Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Conroe, TX, USA
zippy - great wifey-type expanation. I loved it.
Here's another shot at it - dry clutches, like on your beemer are just like a car, where as zippy says, the shaft that hooks up to the pistons and rotates as they go up and down is in line with the clutch and the transmission - no belts or big, wide chains in the mix. All front-to-back alignment.
A wet clutch - like on the side of an HD - are driven by a big, wide chain, called a "primary chain" that also loops over a sprocket on the end of the sideways mounted driveshaft (hooked to the pistons that go up and down). The chain needs a lot of really good lubricant (oil bath) to keep it from disintegrating, and since they share the same mechanical "space", the clutch has to be "wet" too. Some HD riders replace the chain with a belt and a dry clutch - some say it's a better design.
Since "wet" clutches exit in an oil bath, there is always opportunity for gasket leakage - no fun. Dry clutches don't need oil-resistant gaskets to survive. In my book, dry is preferred for managing higher horsepower and torque.
Old school Brit bikes are sideways aligned crankshafts, too. Some had wet clutches, some dry - go figure.
"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."
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