It depends on the brand you choose as to it's color.
I keep seeing responses as the one above, however, every Honda I have ever owned have come brand new w/a light amber color to the brake/clutch fluids.
I have never seen any perfectly clear in my many Hondas!
However, clear must exist as this is the answer I got from goggle:
When brand new, its clear, and slightly golden like vegetable oil.
I have also seen it with a purple tint!
In the maintenance schedule I sent you, the brake fluid is recommended to be changed every 12,000 miles, so it should be the same for the clutch reservior/line. It should be changed about every two years anyway.
I know what is recommended but, how often do you change the brake fluid in your cage?
As to the color of "used" fluid, my brake and clutch fluids were changed after 4years and because I had my bike triked. I cannot attest to the color of the used clutch fluid but, the brake fluid was still the same "honey" color as when the bike was brand new!
There is no way to tell if the fluid, clutch or brake, is bad by looking at it. Brake fluid can hold 30% water in it and you can't tell the difference from new but you sure will know it when you are holding the clutch in and the bike starts to creep forward.
With the brakes... Braking efficiency is greatly reduced and seve brake fade can happen suddenly as soon as the moisture reaches the wet boiling point.
Brakes and clutch should be bled one year and completely flushed the next year.
DOT's 3, 4 and 5.1 are compatible. DOT 5 is a stand alone fluid and cannot be used if your brake system calls for the above fluids even if flushed.
Brake fluid is one of the most overlooked fluids on any vehicle and is the Most Important.
From my past exploits on two wheels this thread makes me give a big when I look back. On my CB750C, I know I never changed the brake fluid. My GL1200 got changed twice in 8 years and 167,000(yeesh), my Interceptor never got changed in the two years I rode it about 12,000 on the clock, and my GL1500 got done once in the four years and 60,000 I put on it. The only reason I did do the changes was I was concerned with the colour of the fluid (coffee dark). My Vulcan had over 30,000 on it and I changed it once after the braided lines were put on, so that mad two times in total. Never really thought about it that much, because everything semed to work fine. I always checked the pad wear, just mostly ignored the fluid. Pretty stupid when you think about how valuable our braking performance is to us.
Before buying the GL1800 I had never changed brake fluid in any vehicle I owned. When I got the Wing I wanted to do all the req'd maintenance and when I saw that brake fluid was to be replaced I did some googling and reading up on it. I was very surprised to read what an effect water absorption in the fluid has on the brakes. Did the Vulcan last weekend and will do the Wing again this year (2 years since I did it the 1st time), then it'll be time to move on and do the kids vehicles.
FWIW, the DOT4 I got from NAPA was the same colour as what I got from Honda - a very light amber - kind of like a light lager. But much thicker of course. And way worse tasting...
i'm kinda like budoka, only a little worse. I've never changed my brake or clutch oil in any of the bikes I've owned. I don't ever follow the recommended changes on anything except the oil itself. as long as its shifting and braking fine, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Brake fluid (and clutch) should be bled 1 year and then completely flushed the next year. In reality, you cannot see brake fluid contaminated with water even as high as 30%. You just lose braking efficiency which you may not notice until in an emergency situation.
Even if I bought another new bike, the first thing it would get as soon as it hit my driveway, would be a brake flush.