Clutch Control - Benefits - Deceleration

Deceleration

Typically with motorcycles and in motor sport, the clutch is often used to facilitate the use of resistance from the engine spinning at high speeds to decelerate the vehicle more quickly, often accompanied with normal braking. This can be achieved by placing the vehicle in a gear that would ordinarily be too low for the current speed and momentum of the vehicle and by partly engaging the clutch. When this happens momentum energy from the inertia of the vehicle is taken away to spin the engine as close as possible to its maximum capability. As the vehicle is decelerating the clutch can be further released to transfer more energy to keep the engine spinning as quickly as possible. This method causes excessive clutch wear however, and it could cause severe engine damage or wheel lockup if the clutch were released suddenly.

A better method is to downshift to a lower gear that would spin the engine within its RPM limit, and use the throttle to "Rev match" the engine to the road speed before releasing the clutch fully. Effective engine braking is still achieved with little or no excessive clutch wear.

Once the clutch is entirely released and the vehicle has decelerated some, this cycle proceeds downwards through the gears to further assist deceleration. If the clutch is controlled improperly while this is being attempted, damage or extra wear to the engine and gears is possible, as well as the risk of wheels locking up and a subsequent loss of proper vehicle control.

See also: Engine braking

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