Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike can help riders eliminate stalling and increase performance in certain conditions and riding styles. An auto clutch on a dirt bike, like the popular Rekluse auto clutch, changes the way you use the clutch lever and has several benefits but also few limitations.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about auto clutches. We will explain what a Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike is and how to decide if you need to get one on your dirt bike.
In this article, we will discuss the following topics:
- What is an auto clutch?
- How to adjust a Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike
- 5 benefits of a Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike
- Disadvantages of a Rekluse clutch
- Who is the Rekluse clutch for?
- Rekluse clutch kits and options for dirt bikes
- Is a Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike worth it?
- And lots more!
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What Is an Auto Clutch?
An auto clutch on a dirt bike is a clutch that automatically engages and disengages based on the higher and lower RPMs of the motor. An auto clutch eliminates engine stalling and the use of the clutch lever becomes optional when you ride your dirt bike.
The main difference between a regular clutch and an auto clutch is the engagement and disengagement process.
In a regular clutch, the plates are separated by a mechanical push rod typically operated by the clutch lever. Whereas an auto clutch uses centrifugal force driven by the engine RPMs. An auto clutch also keeps the normal push rod operation but effectively makes clutch pull optional.
Auto clutches have many benefits, including not having to worry about engine stalling. In other words, it allows you to start and stop your dirt bike without using the clutch lever.
Typically, the auto clutch replaces the entire clutch basket and the clutch plates on your dirt bike.
Don’t let the name fool you though: an auto clutch does not mean an automatic transmission. You will still be using the clutch lever for example when shifting gears even when you have a Rekluse clutch on your dirt bike. However, pulling the clutch is not necessary in many situations and it can help beginner riders to learn dirt biking.
What Is a Rekluse Clutch?
A Rekluse clutch is an auto clutch manufactured and developed by a U.S. based company called Rekluse. They develop and sell clutch performance products for off-road and street motorcycles.
Rekluse as a company was founded back in 2002 and all products they represent are engineered, developed, and manufactured in Boise, Idaho, USA.
The Rekluse clutch is a wider term used for many auto clutches out there. The specific products and packages that Rekluse offers for off-road vehicles and dirt bikes are:
- Radius CX
- Radius X
- Core EXP 3.0
- Core Manual
- CoreManual TorqDrive
- TorqDrive Clutch Pack
In addition to these clutch packages, they offer clutch covers, oils, accessories, parts, and lots more.
How Does a Rekluse Clutch Work on a Dirt Bike?
So, what is the big deal? How does a Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike work? The fundamentals are actually quite easy to understand.
The clutch plates are normally actuated by the clutch lever. When squeezing the clutch lever, you push the clutch levers apart to stop the plates from rotating with the engine. This happens through a clutch cable or a hydraulic clutch fluid pressure pushing a push rod inside the clutch basket and separating the rotating clutch plates.
A Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike works on the principle of centrifugal force in addition to the clutch lever pull. Higher engine RPMs cause the Rekluse clutch plates to engage, while idling will cause the plates to disengage. This automatic function prevents the dirt bike from stalling and enables you to stop in gear without pulling the clutch in.
Riding your dirt bike with the Rekluse clutch is similarly easy without using the clutch lever. When in gear, you increase RPMs and the Rekluse clutch slowly engages and begins moving the dirt bike.
In Rekluse clutches, this all is done with an EXP auto clutch disk. It functions as a friction disk that reacts to engine speed. Once your dirt bike hits the engagement RPM, the wedge shaped weights in the spinning EXP disk will move outward and expand the disk. By doing this, the EXP disk fills the free space between the plates and engages the Rekluse clutch.
A Rekluse clutch will enable adjusting the friction point, aggressiveness, and engagement style. You can also keep using the Rekluse clutch normally with the clutch lever and let the Rekluse clutch save you from an accidental stalling of the engine.
How To Shift With an Auto Clutch or a Rekluse Clutch on a Dirt Bike
Shifting gears with a Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike happens exactly the same as you were using a normal manual clutch.
