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The bikes we have in our Indian automobile market are coming up with all the necessary electronics and mechanical gizmos, which actually make our ride pretty enjoyable and a comfortable experience altogether. Electronics like traction control, cruise control, riding modes and mechanical upgrades like quickshifter, autoblipper, slipper clutch, etc. definitely soar the price, but they add up to our safety equipment as well. This blog is about Slipper Clutch, an upgrade that revolutionized the automobile racing industry. It allows the riders to shift down a couple of gears quickly without locking up the rear wheel under panic braking situations.
Why is slipper clutch necessary on bikes ?
The slipper clutch mechanism was manufactured in 19th century and was available only in some high displacement machines along with MotoGP bikes. With traffic conditions worsening day by day in metropolitan cities, panic braking isn’t a rare occurrence. We have experienced such situations at least once in our lifetime when suddenly someone pops on the road and we have to brake in panic. Along with braking, we also downshift the gears quite aggressively, resulting in the rear wheel lockup and the bike loses traction. In such cases, if you aren’t alert and can’t maintain the balance, you can find yourself in dire trouble. For such surprises on road, slipper clutch can be a blessing that might come handy.
It’s a mechanism which limits the negative torque sent to the rear wheel during engine braking & fast deceleration. The rear wheel doesn’t lockup in case of engine seizure and it adjusts the amount of torque necessary to disengage the clutch from the engine. This allows the clutch to partially slip until the engine speed & wheel speeds are compatible. Slipper clutch is mandatory on higher displacement bikes where the engine braking force is massive and may cause the motorcycle to lose control.
What is the difference between normal clutch & slipper clutch ?
When you engage the normal clutch, its primary function is to transmit the torque via the transmission to the rear wheel. Slipper clutch works exactly the same way. If met with a certain level of back-torque, the slipper clutch disengages and transmits this back-torque away from the engine. When there’s neutrality between the forces of the rear wheel and the engine, it engages again and the cycle continues. It absorbs all the back-torque during disengagement and avoids losing traction of the rear wheels. Such scenarios can be controlled with normal clutches as well, with some special skills and practice. Throttle blipping during heavy downshifts works in the same manner, which requires some hands-on experience and skill. The rider may lose his concentration and control in emergency situations.
The slipper clutch is featured mostly on big machines and it’s steadily making its way to affordable machines in India. The 5 most affordable bikes in India with slipper clutch are:
So the final question, does it makes sense to pay the extra premium for the slipper clutch mechanism? Yes, it does. Having an additional feature that adds to your safety equipment & saves you from unexpected mishaps, surely cracks the deal. Also, it will definitely be cheaper than a long & hefty hospital bill to pay for !!
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