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Thread: Riding in the friction zone

  1. #11
    Senior Member NorthernSpy's Avatar
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    Mar 2018
    Powell River, BC
    Be sure to read the warning at the beginning... https://youtu.be/pbWioMfQ4p8
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  2. #12
    Junior Member SimpleScout's Avatar
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    Dec 2018
    Fort Collins, CO
    As others have mentioned the friction zone on the TW is so short that you really don't have much to work with, even if you wanted to ride that way. That being said it's a very useful tool if you're bombing up a steep hill and start run out of steam, and need a little more "oomph" to make it to the top, or to a more advantageous location to downshift. I just try to use the technique sparingly because I know I'm just accelerating my clutch wear when I do that.

  3. #13
    Senior Member tylermoney's Avatar
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    Mar 2019
    Austin Tx
    My. understanding is that motorcycle clutches are generally designed to handle more of "riding in the frictions zone" than a standard "cage" vehicle. It's definitely a tool to use to regulate power. It is short, but you can definitely feel it and use it on the TW.
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  5. #14
    Junior Member DW TW's Avatar
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    Sep 2018
    Ken just a point of intrest here Many of us were taught that practice is in no way exceptable. Back in april I put an E F M autoclutch and 25x8x12 powergrip on my T W. In the time since I have been learning to ride slow . Up rocky Pennasylvania creeks, mud bogs log crossings and right out through the woods. Changed oil at 100 and at 900 mikes. At 900 there were a few pieces of clutch lining in the oil filter. Said all that to say this. We may have been taught wrong. Seems the clutch will take some slippage without any adverse effects. On the other hand it could fly apart tomorrow
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  6. #15
    Senior Member MtnMan75's Avatar
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    Jul 2019
    MD, USA
    I don't know if this is mostly people that have only ridden the TW, but man there are so many bikes you have NO option but to ride in the friction zone and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. You would only be doing it in first gear. On steep and technical terrain, which do you think is worse... riding the friction zone of the clutch which gives you much more control at very low speed (which they are designed to handle), or lugging the heck out of your engine which is more like hammering the connecting rod and main bearing right up until you stall and maybe drop it? On bikes like my DRZ... I'm at almost 10,000 miles and have rode the friction zone on that bike like crazy off road because first gear is pretty high. My clutch grabs as good now as it ever did. You don't do it to excess, only while you need to. If you don't know how to do this properly, you need to learn it. You'll have better control in the really bad stuff. I think the TW having a 12mph top first gear speed gives many riders a feeling they don't need to use the friction zone and I've seen countless videos of dropping the TW's over when it wasn't really that bad of a spot and I wonder if this is why.
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  7. #16
    Senior Member Trail Woman's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
    Nova Scotia
    I've been slipping my clutch for years starting with stock set up. I ride in the snow and slipping the clutch reduces torque and prevents me from breaking traction when my RPMs are higher.

    It also makes 2nd gear run at 1st gear speed without switching to such a short gear for such a short period of time.

    With aftermarket levers or modified stock ones like mine, the overall pull is longer and lighter resulting in a larger slipping area of the pull.

    I've been doing this for at least 3 years with a TW bought new 5 years ago...clutch has held up fine. I'm not afraid of doing it but I try not to over do it as well.

  8. #17
    Senior Member Darth's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
    Timbercreek Canyon, Texas
    Never say "Never" or "Always".

    Learning the technique is just another tool in the box...
    "Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death."
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    “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow”.

    "The less horsepower a motorcycle has, the more it can teach you.” - Ben Bostrom

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  9. #18
    Senior Member spd2918's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Using the friction zone is a mandatory part of police riding. It allows the low and slow stuff you see the big harleys do. We are afraid of it because the technique would destroy a car's clutch. It is perfectly fine with low weight of a motorcycle. Now, there is no need to ride that way all day. But to be smooth you need to use the friction zone.
    Darth likes this.
    An idiot with a thesaurus is still an idiot.

  10. #19
    Member Scooterbrained's Avatar
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    Sep 2019
    NE Florida
    A wet clutch is designed more so for slippage than a dry type automotive clutch. And R bike BMW motorcycles.

    As stated before, most slow speed drops happen when the engine stalls causing a sudden/abrupt change in momentum.
    Transverse mounted engines, such as dirt bikes and police Harley Davidsons, have a gyroscopic effect from the spinning mass of the crank throws/journals, counterweights, flywheels etc. which helps maintain balance at slow speed.

    Another gyroscopic effect also evident on a motorcycle is the spinning front wheel when riding an extended wheelie at speed. The motorcycle starts getting squirrelier (sp) while on the back wheel when the front wheel stops spinning. Of course only noticeable if you start the wheelie at speed. Duh!

    Due to the torque reaction of a longitudinal crank such as BMW R type police bikes, riding at slow speed is a completely different animal.
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  11. #20
    Senior Member spd2918's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Police BMWs are ridden in the friction zone, too. Power to the wheel is power to the wheel, no matter the rotation of the engine.

    In MSF, the TWs were great training bikes as long as the new riders rode the clutch (I.e. Slowly released the clutch). Other wise, with their low gearing, they would flip over.
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    An idiot with a thesaurus is still an idiot.

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