Once the dirt bike is moving and you have gained some speed and balance, shift the gears just like you would normally do with a normal clutch. The only difference comes to play at lower speeds when there is a risk at stalling.
Going over obstacles, doing slow speed cornering, and riding through technical sections may cause you to stall your dirt bike. A Rekluse auto clutch can help in these situations and make the transition easier for many riders.
A Rekluse clutch engages from idle to 1,800 RPM during normal riding. While cruising, you should keep the RPM at or above 2,500 RPM. This way, you will keep the clutch from slipping. Keep in mind that your clutch can slip if there is too little free play gain. And vice versa, too much free play gain can result in clutch drag.
Rekluse Clutch Fine-Tuning and Adjustments
A Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike offers several ways for adjusting the feel and grab of the clutch. It’s important to set it properly and adjust it to find settings that work well for your riding style and terrain.
Depending on the Rekluse model you have on your dirt bike, you may be able to adjust the auto clutch externally as well as internally. The cable clutch models have both internal and external tuning options, whereas the hydraulic auto clutch models have adjustment on the push rod.
An internally adjusted auto clutch is popular among enduro and trail riders because the lever has the same feel as in a manual clutch. In addition, there is much less maintenance involved. An externally adjusted auto clutch on the other hand can be adjusted on the fly. This is convenient for riders who are hard on their clutches. Hydraulic auto clutches push rod can be adjusted with an Allen wrench through the clutch slave unit.
Since you can use the Rekluse clutch on your dirt bike and still operate the clutch lever normally at the same time, try adjusting the manual clutch lever operation as close to normal as possible. Some riding techniques require finesse and accuracy in clutch operation and you need to start learning how to use the clutch to your advantage.
While a Rekluse clutch helps with stalling, it can also hide the rider feedback and cause issues with learning new enduro techniques. To avoid this, adjust and tune the auto clutch to match the characteristics of a manual clutch.
How To Adjust a Rekluse Clutch on a Dirt Bike
Adjusting the Rekluse clutch installed to your dirt bike is as important as adjusting a normal manual clutch. In addition to manual clutches, there are few things you need to adjust periodically to maintain ideal operation and clutch plate life span.
Next, we will explain how to adjust your Rekluse clutch on your dirt bike.
Please note that these instructions may differ for each dirt bike model and Rekluse clutch model used. Rekluse has a great informational and troubleshooting section on their website with model specific instructions.
When adjusting the Rekluse clutch, there are basically three things you can change to fine-tune the performance and characteristics on how the clutch operates and fits your riding style.
The three adjustments that you can do on a Rekluse clutch are:
- Adjust free play gain
- Setting the correct idle
- Change clutch spring rates
Each one of these settings can help fine-tune the clutch performance and clutch drag. The combination of the three settings will change the way the clutch engages and how quickly it reacts to throttle movements.
Now, let’s take a look at each of the settings and how to adjust them by yourself.
Step 1. Measure the Clutch Free Play Gain
The free play gain setting on Rekluse clutches for dirt bikes may sound weird but is actually easy to measure and set. The free play gain means the distance the clutch lever is able to move before engaging the clutch pressure plate.
To measure the current free play gain, start the dirt bike and let it warm up. You can also take a short ride if needed to warm up the clutch plates and oil.
When the dirt bike is idling on a center stand in neutral, pull on the clutch lever putting pressure slightly without moving the lever. Next, blip the throttle to around 5000 RPMs. This should make the clutch lever move slightly inwards, about 1/8″ or 3mm. This is called free play gain.
If this proves difficult, another way to measure the free play gain is to place a rubber band around the grip and loop it around the clutch lever. Blip the throttle and measure how much the clutch lever moved inwards.
Step 2. Adjust the Clutch Free Play Gain to 1/8″
The Rekluse clutch free play adjustment is the base for all other settings on the dirt bike auto clutch fine-tuning.
If the free play gain is not around 1/8″ or 3mm, you need to adjust it. Make sure you stay on the “safe side” of the free play gain. The safe side is 1/8″ gap or MORE. Too little free play gain will eat up the clutch plates much quicker and/or cause clutch slippage.
