As the Italian Exotic super Bike Manufacturer who involves itself in extensive racing believes in using Dry Clutch is what makes their bikes unique. Let’s take a peek into the Dry Clutch Technology.
Just as someone can identify a distinctive V-Twin of a Harley that passes by, it’s even more unique to hear a Ducati pull over. Although people might think that the rattling sound that screams for attention needs serious attention for a tune-up. The assumption ends there, the bike is perfectly fine and what the sound the bike produces apart from the sweet exhaust note the clutch rattle is a signature tune of a Ducati that only a Ducati enthusiast will understand.
Basics: What is a Clutch?
A Clutch is an arrangement of plates that are stacked in alternate fashion, one geared on the inside to the engine and the next geared on the outside to the transmission input shaft. In simple terms the friction plates and steel plates are depressed under the spring load that transmits the power from the engine to gearbox which subsequently transmits the same to the wheels.
As a Common practice to all the manufacturers and seen almost in all motorcycles the conventional method of the clutch mechanism is the clutch plates and pressure plates bathed in oil and completely sealed that requires a very little or no maintenance at all if driven under ideal conditions. This is the universally followed method by almost all manufacturers even with Ducati with some of their models like 848 and Mosnter 1100 Evo.
Dry Clutches on the other hand are totally free from oil and need not require sealing. The dry clutches are exposed which makes the naked eye to see the spinning clutch plates which is not possible with the wet types. The initial dry clutches were designed for racing purposes which enabled the teams to do a quick swap of the clutch without having to drain the oil. This eventually helped them to save a lot of time and get back on to the track. Although some feel that incorporating this technology on street bikes is just a marketing gimmick, the pleasure to watch the clutch spinning at the twist of the throttle is a pleasure too.
Pros and Cons of a Dry Clutch
As the heading says, this will not be a put off for a guy raring to own a Ducati, beware even some of the world class manufacturers such as BMW use this technology too.
- Easy access for repairs. Draining of oil not required. Especially useful for racing teams.
- As the name says the Dry clutch does not share oil with the rest of the engine and thus disintegrating the clutch for a service or replacement will not harm the engine’s internals
- Heat generated by the clutch plates on continuous usage does not heat up the engine oil especially important to note for bikes that uses oil to cool the system.
- Oil bathed clutch creates a small amount of drag which will affect the engine power. Although not to a great extent but does get some brownie points for this.
- Noisy to some people and music to enthusiasts, a matter of personal preference here.
- With the clutch parts being exposed high chances of the springs getting rusted in the coastal regions. Peace of mind assured by replacing them with stainless steel ones.
Having said all the Pros and Cons about the Dry clutch, ever wondered why does a Dry clutch sound like rattling of stones put inside a steel bucket? It’s simple; the sound heard is the clutch plate bouncing off one another when the clutch is disengaged.
This is the distinctive sound heard when a Ducati pulls over making the rider to pull the clutch lever, freeing up the plates to knock into each other. So, hearing this as a noisy rattle or a sweet clatter is your preference next time you encounter a Dry Clutch Ducati.