Before diving deep into the subject matter itself, it is worth reminding what a clutch is. The Clutch is defined that device which is used in automobiles to transmit power from one rotating shaft to another shaft. Generally, all clutches can be divided into two; either it is Friction clutch or it is a Fluid flywheel.
When you find yourself riding at a very high speed and the you encounter an obstacle or a better still, you come across something which caught your attention, the general reflex people have is to slow down in order to avoid the obstacle, take the corner well or just stop and savor the moment. Slowing down entails applying brakes and shifting down to a lower gear.
The dilemma rather comes when you need to shift down say 2 or 3 gears and you need to do this all at once. You just cannot eat your cake and have it. It is “practically” impossible with a bike. Reason simply being that every time you do such a downshift, you damage your gearbox bit by bit. It even goes to constituting danger as of what concerns your safety too. So in order to reduce such issues, the Slipper clutch was invented.
A slipper clutch also known in the local biker language as a back-torque limiter, is a clutch which has a freewheel mechanism integrated and is designed for bikes that are more of performance oriented. Its sole aim is to reduce the effect of engine braking when the motorcycle rider happens to decelerate.
Normally, what happens when a rider brakes is the braking force which is applied through the brakes is then transmitted to rear wheel. This transmission is usually done through a shaft drive or better still a chain drive. The effect of this braking force transmission on the bike is felt at the rear wheel which will either shake or lose traction completely.
If one looks keenly, this is actually what is the backbone of the slipper clutch; minimizing effects when there is hard braking. Such an invention actually becomes more vital when the rider has to travel over extremely long distances. This because traveling such long distances means traveling at a relatively high speed. Who says “highspeed” means a great braking force required to bring the motorcycle to rest.
The following points listed below are the advantages that the slipper clutch presents when compared to a normal clutch…
- During the normal functioning of a slipper clutch, sudden braking forces on the inside of the transmission. Thereby reducing the wearing and tearing effect that would have resulted due to sudden brake application.
- With a slipper clutch that is well installed on a bike, the performance of the latter is noticed to have improved phenomenally.
- It helps prevent accidents by preventing the rear wheel from locking up incase you have the engine that stops working abruptly or failure at the level of transmission.
- Usually, the default function of the suspension is to cushion the effect of the breaking force. The slipper clutch comes in to reduce the work on this suspension by absorbing some of this force. This gives a more comfortable ride.
- With a slipper clutch, there is little or no need for the rider to concentrate on how the clutch works and rather gives room to concentrate on other things such as body posture and the braking while taking the corner
Slipper Clutch Disadvantages
Having seen all we have as benefits of using a slipper clutch, the question that stands now is if there are any disadvantages of using it and the answer to this question is yes. Now, to what extent it is important is left to you to decide. Here are some of the major disadvantages of using the slipper clutch
- Mechanically, one will have to say that slipper clutches have quite a complex structure. This makes some of them quite difficult to handle. Though very few riders get to complain about this structure. The complain comes from very few mechanic geeks who handle it.
- They are quite costly but if you are to compare that to all the work it does, then I will permit myself to say that it is worth the price.
- There are those moments when you know that the engine braking force is what is required to do the braking job but this is some what against the idea of having the slipper clutch on a bike
- If you are a novice then you are advised not to mess around with the settings of the clipper clutch given that it generally doesn’t yield the required result when not properly adjusted.
Pic Credits : ASMDucati