Adjusting Free Play Gain With a Hydraulic Clutch
To adjust the free play gain, you need to adjust the push rod distance using the dial on the clutch slave cylinder located in front of the front sprocket. You should see a dial with notches on the front of the slave cylinder. When installing the clutch, Rekluse recommends a base setting of one full round plus 5 notches in from where the adjusted touches the end of the push rod.
Now, if your free play gain is outside the recommended setting of around 1/8″ or 3mm, you need to adjust it. Turning the dial clockwise creates less free play gain and vice versa. Adjust the dial 2 notches at a time and measure again. You can keep the dirt bike idling as you adjust it.
Adjusting Free Play Gain With a Cable Actuated Clutch
Adjusting Rekluse clutch free play gain with a cable actuated clutch, such as in Yamaha YZ models, you need to open the clutch basket cover to adjust the pressure plate adjuster.
If the free play gain is outside of the recommended setting of around 1/8″ or 3mm, you need to adjust it.
First, adjust the clutch lever free play using the inline slack adjuster dial on the clutch cable housing to make sure the clutch cable has lots of slack. Next, open the clutch basket cover. The clutch free play gain adjuster is located in the middle of the clutch with the dials around it.
If your free play gain is less than 1/8″, you need to add free play gain by turning the adjuster inside the clutch cover counter-clockwise. To reduce free play gain, turn the adjuster clockwise.
If you are already close to 1/8″, you can adjust with 1 or 2 clicks at a time to set the correct free play gain. If unsure, you can start with the Rekluse recommended default setting.
To start adjusting the free play gain, loosen the set screws and set the clutch pressure plate adjuster to the manufacturer recommended starting point. The starting point is when the adjuster meets the clutch nut. You should feel the adjuster seating with the main clutch nut.
Next, turn the adjuster one full turn plus 2 clicks after the adjuster starting point. Continue to tighten the set screws back in place to torque specs and replace the dirt bike Rekluse clutch cover. Set the cable clutch free slack to about 10mm and measure the free play gain again.
The Rekluse clutch free play adjustment is the basis for correct Rekluse clutch operation and should be checked regularly.
Step 3. Set the Correct Idle
The auto clutches, including Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike, work on the centrifugal force driven by the motor RPMs, setting the correct idle is important.
A correctly set idle helps prevent the dirt bike from stalling and creeping forward with the Rekluse clutch.
Once you have confirmed that the free play gain is correctly set at 1/8″ or 3mm, you can fine-tune the clutch drag with setting the idle.
To fine-tune the clutch drag, set the idle so that the dirt bike slightly wants to creep forward ever so slightly. Too high idle will cause more creeping and lower idle will tune it out.
If the dirt bike is creeping forward, even with correctly set idle, when in first gear idling or the idle lowers when in gear, you should change the clutch springs described below in step 4. This can also cause stalling when braking or decelerating, especially on two-strokes.
Step 4. Change EXP Disc Springs To Adjust Clutch Aggressiveness
The Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike has clutch springs that push against the clutch plate discs.
These EXC clutch disc springs control how aggressively the clutch engages to applying throttle.
The springs also control the clutch drag at idle. If you are not able to eliminate the dirt bike from creeping forward in gear or are experiencing stalling when braking, you need to change the springs to softer springs. Be sure to set the free play gain and idle first as they may be causing some of the issues you might be facing.
For example, installing stiffer springs will make the clutch engage more aggressively just off the idle when you hit the throttle. Softer springs will make the initial engagement smoother and more linear.
Rekluse offers different springs for different dirt bike setups and tuning the clutch performance.
The EXC clutch springs are (from softest to stiffer) color coded:
- Raw steel (softest)
- Green (for V-Twins, street)
- White (stiffest, for V-Twins street)
5 Benefits of a Rekluse Clutch on a Dirt Bike
A Rekluse auto clutch has several benefits for many dirt bike riders out there.
