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Old 06-16-2008, 11:07 PM   #1
abatt2006
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Default How do you burn out a clutch?

Or more importantly what to do to AVOID burning a clutch out? I'm looking for some do's and dont's if you guys dont mind answering another newbie question.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:34 PM   #2
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Or more importantly what to do to AVOID burning a clutch out? I'm looking for some do's and dont's if you guys dont mind answering another newbie question.
You can burn out the clutch several different ways, all involving letting it slip or be only partially engaged for an extended amount of time. Of course the whole concept of using a clutch is to provide a "slip" point between the engine and transmission, so wear does take place with normal usage.

Everything in moderation. Used as designed, a clutch will last a very long time. Abused, it will have a short life span.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:43 AM   #3
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I find myself riding the clutch a lot when in first gear under 10 mph, is this normal, or am I developing a bad habit?
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:40 AM   #4
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I find myself riding the clutch a lot when in first gear under 10 mph, is this normal, or am I developing a bad habit?
Motorcycles use a wet sump clutch, that is to say they sit in a bath of oil, your engine oil to be precise, and except for a few Ducati's and some other high end bikes most motorcycles use a wet sump clutch, where as most cars use a dry sump clutch. If “Ridden” dry sump clutches are far more likely to burn up than wet sump clutches; however, the less your clutch is “ridden” the longer it will last. Simply use it as it was intended, that is to get the bike moving from a stopped position and to up-shift and down-shift and in a lot bikes you don’t need it then. Why are you “ridding” the clutch at 10mph is this in stop and go traffic?
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:58 AM   #5
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When moving slow, you don't really have a choice but to feather the clutch. (besides hopping off and pushing) As long as you aren't driving everywhere at 10 MPH you will be ok.

In stop and go traffic, I wait until I have enough space in front of me to let the clutch out completely then pull it in and coast to the next stop.

Last edited by Dodsfall; 06-17-2008 at 09:00 AM.. Reason: Stop and go traffic!
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:49 AM   #6
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It's fine to feather the clutch some. Try to avoid doing it for extended periods though.
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:17 PM   #7
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I think I know where Abatt is coming from. In the course, they taught us how to ride the clutch in 1st gear to feel for the friction zone where the bike would start to pull itself. We were taught to power walk a bike like this. We were even taught that riding or feathering the clutch at slow speeds is an alternative to braking in order to complete a slow speed maneuver.

However, we were also taught that the best way to take off from a stop is to put it in 1st, let out the clutch just to, I mean juuuussstttt to, where the bike and drive start to meet the friction zone. Then, get our feet on the pegs, slowly roll on some throttle and slowly let the clutch out as the bike pulled us forward while we rolled on more throttle. Those 250s would stand up on there own for 2 seconds or so to allow one to get there feet up, let out the clutch and go with some throttle. Much more than that and we'd be power walking to get going. A few times at the end of the course I was able to grip in the clutch, slowly begin to release, roll on throttle with feet up and fully release in a fluid manner while rolling the throttle that required no power walk. It felt weird because I didn't trust the bike to do it. They kept on us to be fluid with it. The bike wants to work like that. Don't walk yourself to death to get going. After the weird feeling caused by not trusting to bike to do it passed, being able to do it with out riding the clutch or power walking felt really good. For me, it's a matter of trusting the bike, trusting myself and getting the timing down.

I'll tell ya something else I did with the clutch that got me fussed at. I was keeping it covered. It was fully let out, I just had to have my fingers over the clutch. It felt safe knowing I could disengage power at anytime, not stall and then brake and down shift if things went bad. Once I got over that, riding got even more funner and felt better.

It's a matter of confidence that will come with experience, for me.
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:55 PM   #8
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Ramizith has some really good points. I never "walk" the bike. I let the clutch out, and when my bike starts moving, I put my feet on my boards. I seriously doubt that in normal riding, you will ever slip the clutch enough to injure it. One thing I might add is that I very rarely put both feet on the ground when I stop. My left foot goes down, and my right foot stays on the brake. I also "guard" my clutch and brake by having two fingers on them and two on the handlebars. It's an old habit from riding many, many years, and I believe it's the safest way to ride. You ALWAYS have total control over every control on your bike. I was ragged at this summer when, for the first time, I took the MSF course, but I still do it.
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:11 PM   #9
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I've never personally known anyone who burned out a clutch. Even riders that drag raced. I've made plenty of full throttle shifts through all the gears and no issues. Honda mechanics tell me using the wrong oil can do it but I am not sure about that. I'd think you would have to go out of your way to hurt one by slipping it in stop and go traffic as I never baby any of mine. I think wet clutches are hard to hurt.
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Old 06-18-2008, 05:16 PM   #10
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I've never personally known anyone who burned out a clutch. Even riders that drag raced. I've made plenty of full throttle shifts through all the gears and no issues. Honda mechanics tell me using the wrong oil can do it but I am not sure about that. I'd think you would have to go out of your way to hurt one by slipping it in stop and go traffic as I never baby any of mine. I think wet clutches are hard to hurt.
I managed to burn my clutch out on my first bike course it was an 03 and this was like 2 months ago so it wasn't brand new. I had been taught it was ok to ride the clutch so I was out doing some practicing again and went longer and harder than normal in the parking lots getting as slow and tight a turn as I could manage, hard on the rear brake and the clutch, was doing this for like 30 min, took it out for a ride to cool down and went back for 15 at which point my clutch died ... So of course now I'm incredibly anal about even touching the clutch any more than I have to.
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Old 06-18-2008, 05:38 PM   #11
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I've definitely removed some years from some of the clutches on my smaller offroad bikes. Moving a 180 lb guy up some of these steep mountain grades is no small feat.

On the road it's a different story. Stop and go traffic you should have a feel for the release point on your clutch, and should be able to more or less pop it rather than dragging it the whole time. I do not recommend paddling either. It's a very bad idea. Sometimes though I find it fun on a smaller motorcycle to shut the bike off and push it up the sidewalk on my college campus. Things move faster that way for me, and it tends to piss people off less when you aren't actually riding on the sidewalk.

But I digress.

Basically you should feed your clutch the right oil, not go totally nuts dragging it, and try to avoid slipping it between shifts too much and your clutch should last you a while, assuming your bike is new or the previous owner didn't beat it too hard.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:06 PM   #12
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What kind of bike and size?
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:49 PM   #13
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What kind of bike and size?
2003 GS 500E ... ya I know how'd I kill one of those? Although I suppose the clutch had been a tiny bit wonky while I owned it, it sometimes had a bit of trouble shifting into first from a stop.
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