I always hold my clutch when braking suddenly in traffic or to move in traffic. I heard that its bad driving. I tried to stop holding clutch and I am unsuccessful in it. How bad is this for motorcycle?. Any tip on not to hold clutch when braking?.

  • Where did you read its bad driving ? Please add the reference Mar 21, 2016 at 6:44
  • @VijayMaximOff sorry I heard not read. Changed it
    – samnaction
    Mar 21, 2016 at 6:48
  • 3
    This is a driving question and may be considered off topic and deleted as a result. If you change the question to being bad for the motorcycle it may be considered on topic. mechanics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask Mar 21, 2016 at 6:50
  • Come by chat sometime if you would like to debate your driving issue. :-) Thanks for question but unfortunately it's off topic unless you modify it so it can remain open. chat.stackexchange.com Mar 21, 2016 at 6:53
  • Here's a great video critiquing various braking and downshifting techniques. youtube.com/watch?v=LrbZJbXwgrY Apr 10, 2016 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


why using your clutch during braking can be considered unsafe

I have ridden motorcycles for years. Engine braking is a component of safe riding.

The engine itself can be ok and not receive any damage from pulling in the clutch while breaking other than it is additional wear on throw out bearing for the pressure plate within the clutch.

The throwout bearing is number 6 in the image below.

enter image description here

Although pulling in your clutch may not harm your engine it can lead to instability when breaking.

Under braking the rotational mass of the engine has a gyroscopic effect and assists in keeping the motorcycle upright. Pulling in the clutch takes away from the gyroscopic effect and may make the motorcycle feel unstable.

Rather than pulling in the clutch you can downshift immediately while using the front brake and allow the engine to slow the rear wheel and provide additional gyroscopic effect for more stability under panic stops. The resistance of the road on the rear wheel will assist in providing stability as well and an indication if the rear wheel has lifted off the ground from over braking on the front.

If you were to lock up your rear wheel by using your rear brake AND pull in your clutch thereby reducing the gyroscopic effect of one wheel and the motor the bike could become very unstable. You would only have the gyroscopic effect of the front wheel and it's a very strange feeling as you travel at a high rate of speed yet feel like tipping over.

Engine braking under normal braking helps to provide stability.

  • "Rather than pulling in the clutch you can downshift immediately while using the front brake.......", does this mean we can downshift without pulling the clutch ? Mar 21, 2016 at 7:27
  • oh I didn't know this so far. Thanks for clarifying @DucatiKiller Mar 21, 2016 at 8:44
  • Will this apply to cars?
    – Nanoc
    Mar 21, 2016 at 14:32
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    @DucatiKiller I'm far from an expert here, but I took a safe riding course, and the emergency breaking procedure was this one: Completely pull clutch, progressively apply both front and back brakes; the back one being safe to lock it, but not the front one. I experimented this breaking procedure and to me it felt a lot safer than downshifting, because the bike is a lot stabler if you also need to dodge an obstacle. So I don't really agree with your answer... Mar 21, 2016 at 14:40
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    @Shamtam - I'd have to say, it sounds as though you are contradicting yourself. You say you agree with Alin Purcaru, but then you say "Unless you are locking your wheels", which is exactly what Alin is suggesting. Not both, but the rear. I'm pretty sure you'll lose the gyroscopic effect of the rear wheel if you lock it up. I think there is a lot of opinion in these comments, where Ducati has the practical experience of many years of riding. I respect people's opinions, but I trust Ducati's experience. Mar 24, 2016 at 1:24

Holding the clutch while braking can make the rear wheel more likely to lock-up. Also you lose the additional engine braking.

  • Indeed it's true, then you get that nice rear wheel hop when you lock it up on light bikes like these. Mar 21, 2016 at 21:07

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