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Thread: To clutch or not to clutch

  1. #1
    Member Idon'thaveoneyet...'s Avatar
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    To clutch or not to clutch

    I have been watching dirt bike videos on youtube. There are several instances where they advise to not use the clutch while shifting if the bike is "constant mesh". They say the clutch is to moderate power.
    What are your opinions and preferences?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Trail Woman's Avatar
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    If you're in the sweet shift spot then yes...speed shift. But that takes experience. Otherwise use your clutch.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RaZed1's Avatar
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    This is another point of motorcycling that you can ask 10 people and get probably 9 different opinions. Someone will tell you NO! It'll ruin your transmission. Someone else will say they've been stomping the shifter like it owes them money for ever and never had any issue so don't worry about it. Ultimately, like most things, the answer lies somewhere between the two extremes.

    Motorcycle transmissions have been widely constant mesh since the 1960s and the tech is way older than that. Yes, you can clutchless shift them, if done properly there are no adverse effects and it will not damage anything. Keyword, done properly. If you tap dance on the shifter or heave it up between 1-2, it's entirely possible to bend a shift fork and/or round off the engagement dogs. Clutching the 1-2 shift is a good idea on ANY bike. The gap is wider to accommodate the neutral detent, and differential in engine speed is also the greatest, so if done carelessly it can cause some carnage. Ever had a motorcycle that pops out of 2nd into neutral when you get on the gas? Someone was careless with the shifter for a while and the dogs rounded off so they wedge themselves apart under torque. The idea is to have as close to zero torque in the transmission, so not accelerating or decelerating. Pull the clutch of course torque is zero and if shifts very easily. But you can do this with a bit of practice and throttle control. Put a little pressure upward on the shifter, gradually roll off the throttle, and when torque is low enough it'll slip into the next gear.

    That said, the TW doesn't have the world's smoothest transmission. It feels like it was derived from a farm tractor, like the rest of the bike. I find it pretty difficult to shift it smoothly without the clutch so usually just feather it a bit and it's fine. Some bikes are much easier/smoother doing this than others. I mean, my Valk can roll through the gears and the only way you know it's changed is the tach drops.

    The TW also does not have so much power that you generally need to modulate power via the clutch. They're talking like for motocross or technical enduro, with highly tuned motors with a narrow powerband- you need to keep the RPMs up, so the throttle is for controlling RPM, the clutch is for controlling torque. This takes skill and practice to do effectively. It also means you are replacing clutches quite often. Also why Rekluse clutches are so popular- it handles the clutch for you, preventing stalls and letting the motor spin up into it's torque band before applying throttle. It turns a rip snorting 450 into as easy to ride as a scooter, and since it's always perfectly smooth, it's much easier to maintain traction in tough terrain.
    Last edited by RaZed1; 06-05-2019 at 01:04 PM.
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  5. #4
    Member Idon'thaveoneyet...'s Avatar
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    I'm not an aggressive rider. I'll probably just stick to what i know for now. Clutch.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    I've shifted without the clutch a few times.....by mistake.....didn't sound too good.....I guess I just don't have the finesse.
    The Force ain't with me.
    Last edited by RockyTFS; 06-06-2019 at 03:05 PM.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    You have a bike with a bargain-basement trans right now. It's not a WR or a DRZ or a KTM/Husky, real product specific made bikes for off-road. You'd be asking a lot of an already challenged piece of equipment in my opinion. Those "Dirt bike" videos, are there folks using a Tdub in them?
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  8. #7
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    As above - if you "suggest" to the clutch lever that you might have pulled on it, the box will "oblige" - zero clutch and you risk crashing the box (it takes practice) ....
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Smitty Blackstone's Avatar
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    With proper throttle control, a clutchless shift can be smooth as silk.
    littletommy and JerseyJeeper like this.

  10. #9
    Member Idon'thaveoneyet...'s Avatar
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    Those "Dirt bike" videos, are there folks using a Tdub in them?

    No. No TWs anywhere near those videos.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member SHAG's Avatar
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    Back in 1971 a good friend told me that the clutch was for starting and stopping. It's easy to shift without causing damage but you can also bend a fork and round the engagement dogs if you don't use some finesse and common sense.
    Smitty Blackstone likes this.
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