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Thread: Slipper Clutch and Friction Zone

  1. #1

    Question Slipper Clutch and Friction Zone

    I have a 2016 R1200GS LC. I have experienced several occasions where getting what should be a normal friction zone slippage and actuation of the slipper clutch seem to be have problems. It does have shift assist and it does have a slipper clutch. This is not my first bike with a hydraulic clutch.

    The best example I can give is making a climbing hairpin right turn where you have to be in first gear and going very slow. You feel the bike go into slipper clutch slipping and then just lurch into fully engaged clutch action. This thing shows it evil head at the worst times too.

    Anyone else experience this? Any recommendations?
    Old But Not Dead
    Semper Fi

  2. #2
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    A slipper clutch keeps the rear wheel from losing traction under heavy engine braking. It does nothing during acceleration or at low speeds. Quite a few Wethead riders have reported inconsistent clutch engagement, but it's not due to the slipper clutch.
    Best suggestion would be to practice your low speed turns,using a counterweighting body position, possibly maintaining light rear brake pressure, and leave the clutch fully engaged.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  3. #3
    Addicted to curves azgman's Avatar
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    Does the clutch slip in other situations? For example, start to go up a steep hill and then accelerate hard.
    MOA #107139
    RA #28511

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    A slipper clutch keeps the rear wheel from losing traction under heavy engine braking. It does nothing during acceleration or at low speeds. Quite a few Wethead riders have reported inconsistent clutch engagement, but it's not due to the slipper clutch.
    Best suggestion would be to practice your low speed turns,using a counterweighting body position, possibly maintaining light rear brake pressure, and leave the clutch fully engaged.
    I totally agree that it "should be" decel only. How the boys from the Black Forest implemented the clutch can make that a totally differnt situation. There is almost no words to describe the event. You start to slip it like you were in a normal friction zone, but it starts making a chattering like sound and becomes herky jerky like it trying to engage then it jumps into fully engaged and is ready to launch the front wheel because it has too much power from throttle used to make it slip in the friction zone. It is NOT an instantaneous event. This chattering lasts for a couple of seconds before it tries to dump you into full engagement. So far I've had one person telll me of an MCN article describing this when the LC's first came out. I have not seen it and can't find it ---yet.
    I have been riding since 1966 or so. Only one had a dry clutch. In the last 12 or so years 5 have had hydraulic clutches. This is my first slipper clutch and it works just fine, or I think it does on decel. I have never had this chatter thing ever before. With that said it still could be a technique thing using the friction zone properly. Who knows, just trying to find out if I'm the Lone Ranger having this problem. Actually this only occurs in very slow situations with a higher than normal load like the climbing turn. There was one other event that I can remember where it happened. Should have been a normal pull out from a stop. I started out in third or forth gear (you can call me stupid, I did) and the same thing happened until I got it back into first.
    Old But Not Dead
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    You start to slip it like you were in a normal friction zone, but it starts making a chattering like sound and becomes herky jerky like it trying to engage then it jumps into fully engaged and is ready to launch the front wheel because it has too much power from throttle used to make it slip in the friction zone.
    I know the friction zone moves a bit as the bike warms up, fairly quickly, but beyond the reality the zone is quite narrow, I've not noticed anything like you describe. Either you need finer control over that narrow range, or something's amiss w/ your clutch mechanically.

  6. #6
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Maybe the wrong type of oil, or too much of it...?

  7. #7
    I found the following in an MCN article directed at the wethead clutch:
    "they also have an unfortunate centrifugally energized
    pressure plate design that creates control difficulties during hard
    launches. Attempt a quick start on the new water-head, and its
    clutch will bounce in and out of engagement, making the bike
    hop instead of drive forward
    ."
    In another review of an RT there was this:
    "My only complaint is that, when using the clutch, I found its very narrow friction zone at the end of the lever’s throw difficult to manipulate. Slow speed maneuvering was met with a herky-jerkiness I hadn’t mastered by the end of our ride."
    http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/ ... -ride.html

    The highlighted sections above seem to be describing exactly what I was experiencing.

