First Impressions On Riding With A Clake
(Reprinted by permission of the author, Ian Pickering, and the Tasmanian Motorcycle Trials Club inc.)
“To CLAKE or not to CLAKE? ……The Clutch and Brake is the question……..
I was lucky enough to get a ride on Mat Newland’s A Grade Tassie Title winning Gas Gas with a CLAKE fitted. The latest version of the Australian designed CLAKE looks a lot smaller that the earlier version I saw at the Sedgwick International Trial a couple of years ago. I’m not sure how it all worked or how it could be adapted to Trials riding – so I went over and had a talk to Mat.
How could I drag the back brake against my clutch with just one lever?
What if I wanted to pull in the clutch totally and apply the brake at the same time?
Mat then offered me a ride on his bike – as the only way to answer all my questions was to actually ride it.
I was very surprised at how light the clutch felt…….. also the “feel” of the back brake is good as you are operating it with your hand rather than a boot.
So I rode off across the paddock to try a few slow and tight figure 8’s – no problem. I did find it initially weird not having a back brake pedal. I got used to this fairly quickly though. I was able to turn tightly and slowly in both directions – after allowing for the different balance of the bike – as I was not pushing on the right brake pedal.
I looked for a small rock with lots of space around it (not being sure how I or the bike would react) to ride over to try a double blip. I lined up a likely rock and over I went – instinctively reaching for the clutch lever and the back brake pedal as I got over it ….. you feel a little alarmed when the back brake pedal is not there …. until you realize that by pulling in the left lever you have already applied the clutch and brake – panic over.
I looked over my shoulder to see if Mat wanted his bike back … He was not even watching me so I kept riding and quickly got more and more used to the CLAKE. I can imagine that it would take a little time for your automatic reactions to change, from reaching for the brake pedal to using the CLAKE – but I was surprised how natural it felt. I reckon a young rider moving from bicycle to motorbike for the 1st time would be right at home immediately – the rest of us would just need to practice a bit before using the CLAKE in earnest.
In conclusion I was pleasantly surprised – it may not be every ones cup of tea – but I am sure some of you would like it.”
Kids And The Clake – First Ride Impressions
(By Keith Jobson – MA accredited Level 1 Coach; Editor/Webmaster, www.trials.com.au. )
Part 1 – The First Ride
I recently had a CLAKE fitted to my bike (2000 Gas Gas 280) and my son’s bike (2005 Beta Rev 80).
That weekend I took the bikes and kids to the clubgrounds for our first ride with the CLAKE. Me on the Gasser, Sam (11) on his Rev 80, and Anna (8) on her centrifical-clutch Beta 50.
It was Sam’s first ride with the CLAKE, and I was very impressed at how quickly he adapted from a standard clutch & rear brake to the CLAKE. Within 10 minutes he was riding the same degree-of-difficulty of obstacles as he was previously.
During a break Anna was looking at the bigger 80, and I thought “Why not?” “It’s got a CLAKE – let’s see if the claims about novice riders are true.”
So with a single instruction – “ride it like a push bike – pull that lever (the CLAKE) to stop” – she was away. After a couple of practice stops within a few metres, and me running alongside for about a minute, I felt totally comfortable to let her go. She was able to pull to a stop with both feet on the ground and no fear of stalling. The grin on her face was priceless! For her first-ever ride on a bike with a clutch, it was just amazing. Seriously, I was astounded.
The difference in time between teaching her and her brother (when no CLAKE was fitted) to ride a bike with a clutch could be measured in hours. The difference in levels of stress could be measured in years – I’m sure teaching Sam to ride took years off my life! So simple, and no stress.
For my own CLAKE experience, I spent a fair bit of time doing slow riding, tight turns etc, just learning where the clutch/brake overlap is. There were a couple of “right foot stabbing at the non-existent rear brake” moments going down some of the large hills at the clubgrounds, but generally I was comfortable with it. The feel of the rear brake is much, much better, with far more precise control during application. The clutch itself seems lighter now as well. I found myself using the front brake a lot less, and in slow tight turns this results in a far smoother turn.
Part 2 – The First Event
The following weekend was our first event.
For me, I found slow turns were so much easier, and not having to worry about foot position was nice. Reducing the risk of stalling to almost zero is a plus. I had no problem with timing of clutch action and blipping the throttle. Changing gears was also straight-forward.
Only once did I stab at the missing rear brake pedal, which was the automatic reaction kicking in. Not bad for 50 sections.
Two advantages for me from the day: 1) A much less tired left hand – the result of operating the now-lighter clutch through the day; and 2) Able to concentrate on where my body position should be, rather than trying to make it work with the right foot covering the brake pedal.
For Sam, my observations were he appeared more confident, particularly in downhill sections. He also did not stall the bike at all, where previously I would expect him to stall at least once per lap. The end result for Sam for the event was a win in the Junior class.
Personally I’m convinced that the CLAKE will be beneficial for me, for the reasons outlined above. I also think it will be fantastic for the kids, and the ease at which Anna was able to get on the bigger bike was just great.
Well done IMT Industries and the CLAKE!
Ross Taylor – Supermoto Racer
First impressions on riding with a Clake:
Well what can I say? The Clake has been incredible since its fitment to my motard at the start of 08. The control it gives me over what the back end is doing in all conditions is amazing. On the dirt or on the bitumen the results are the same, increased confidence everywhere.
The fact that you can use any sort of riding technique you want is a real advantage. If you road-race the benefits are staggering (far more than what Owen understands I think!!!!)
Next year I will have a Clake on every bike I race CRF450 motard, KTM580 off-road, CBR250rr road race bike and a Honda MDH250 GP bike. Manufacturers have got it wrong for so many years and it’s taken someone like Owen to change the way we ride a motorcycle. After using one of these units, going back to a stock setup is nothing but a disappointing waste of time.
Ross Taylor #50 www.rosstaylor.com.au