Is It Bad To Hold In The Clutch On A Motorcycle

Should you hold in the clutch of your motorcycle? That is the question that we often ask ourselves. The simple answer is no. Although it seems like holding a clutch is the same as fully pulling the clutch lever, there’s a difference. This means that you’ll have to ensure that your clutch hand is free while you’re riding.

Clutch is an important part of vehicles and bikes nowadays. So you should know what would happen if you hold onto the clutch.

To explain how bad, it is to hold in the clutch during a motorcycle ride, let’s go through the guide.

What Does A Clutch In Motorcycle Do?

The piston inverter combustion engines, unlike the steam or electric engines, can’t produce torque from 0 rpm. So, when starting a piston engine, the clutch separates the motorcycle engine from the bike. So the engine can spin freely and gain torque.

Breaking the connection from the engine is quite useful when you’re at a traffic light. That’s when you’ll be pressing the clutch to get your bike to idle. But as these clutches are expensive, most people would tell you that you should shift to neutral when you’re stopping.

These clutches have a simple mechanism that has not changed for a century or so. The clutch on your motorcycle operates like that of a truck or car. But here, you have a lever instead of a pedal to use the clutch.

Without the clutch, you’ll have problems performing a smooth gear shift. That is because the clutch temporarily pauses the power transmission from the engine. Hence it disconnects the motorcycle engine from the gearbox, and you can easily shift it. It won’t generate any noise when you’re shifting. And it’ll save you from jerks and damage while shifting. And once you’ve shifted the gear, you can resume the power transmission by releasing the clutch.

Or when you’re trying to slow your bike, the clutch breaks the connection between the engine and the wheels. So you can gradually slow down your bike.

How The Clutch Works:

A clutch gets engaged upon pulling the lever. In this, the clutch pushes the motorcycle’s pressure plate using a rod. This pressure plate enables or removes the force from the clutch and its components.

Once you push the motorcycle’s pressure plate by the clutch, it will push until its offset from the friction disk and clutch plates. Due to this equipoise, the friction plate will now slip against the clutch plate.

As the motorcycle’s pressure plate of your motorcycle is fully involved, these two will start to spin together. The decrease in pressure allows to spin the transmission input shaft independently by the engine.

Once you ‘engage the clutch’, you disconnect the motorcycle engine from the transmission. But as you disengage the clutch, all this happens but in reverse mode. The rod will retract, which allows the motorcycle’s pressure plate in it to move to its novel place.

With this, the force on the friction and clutch plates increases. With the increase, both these plates will get coupled from those friction plate’s friction. This way, the engine recommends back with the transmission.

Is It Good to Hold A Clutch During A Motorcycle Ride?

When engaging the clutch, it un-couples from those friction plates. This disconnects the engine and transmission. While engaging, like any other object, the clutches experience wear and heat. But this friction isn’t consistent. It only lasts as long as the frictions plates and the clutch start to engage. They come to contact but are spinning separately.

Once you fully engage the clutch, the friction plates and the clutch don’t slip anymore. They don’t experience any wear and tear then as they become one. That being said, the clutch only faces wear and tear when it’s engaging or disengaging. Like the friction plate, this wear and tear stage is known as the friction zone.

As it is, when you fully engage or disengage the clutch, it doesn’t damage the clutch as much. This means that it’s not bad to hold in the clutch of a motorcycle. It will only get wear and tear if you hold it halfway in the friction zone. So whenever you’re making a stop or starting the motorcycle, you should know what the friction zone is. With that, it’s better if you know you’re not holding in the friction zone.

If you fully engage the clutch, the risk of the clutch getting damaged becomes less.

When To Hold The Clutch?

Now that you know that you’re free to use your clutch whenever you want. And that it’s not bad to hold it on a motorcycle when to fully engage the clutch? If you want to fully utilize the clutch of your motorbike, then you should know it.

