KTM 390 Duke Rumored to Receive a Slipper Clutch

2015 KTM 390 Duke 1 photo
Photo: KTM
Rumors for the Indian market are telling that KTM is adding a slipper clutch to their 390 Duke machine. After ABS became a “common household” even for the smaller, cheaper bikes and is en route to becoming standard on all bikes over 125cc in India, this might be an even more welcome piece of news.
The slipper clutch is a type of clutch which was created as a racing-grade component and whose main goal was to limit the engine back-torque during strong engine braking caused by aggressive downshifting. While the wheel spin caused by excessive braking is taken care of by the anti-locking system, which compares the speed of both wheels and makes the necessary changes in the braking power, bikes have no easy way to counteract the effects of hard engine braking.

Slipper clutch basics

This is where the slipper clutch comes into the game. Because of the bike inertia, the vehicle will have the tendency to move at almost the same speed even though a lower gear in engaged. The bike momentum will be transferred (in this case by the chain) to the engine, but as the engine is already turning slower, it will oppose this force.

When the speed difference between the rear wheel and the engine becomes too big, the rear wheel will tend to hop or slide. As this poses a major risk of a crash because if the poor road contact, the slipper clutch “lets go” a bit, allowing the friction plates to move and make the engine brake smoother.

According to autocarindia, the 2015 model year KTM 390 Duke in the Indian dealerships is already equipped with the slipper clutch. Since the naked orange machine shares the engine with the RC390 small-displacement sport bike, we can expect it will be delivered with a slipper clutch, too.

That is in case this rumor turns out to be in fact a real fact. So far the KTM website does not mention anything on this clutch…
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