Gearing Question...

I find on most of the stuff I ride, 2nd gear revs too much and 3rd gear in a little sluggish. Would you recommend a gear change? If so, what should I change it to. For additional info, someday I would like to put a dual-sport kit on it, so I don't know if I should gear down if i want to ride on the street. Thanks.

If you're finding yourself between gears too much to where you're maxed in in 2nd with 3rd being too tall, then consider dropping a tooth on the front sprocket from the stock 14T to a 13T. 3rd might just be a lot more comfortable for you and the front sprocket is much less expensive to buy than the rear while also being super easy and quick to change out.

If you're looking to have your cake and eat it too, then consider a z-Start You can run a 15T front sprocket for a ton of top speed so you can cruise the highways without your bike feeling too buzzy and you'll still feel like you have 13/48 gearing while on the trails. It's not cheap, but its much less expensive than a Revloc and you can still retain the use your clutch lever with the clutch perch option. I don't shift nearly as often as I used to and I feel like the z-Start keeps me in the powerband much longer. It's a kool product and something I'll buy again for my next bike, but try the 13T front sprocket because that might be just the ticket for you and its inexpensive.


I'm a little confused about the Z-start. I was reading about it on the web site. Does this turn your bike into an automatic or do you still shift? Could you tell me a little more about it. Thanks.

It helps to make it more automatic only because you'll find yourself clutching and shifting less often, but it's basically just a different pressure plate that’s installed on your clutch pack.

When you're in gear and your engine RPM drops down to idle, the z-Start pressure plate is pushed away from the clutch pack just as if you pulled the clutch in. Once the engine RPM spins up a bit past idle, the z-Start pressure plate begins to clamp against the clutch pack up to an engineered clamping pressure and your on your way just as if you let out the clutch lever for a perfect start. The clamping pressure of the clutch pack increases with the engine RPM up to a maximum designed amount, so taking off 'can' be very smooth unless you give it a handful of throttle and then the bike will quickly loop backwards :). Both the stall and engagement speeds can be adjusted for different applications, but I've got mine setup to stay engaged all the way down to idle and to lock up quickly which is great for the trail riding I mostly do. My bike still has engine braking all the way down to idle, so going down steep hills is not an issue for the z-Start.

The one thing you'll loose with the z-Start is the ability to bump start your bike because it will just free wheel as if the clutch lever was pulled in. That was a very big issue for me because my legs don't work so well at times and I often planned my stops on inclines with the intention of bump starting my bike, but I like my z-Start too much and won't be without one again. It's not for everyone, but it sure has been fantastic for trail riding. I don't ride on the street, but another person I've talked with that bought the z-Start at the same time I did (about 10 months ago) rides a good bit on the street couldn't live with the lower 13/48 gearing on the street and didn't like the higher 15/48 street gearing on the trail. The z-Start solved his issues so he can run 15/48 on the street and it’s now plenty usable on tight trails that used to be a problem with that taller gearing. He's in Canada and posts on the Yahoo XR650R group under the handle "felemur" and you can contact him for more info as well. He's also got a lot more miles on his z-Start setup than mine.

You can still shift and use your clutch as you normally would, but basically the z-Start does some of the clutch work for you. For instance, I can come to a complete stop while in gear without ever using the clutch and my bike will sit there idling in gear without stalling until I twist the throttle and then it will take off. You wouldn't want to do this from 3rd gear even though the XR650R has the torque to do it because this would wear the clutch out quickly, but taking off from 1st or 2nd is not a problem. I can come screaming into a corner with my rear tire locked up without ever using the clutch and my bike won't stall because the z-Start is doing the clutching/declutching for me, so it's just a matter of twisting the throttle and working the brakes much of the time unless I need to change gears. With the basic z-Start product by itself, you’ll have to shift without using the clutch and use proper clutchless shifting which seems to be fine with many MX’rs. I sometimes shift without using the clutch, but giving up my clutch lever was not an option for me, so I also bought the optional clutch perch option and have full use of my clutch lever just like I’ve always had for the past 30+ years I’ve been riding, but I don’t use it nearly as often as I used to, nor do I shift nearly as I often as I used to. The z-Start does such an awesome job of clutching / declutching for me that I prefer to let it do the work most of the time and often choose to ride in a gear higher than I normally would in many instances. The z-Start also locks up the clutch pack quicker and harder than the stock clutch, so there's even less chance of the clutch slipping with the additional clamping pressure the z-Start provides.

