Step 3: Barnett Clutch Components

Well I have reached the point of no return. I have bike parts new and old stacked everywhere with just an aluminum frame and engine sitting on the bike stand, that once was my dirt scooter. Finding my path or direction on what to address first has been clogging my head during the day while I’m not working on the bike, so I finally came to the decision to start with the clutch components. The clutch is important right? Without it no bike is going to perform or be ride able, but my clutch is not only going to be asked to perform but also withstand my extreme abuse because I’m lazy coming out of corners and I would rather slip the clutch while riding a gear to high then to down shift. Remember I’m an MX rider and the few times I have been riding off road trails it seems I’m always the guy at the top of the hill digging ruts without forward progress while other riders began to gather at the base as they stare (laughing) at my lack of hill climbing skills. Tight east coast single track anyone? Nobody can heat up a clutch like I can in the tight stuff. Given some bad habits along with my lack of clutch skills it had become very obvious that I needed a high performance clutch system if this bike was going to survive me and the race course conditions. Barnett Clutches & Cables must have seen the smoke signals from my bike’s fried clutch pack as they were very helpful in offering their support and great products to ensure I have a successful first off-road race.

During my whole life of riding and working on bikes I’ve never used any of the aftermarket quality clutch components mostly because I could not afford them. I will admit I always look for the cheapest price instead of considering function, quality, and durability. When I came in the door after work one evening and spotted that box on the table wrapped with the Barnett Clutches logo tape, it was difficult not to avoid my wife (slaving over the oven) and go straight to the shop (we all know how well that would have went).

Finally I understand quality clutch components and the craftsmanship built into each part, because the Barnett Clutch Basket and Barnett Pressure Plate is truly machining art work with years of research and development that is visible as soon as you open the package. Barnett CNC machines each clutch basket form the most durable aluminum available with a patented stainless steel inserts which are 50% harder than the original insert. These inserts virtually eliminate grooving of the clutch basket fingers. We all can appreciate this feature as I have filed down my share of grooved basket fingers and got the scares on my hands to prove it. With years of research Barnett has developed ways to precisely machine the oil passages to allow more oil flow through the clutch pack for cooler operating temperatures; end result is extended clutch life.

Pressure plates have a heck of a job as they press the clutch pack together. The friction and drive plates are screaming for relief and this whole time the rider (me) is stuck on a hill side just digging ruts and spinning the rear tire as he tries to reach the top. Barnett Pressure Plates are far from being just an O.E.M replacement; they are machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum and have a tempered steel surface that is guaranteed to never wear out. Barnett says just install it and forget about it.

It’s time to get this clutch system project wrapped so I can move on to other services that this bike requires. To do that I installed the Barnett Dirt Digger Clutch Kit to ensure optimum performance and durability. Come on, who wouldn’t want a clutch Kit that is called Dirt Digger? Each drive plate goes through a vibratory deburring process to ensure smooth action as they float on the inner hub. Combine that with the finest fiber materials and heat treated, shot peened springs and you’ll understand why it’s called Dirt Digger.

Special Notes:

  • Follow the procedures in the OEM service manual for removing and installing clutch components.
  • The primary drive gear will need to be removed from the OEM clutch basket. Requires removing the OEM style rivets.
  • Rubber cushions, large side facing in counter clock wise position.
  • The provided screws with the clutch basket must have Red Loctite, Barnett provides the Loctite.
  • Use a hammer and punch, peen over the ends of the screws where they come through.
  • Friction clutch plate should be pre-soaked in oil for 5-10 minutes prior to installation.
  • The “ODD” friction plates which maybe green or brown in color should be first in and last out in the clutch pack.
  • Barnett includes easy to follow installation tips.
  • Made in the USA since 1948

Please view the photos I have provided below to help explain some of the special notes I mentioned above. Do yourself a favor and purchase a factory service manual for your bike and if you ever feel you maybe “In Over Your Head” consult your local dealership or trained technician.

There will be two odd colored friction plates. First in and last one out

Hammer & Punch to peen over the edge of the screws

OEM clutch basket with drive gear and cushions removed

Notice rubber cushion orientation. Use the provided Loctite on the screws

In closing I would like to thank Barnett for their outstanding customer service and product knowledge that they have provided throughout this project. It’s getting harder these days to find MADE IN THE USA anything, but Barnett Clutches & Cables is a family business with an outstanding history and quality USA built components. My confidence level is high, knowing these quality clutch components will allow me to complete and tackle any upcoming race conditions. Barnett has greatly improved my riding skills by improving my bike’s performance with “Works” level parts. My bike is Barnett Equipped.