If you’re considering getting a Rekluse clutch for your dirt bike, we made a list of the most common benefits an auto clutch offers for trail riding.
An auto clutch is considered as an attractive option because it:
- eliminates stalling
- helps with learning how to use the clutch
- reduces or prevents arm pump or arm fatigue
- improves mental and physical functioning
- enables disabled or injured riders to operate their dirt bike without a clutch lever.
Let’s discuss these in detail next.
1. No Stalling
Eliminating stalling is one of the main reasons why you would want to consider a Rekluse clutch to your dirt bike.
If operating a normal manual clutch is difficult for you, an auto clutch will make it easier to ride as stalling on starts is literally impossible.
A Rekluse auto clutch also helps prevent stalling in hills and corners, on slow sections and log crossings as well as when braking hard, making shifting mistakes, or riding on more difficult technical trails.
It also helps beginner riders with learning when they can focus on balancing and using other controls of the dirt bike without constantly stalling the dirt bike.
2. Learn Clutch Operation Faster
For beginner riders, learning to use the clutch can be a daunting task. An auto clutch can make this learning process easier.
While the Rekluse clutch operation is automatic, beginner riders can still use the clutch normally. This eliminates stalling but still allows you to find the clutch friction point and learn how to properly modulate the clutch.
3. Less Arm Pump
If you experience arm pump or fatigue that doesn’t seem to go away with practice, a Rekluse clutch on your dirt bike may be the solution for you.
Some riders experience strong arm pump when riding, sometimes because of an injury or some other physical reasons. Using an auto clutch can help with the problem since you don’t have the use the clutch that often.
A Rekluse auto clutch on your dirt bike will eliminate or lower the need to actuate the clutch lever and therefore your arms will get more rest and you will be able to ride longer.
4. Less Mental and Physical Fatigue
Riding on technical terrain is both physically and mentally draining. The longer you ride, the more tired you get both physically and mentally. It gets harder to concentrate and you start making mistakes that may even result in a crash.
Having a proper dirt bike riding technique helps with this since riding is more relaxed then and you won’t get tired that easily. Nonetheless, you still might get tired mentally and physically, especially if you are a beginner rider.
A Rekluse clutch can help with reducing mental and physical fatigue while riding on the trails. It’s a great feature to keep you out on the trail for longer.
5. Keep Riding Despite Injuries
Since a Rekluse clutch eliminates the need for the clutch lever, this enables riders with disabilities or injuries to rethink and reconfigure their clutch lever usage.
For example, injured riders can use the clutch lever for rear brake operation or for other purposes instead and continue riding until healed.
Disadvantages of a Rekluse Clutch
The auto clutch setup comes with few crucial caveats. Firstly, if you plan to become a better technical rider, manually modulating the clutch is a very important skill you need to learn early on. And this cannot be done with an auto clutch. Secondly, using an auto clutch drastically changes your riding style.
That being said, the biggest disadvantage of using a Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike is related to losing the finesse with the clutch operation. And a lot can be said about how important it is to be able to work the clutch precisely and in a controlled matter. This is usually not an issue with fast paced enduro, motocross or for beginner riders.
A Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike tends to hide or change the clutch friction point area and it also moves or changes with RPM changes. This slight variation in the friction point combined with an imprecise clutch feedback can make it difficult to learn and perform more advanced riding techniques.
The better you get at riding, the more you start realizing how important the clutch is and how you need to constantly use it to obtain traction and maneuver the dirt bike.
The most common incorrect riding techniques you can easily spot among riders using an auto clutch are related to overall cornering, the difficulty to master hard technical climbs, and lazy gear shifting.
Usually, all of the issues that are tried to be resolved with an auto clutch can be fixed with small changes in the riding position and in the dirt bike ergonomics setup as well as by learning the basic techniques to control the dirt bike.
Who Is the Rekluse Clutch for?
Rekluse clutches in dirt bikes can offer certain riders some advantages in different riding applications.
A Rekluse clutch can be beneficial especially for beginner dirt bike riders learning to ride and for riders with disabilities or injuries. In addition, a Rekluse clutch can help advanced riders when they want to start riding gnarlier trails.
