The clutch on a motorcycle is one of the most important parts of the machine and just like in cars, it helps riders to change the gears.
The actual role of a clutch is to either engage or disengage power from the engine crankshaft to the transmission. In layman terms, the clutch of a motorcycle helps the riders to turn on or off the power to the motorcycle’s rear wheel.
So, where is the clutch located on a motorcycle? How does it work? What is the Importance of Clutch? What are the different components of Clutch, and what are the different types of clutch?
In this detailed guide, we will provide answers to each and every question of yours, so that you get every bit of information regarding the clutch on your motorcycle.
Let’s jump in!
Where is the Clutch on a Motorcycle?
The clutch on a motorcycle is usually found on the left side of the engine near the footpeg, but some motorcycles have clutches placed at the bottom end of the engine or even on either side of it.
There are different types of motorcycles that exist in the market today based on their power-to-weight ratio, number of cylinders, and many other factors.
For example, SuperSport motorcycles are high-performance machines and they need a tremendous amount of power to run fast and furiously, so they can’t depend much on rider’s abilities for smooth gear changes.
This is where dual and multiple disk clutches come into play as they help riders to change gears without any difficulty.
How Does a Clutch Work on a Motorcycle?
The clutch on a motorcycle is connected to the engine crankshaft by a steel cable. When you need to change gears, all you need to do is simply press the clutch pedal down slightly and release it slowly while shifting gears.
This helps in disengaging the power from the crankshaft to the transmission, which in turn enables smooth gear changes for your motorcycle.
Also, make sure that when you get off or park your motorcycle at any place, be it public parking lot outside your office building or even inside the home garage, don’t forget to engage/disengage the clutch before switching off your bike’s ignition switch.
Why is the Clutch Important?
Your motorcycle’s clutch provides you with the much-needed leverage and control to change gears smoothly and effortlessly.
Also, one reason why it is important to know where the clutch is on a motorcycle and how does it work is that if any damage occurs to your bike’s clutch system, you will be able to diagnose the problem early and take necessary remedial measures accordingly.
What are the Different Components of Clutch?
- Clutch Basket
- Clutch Plate
- Clutch Hub
- Pressure Plates
- Clutch Spring
- Drive Plate (for Friction)
- Driven Plate (made of steel)
- Clutch Cable
- Clutch Cover
In layman terms, the clutch basket or the clutch sheave is the rotating part of a clutch that’s been built by pressing metal pieces together.
It is responsible for transferring power from the engine to your motorcycle’s transmission system through wheels.
As its name suggests, a clutch plate works as a friction surface where two materials are bound together with equal pressure applied on both the surfaces using springs and levers.
The contact between these two surfaces provides you with adequate leverage and control to shift gears smoothly.
These plates exert an inward force on the clutch basket or rotors via springs attached inside them, which helps in bringing pressure against the clutch plates for smooth gear changes.
As the name suggests, this is where the clutch components are bound to your motorcycle’s engine.
It is attached via the use of circlips or snap rings that ensure its stability under extreme pressure.
These springs act as an energy source for your bike’s clutch system, which helps in the proper working of the entire system.
They help in bringing pressure against the plates and diamonds which results in smooth gear transmission on vibrations, heat, and other factors.
A worn-out or damaged clutch spring can damage your bike’s engine severely if it breaks down while you are riding at high speed.
Drive Plate (Friction)
It helps in bringing pressure against the clutch basket which results in smooth gear changes.
This plate is made of steel and its main purpose is to transmit power from the crankshaft to your bike’s clutch system.
The clutch lever on a motorcycle should be perfectly placed according to how you sit on a bike so that you can easily access it when required.
As long as it remains intact at all times, you should have no problem shifting gears whenever needed.
Clutch cable helps in bringing about pressure against the plates without exerting too much force as compared to the former spring-based system.
Over time though, these cables tend to wear out and in that case, you should replace them with new ones to avoid any mishaps while you are riding your bike.
The clutch cover is the outermost part of a motorcycle’s clutch system which ensures proper working of your motorcycle’s clutch system.
It also protects all the components inside it from water, debris, and other particles when they enter through various openings.
These covers are usually made of steel or heavy-duty plastic; however, you should make sure not to overtighten bolts/nuts that hold this cover in its place because if it gets loose then there might be fluid leaks which can damage engine components severely.
Different Types of Clutch on a Motorcycle
There are two types of clutch available in the market when it comes to the field of motorcycles:
- Dry Clutch
- Wet Clutch
What is a Dry Clutch?
- As the term suggests, this type of clutch is completely dry and doesn’t rely on oil or fluids to run but rather relies entirely on springs.
- These are usually built with heavy-duty materials that help in transferring power easily while using less effort.
What is a Wet Clutch?
- These clutches use oil inside them for smooth transmission of power through different gears.
- While these types can be operated via lever, most motorcycles operate wet clutches by simply pressing the pedal against the floor which results in automatic operation.
Advantages of Dry Clutch
- They operate with heavy-duty materials which ensure that they last longer.
- There is no need for lubrication or any type of maintenance to keep them running smoothly.
- One doesn’t have to worry about fluid leakage and other components getting rusted since these clutches are completely dry in nature.
Disadvantages of Dry Clutch
- Heavy clutch levers exert more pressure on the hands/wrists while shifting gears, especially when compared to wet clutches.
- The motorcycle’s engine needs to be revved up considerably before one can switch from second to third or fourth gear.
Advantages of Wet Clutch
- They help in smooth gear changing once the clutch pedal is pressed on the floor.
- One doesn’t have to use a clutch lever as much as they do with dry clutches which makes riding a lot easier and reduces strain on one’s hands, wrists, and arms.
Disadvantages of Wet Clutch
- There is a risk of fluid leaks which can damage engine components if not properly maintained.
- They are costlier than dry clutches because they require frequent lubrication or maintenance to ensure that they last longer.
It is always advisable to keep your motorcycle’s clutch system fully functional so that you can ride your bike smoothly without any hiccups.
If there are signs of malfunctioning, then it is recommended to take your vehicle to a reputed mechanic who can repair the damage in time before it gets out of hand and result in expensive repairs.
Now that you know everything about the clutch on a motorcycle, if any problem occurs in shifting gears, you know where to look for or what component of the clutch is responsible for the problem. However, we always recommend taking your motorcycle to a certified mechanic whenever you find some trouble with your machine.
After all, you should never put your own safety on the line.
Happy & Safe Riding!