Clutch in or out while braking

Tip from Gary Semics
The rule of the track here is to leave the clutch out while braking so the engine helps slow you down and helps control the braking process. It’s kind of like anti lock brakes. The best stopping power is just before the rear wheel locks up and that’s just what leaving the clutch out will help you with. This is done when you’re still carrying some speed into the corner. If it’s a tight corner where you’re going to be slowing down to a slow speed in the middle of the corner and/or if you’re going to do a brake slide than you have to pull the clutch in so you don’t kill the engine.

I’ve seen this technique of leaving the clutch out while braking misused and abused by a lot of beginner riders. Every time they apply the back brake they put the clutch in. They do this because they don’t have good braking control and by stabbing the rear brake on they would stall the engine. Sometimes making it stall even easier by being in too high of a gear.

It’s really the same technique for 2 strokes and 4 strokes. It’s also the same when exiting a corner with 2 or 4 strokes. The 2 stroke does depend on the clutch more than the 4 stroke but if you’re pulling a high gear out of the corner even the torquey 4 strokes can use a little help from the clutch when exiting the corner.

A good rider can make his bike drift slide into a corner real pretty like by leaving that low end lever out (the clutch). When a rider pulls the clutch in while braking at speed he’s taking a chance of locking up the rear wheel and sliding out too much, then his automatic reaction is to let up on the rear brake too. This causes the bike to straiten up and then he hits the rear brake again and so on and so on. This is especially the case on a high speed slippery approach to a corner. Learn to feather those controls or lock them up and every thing between. It takes a fine feel to go fast.

My All About Cornering DVD has all the important braking and cornering techniques. You can see free previews of all my Technique DVD and everything is 50 and 60% off right now at If you want to learn how to get the most out of your practice come to one of my 2 Day Motocross School classes this summer. Get 50.00 off and a free DVD of your choice. Register at

Work hard and ride smart,
Gary Semics