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SlipShot is a small hydraulic damper that controls the rate at which the clutch is allowed to engage at the start of a race. Mounted down near your engine at the clutch actuation arm or on the hydraulic master cylinder (like the one shown/tested), the unit is activated by a handlebar-mounted lever on the starting line after you pull in your clutch lever and click your bike into gear. When activated, the shaft inside the SlipShot unit extends and rests against the clutch actuation lever. In theory, you can hold the bike wide open and just dump the clutch lever when the gate drops, and the SlipShot will do the rest by controlling the clutch engagement.
Once the clutch is fully engaged, the shaft clicks back into a locked state and allows you to modulate the clutch lever as normal. The damper is adjustable; slower action being more effective for slippery concrete starts, and more aggressive settings for tacky dirt or the new steel starting grates at the pro level.
Sometimes things come across my desk that I think looks “gimmicky” and I will be honest, when I first laid my eyes upon the SlipShot I wasn’t overly impressed. But… That’s right there is a “but”. But sometimes things out perform their looks (kinda like me) and quite frankly I care about that more than what a part looks like. When I took delivery of this piece at Glen Helen Raceway I wanted to see if in fact I could dump the clutch and not wheelie as much as I do without the SlipShot. I went out performed 5 starts without thee SlipShot installed and then went back to the pits to install the SlipShot.
Now installing this piece takes a little time to ensure proper setting.
INSTALLATION TIPS: After your SlipShot is installed, the first thing to do is set the locking position. This is the resting position of the clutch as it would sit on the stand. This is adjusted by loosening the top jam nut and tapping the locking slide forward or backwards as needed. You might need to check this position often to make sure it is locking. As your clutches wear, the locking position will change. Verify locked position is correct by cycling through the procedure of pulling the clutch lever in, push the traction trigger (long lever), and then release the clutch lever. You should hear the pin “click” as it locks in place. If it doesn’t, loosen the jam nut and realign.
Next, the air gap adjustment (controls “hit”) is the distance between the end of the dampener and the clutch arm. Start the bike and hold the clutch lever in the position you would hold it on the gate (preference is to let it out a little until you feel the bike wanting to “creep”). At that point, you want about a 3mm gap (approximately 1/8”) between the clutch arm (or clutch arm bracket) and the dampener. Less clearance will have a softer hit and more will be harder. *When adjusting the air gap, only adjust the dampener with ¼ turn increments – a little makes a big difference. To set this gap, loosen or tighten the dampener body and then make sure to tighten the 4mm allen head pinch bolt when finished. Once the air gap is set, go back and check that the dampener is still locking in place.
Finally, the traction control is adjusted by the dial on the back end of the dampener. This controls how fast or slow the clutch engages. The higher the number, the slower it moves. A good starting point is about 6 (Number 4 is where I kept mine for the conditions I was in). Be sure to tighten the small allen head jam bolt on the back side of the dampener to keep the dial from vibrating and changing your setting. Also, that screw is your reference for the numbers on the back of the adjuster. Again, a small adjustment here makes a BIG difference.
After installation and with some tweaks I could feel the KTM become less jumpy off the gate (dirt start). With the Brembo hydraulic clutch comes a narrow engagement window and the SlipShot helps widen that window a little for me off the start. I could bring my RPMs up more with the SlipShot because it had a more linear feel on initial jump (first 25 feet). After around 5-6 starts I was convinced that I felt something but I didn’t quite know what that something was. After doing more practice starts I could tell that my front end wasn’t popping up nearly as much as it was when I was without the SlipShot. The front end stayed on the ground better and the KTM 450 SX-F just hooked up more off the dirt start. To me this would be a huge game changer if I was a beginner/novice rider and didn’t know how to feed my clutch properly off the gate. This allows one less thing to worry about when coming off the gate in a race. Sometimes in a race environment we forget a lot of the proper techniques of starting and the SlipShot allows for more rider error without getting punished my a wheelie or wheespin off the gate.
Is it the prettiest looking thing? No. Does it actually work? Yes! You do have to run an older pre 2018 KTM clutch lever with this system and to me that is a downfall because I did not like the shape of this lever back then and I don’t to this day. It also costs $550.00 so to me that is a steep price point, but if you’re looking for an advantage off the gate and you’re new to racing yet serious this could really help you get the jump on your competition. If they ask you what that big lever is off of your clutch perch, just say it’s a hot start! Maybe they could make the lever a little smaller? Less “HEY LOOK AT ME”! Pretty cool invention, so if you need help off starts (like a lot of you do) this could really help you, but be prepared to pay for it. You can see more or order over on www.slipshot.net. I don’t know how much stock they have so ordering might be first come first serve.