clutch use it or not

I was on another forum that is smaller than this one and the debate has been going on about whether or not to use the clutch to shift. Knowing the mechanical and intimate knowledge many of you have regarding your bikes and past experience I thought I would pose the question here. Basically it boils down to a ford vs. chevy, yamaha vs honda debate. So lets hear proof one way or the other. BTW I use mine whenever possible, but am not afraid of speed shifting once in awhile.

I use the clutch every time, if I was pro racer and I got paid to win then it would be a different story, but to me its not worth the stress it puts on the tranny. And what does it really acomplish?

I can agree to use the clutch when shifting under load.

But, my 2001 426 clutch has been used only when under load (heavy acceleration) or to control traction in a technical situation. If you are just rolling down a fire lane or wiggling through the woods, forget it.

I never find any metal in the oil and the clutch works like new.

Some have been quoted saying "to use the clutch is to abuse the clutch".

Depends on the bike & your riding style. Me, I very rarely use the clutch while shifting. It's a worthless motion, IMO. I save the clutch for when I really need it. But my bikes have always been slick shifters. My brothers bike (KTM 250MX) was the worst shifter I've been around. You could never shift it without the clutch. In fact you could barely shift it WITH the clutch. Some bikes just have better trannys inherently. If yours will accept it clutchless without popping and banging go for it. You'll get a feel for how much load it'll take it under. If you're not used to riding this way, by all means, use the clutch. All this and I've never had tranny troubles.


Some have been quoted saying "to use the clutch is to abuse the clutch".

like I originally said

So lets hear proof one way or the other

how is using the clutch abusive?

I try to use my clutch when I can. about 50%. In the woods I can barely think and steer let alone clutch and shift :) I've raced shifter karts and I know how much abuse the gear box can take. THey only use the clutch to start and we hammered the gear boxes with almost no problems, this is with engines that need a new top end every 5 hrs!!!!! Read what Mr. Know it all had to say about it in Dirt Bike

Alot has to do with throttle action.

If you keep it pinned and jam on the gear box, your bound to grind some metal.

I use it most of the time. All the time when practiceing. But on the last lap, 1hr 45min into a race, it hard to care about anything other than finishing.

The WR450F is equipped with a "Constant Mesh" transmission.

Using the clutch when shifting is not necessary with these types of transmissions.

This info came from my dealer.


I like to use it with just a partial engagement to take some load off. No need to fully engage the clutch for most shifts.

I use it when I can but I have no problem up shifting without it.

When I'm racing my GSXR750, I almost NEVER use it on a up shift. I have too much info to process when flying down the track at 150+mph. I do however use it on every down shift.



My 2-stroke IT425, bent fork, slips out of gear.

Buddies XR400, bent fork, cannot shift at all, engine case being split tonight.

This is another reason it is so difficult to purchase a used bike. You don't know how it was maontained and abused.


If you jump on you shifter you will bend a fork, i use the clutch to stop and to start and thats about it, these bikes don't have syncro rings as such, they have whats called "dogs" the dogs are really wide teeth that dont need to syncronize, they are either in or out.

I generaly use the clutch for shifitng. I have a friend who uses the clutch every time for acceleration out of a corner, like a two stroke. He is on a YZ 250F, This borders on abuse to me :D I don't shift as much on this bike, WR250F, I can run large sections of woods in one gear because the powerband is so wide. This gives me time to think about other things, like hitting trees :)

As others have stated, it has a constant mesh transmission and can be shifted without the clucth without doing harm. I normally use the clutch when I shift but this could be from habit. It does make for smoother shifts. Years ago, I had a 90 YZ250 that didn't like upshifting under power without the clutch. When racing and need quick shifts both up and down I don't use the clutch. So, my recommendation is use it when you aren't trying hard, other times don't use it and don't worry about it tearing anything up.

So, my recommendation is use it when you aren't trying hard, other times don't use it and don't worry about it tearing anything up.

That pretty much sums up the way I look at it.

If you are not using your clutch, you are giving up one of the CONTROLS of your motorcycle.

Per Gary Semics, You do not need to use the clutch when you downshift. It interupts the effects of braking with the help of the engines back pressure.

It IS necessary to us it when you upshift because of the torque on the gears from the engine.

The clutch is also used to control the power delivery to the rear wheel. A pro rider has one or two fingers on the clutch lever 90% of the time. He uses it out of corners, through whoops, jumps, and certain kinds of bumps to help deliver the exact amount of power to the rear wheel how and when he wants it.

The clutch should be used almost every time the throttle goes from closed to open, so if you want good controlled power, learn to use that little lever on the handlebar.

"But on the last lap, 1hr 45min into a race, it hard to care about anything other than finishing. "

This is true!

It also depends on your engine rpm and where your bike shifts smoothly an extreme example is on my R6; at 14,000rpm it pops right into the next gear sometimes befor i even get the chance to put pressure on the lever... if I try to shift clutchless at 6grand I will be pulling of the road picking up parts cause it barely shifts at that rpm with the clutch! It depends on your style, throttle position, engine rpm, and landscape. taking all this into consideration will help you decide when to and when not to use the clutch. It is not necessary to use the clutch for every shift all the time without dammage. :)

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