Back in Oct 2013 I installed and reported on the Rekluse EXP 2.0 auto clutch on my 2014 KTM 350 XCF-W with a DDS clutch. I decided to upgrade to the full “Core EXP 2.0” product. The upgrade kit cost $400. Here are my reasons for upgrading – all of which turned out to not be totally true:
- I wanted an easier clutch pull. My children’s 350 does not have an auto clutch, so it is very easy for me to compare my clutch pull to that of stock. The EXP 2.0 was supposed to be 15% stiffer than stock, but it felt much stiffer to me. It is not as stiff as the cable clutch on my CRF250X, but it is noticeably stiffer. The upgrade to Core may have made it slightly less stiff, but it is still stiffer than stock.
- I thought the Core would use all 8 friction plates, which would give me longer clutch life. It turns out that it only uses 7, whereas the EXP only uses 6.
- I thought the Rekluse clutch cover would allow the engine to hold more oil. If it is more, it is very insignificant. But the new cover does, however, look pretty cool.
The Rekluse “how to” videos are very good, and the included instructions were also quite good. I did, however, have a few surprises and learned a few tips that may help others.
The first surprise was that my DDS rubber dampers were shot. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since I have 115 hours on my bike and this the first time I have checked them. KTM recommends checking them every 30 hours. So, I had to order six new dampers, which took a week to get.
The next trick was to install the new dampers. I thought it would be easy, but it probably took me about an hour. I finally learned a trick that really helped.
If I placed the new dampers inside the outer hub as the instructions suggest, I could not get the inner hub to line up and slide into the slots. If I placed the dampers on the inner hub, the dampers would snag on the sharp edges of the outer hub (the OEM outer hub has rounded edges).
The trick that finally worked was to install the dampers into the outer hub, then insert the inner hub. I then flipped the whole unit over and placed the inner hub on a large socket. I then used a flat bladed screwdriver inserted into the slots to spread open each damper, one at a time. The inner hub eventually dropped into place. Then press the two hubs together until they are flush on the back side.
The next tip is to ensure that the gears on the clutch basket properly engage with the transmission gears. Mine were not all aligned, so I couldn’t get the nut threaded. Once I the basket fully seated, it was very easy to thread on the nut. I used a clutch clamping tool and a torque wrench to tighten the nut (I used an impact wrench to remove it).
Since I already had the Rekluse clutch slave installed, it was now just a matter of fining tuning my installed gap. I used the large rubber band included with my EXP kit and got it all set. I then broke in the clutch as per the instructions, and once again adjusted the gap. It should now be ready to ride!
The EXP 2.0 expansion ring typically lasts about 120 hours. The newer version 3.0 is supposed to last about 3 times longer. The first symptom of the ring wearing that I noticed was that the bike didn’t free-wheel as easily on downhills. When it finally failed, the bike would stall if I let the clutch lever out with the bike in gear.
I also learned that if you don’t have the free play gain set correctly and the clutch is slipping too much, it will overheat the oil, causing it to loose its effectiveness to lubricate the engine. If allowed to go too long, damage to your engine could result. One sign of a slipping clutch is very black oil, and it may be thick and sludgy.
To help with excess heat, I switched from the KTM recommended Motorex synthetic oil to Shell Rotella T 15-40 diesel oil, as recommended by Rekluse.
I also learned the importance of using the appropriate springs. My first ring came with three silver and three red springs installed (medium). I liked the way the clutch engaged. When I replaced the ring I assumed that my new ring would also come with the medium setup. But I noticed a lot more clutch slippage and the clutch would very quickly disengage when downshifting for corners or on downhills. It turns out the ring had six red springs, which shifts the engagement point to a higher rpm. I switched back to medium, and it now works like the first ring. Some people prefer the low setting (six silver springs – say that five times real fast), causing the clutch to engage very rapidly.