Do You Need To Use A Clutch On A Dirt Bike?

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When I first started using a clutch I pretty much used it for everything. Starting the bike, shifting up, shifting down, and even when I was slowing down the bike. In this post, I’ll be answering the question of “do you need to use a clutch on a dirt bike?”

You don’t need to use the clutch when shifting down on your bike but you should use the clutch when shifting up. It would be better on the bike if you used it all of the time but bike gears are different than car gears and it’s nowhere close to being as bad. I always use the clutch when shifting up but rarely use it for shifting down.

Dirt bike gears are designed differently than car gears. If you don’t use the clutch in a car you’ll face some serious problems but it’s perfectly fine to not use it on your bike. There are times in a race when you don’t really have time to pull in the clutch and many riders rarely use it during the race.

When Should You Use A Clutch On A Bike?

If you are riding your dirt bike I’d recommend you use the clutch when shifting up. There’s really no reason to not use it and it’ll be better for the engine overall. When you’re shifting up you’re normally giving the bike gas and that puts tension on the gears and can slowly wear the gears if you don’t use a clutch. If you miss a shift every now and then it won’t be a big deal but I always do it myself.

On the other hand, when you’re shifting down on a bike you normally aren’t giving it any throttle and there is a lot less tension on the gears. That’s why you don’t need to use the clutch to shift. My old man and his buddies used to race bikes and they never once would use the clutch to shift down.

If you don’t know how to use a clutch you can check out this article.

Do You Have To Hold The Clutch When Starting A Dirt Bike?

You do not need to hold the clutch in when starting your bike as long as it’s in neutral. If you accidentally stall the bike in gear and want to start it quickly, you’ll need to pull in the clutch.

Anytime I’m turning the bike off I’ll make sure it’s in neutral first. It’s just a habit and the next time I get on it I’ll know to just get on and give it a kick. If I’m out riding and stall the bike I’ll quickly put it in 1st or 2nd gear, pull in the clutch, give it a kick, and be on my way.

Is It Bad To Shift A Dirt Bike Without The Clutch?

Many people have different opinions about this. Some people say it doesn’t really matter if you use the clutch or not while others say you should use it every time. I’d agree that using your clutch every time is better than not using it at all but I don’t believe it’s necessary.

The working parts of your gear system are covered in oil and this is completely different than your car. Your car needs to have the clutch in to shift otherwise it’ll break down in no time. Your dirt bike is different.

If you never use your dirt bike clutch to shift, your gears will start to slowly wear down over time and will eventually need to be replaced. The time it takes to wear down is very long though. I know people who’ve been riding for years now and only use the clutch to shift up. They’ve never had any problems. I’ve always heard about people who NEVER use their clutch and haven’t had any issues either.

What do I do? I think you should always use the clutch to shift up and it’s fine to not use it when you’re slowing down.

How The Gear System Works On A Dirt Bike

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. This site is where I test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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