be:

1. Look at your throttle body for TWO holes.

2. Look at your throttle Tube (on the Handlebar for Two Holes).

3. Determine if your Bikes MANUFACTURE DATE is older than 04/00.

If yes to any of those questions, you need part # 32 73 7 660 040. Otherwise you need Part no: 32 73 2 345 552.

Preventing Broken Throttle Cable (GS/Dakar)
by Scott ID, #1244

Many of us have found the throttle cable to be frayed at the throttle body, where the cable leaves the cable housing. (This is often discovered during the 12k mile valve check.) Why does the cable fray here? Notice the hole where the cable passes through the plastic firewall. It is not lined up with the throttle cam. As a result, the cable housing approaches the throttle at an angle, and this causes rubbing against one side of the bare cable. (Note that this is conjecture at this point, but it appears plausible.) If you drill a new hole in the firewall, the cable housing will line up better with the throttle cam, and rubbing of the bare cable is minimized. See below picture for a before/after comparison (the green line shows the preferred routing; notice a new hole has been drilled to the right of the original hole):

Easy Throttle Cable Replacement




If any one of you has ever had to replace a throttle cable, you know that the BMW manual states that you should remove the fuel tank. (Classic.)

Clutch Cable Knurled Screw Tip

David #1060


Good tip (learned from experience): Always keep the 'slot' in the cable adjuster away from the cable inner movement path. If the cable inner rubs against this the sharp edges soon cut through the cable.


Stuck Choke

Q. My Choke Lever is Stuck. What can I check.?
A. See if the the screws holding the left-hand switch module on the handlebar are too tight - I did that and caused the switch to stop moving freely.


My Clutch Cable Broke. What is the Story with these Two Different Clutch Cable Part Numbers for the GS Clutch

Classic Riders: If you're Classic Cable FEELS broken it may not be. It might be this instead.

GS/Dakar Riders: Some riders have reported prematurely breaking Clutch Cables on early GS Dakars, as follows:

Haakon #626. The old one -32 73 7 650 222 was phased out 20.07.2001. The new one - 32 73 7 661 757 is much softer. The inner cable is made with a lot more, thinner, strands. It does not come with the rubber "boot" at the clutch end. It feels like the new one is easier to operate, probably due to the "softer" inner and the all over more supple design. When you keep the old cables in situ as spares, remember to lubricate them and close protect the open ends to keep dust and water out.

Q. Can I ride without it to get home?
A. It's really not hard to ride without a clutch cable. Just shift the bike with your left foot as normal. I've done it a lot when things break off-road. (well a few times anyways). And I've ridden the F a long way on road this way as well. Have to plan the stops in local traffic and hit the kill switch a few times but otherwise it's do-able. That being said, you should have already had stock of these in your garage. It doesn't cost much to have at least one basic spare for your bike at the ready. Order it in advance and use it when you need it. 4-5 days is also ridiculous. They should be able to get this overnight on VOR. (Vehicle off Road). Who says that you need to be in first and go through neutral to get to second.? Start the bike in neutral, a bit of revs, then click it into second. Stopping at stop lights, put it into neutral as well. Without a clutch cable your bike isn't in "normal operating mode" so you have to adapt, adjust, and overcome the issues.  DHP #711


What is the Story with these Two Different Throttle Cable Part Numbers for the GS Throttle?


Cable Hook Getting Loose

Q. Around the Classic Ignition Lock, there is a double hook of metal that holds the cables running from the handlebars down to the engine. This thing sometimes gets loose, and loses one or both of the two bolts. However they doesn't seem to be replaceable. Any ideas ?

Refer the Ignition Switch FAQ for details.

What should I look for if the Throttle Cable is stiff?


I noticed today some unusual drag on the throttle at the beginning of the twist. It was there much of the time but not always and didn't seem to depend on how the bars were turned. This is probably a Teflon lined cable housing, but does it get lubed as per the older types? Is the drag likely in the twist grip itself? Bike is a classic with 9k miles.

Speedo Cable Replacement
by Todd #389 & Flash #412 (CO)

Speedometer not working?

WAG? 70% likely it's the cable insert, 20% odds on either (top or bottom) gearbox, 10% it's the actual speedo - unless the bike was in an accident and the speedo was damaged internally..... or it could be the cable just vibrated loose at the top end. To fix the Cable,
undo the speedo cable and pull out the inner core from the top. All 3 feet of the inner core should slide right out. If it is not working I'd suspect that the inner core is broken. If it's a problem internal to the speedo, like the cogs or magnetic cup, you'll likely have to send that out for repair. If it IS just the core... see if you can get a universal one from a cage bits place.

Correct GS Clutch Cable Routing?

Q. I just got my bike back from the dealer after a radiator replacement. The clutch cable is now routed differently. Before it was routed behind the radiator, now it is in front of the radiator. Is this a new preferred routing? Or did the mechanic install the new radiator without any regard to cable routing? Now, there seems to be a *very* tight fit where the lower-radiator-hose, radiator shroud, and side cover come together. Although the clutch may have less bending, it pops the side cover out of the lower rubber grommet. This just doesn't seem right. Does anyone have their clutch cable routed in front of the radiator? If so, would you describe the routing? Raymo #1173 Chicago '01GS


Broken Plastic Nut at Carb?

This happens if you do it up too tight after reconditioning the carb or even just removing it. It's a PLASTIC nut. It's happened to a few folks. You may be able to get a USED one from or a wreckers. See the Carb Clean FAQ


Broken Angled Steel Tube at Throttle?


This happens from Normal wear and Tear.

Tach (rev Counter) not Working?
by Flash 412 (CO)

The classic speedo cable is at the front wheel. The Tach cable is just to the rear of the clutch shaft on the left side of the motor. However, the cable housing may have come unscrewed from the instrument at the other end. Undoing the instrument end allows you to withdraw the cable from the sheath. Should you find your inner cable indeed broken, it is possible to purchase universal speedometer cable repair kits at any auto parts place. I will guess that one of those would cost a LOT less than a BMW part. (Be sure to take BOTH parts of your broken cable with you if you decide to save some money.) Also, inspect your cable sheath carefully for kinks. If it has one, then your replacement will not last a very long time. In any case, use some white lithium grease on it before you stuff the cable back into the sheath.

Stiff GS/Dakar Throttle Cable?

Q. The throttle on me Dakar seems very stiff and always has. Is this a common issue for others? Also as the throttle is first applied it is very hard to get a sensitive response (i.e.. small increase in revs) and the engine revs will go from 1500-1600 straight up to about 2100 RPM. Is this just a characteristic of the model or ?

A. You have Hand Guards? Mine did the same thing. I removed the had guard and noticed that there was nothing to prevent it form binding when you tightened the screw that hold the guard on. I added a small washer on on the screw against the bar and retightened. All is loose and works fine no problems.