A while back we were going to a certain spot to ride and I always had to shift between 2nd & 3rd on certain trails I was riding, but I could stay in 3rd the whole time with the z-Start. Every time I hit a sharp corner in the sand wash trails that would bring my speed down, I simply jammed on the brakes and began a power slide, then kept it WOT out of the corner until the next corner where as before I'd have to either feather my clutch a whole bunch in the turns or shift down to 2nd and my RPM would soon be maxed out at WOT, then shift up to 3rd while holding it WOT, then to 2nd for the next corner, then to 3rd, etc. I just didn't realize how much I was shifting and using the clutch until I had to think about not doing it when I first got my z-Start, but it was super easy to get used to after a few hours of riding with it. I wish I could explain it a bit better, but the z-Start does such a good job of clutching / declutching for me that it feels like my powerband has been expanded. Trail riding is a whole new experience. Another plus for me is when one of my kid’s falls down, I simply get off my bike while it’s still in gear idling on its kickstand and help them out and it’s just a matter of getting back on my bike and twisting my wrist to be off again (very quick). There was one time where I was climbing a large hill and I hit a big rock on just a few feet from the top that killed my speed and almost threw me from the bike. I was holding on for dear life and just gassed it. The z-Start probably kept my bike from stalling and the throttle pulled me out of trouble. If I had been quick enough with the clutch, I probably could have save it just as well, but I panicked after hitting that rock as I seen my kids way down below out of the corner of my eyes and probably would have lost it had I not had the z-Start.

I've been on Honda CT70's with the autoclutch from long ago as a kid and we even have a Honda FatCat in the family which is autoclutch type putt-putt bike, but the XR650R with an autoclutch is a whole different experience and way different than some people might think. When I first heard of the autoclutch products coming out from Revloc, EFM & Rekluse for the various MX bikes, I brushed them off as kind of silly and wondered who would ever want one, but then the idea began to grow on me the more I read about them. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try one out. The z-Start from Rekluse also came with a money back guarantee, so there was nothing for me to loose and the guy who designed it "Al Youngworth" has been a pleasure to deal with.

There’s a ton of information and opinions from other people who use autoclutch products in the CRF450, YZF, WRF & KTM forums here on ThumperTalk, so check out their opinions too if you have more interest. Just remember that most of those guys will probably have their autoclutch set up for higher stall and engagement speeds, but that’s adjustable on the z-Start to suit your needs.


I appreciate your detailed message... I totally get the concept now! When I was younger I guess I had a "auto-clutch" on my 3 and 4 wheelers. I guess it's the same concept, but I can see where that would come in handy - such as hill climbs and when you bog down a little. I am really curious about this now - how much was it to retrofit the BRP? Thanks for the help....


The z-Start from Rekluse is $399.

The external perch adjuster is another $99. This allows you to manually over-ride the z-Start with your clutch lever and it also allows you to externally adjust the engagement of the clutch, although I haven't found a need to do much adjusting since I've set mine up.

Now I don't know if this would work or not, but ThumperTalk has a 110% price guarantee and right now they also have free shipping on orders over $99. Rekluse is also a sponsor of ThumperTalk, but I don't see the z-Start's in the ThumperTalk store, however I'd check into it more closely incase they do sell them. Since the product will likely come from out of state, there should be no tax on it. 'IF' the ThumpeTalk store does sell this product, then you'd get the 10% off, free shipping and no tax :)

Installation is pretty easy if you have basic mechanical skills and only takes about 2 to 3 hours the first time you do it, but it can be done from start to finish within a half hour or less once you've done it before. It's a matter of removing the right side clutch cover, removing the clutch nut, removing the clutch pack to remove the judder spring & its mating spring plate, then putting back the clutch pack. From there, you install the z-Start pressure plate with accompanying thrust bearings, etc, load up the z-Start with its ball bearings, pour in a little oil, etc. Then you have to take some precise measurements between the friction discs using feeler guages and depending on your measurments you'll need to add or remove shims to ofset the clutch to set the installed gap between the z-Start pressure plate and the clutch discs. Then carefully torque the screws down, put the side cover back on and your done. You do all this while the bike is leaning on its left side on the ground and you won't loose a drop of oil when doing this. While that's not 'exactly' how you do it, it will give you a basic idea of the installation and it truly isn't that hard to do, but you do have to be careful not to drop any small parts into the engine when the clutch cover is off. You can also download the installation manual directly from Rekluse for more details if you're interested.

It's a really nifty product and the fun of it still hasn't worn off yet :D

I have a new rekluse Gen III clutch in my bike and the installation was way easier then the last model. It should only take a person an hour or less to do the install on the new version. Not only that the measureing was easy, it matched to spec the first try. No longer have to pull the whole clutch pack out either to remove the springs and stuff or mess with shims to get the correct installed gap. It took only a few bolts and adding a few parts and I was off riding.

I also think the Generation III also works way better it seems to have more hit off the bottom and overall better engagement.

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