reviews & issues with the rekluse exp auto-clutch
The Rekluse EXP auto clutch has been around for a quite a while now and it's been getting refined by Rekluse. After hearing all the rave reviews we were keen to try it out on a WR450F. We'll start with the issues first.
good things about the rekluse exp
As reported widely, the Rekluse EXP can transform your riding in tight gnarly conditions especially. Not worrying about the clutch means you can focus more on everything else, and ride at slower than walking pace with ease. We can confirm this is definitely true; unless you are already a master at clutch slipping this will transform your dirt riding experience, especially the gnarlier the tracks get!
Traction on hill climbs improves dramatically; you can just leave the bike in second gear and go for it. If you stop, a big handful of throttle and off the bike goes again. Magic.
The bike won't stall and even if you drop it it will normally run until you pick it up.
If you like locking up the rear wheel to slide into corners then you will love the Rekluse. You can ignore the clutch then give it a big handful to power out again. Fun fun fun!
In the lower gears we couldn't speak highly enough of the EXP clutch. It really is quite amazing and no wonder some riders say it is cheating - it is amazing how much your riding will improve in gnarly conditions. However we believe some riders will experience issues, depending on their riding style and bike setup. Read on...
problems & issues with rekluse exp
Here is a list of things to keep in mind if thinking of buying a Rekluse EXP. These aren't necessarily problems, but just worth keeping in mind and adjusting your riding style to suit.
You can't clutch start the bike, unless you loosen off the clutch cable sufficiently to in effect stop the Rekluse from working so you can engage the clutch normally. This only take a minute or two if you have the right spanners with you.
On steep descents, the clutch will disengage if the rear wheel locks up momentarily, or the revs drop too low. A small blip of the throttle will re-engage the clutch; this becomes automatic eventually, but can be distracting on seriously gnarly hills till you get the hang of it.
If you stall on a steep hill, you don't have the clutch there to hold the bike still. This can be a big issue if you can't hold the rear brake on.
The Rekluse puts constant pressue on the clutch cable and some riders have reported the cable snapping even though they don't use the clutch manually much any more. It's worth keeping an eye on the cable in case you get stranded in a gnarly spot with no clutch at all (you should be doing this kind of inspection anyway!).
The Rekluse EXP replaces some of your clutch plates to fit into your existing clutch basket. Obviously this means your plates will wear faster; ours wore out very quickly with the clutch slipping issues mentioned. But you can buy the more expensive kit that has a custom sidecase to allow using all your clutch plates if wanted.
The only real issue we had with the Rekluse EXP was the clutch slipping in higher gears. We were particularly keen to test the Rekluse as part of creating a light weight enduro/adventure bike. The idea was to gear the bike enough to enable comfortable cruising, yet have the Rekluse provide easy riding on tight tracks with the higher first gear.
Yes, it worked great, but we had clutch slippage in higher gears when accelerating from around 3500 to 4000rpm. Rekluse advised that we needed to then buy the heavier wedges for $99 which would solve the issue due to the higher gearing. The heavier wedges did work, but we were disappointed they weren't included as part of the kit already.
The Rekluse website isn't worded well in this respect. It says the Rekluse EXP comes with optional wedges AND springs to make the auto-clutch full tunable. However, in reality it only comes with the optional springs, and you have to pay an extra $99 if you want the heavier wedges to stop the clutch slipping in higher gears (assuming you've geared your bike up).
The Rekluse website claims the EXP is "fully tunable to rider preference and terrain conditions" but this only applies if you fork out the extra $198 for the heavy and light wedges.
Having said that, if you are running typically low gearing for dirt riding, and you tend to use the midrange power more than the grunt in higher gears, we doubt you will experience clutch slippage in higher gears.
summing up the rekluse exp
If you are riding in tight gnarly conditions and like to keep your revs high, then you'll love this auto-clutch. We will certainly be fitting them to all our future bikes if Rekluse makes a model to suit! You really need to ride with a Rekluse to see what all the fuss is about. As mentioned, just factor in the need for the heavier wedges if you intend to gear your bike higher and/or tend to use the low down grunt instead of midrange on your beast when in higher gears.