See this guy?
That’s Gary Hazel, World famous four-stroke tuner and
owner of Thumper racing in Marshal Texas.
the bike he’s sitting on? Just your ordinary lowered, custom
suspended, big-bore ( 470 ), KTM.
Gary made this one up special for a client with special
needs. It’s suspended just for this particular client, of
course, but in addition to that, Gary has lowered both ends
slightly to not only lessen the ride height, but that, in turn (s)
lowers the center of gravity slightly and makes for a very nimble
particular bike has another interesting feature that I found the
need to experience, and that’s one of those fancy new automatic
clutches from Revloc.
if you’re not familiar with this device, it’s a replacement
clutch assembly for your bike, that turns your manual clutch, into
an automatic clutch…one that allows you to still retain manual
control if ya want, but believe me, you’ll like the automatic
naturally, when Gary offered a ride on it I just had to see what
it was like. Now of course this was a customer’s bike, and so I
only took the liberty of riding for a little while, but here’s
what I found…
works like this. First of course, you hop on your scoot, then you
fiddle with the shift lever to see if it’s in neutral…but ya
know what, it doesn’t really matter anyway, so just hit the
starter button…no need to worry about that pesky clutch lever
either, why? Because in gear, or not, clutch pulled or not, the
Revloc equipped bike fires up and sits there at idle.
Ready to go? Fine,
just select first gear, and give it the gas…off you go, Smooth
and controlled. Now I have to admit, and I told Gary this as well,
it actually felt a little weird. Why? Because, I normally ride one
of Gary’s other creations, a YZ 450, and the clutch is an
important part of riding, not because it’s down on power, lord
no, but like any normal bike, starting after a stall can be a
nightmare, and a stall is all the more likely if you’re not
concentrating on the clutch as you come brake-sliding into a hot
corner, or find yourself a gear or two too high for any particulat
coming into a corner with the back brake locked and not touching
the clutch lever at all feels…well…weird.
The good news is that in a situation like this, all ya
gotta do is hit the gas when your ready, and you’re smokin’
outta the corner faster than you ever coulda with a regular
an example, when I first got on the Thumper Racing, Revloc
equipped bike, I tried all the things you may have a question
about. Like starts.
without using the clutch lever at all you just hit the gas. The
clutch locks up and without any ( or much ) wheel-spin, you’re
accelerating away. I tried it several times, some using the clutch
and some in auto mode. I’d have to actually try it in a race to
be sure, but it seems like both ways were pretty fast. With the
clutch you get lots of noise, and wheel-spin, while in auto mode (
Revloc controlled ) the bike seems to motor away quickly, but
without the noise and roost, it just doesn’t feel the same.
I’d say fifty / fifty on starts. It could go either way
depending on the terrain and your expertise.
about wheelies? Again, you could use the clutch if ya wanted, but
the bike would do it if ya just hit the gas while in the meat of
the powerband, though in slow tight trails, like trying to clear a
log with no notice, I had to pull on the bars pretty good to get
it up…the front end that is. That one might take a little
practice. Here, I’d say that manul use of the clutch is
preferred. And I’m talking walkin’ speed low rpm “suddenly
there was this log” kinda situation. Using only auto mode ( not
using the clutch lever ), you need a little more notice, and a
little more rpm to make it the same as a regular clutch.
slides? Not a problem at all. Hit the brakes like always, and when
you’re ready hit the gas. This, I think, is the Revloc’s
forte. In fact during the first few minutes of my ride, I cruised
down a straight road in about third gear, and suddenly just
stabbed the rear brake. It locked up the rear wheel as expected.
The engine dropped to idle. No stall.
I quickly hit the gas and pulled a little wheelie and was
off down the road. Boom! Here I’d say that the Revloc is the
only way to go. !00%. Going fast down twisty trails, I don’t
think a regular clutch can beat the Revloc at all.
after playing around on it for a few minutes, getting the feel of
it, we went over to ride a mile or two of the cross country track.
Now here’s where it really shined. The Revloc equipped Thumper
Racing KTM was an absolute pleasure to ride. It was almost like
cheatin’. No chance of a stall, but with all the benefits of
compression braking and powerful torque. Oh yes, I forgot
to mention, the Revloc clutch stays locked-up until you drop to
idle, so you can still use the compression braking on your big
thumper going down a hill or into a corner.
Any weirdness other that what I mentioned?
Yeah, just one thing. When the Revloc disengages your clutch for
you, and you also think it's time to grab the clutch lever, it
feels like you have no lever. Aparently, when it disengages, it's
just as if you pulled in the clutch with the lever, so if you do
pull in the lever, there's nothing there. At first I thought the
clutch master cylinder was going out, but when I mentioned it to
Gary, he explained that the Revloc and I both thought it was time
to pull in the clutch...and the Revloc got there first.
The cost ...a grand, and your old clutch,
according to the Revloc website.
Is it worth it? They say it lasts twice
as long as a regular clutch, 'cause there's less slippage, and
that much is evident. But a grand? Well put it this way, if you
own a Yamaha 450 like me, and are on the last lap, a hundred yards
from the finish, with two of your competitors right behind you,
how much is it worth knowing that you can blast that corner as
hard and fast as you want with no chance of a stall?
a quick ride, I let one of the Patman Racing T1 members ride it,
and as we switched bikes, a couple of things were clear. One was I
didn’t have to worry what gear I left it in, or even that I was
holding the clutch while we danced around switching bikes, and two
was this, Mike leaned over and said “You were getting’ around
pretty fast on that thing”.
For more info on the clutch visit http://www.revloc.com/default.htm