Most UTV’s use a CVT (continuously variable transmission) clutch to provide power to the drivetrain. CVT clutches are a great design however, they are quite sensitive when making changes to tire size, horsepower and/or gearing. Most of us at some point make at least one if not all of these changes to our UTV’s. If you’re thinking of making any of these changes or have already done so, now is the time to consider a clutch kit for your UTV. Without proper adjustment, your clutch will no longer perform as it should, causing an overall loss in performance and reliability.
CVT clutches also use a drive belt. Without proper clutching following a change in tire size, horsepower and/or gearing, you are likely to have issues with drive belt failure. The cost of replacement drive belts adds up fast. Belt failure can also damage other clutch components and leave you stranded. We highly recommend carrying a spare drive belt at all times no matter how good your clutching is.
Thankfully, there are aftermarket adjustable clutch kits available that allow a clutch to be dialed in ensuring peak performance is maintained. Here, we explain how each change affects a clutches ability to perform. And how aftermarket adjustable clutch kits can be utilized to maintain optimal performance and reliability.
How tire size affects clutching
Changing to a larger tire size over stock is one of the most common modifications to UTV’s. A larger tire has an affect on the final gear ratio and they are also typically heavier. This creates more load on your clutch. The larger and/or heavier you go over stock the larger the impact. The additional load decreases peak RPM causing power loss. Lighter clutch weights help regain peak RPM.
Some clutch kits also offer more than one secondary helix option to help with the larger tires by slowing down the shift pattern. For example, the High Load Helix offered by Aftermarket Assassins. The High Load Helix is less aggressive and best suited for running larger/heavier tires at slower speeds. Rock crawling, mudding or running tight technical trails is a good example of where a less aggressive helix might be best for you. Higher speed drivers or drivers looking for performance in a larger variety of riding styles and terrain will typically prefer a more aggressive helix such as the Performance Helix option offered by Aftermarket Assassins as well as most other aftermarket clutch kits that only offer one helix option.
How added horsepower affects clutching
Adding more horsepower to your UTV should create a higher peak RPM.
Added horsepower without a tune:
If you have added horsepower and have not increased your rev limit with a tune, you will likely need more weight in your primary clutch to lower your peak RPM back down a bit. Otherwise, you may lose wheel speed by hitting your rev limit too soon. This is due to the added horsepower along with a stock rev limit setting.
Added horsepower with a tune:
If you have added horsepower and a tune to increase your rev limit, you will be able to run less weight vs the same horsepower with a stock rev limit setting. This is due to the fact that you will not hit your rev limit as soon with it increased. The result will be a higher max RPM and faster RPM gain due to the use of less weight.
Added a tune with minimal to no horsepower gain:
If you have added a tune that just removes limiters and increases your rev limit while adding minimal to no horsepower gain, you may need less primary clutch weight in order to get the most out of your tune.
How gearing affects clutching
Gear reductions are quite common in UTV’s. In most cases, a gear reduction is done to help run larger, heavier tires. Or to allow more control in low speed technical situations such as rock crawling. Gear reductions are typically achieved a couple of different ways. Lowering the gear ratio within the transmission or adding a portal gear lift kit. Once you have changed your gearing, it is likely that you will need to adjust the weight in your clutch. Lower gearing will increase peak RPM and require more weight. Higher gearing will decrease peak RPM and will require less weight.
Clutching for riding style and terrain
The factory clutching is fairly generic with all riding styles and terrain in mind. The factory’s do not necessarily know exactly what you will be using your UTV for. Whether you’re using it around your property for work or primarily in muddy conditions, snow, sand dunes, or rock crawling. It is likely that your clutching could be tuned better for what you are using your UTV for even if you are leaving everything else stock.
There are a lot of aftermarket clutch kit options available. Also, a lot of variables when it comes to how your UTV is setup and the type of riding you do. If you could use some additional guidance when you consider a clutch kit for your UTV, please reach out to our team of experts. At Fueled UTV we have a slogan…No Salesmen, Just Enthusiasts! We answer our phones (We know, weird!) We walk through options that fit your needs, application, and budget. Our goal is to help you achieve your goals, whether that is keeping your buddies in the rearview, or maximizing comfort and safety for the family. Give us a shout or check out our website, we’d love to help you out!
509-406-7192 | email@example.com