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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?
 

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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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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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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!
 

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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??
 

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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 …….
 

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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.

:thumbsup:
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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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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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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.
 

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Never say "Never" or "Always".

Learning the technique is just another tool in the box...
 

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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.
 

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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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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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