Dirt Bike Clutch Issues

If you’re an enduro rider who tends to take on the most demanding trails, you’ll be using your clutch a lot more than usual, especially those who use two-stroke bikes. It merely helps you keep the RPMs up and gives you that boost of power to get the front wheel up to get over a log or when you need to get up a hill and find yourself slipping out of the power band.

It’s for these reasons you need to ensure your clutch is well taken care of and replaced when it starts to acts out and not give you the same performance as what you need to do the hardest trails. Below, we look at ways to tell your clutch needs replacing and how you can make sure it lasts longer, even under the most stressful situations.


It doesn’t matter what dirt bike you ride; your manual will have information about the oil you need to use in the gearbox. However, some riders tend to shift to other fuels, especially riders with MX bikes as the oil recommendation would be for racing.

Trails riding is a little different as the clutch gets much hotter and you use it a lot more than you would at a dirt bike track. It’s worth experimenting with different oils and sees the results. Some riders like to use ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) as the clutch plates work similar and also have multiple levels.

Changing the oil is another must, and most trail riders do it as often as every 10 hours. It ensures the gearbox stays clean and that the clutch plates have the longest possible life.

Dragging clutch

A dragging clutch refers to the bike wanting to move forward when you’re in gear, and the clutch is fully engaged. This can be caused by multiple things, including the most common cause of the plates being warped due to excessive heat.

There are also some riders who have to drag clutches due to the wrong oil, making the plates stick together and not allowing the clutch to break free. If you experience drag after changing to a different oil, this might be your problem. If it’s something that came up gradually, it might mean you need new plates.

Slipping Clutch

While some oils can cause a clutch to drag, the most common cause is the clutch plates being warned. It’s quite easy to see when a clutch is slipping as you’ll notice the engine revving up, but it’s just as if you’re not getting the power.

On two strokes you’ll hear the power band kick in but don’t feel that immediate boost. It’s almost as if the back wheel is spinning as the power doesn’t make you go faster. If you experience anything like it, the chances are good that your clutch is finished and needs replacing.

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