How Motorcycle Slipper Clutches Work

Twenty years ago, slipper clutches, which are also called back torque limiting clutches by engineer types, were reserved for racebikes. These days, slippers come standard on all kinds of streetbikes from performance machines like the Ducati Panigale to beginner bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 300, and even sport-tourers and cruisers.

The whole idea behind a slipper clutch is that it prevents engine over rev and rear-wheel chatter, and helps keep the rear suspension working properly during hard engine braking caused by aggressive downshifts. At the racetrack a slipper clutch is helpful because downshifts are usually performed while hard on the front brake, so not only is there a lot of engine braking taxing the rear tire and suspension, but thereís very little static load pressing the rear tire against the pavement. Rear-wheel hop, a full-on skid, and even crashes can result.

On the street a slipper clutch might come into play when you downshift accidentally, make a sloppy shift in the wet or on a slippery surface, or if you downshift one more gear than you intended. Most folks donít make those kind of mistakes, but if they do, a slipper could save their butt.


How Slipper Clutches Work by motorcyclistonline


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Revised: December 28, 2016.