For this, we contacted a number of experts, and they mentioned some scenarios where you can engage the clutch. These scenarios are:

1.   When You’re Breaking:

While riding on the road, you should be mindful of the clutch, always check your surroundings to know whether you need to press the clutch or not. Whenever you apply brakes on the motorcycle, you will feel the gyroscopic effect. And if you apply the brakes with the clutch, it will greatly reduce the gyroscopic effect. This will expose your bike to less stability.

Whenever you’re braking with rear wheels, you shouldn’t hold the clutch. Instead of that, you slow the bike using only the rear wheel. This will allow the engine to run smoothly. Slowing down the bike will allow you to smoothly shift the gear without any jerk. It is not bad to hold in the clutch while braking. But you can skip it for extra stability.

2.   When You Have Stopped:

When you are caught at a traffic light, you might find yourself holding onto the clutch. And with that, you shift to the first gear. That being said, the traffic lights play an important role in the clutch’s usage.  You will often find yourself at the traffic light.

Pressing the clutch provides you with extra control over the bike. If you feel as if some danger is coming from behind, you can simply release the clutch, and the bike will move on.

Here the experts suggest that you either completely press the clutch lever. Or ensure that you aren’t using it recklessly. Although the clutch in a bike is designed resistant to a lot of this, it’s better if you take care. It’s okay if you fully engage the clutch while making pauses, your clutch won’t wear off that sooner.

3.   When You’re Riding Downhill:

Holding the clutch while your motorcycle is rolling down isn’t harmful at all. As you’re holding it, coasting downhill becomes a piece of cake. Your motorcycle will move as long as you run its engine. Although you can set it to natural or coast mod with a clutch.

Always be cautious when you’re riding downhill. Make sure you’re not going fast enough to cause any problems. Or that your brakes are working fine.

As you use the clutches when going downhill, it’ll damage the clutch because of wear and tear. This can end up damaging the clutch. You can use the brakes here. Although it’ll cause almost the same wear and tear. But the brakes are cheap and easier to remove or replace.

How To Know If Your Clutch Has Gone Bad?

As the question asks, is there a sign that you need to look for when your clutch goes bad? Yes, there are some signs that you can look for to know if your clutch has gone bad or not.

  • The first one is the revving sound that your bike produces. If this sound is louder than usual, then the clutch’s quality has worsened.
  • The next sign is that your clutch lever will stick more often. This means that the cable and/or the clutch itself is facing some problems.
  • Last but not the least; you’ll feel a visible difference when you shift. This means that the clutches have worn out.


Is Downshifting To Slow Down The Motorcycle A Good Option?

Downshifting is important when you’re slowing the motorcycle. When you’re downshifting, it means that the motorcycle is prepared for any acceleration. But that’s not all, if you don’t downshift, the current gear on your bike will become too high for the slow speed.

Should You Shift To Neutral At Red Lights?

When stopping at headlights, experts recommend that you set the bike to neutral. But, be prepared to shift to the first gear when the lights turn green.

The neutral gear allows you to disengage the clutches. This way, their longevity will increase too.

Should You Park Your Motorcycle In Gear?

Whenever you’re parking your bike, it should be in 1st gear. Even if the bike is standing on leveled ground. This will ensure that your bike won’t move while you’re not available to look after it.

You will find many experts claiming that leaving the motorcycle in neutral is the best option. But your bike should only be in neutral when you start it.

What Would Happen If You Release The Clutch Too Fast?

We often get queries about certain products. Even if they are dangerous to experiment on. But don’t worry, we’re here for your answer. If you release the clutch too fast, it can end up causing a log or stall.


There are three different stages your clutch will be in while you’re riding your bike. The first one is the disengaged stage. In this, the clutch stays away from the engine, and the engine transmits power easily. Whereas while applying pressure on the friction plate, the clutch will face wear and tear.

With this, you know how it is bad to hold in the clutch on the motorcycle. Because if you hold the clutch while riding, it will rub the clutch with the friction plate. This will cause wear and tear on your clutch, you might have to replace it sooner. Replacing a clutch is rather expensive.