Tag Archive: clutch

Finding your friction zone

The friction zone is the area of the clutch between fully open and fully closed. Getting a feel for the friction zone is the best way for beginners to learn to ride and it’s absolutely necessary to have a feel for the friction zone when riding a motorcycle slowly (in a parking lot or slow moving traffic for instance). To get a feel for the friction zone all you need to do is start the bike, apply the rear brake, increase the rpm’s a little and slowly let out the clutch lever. The friction zone is that area where you start to feel the bike pull forward.

There are times when feathering the clutch in and out of the friction zone will enable you to keep the bike upright and navigate in tight turning areas. It’ll also keep you from a lot of shifting in slow moving traffic. You can practice this easily in an empty parking lot. Try making a u-turn while using only the throttle. It’s possible but as the radius of the turn decreases it becomes increasingly more difficult to make the turn without involving the clutch, the friction zone and/or rear brake (never the front brake at very slow speed). The tighter the turn the more it will become necessary to alternate in and out of the friction zone to adjust the bikes speed and to keep it upright. Over application of the brakes at slower speeds can cause the bike to topple over; but getting a feel for the friction zone allows you to use other methods, counterbalancing for example, to successfully complete a slow, tight, turn without necessarily using the brakes.

Getting familiar with the friction zone is an important part of being a competent rider.