Barnett Clutch Reviewed
Charlie Barnett started out with a small storefront in Huntington Park, California in 1948. Since then, Barnett has been producing clutches and control cables with applications for pretty much anything on two wheels. All of the products they manufacture are done in the US, with quality materials and designs. Multiple quality checks throughout the build process guarantee that you are receiving a top notch product. Still family owned and operated today, Barnett is dedicated to continue to produce top quality motorcycle components with the best possible product and customer support. Barnett Performance incorporates 70 years of experience into every single one of their products.
Before moving to their clutch kit products let us know specifically WHAT IS A CLUTCH? And its function on a motorcycle?
A clutch is a mechanical way of disconnecting the power created by the engine from the drive system. Traditionally mounted on the left handle bar by pulling in the lever you create that disconnect.
So how do you even know when your clutch needs changing? There are a couple ways to tell. Let us assume your chain and sprockets and your rear tire all in decent shape it just might be that your clutch is worn out. If you twist the throttle open and you hear the engine actually build up revs but it is not pulling forward like it should or the opposite bike actually creeps forward when the clutch should be disengaged then the clutch could either be just out of the adjustment or it could be totally shot.
Clutches are controlled in one of the three ways via cable actuation, hydraulic actuation or via an auto clutch.
The clutch plates are actually two different styles, one set is a metal plate either steel or aluminum and the others are known as the fiber plates. They are placed in a staggered fashion within the clutch and when engaged friction between them actually connects the engine to the rear wheel. It is as easy as that. The metal plates are pretty stout but become warped with the intense heat being created by the friction inside. On the friction plates themselves, the friction material wears out with time and using a similar example would be your brake pads.
Barnett clutch plates and springs have been made from the finest materials available. Through research and development, they are constantly striving to offer the best possible friction material for your motorcycle or ATV. Barnett tempered steel drive plates go through a vibratory deburring process and then are quality checked for flatness to provide optimum performance. Heavy duty Barnett clutch springs are pre-set, shot-peened, and heat treated for performance and durability.
Barnett Performance Clutch Kit is a high quality replacement clutch kit for your specific machine. This Clutch Kit seems to work great. There is no more slipping while on the throttle hard also seems to be smoother on take off and the clutch has a great feel at acceleration.
What Is The Benefit Of Carbon Fiber Clutch?
According to Barnett, the carbon fiber clutch runs 25% cooler and accepts a 20% higher torque load for a given spring pressure than the Kevlar kit. Almost any clutch can be made to stop slipping if enough spring pressure is used. The problem then is that the lever becomes unrealistically hard to pull, the cable stretches/cable housing compresses and neutral becomes difficult to find. Barnett’s claims make sense to raiders, as this clutch has held with semi-synthetic oil and the spring pressure reduced. Some suspect that it would work fine with full synthetic as well. Just be aware that what is an oil weep with mineral oil may turn into a seep with semi-synthetic, and into a leak with full synthetic oil. The main advantage of synthetic oil is that it does not break down. It only gets dirty. Mineral oil breaks down on top of getting dirty.
If you know how to ride and don’t burn your clutch, or clutch up too many wheelies, or do burnouts daily, a Barnett will last you plenty of miles. Their Carbon clutch fibers plates also will grip better than OEM. Meaning they will transfer your motors power out to the rear wheel better. At the same token, neither will last as long as OEM though.
If you ride your bike hard, you will want to get a Carbon Fibre clutch since the kevlar tends to glaze if you ride your bike real hard. Apparently the Carbon fibre plates work best when they are hot.
Take a look at the metal plates for signs of scorching, bluing, warping or cracking and areas of excessive layer. Remember also the springs, they lose their strength over time so those are usually replaced but sometimes they are actually reused to keep the lever pull a bit easier for you. Remember that those springs are working everytime you pull in the clutch lever so it is best to replace them. You should also check the bolts that holds them. It is a pretty rare issue but i have heard of them bending, stretching or even stripping off the threads altogether.
What Is The Best To Do Before Placing This Clutch Kit To Your Bike?
Once all components check out okay we can begin the process of reassembling. Now there are a few steps here that are absolutely crucial to the smooth operation of you motorcycle and also having your new parts brake in properly.
- Soak you their new fiber plates in oil for about 24 hours beforehand. This lets them soak up a little oil and give them a coating so that upon restarting the engine they are not rubbing against the steel plates totally dry.
- Petroleum oil is better than synthetic when you soak it. And absolutely do not use an oil that has Moly on it. Moly is an additive that reduces friction and since we are trying to increase friction in the clutch, that will be counterproductive.
- Metal plates should be installed with a sharp edge facing the pressure plate to avoid excessive outer hub wear but check the manual on your specific bike.
- Most important though is all the plates are facing the same way either in or out.
It is possible to change out your existing metal plates for steel specific ones and doing this will give you a little extra flywheel weight, minimize transmission oil fouling and make them basically last forever. Most importantly check your manual. Tighten everything down to the specific torque values. And ofcourse always use threadlocker like Loctite to threaded material and assemble parts.