Wet clutch, dry clutch. What’s the difference?

By Motorcyclist Staff Video: Spenser Robert September 9, 2016

Wet Clutch vs. Dry Clutch - What’s the... by motorcyclistonline

If you’ve ever been stopped at a light and heard a sportbike clattering like it’s about to explode, then you’re familiar with the iconic sound of a dry clutch. Dry clutches used to be fairly common—Ducati famously used them for decades—but today the vast majority of motorcycles being made employ wet clutch packs. What’s the difference, why would a manufacturer or a rider choose one over the other, and why are dry clutches going out of style?

To kick things off lets talk about wet clutches. They’re referred to as wet because they’re bathed in engine oil. The oil’s primary purpose is to cool the clutch plates, and because of this cooling effect wet clutches can take a lot of abuse, like the kind you’d dish out in stop and go traffic. Wet clutches generally have a nice wide engagement threshold that makes them pretty easy to use. They also tend to last a long time, and they’re quieter than dry clutches. And did we mention that they can take a lot of abuse? That’s a good characteristic, especially if you’re just learning how to ride or don’t want to replace your clutch every 10,000 miles.

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