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Do You Need To Use The Clutch When Changing Gear On A Motocross Bike?

As a motocross coaching facility, we get to hear a lot of the struggles that riders go through every day, whether they are day 1 beginners or seasoned veterans of the sport, many people are led to believe that you need to engage the clutch to change gears on a motocross bike, in fact, some bike manuals actually recommend using the clutch to change gears, however, it is in fact possible to change gears whilst riding without using the clutch, and best of all, there are no bike modifications required to do this.

Reasons for using the clutch when changing gears:

1. It preserves the life of the gearbox, the engine and places less stress on the gear selector fork.

2. It can provide a smooth gear transition when at full revs (picture a start straight)

3. It is a good tool to learn about clutch control.

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Left hand turn.

Reasons for leaving the clutch alone whilst changing gear:

1. Momentum

Momentum stays constant when climbing up and down the gears (providing you’re at optimal revs)

2. Stability

It increases your stability by making the front end of the bike light during gear changes.

3. Less stress on the bike

It causes less wear and tear on the clutch.

4. Remain Focussed

You can focus on the job at hand, you already have hundreds of things to think about within 1 minute of riding, why add more stuff that has little benefit to your speed?

5. Better corner speed

Using the clutch regularly often builds bad habits over time and can lead to over-engagement in corners, and the over-engagement of the clutch in corners is one of the biggest corner speed killers as it stops all forward momentum, which can make the corners very stop and start like, but most importantly, riding without momentum is exhausting.

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