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Tata Capital > Blog > Loan for Vehicle > What is a Slipper Clutch: Definition, Significance, Kinds, and Operation

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What is a Slipper Clutch: Definition, Significance, Kinds, and Operation

What is a Slipper Clutch: Definition, Significance, Kinds, and Operation

A slipper clutch, also known as a back-torque limiter, is a special type of clutch that reduces the effect of engine braking during rapid downshifts. It allows the clutch plates to slip against each other, creating a controlled slippage that prevents the rear wheel from locking up. The slipper clutch is designed to engage and disengage the clutch smoothly, preventing damage to the transmission and other parts of the bike.

How Does a Slipper Clutch Work?

Here, we will find what is the use of slipper clutches. To understand how a slipper clutch works, it is important to first understand engine braking. Engine braking occurs when a rider applies an abrupt brake or downshifts forcefully. During this process, the engine speed decreases rapidly while the rear wheel tries to slow down.

It is important to know about slipper clutch vs normal clutch functionalities to have an in-depth understanding. In traditional clutches, this difference in speed between the engine and rear wheel can cause the rear wheel to skid or lock up. However, a slipper clutch works differently. As the rear wheel slows down, the pressure on the clutch plates decreases, allowing them to slip against each other. This controlled slippage reduces the torque transmitted to the rear wheel, preventing it from locking up.

Parts of a Slipper Clutch

A slipper clutch consists of several parts that work together to provide its functionality.

These parts include:

1. Clutch Hub: The clutch hub is connected to the crankshaft and rotates with it.

2. Pressure Plate: The pressure plate is connected to the clutch cable and can be pulled towards the hub to engage the clutch.

3. Clutch Plates: The clutch plates are sandwiched between the hub and pressure plate and transmit power from the engine to the rear wheel.

4. Springs: The springs hold the plates together and provide the necessary pressure for engaging and disengaging the clutch.

Types of Slipper Clutches

There are three types of slipper clutches: mechanical, hydraulic, and electromagnetic:

1. Mechanical Slipper Clutch:

This type of slipper clutch uses a system of ramps and balls to achieve slip. When the engine braking torque is high, the balls are pushed up the ramps, forcing the clutch plates to slip against each other. Mechanical slipper clutches are simple and reliable but require periodic maintenance to ensure clean and lubricated ramps and balls.

2. Hydraulic Slipper Clutch:

The hydraulic slipper clutch utilizes a hydraulic piston to control the pressure on the clutch plates. When the engine braking torque is high, the piston moves forward, reducing the pressure on the plates and allowing them to slip against each other. Hydraulic slipper clutches are more complex than mechanical ones but offer more consistent performance with less maintenance.

3. Electromagnetic Slipper Clutch:

The electromagnetic slipper clutch uses an electromagnetic coil to control the pressure on the clutch plates. When the coil is energized, it creates a magnetic field that attracts the clutch plates, reducing their pressure and allowing them to slip. Electromagnetic slipper clutches are advanced but also complex and expensive.

Advantages of Slipper Clutches

Slipper clutches offer several advantages over traditional clutches in high-performance motorcycles, Here are some slipper clutch benefits:

1. Improved Control: Slipper clutches prevent the rear wheel from locking up during rapid downshifts, enabling riders to maintain better control over their bikes.

2. Smoother Ride: Slipper clutches engage and disengage smoothly, resulting in smoother gear shifts and overall riding experience.

3. Reduced Wear and Tear: The controlled slippage of clutch plates reduces stress on the transmission and other bike parts, leading to less wear and tear over time.

4. Faster Lap Times: In racing scenarios, slipper clutches allow riders to brake later during corners, carry more speed through turns, and potentially achieve faster lap times.

Disadvantages of Slipper Clutch

While slipper clutches offer numerous benefits, they also have some drawbacks:

1. Increased Cost: Slipper clutches are more complex and require additional parts compared to traditional clutches, making them more expensive to manufacture and purchase.

2. Additional Weight: The added complexity and parts of slipper clutches may result in increased weight, which can impact the overall performance and handling of the bike.

3. Reduced Engine Braking: Slipper clutches minimize the effect of engine braking during rapid downshifts, which may not be preferred by riders who enjoy the traditional clutch and engine braking setup.

4. Maintenance Requirements: Slipper clutches require regular maintenance, including cleaning, lubrication, and inspection, to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Failure to maintain a slipper clutch can lead to reduced performance and potential failure.

Installation and Maintenance of Slipper Clutches

Installing a slipper clutch requires mechanical knowledge and experience. It involves disassembling the clutch assembly, installing the slipper clutch, and reassembling the parts according to manufacturer instructions.

Maintenance of a slipper clutch is essential for optimal performance and longevity. Regular cleaning, lubrication, and inspection of the clutch assembly are necessary. Any signs of wear or damage should be addressed promptly, with replacement if necessary.

Top slipper clutch bikes in India with Slipper Clutch

There are several slipper clutch bikes in India. Some popular models include:

1. KTM Duke 390

2. KTM 390 Adventure

3. KTM Duke 250

4. TVS Apache RR 310

5. Yamaha R15 V3.0

6. Bajaj Dominar 400

7. KTM RC 390

8. TVS Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0

These bikes provide enhanced control, smoother gear shifts, and improved performance through the use of slipper clutches.


In conclusion, we now know what is a slipper clutch and the role it plays in high-performance motorcycles by allowing controlled slippage of clutch plates during rapid downshifts. They enhance rider control, provide smoother gear shifts, reduce wear and tear on bike parts, and potentially lead to faster lap times in racing scenarios. Slipper clutches come in different types, including mechanical, hydraulic, and electromagnetic. It is important to understand the maintenance requirements of slipper clutches to ensure their optimal performance. Several bikes in India come equipped with slipper clutches, providing users with an enhanced riding experience.

If you're considering purchasing a bike with a slipper clutch or need financial assistance for your vehicle purchase, Tata Capital offers a range of vehicle loans to suit your needs. Whether it is a used car loan or a two-wheeler loan, Tata Capital offers every solution to your financial needs. Explore more about vehicle loans today on Tata Capital.

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