Harley-Davidson is recalling 27,232 model year 2016 touring, Softail and CVO motorcycles because of a problem that can prevent the clutch from disengaging after being parked for an extended period of time. If this sounds familiar it’s because Harley-Davidson has had similar clutch master cylinder recalls in 2015 and 2014. It’s an annual tradition that Harley-Davidson is hoping to put a stop to.

The latest recall affects the 2016 Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Electra Glide Ultra Classic Low, Ultra Limited, Ultra Limited Low, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, CVO Street Glide, Road Glide, Road Glide Special, Road Glide Ultra, Police Electra Glide, Fat Boy S, Softail Slim S and CVO Softail Pro Street Breakout.

According to documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a chemical reaction in the sealed clutch system may generate gas bubbles that can prevent the clutch from disengaging. Owners of affected motorcycles may notice a large amount of clutch lever free play when trying to disengage the clutch for the first time after the bike had been sitting parked for a while.


The problem was first noticed in May after a regular follow-up on the 2015 recall. While reviewing the data, Harley-Davidson’s Recall Investigation Committee noticed a spike in clutch-related warranty claims for 2016 models. These models used clutch components that were supposed to have been subjected to various processes to avoid the repeat of the previous issues. In June, an investigation discovered those processes may not have been effective. On June 17, Harley-Davidson began the recall process for 2016 models.

Harley-Davidson notes motorcycles that had undergone the previous recall in 2015 are fine; the remedy for that recall used an entirely different process using distilled water to wash out debris, an isopropyl alcohol spray, system bleed and rebuild kit was used on models in the field.

The recall affects models produced from July 17, 2015 to March 31, 2016. Motorcycles built April 1 and beyond use clutch master cylinders that were treated to an ultrasonic washing process that should eliminate the chemicals that are reacting and generating gas bubbles.

Harley-Davidson dealers will inspect recalled motorcycles for gas in the clutch master cylinder. If gas is found, dealers will flush the clutch system and rebuild the clutch master cylinder