Beginner Dirt Bike Riders
Beginner riders can benefit from a Rekluse clutch since it makes learning to control the clutch much easier. If you have no previous experience in motorcycles and how to operate a manual clutch, you may want to consider a dirt bike with a Rekluse clutch or add one.
For example, twisting the throttle and letting the clutch out in order to get the bike moving can be a challenge for beginner riders. With a Rekluse clutch, you don’t have to worry about the clutch. In addition, you can stop the dirt bike without using the clutch and the dirt bike will stay running in all conditions without the clutch lever being pulled. This is extremely nice features for someone learning to ride a dirt bike.
Other benefits for beginner riders include no stalling, less arm pump or upper body fatigue, and easy shifting. This will enable the rider to focus on balancing and learning the basic techniques without being slowed down by learning to use the clutch.
In addition to reducing physical fatigue, an auto clutch can also reduce mental fatigue since the riders no longer need to focus as much on clutch operation. When you have one less thing to think about, you can relax more, enjoy the riding, and have fun.
Hard Enduro Riders
A Rekluse clutch on a hard enduro dirt bike setup can help advanced riders to start tackle the more technical trail riding.
Steeper hill climbs and tighter single tracks with more obstacles often require more precise and timely clutch control as well as more stamina. An auto clutch can help you to start riding on more difficult trails and to learn the required techniques needed to complete more advanced trails.
A Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike can offer these benefits for gnarly single tracks:
- Traction is better in slippery conditions when a manual clutch is difficult to master.
- Navigation is easier on technical terrain because the rider can focus on the trail instead of clutch control.
- Operation is easy and the rider can focus on their line without stalling the dirt bike.
- Navigation is easier on steep and technical hills when the rider doesn’t need to worry about slipping the clutch to keep the RPMs up and the bike running.
- Navigation is easier in sketchy situations where it would be hard to get the bike started again should you kill the engine.
Usually, hard enduro and enduro riders rarely benefit from an auto clutch. In fact, they prefer the precise manual clutch control for better power delivery management and precise clutch control to maximize traction and technique.
As for hard enduro racers, a Rekluse clutch doesn’t really offer much for them. You may have seen many pro riders with a Rekluse clutch, but in real life, they only use the clutch cover for an added oil capacity, improved clutch component cooling properties, and sponsorship opportunities.
Riders With Disabilities
Disabilities and injuries can slow you down or prevent you from riding dirt bikes. Luckily, a Rekluse clutch can help riders with disabilities or injuries keep riding dirt bikes.
Some riders have a disability that makes it hard or impossible to work a manual clutch. In this case, it’s really helpful to have a dirt bike that doesn’t stall and that doesn’t require you to operate the clutch to get the bike moving.
Additionally, you can also look for electric dirt bikes as they don’t have a clutch or gears. These lightweight dirt bikes are easy to operate and can be a great option for disabled riders. A great example is the Sur-Ron X.
With a Rekluse clutch installed, you can even replace the clutch lever function with other controls such as the rear brake. This flexibility along with not having to use the clutch lever at all make a difference for disabled and injured riders.
Looking for Dirt Bikes Without a Clutch?
Using or learning to use the clutch on a dirt bike or any motorcycle may be difficult for some riders.
However, if you want to ride dirt bikes and cannot or don’t want to use the clutch, you should first look into automatic clutch dirt bikes or one with a Rekluse clutch installed. This is because currently you have no great alternative options to choose from other than the electric dirt bikes, when it comes to no clutch dirt bikes.
Currently some of the most popular automatic clutch dirt bikes include Sur-Ron X, KTM Freeride, or similar electric dirt bikes and they are a great option for some riders. For more available dirt bike models, check out our electric dirt bikes or full list of best beginner dirt bikes.
Rekluse Clutch Kits and Options for Dirt Bikes
Rekluse is currently the only manufacturer that produces auto clutches for dirt bikes. They offer three auto clutch models: RadiusCX, RadiusX, and CoreEXP 3.0.
