Lately, it seems like the motorcycle industry’s number one priority is luring new and younger riders to the two-wheeled lifestyle. One of the theories about why younger generations aren’t as drawn to motorcycles as the last few centers around the required skill of working a clutch. According to a report from RideApart, the Husqvarna Svartpilen and Vitpilen 401 street bikes will have beginner-friendly clutch kits available to help keep riders from stalling out.
The aftermarket Radius X Clutch Kit from Rekluse is already popular in the dirt bike and enduro worlds, and now the company is making a package compatible with Husqvarna’s two 401 road bikes. While it won’t turn your motorcycle into a full-fledged automatic and change gears for you, the design helps prevent the bike from stalling while stationary or at slow speeds.
There are performance benefits like better throttle response, power transfer, and durability, but the practical application of the anti-stall design should be a draw for inexperienced riders. The way the Radius X Clutch Kit works by using wedges in between discs, and when the motorcycle comes to a full stop and engine RPMs drop, the lack of centrifugal forces allow the wedges to gravitate towards the middle of the assembly. The discs contract and disengage the clutch, all without using the clutch lever. When the rider takes off, and engine speed rises, the wedges move outward, forcing the disc to expand, engaging the clutch again.
It’s a novel piece of engineering that’s been around for some time in the dirtbike world, but the jump to asphalt is an important one. The system doesn’t take over changing gears altogether, but it does take over responsibility for one of the more stressful points in a ride, especially for a novice — getting out of first gear, be it off-road on a hill or at a light in traffic. The next question is, will we see manufacturers adopt the technology and bring it to the mainstream? It’s a step in the right direction to help ease new riders into working a manual transmission on a motorcycle without going fully automatic.