Words By Chris Siebenhaar
With the newly redesigned clutch on the 2021 KX450, this bike (specifically in this area) jumped to the top of my list of favorite hydraulic clutch to date. It has a very progressive to it with no “snap” or sharply defined “break-point”. It feels very much like a cable clutch in how it engages and disengages, and how the lever pulls in. Personally, I love cable clutches…well the feel of them. What I don’t like is the need for adjustment throughout a moto (especially on hot days or on tight tracks) or the stiffness in lever pull as the moto/ride wears on. This year, Kawasaki figured out a way to combine the best of both worlds, a progressive feeling hydraulic clutch, and it’s wonderful.
After a bit of research, I found the Rekluse Clutches not only make a new clutch pack for the bike, but a new slave cylinder as well. For this test, I did it in two parts; first, the slave cylinder. Second, adding the complete clutch pack. Please read on.
REKLUSE Slave Cylinder - $179.00
Beautifully constructed from a chunk of billet aluminum, every aspect of recluse slave cylinder mounts up flawlessly. From the bleed nipple to the hose banjo fitting to the slave cylinder itself... Perfect. As a bonus, Rekluse also managed to reduce the overall size of the cylinder significantly, thus keeping it safer by reducing the exposure to the elements (rocks, trees, first turn collisions, etc.)
The feel of the Rekluse Slave Cylinder is for the most part the same as stock, in fact, unless you have a 2021 KX450 with a stock clutch to ride back-to-back, you’d be hard-pressed to say it is any different. However, I was fortunate enough one of the test days to ride both a stock slave cylinder and the Rekluse, only then was there a slight, and I mean slight, increase in lever stiffness. What was noticeable right away was the increased feedback from the lever and efficiency in which pulling the lever in equated to pushing the slave cylinder piston. The lever and slave cylinder piston had a more connected feel with the Rekluse slave cylinder.
Pros – Condensed size and tucked in tighter for reduced chance of damage. Increased lever feel as well as a better connection to the clutch. Solid billet construction that was chiseled into a work of art.
Cons – Slightly stiffer lever pull.
REKLUSE TorqDrive Clutch Pack - $349.00
After many hours of riding with just the Rekluse Slave Cylinder mounted, it was time to install the TorqDrive Clutch Pack. Install of the clutch pack was, for the most part, the same as installing any other clutch, with the only difference being the stainless-steel sleeves.
The feel of the clutch pack is quite a bit different than stock for numerous reasons. Right out of the gate the Rekluse clutch is quite a bit grabbier than the OEM pack, over the course of the next few hours, this will ease some. Even still, with multiple days on the clutch, there is a noticeable increase in “bite” over stock, but this could be a part of the next observation. Forward drive over acceleration chop out of corners, especially in deep ruts and that are cupped out on the exit was much better. Where in stock form the bike occasionally will get hung up ever so slightly, the TorqDrive clutch continues forward with added drive. Clutch pull is smoother than stock, be sure to read smoother and not necessarily easier. What I mean is that because of the stainless-steel sleeves that Rekluse adds, the feeling of the clutch plate movement is slipperier than a greased weasel. So in a sense, the smoother feel of the clutch, gives an impression that it’s easier too. Either way, it does help to counteract the added stiffness in pull that the slave cylinder adds, so it gets you back to stock.
Pros – Increased forward drive through acceleration chop and rough exits. Smoother feeling of clutch plates engaging and disengaging. Stainless steel sleeves take all of the clutch abuse, therefore eliminating your OEM clutch basket from becoming a wear item. This can save you hundreds down the road, depending on how you ride.
Cons – Slightly grabbier than the OEM clutch pack, even when worn in.