How Motorcycle Clutch Works: Types, Components And Everything Else

Did you know that your clutch can malfunction anytime during your motorbike ride? It’s because it works with a hydraulic system. And, hydraulic systems can get leaked and damaged anytime. 

If that indeed happens in an unfortunate circumstance, you need to fix it yourself. But how can you fix your clutch if you don’t know how it works?

Well, if you don’t know how motorcycle clutch works, you better learn today. Because, only by deeply understanding the working mechanism of the clutch, you can take full advantage of it.

Not only that, having a clear idea of motorcycle clutches will save you from any upcoming dangers as well. Luckily for you, we have laid down all the needed info right here.

So, without any more ado, let’s get straight into the business!!!

What Is A Motorcycle Clutch?

For motorcycles that are equipped with a manual transmission, the clutch of the engine is such a component that can engage or disengage the power from the engine. 

Meaning, if you turn ON or pull the clutch, it can disengage the power supply of the engine to the wheels of the motorcycle. 

What Is A Motorcycle Clutch

On the other hand, if you turn OFF or release the clutch, it will engage the power of the engine into the wheels or the transmission box of the motorcycle.

Simply put, clutch ON means engine power is cut off. And, clutch OFF means engine power is engaged. Therefore, the main function of clutch in bikes is to control and restrict the rotational power of the engine.

What Are The Types Of Motorcycle Clutches?

There are 2 major types of clutches: 

  • Wet clutch
  • Dry clutch

Let’s dig a bit deeper into it:

Wet Clutch:

This type of clutch is used on most of the bike models that you will see around you. To put it in numbers, almost 98% of all the motorbikes in the world are manufactured with wet clutches. 

The reason it is called “wet” is that this type of clutch is entirely dipped in oil. And, the oil acts as a perfect dampener that prevents the clutch from unexpectedly knocking on itself.

Wet Clutch

Noteworthy Features:

  • Less prone to wear and tear
  • Smoother in action
  • Does not accumulate heat
  • Manufacturing is less costly

Dry Clutch:

This type of clutch is rarely used in motorbikes. The reason it is called “dry” is that there is no oil circulation in this type of clutch. 

On top of that, unlike the wet clutch, this clutch type is set up on the outer surface of the bike casing. Meaning, it is fully visible to this clutch in action.

Dry Clutch

Noteworthy Features:

  • Creates accidental knocking on itself
  • Doesn’t require oil circulation
  • Can be affected by dust or dirt

What Are The Components In A Motorcycle Clutch?

A motorcycle clutch is a complex construction of many components. It’s got multiple mechanical parts that work in unison to provide the engaging and disengaging function of the engine power. 

Its main components are:

Clutch Basket:

This is the main component of a clutch that holds the full assembly. It is also connected in an axis with the gear shaft. 

The core objective of the clutch basket is to transfer rotational power from the engine crankshaft to the inner hub. Then, the inner hub transfers the rotational power to the gearbox.

Clutch Basket

The Inner Hub:

The inner hub of a clutch is the component that is installed inside the clutch basket. Its main feature and objective is to drive the gear shaft of the gearbox(the gearbox provides power to the motorcycle wheels and rotates the wheels).

The Inner Hub

Pressure Plate:

A pressure plate is a circular plate installed at the outer surface of the clutch. It is fastened with several springs and screw retainers.

Pressure Plate

The Clutch Pack:

The clutch pack is a series of several friction plates and steel plates. While friction plates attach to the clutch basket, steel plates will attach to the inner hub.

Multiple successive layers’ steel plates and friction plates are packed together in order to provide enough friction between the clutch basket and the inner hub. 

Also, when the plates in the clutch pack are pressed by the pressure plate, they create a massive amount of friction. Which, in turn, makes the clutch basket and the inner hub rotate in unison. 

Clutch Pack

Clutch Springs and Retainers:

The clutch springs compress the pressure plate against the clutch pack. And, the retainers fasten the pressure plate to the whole clutch structure.

How Does A Motorcycle Clutch Work?

Now that we have got a brief idea of the components of the motorcycle clutch, we can head into the working principle of clutches. 

In this particular subsection, let’s understand how a clutch works in a step by step manner:

1. The clutch lever is pressed by the driver. That, in turn, activates an actuator arm that pushes against a push rod.

How Does A Motorcycle Clutch Work

2. Then, the push rod goes through a duct in the clutch basket and pushes against the pressure plate of the clutch. Then, the pressure plate decreases (or releases) its pressure on the inner hub of the clutch.

[If the clutch lever is released, the opposite will happen. Meaning, the pressure plate will apply pressure on the inner hub of the clutch]

How Does A Motorcycle Clutch Work

3. When the pressure is released by the pressure plate, the friction plates and steel plates in the clutch pack get separated. As a result, The inner hub is no longer in synchronization with the clutch basket.

4. If the inner hub of the clutch is not in unified movement with the clutch basket, the clutch basket cannot rotate the inner hub. As a result, the inner hub cannot relay the engine’s power into the gearbox of the motorcycle.

A Motorcycle Clutch Work

5. At last, because the inner hub is not rotated by the clutch basket (due to the engagement of the clutch lever), the gearbox will not provide rotational power to the rear wheel of the motorbike. 

So, as you can see, when the clutch lever is pressed, what it essentially does is that it disengages the engine from the gearbox. As a result, as long as the clutch lever is pressed, the engine can not drive or rotate the wheels.

For a better understanding of the working principle of the motorcycle clutch, you can use this video instruction. 

How Do You Clutch A Motorcycle?

The right way to use the clutch in a motorcycle is to use the clutch lever when you want to change gear. Let’s see in detail, how you can properly clutch your motorcycle.

1. When you are starting your motorcycle, you have to pull the clutch lever with your left hand and change the gear from “Neutral” to “First” gear.

2. Even when the gear is shifted, keep pressure on the clutch lever.

3. Now, while keeping partial pressure on the clutch lever (about 50% pressure), you need to engage the accelerator in a gradual motion.

4. As you engage the accelerator, it will make the motorcycle move forward.

5. When you are at a fair velocity, you can completely release the clutch lever and move your motorcycle forward by using only the accelerator.

6. Now, if you feel the need to change the gear again, you can re-engage the clutch lever. As a result, the engine power will be disengaged from the motorcycle wheels. Now, keeping the clutch lever engaged, you can change the gear. 

7. At last, when you want to stop the vehicle, you can re-engage the clutch lever again and change the gears to the “Neutral” mode. And then, you can press the motorcycle brakes to stop the vehicle.

Final Verdict:

Well, there you have it people. A clear understanding on how motorcycle clutch works.

To wrap it all up, although a clutch is a complex piece of machinery, the job of motorcycle clutch adjustment and motorcycle clutch replacement becomes easy when you have proper knowledge of it.

Now, as you are fully acquainted with the ins and outs of the clutch system, you can properly use it. Not only that, by using the knowledge you acquired here, you can take full advantage of the clutch system.

Therefore, we hope your clutch system keeps giving you reliable service. 

Best of luck!!

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