    When I checked my res level, a bunch of fluid came out indicating it was over filled. There was a thread on AdvRider that point to the tune of several pages. So I think we are getting at the heart of the matter. Whether the slipper function has anything to do with the issue is mute, it is becoming clear that the clutch unit on a GS probably has a mechanical problem in its design.
    Old But Not Dead
    Semper Fi

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    I found the following in an MCN article directed at the wethead clutch:
    "they also have an unfortunate centrifugally energized
    pressure plate design that creates control difficulties during hard
    launches. Attempt a quick start on the new water-head, and its
    clutch will bounce in and out of engagement, making the bike
    hop instead of drive forward
    ."
    In another review of an RT there was this:
    "My only complaint is that, when using the clutch, I found its very narrow friction zone at the end of the leverís throw difficult to manipulate. Slow speed maneuvering was met with a herky-jerkiness I hadnít mastered by the end of our ride."
    http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/ ... -ride.html

    The highlighted sections above seem to be describing exactly what I was experiencing.

    When I checked my res level, a bunch of fluid came out indicating it was over filled. There was a thread on AdvRider that point to the tune of several pages. So I think we are getting at the heart of the matter. Whether the slipper function has anything to do with the issue is mute, it is becoming clear that the clutch unit on a GS probably has a mechanical problem in its design.
    Ain't technology wonderful. There is no excuse for this behavior. We've had workable clutches for 100 years without this mickey mouse. It is shameful.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  9. #9
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    I'm still trying to remember to not use the clutch. Someday, I swear, I'll actually do it. As is, clutch-shift-clutch, every time. Can't stop doing it.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

  10. #10
    FUKENGRUVEN SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Ain't technology wonderful. There is no excuse for this behavior. We've had workable clutches for 100 years without this mickey mouse. It is shameful.
    Worry not. Within a year or two there will be an optional bit of technology available, at a heart stopping cost, that will overcome the faults of the clutch.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  11. #11
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Worry not. Within a year or two there will be an optional bit of technology available, at a heart stopping cost, that will overcome the faults of the clutch.
    Delivered via software update.........
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

  12. #12
    I haven't experienced any of the above symptoms. The small friction zone is hard to get right in slow maneuvers plus the ride by wire throttle is hard to "finesse". But other than these issues my clutch has been rock solid.
    Buck in Greensboro, NC
    2013 R 1200 RT Midnight Blue - traded, 2014 R 1200 RT Ebony Metallic, 2016 S 1000 XR

  13. #13
    I have recently ridden VA 80 just south of US19, sections of TN 66 and 70 north of Rogersville, TN 31 and 63 between Middlesboro and US11. ALL had major climbing right hand switch backs. NO problems. Having the clutch in position one, closer to the grip and filling the fluid to the proper (it WAS definitely over filed) level "may" have contributed to this but can't say anything for sure except "absolutely no issue" with hopping. Contributing factors were: I was more aware of the situation and prepared for these turns, I got into first gear early and moved far left across the center line (no traffic, these are not heavy traffic roads), I did not worry about hitting the inside apex where it was most steep and if I went left of center I was prepared to head for the ditch on the left if a car popped up (most of these turns that was not a high probability event.)
    I was very observant of how the friction zone was engaging and played with it quite a bit. It did seem way more predictable. This may not seem to directly related but I have gone to church. LOL No their empty parking lot and practiced both left and right U turns feathering both the clutch and rear brake. This seems to be giving more confidence in slow tight stuff. For me, the problem seems solved, however I am making sure it is being noted by my service manager.
    Old But Not Dead
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdfbeemer View Post
    I haven't experienced any of the above symptoms. The small friction zone is hard to get right in slow maneuvers plus the ride by wire throttle is hard to "finesse". But other than these issues my clutch has been rock solid.
    ******
    Yes, it took me quite a while to master my 2016RT's clutch. Limited friction zone and w/the fly by wire throttle it took many attempts to get smooth starts from 1st gear.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by bdfbeemer View Post
    I haven't experienced any of the above symptoms. The small friction zone is hard to get right in slow maneuvers plus the ride by wire throttle is hard to "finesse". But other than these issues my clutch has been rock solid.
    I have no troubles w/ the clutch from brand new '16 to now 27K miles--it's wonderful. I love the easy clutch level pull force required. You just need to respect its narrow zone especially when the bike is cold.

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