Rekluse clutch kits are machine-specific. So you need to make sure that the auto clutch for your dirt bike fits the specific year, make, and model. The Rekluse clutch system is available for both cable actuated and hydraulic clutch models.
The auto clutch versions of the Rekluse clutches for dirt bikes prevent engine stalls so that you can focus on your line and not the clutch. Riding becomes enhanced, more fun and less demanding and riders can conquer more terrain.
To help you understand which Rekluse clutch works best for you, here is an introduction to all three Rekluse clutch models and their key features. Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong.
KTM/Husqvarna 450 Models 2016–2022
Radius CX for KTM/Husqvarna 250/350 2017–2022
Radius CX for Yamaha YZ250/250x 1999–2022
The RadiusCX clutch is ranked Rekluse’s best auto clutch for dirt bikes. RadiusCX comes with everything you can wish for including the latest technology: TorqDrive friction disks, EXP auto clutch disk and Core technology. It has by far the best performance on the market. So, if you want the best of the best for your dirt bike, RadiusCX is your choice.
- EXP, Core and TorqDrive technologies
- Perfect power delivery at all times
- Increased power transfer compared to OEM
- Fully tunable to suit rider and/or terrain
- The best lever feel of all three options
- Improved oil flow and stability
- Longer clutch life
RadiusX can be considered as a stripped version of the RadiusCX clutch. The RadiusX clutch comes with the EXP auto clutch disk and TorqDrive friction disks. That means that it doesn’t include the Core technology and the RadiusX clutch will fit in place of your OEM clutch instead. RadiusX is an ideal option for dirt bike riders who want high-quality auto clutch components with a lesser price tag.
- EXP and TorqDrive technologies
- Increased power transfer compared to OEM
- Externally adjustable
- Longer clutch life
- Standard clutch lever function (full override)
The CoreEXP 3.0 clutch is the most popular auto clutch for dirt bikes made by Rekluse. It comes with the EXP auto clutch disk along with the Core technology and it is designed to utilize OEM frictions. The newly re-designed CoreEXP 3.0 runs cooler than the older versions and provides incredibly efficient clutching. CoreEXP 3.0 is perfect for dirt bike riders who need performance but don’t need all the features of the more expensive Rekluse models.
- EXP and Core technologies
- Optional clutch lever use (unchanged lever feel and function)
- Improved traction
- Cooler operating temperatures
- Longer clutch life
- Superior durability
- Fully tunable to suit rider and/or terrain
- Manual shifting still required
- No modification of stock parts needed in most cases
You can replace the OEM clutch cover with a Rekluse clutch cover. If it is not included in the kit, you can order it below.
Is a Rekluse Clutch on a Dirt Bike Worth it?
A Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike will work well for some riders while others simply seem to hate it. We would recommend a Rekluse clutch to riders who struggle with using a normal manual clutch.
If you experience frequent stalls or difficulties with shifting or are in general having a hard time mastering the clutch, a Rekluse clutch may be worth it.
Let us address one common misconception: a Rekluse auto clutch will NOT make you a better dirt bike rider. However it may help you to get started and learn the sport.
We recommend considering a Rekluse clutch for your dirt bike as a temporary tool in your learning process and ditching it as soon as you get more comfortable on the dirt bike.
A Rekluse clutch on a dirt bike is a great invention and it definitely has its place in the dirt bike world.
It helps beginner riders prevent stalling and learn the basics of dirt bike riding. Or if you have injuries and you need your dirt bike to always stay running and cannot operate the manual clutch, in that case the Rekluse auto clutch is for you.
Before buying one, try someone else’s dirt bike with a Rekluse clutch to feel the difference in the clutch feel. This way, you know what to expect from your own bike.
Just keep in mind, a Rekluse clutch will not make you a better rider. On the contrary, it may prevent you from learning how to modulate the clutch and teach you some incorrect riding techniques.
Keep working on the clutch—or not—and see you on the trails!
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Last updated: November 30, 2022