Advantages of the 3D Manual Go Kart Clutch – 3D Motorsport Engineering
0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Check Out Continue Shopping

    In order to appreciate the 3DME manual clutch, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of alternatives. A centrifugal clutch has two advantages: they can be very cheap, and they are very easy to use. The rider simply uses throttle to get moving, since the clutch is controlled by the engine speed and not by a lever or pedal. This is where the advantages stop and the disadvantages begin. To name a few:

    • Centrifugal clutches can hinder standing start acceleration, even on karts and mini-bikes that make impressive horsepower, for two reasons. First, almost all non-racing clutch manufacturers design their clutch to engage just above idle to improve ride-ability at low speeds. The engine makes little torque at this low RPM which correlates to poor acceleration.

    • Second, engines equipped with centrifugal clutches are unable to use the energy stored in the flywheel to propel the vehicle off the line. Expensive racing clutches (Bully, SMC, Jammer, etc.) allow engagement speed to be adjusted to match the engine's peak torque RPM. Enabling higher revs improves acceleration, but it still does not immediately transfer all the rotating inertia of the flywheel into propelling the vehicle forward.

    • Centrifugal clutches are not good for slow speed riding. When your vehicle is moving too slowly, the clutch can burn up from heat that builds during slippage. This problem is especially true for race clutches set for high engagement speeds. If you set your centrifugal clutch for higher revving starts, then it will not be engaged at low throttle. Race clutches can only be driven below race pace for short periods of time.
    • Centrifugal Clutches do not allow for decompression braking. Decompression braking is used throughout motorsport to help set up for turns and to also keep the engine at elevated RPM in preparation for the transition back to the throttle.

    • Bikes and karts that are equipped with a centrifugal clutch cannot be bump-started (pushing the bike until it starts). Race engines that do not have a pull-start then need a remote starter. For motorized bicycle enthusiasts, a centrifugal clutch prevents the rider from pedaling to start the engine.


    The 3DME manual clutch offers significant advantages. While it does require the rider/driver to install a clutch lever and to learn proper clutch control technique, the power transfer is more efficient. Primary benefits are:

    • Improved acceleration. Maximum torque can be applied to the rear wheels when the engine is at its peak torque RPM. A manual clutch allows the rider to hold the engine at peak torque while accelerating via precise control of the clutch lever.

    • Additionally, a manual clutch allows the rider to convert the energy stored in the flywheel immediately into usable torque for a burst of acceleration off the line and out of turns.

    • Direct connection. When engaged, this clutch does not slip, up to its torque limit, regardless of throttle control. If you modulate throttle near engagement speed with a centrifugal clutch, it will slip and oscillate. With the 3DME clutch, your engine is always firmly connected to the drivetrain when you want it.
    • Slow speed riding and 'cow trailing' does not harm the clutch or cause it to overheat because the clutch is not slipping unless the rider wants it to slip.

    • Ability to bump start the engine. If your gearing is low enough and you can push fast enough, you can start the engine by popping the clutch. This advantage is huge for motorized bicycle enthusiasts because it allows pedal-starting instead of pull-starting.

    • Improved traction control. With proper clutch technique, rear wheel traction can be controlled in and out of turns. This ability is significant for racers.

    • Fun factor! If you love wheelies, burnouts, and donuts, and you want your mini-bike to feel like your dirt bike, then you will love using the 3DME manual clutch.