Riding in the friction zone
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Thread: Riding in the friction zone

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Riding in the friction zone

    I have driven different standards off and on over the years and riding the clutch was never an accepted way of driving. Why is slipping the clutch (riding in the friction zone) taught in motorcycle classes as an acceptable practice?
    grewen likes this.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member grewen's Avatar
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    ditto, have never had to ride like that. i think that means riding beyond the bikes gearing.
    Greg

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    Senior Member Apolloha's Avatar
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    I've had to off road. Getting in situations going uphill. Like when you are standing up and almost make it to the top. Then a rock, stick, or tree knocks you off your pace. You just can't get to the shifter or have time to shift. Slipping the clutch is just like gearing down. I have slipped mine for all it's worth at times to make it thru without stalling or falling. Motocross guys will literally smoke theirs during a race. Sometimes the breathers are puffing smoke out as they go by. The crew chief will signal them to "back off the clutch".
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  5. #4
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    Slipping the clutch with a stock TW clutch would be a near impossible task IMO. I am not sure about how others feel but every TW I have owned had such a short throw clutch you would have to be very delicate in trying to slip it in any rough situation. Most of my TWs had a clutch throw of between 1/8 & 1/4 inch of lever/cable pull and it was way different from most of the other bikes I have ever owned.

    GaryL
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    Senior Member ToolmanJohn's Avatar
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    Slipping the clutch, you must grab a bigger handful of throttle and bring the engine RPM up into it's full power, and use the clutch to modulate your forward speed. It's good practice to do this in 3rd gear, around a flat field, but at low riding speed (5mph or less even) with engine in the power. By modulating the power with clutch slipping, it's like traction control when climbing hard hills especially if the terrain is interrupted, it can prevent a stall and keep the bike moving forward, even in 1st or second gear. Watch trials motorcycle guys tackle obstacles, they NEVER have the clutch out. But it takes practice, a ton of it to get good at it.

    Full disclosure, I am NOT good at it. Not enough patience or time on the bike to learn how to be consistent. So I bought a 300 2st with a ton of bottom end torque, and installed a Rekluse clutch, and modulate the throttle in 1st and second. Stalling nearly eliminated. Difficult off road hills conquered. A lot less falling. Golly I hate falling, a lot, every ride. LOL!
    Ken, Trail Woman and Darth like this.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Your suppose to ride or look ahead of yourself so there aren't any surprises. Slipping the clutch beside during take off from a dead stop shouldn't be done. At least in my 50 years experience and yes I'm still riding in the dirt. Do they really teach that??
    Ken likes this.
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  8. #7
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Slipping the clutch on the TW is bad practice, but really easy to do. It has no more or no less range of the average MC clutch in my experience, and when I got my first TW, I took to it like a duck to water, as I have with every other TW since

    In Moab this year, presented with a “number of challenges”, I slipped that clutch as much as I needed to, while my mind said “don’t do this this too often” – but when you’re faced with finding yourself in the wrong gear, you don’t exactly get to stop, and select the right one. The only time that changed, was when I found myself looking at an uphill climb over rocks, when I knew that slipping the clutch was more or less futile – no amount of clutch slip will take you up and over some of that stuff, you’ll just tear the thing apart

    So, there comes a time and place for this, you just have to know “when”. It’s a difficult thing to describe. You can teach a novice to either do it or not to do it – teaching a novice “when” to do it is somewhat more problematic

    Maybe teaching them “how” to do it is the first step …….
    Darth likes this.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member BUMBLESPECIMOODA's Avatar
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    I look at the clutch, as a way to moderate power to the rear wheel. I use the clutch to sense traction, or a lack there of, and let it slip or grab to adjust traction accordingly.

    I also use it for shifting gears.

    As for gear selection, I try to find a taller gear that matches the pace I want to go through a trail, so that if I need throttle, I give it some. And when I don't, I let the bike engine-brake.

    Clutch slipping, or throttle on/off riding for me, is usually determined by how technical, or how slippery the terrain is.


  10. #9
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    Back in my wild days I had a BSA 441 Victor which was a single lung monster and it had a clutch that felt about a mile long. You almost had to ride the clutch going up steep inclines or you would be over backwards quick if you had traction. Most of the British bikes have long clutches just like the BSA. I would never recommend slipping the TW clutch much at all except when taking off from a dead stop. I know some here don't use first gear much and instead start off in second and I bet they go through clutch discs much quicker than those who use first as it was intended to be used. MX riders who are very good rarely ever use the clutch for shifting while those who compete in hill climbs burn up clutches pretty quick. I suppose it is possible to by a competition clutch pack that could fit a TW engine and be much better suited for this type of use. Like I always say, it is your bike so run it any way you like but the small clutch in these engines just don't have the beef to over slip them.

    GaryL
    Ken likes this.
    Be Decisive! Right or Wrong just make a decision. ​ The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn't make a decision.

    Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
    If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    1987 Yamaha BW350 Big Wheel
    2017 Snowdog Track sled tow motor for ice fishing
    Kubota BX2370 Subcompact tractor with snow blower
    Wilderness System Ride 115 fishing Kayaks

  11. #10
    Senior Member TW Newb's Avatar
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    I do it offroad as well. But that's not why the school is teaching it. They are teaching you how to smoothly operate at slow speeds. In most situations you can choose a gear and go. However when your weaving through cones slowly you may find that getting on and off the throttle makes the bike lurch. Especially if your up there in rpms.
    In my case I rode the only tw in class. They would tell you what gear to be in for a certain activities and we all know that the tw is geared lower than these other bikes. So in order to stay in the gear they wanted, I'd have to slip the clutch.
    Ken, Trail Woman, Darth and 1 others like this.
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