Do You Have To Pull In The Clutch When Braking On A Motorcycle?

Do You Have To Pull In The Clutch When Braking On A Motorcycle

To ride a motorcycle safely on the roads or highways, a rider must need to be pro on braking. Though there are various techniques used for motorcycle braking, pulling the clutch is one of them. Now the question is, do you have to pull in the clutch when braking on a motorcycle?

When riders ride their motorcycle at low speed, they should pull the clutch before the brake. The actions are opposite while riding at high speed. If riders face an emergency, press the brake and pull the clutch together at the same time. Honestly speaking, pulling the clutch when braking ultimately depends on the front situations and types of braking while riding on a motorcycle.  

During riding, a rider faces various problems where he/she needs to react differently. Let’s make it easier by an example, while you’re riding your motorcycle in 5th gear and press the brake harder, it’ll slow down into the third gear. But in that condition, pulling the clutch will rapidly slow down the speed of your motorcycle into first gear or 0 km/h. 

You’ll also face some situations during riding a motorcycle where you don’t require the clutch or brake both. By reading this entire article, you’ll get the answer to all of your questions related to this article. So, don’t escape without reading the conclusion.

Clutch First Or Brake First? (5 Different Situations)

You’ve already known that to pull in the clutch when braking on a motorcycle completely depends on the riding situation. So what are these situations? 

Here I make a table that will clear you those situations if clutch first or brake first:

SituationsClutch First Or Brake First?
While Riding At High SpeedBrake First, Then Clutch.
While Riding At Low SpeedClutch First, Then Brake.
For Temporary Slowing DownJust Use The Brake.
While Facing EmergenciesUse Both Clutch And Brake Together.
While Riding At DownhillDon’t Use Any Clutch Or Brake. Only Use Engine Braking.

Below I write the explanation, why you do that in those situations:

1. While Riding At High Speed:

When you ride your motorcycle on the roads at a decent speed, use your brake first rather than the clutch. By using the brakes in that situation, you can gradually slow down your motorcycle’s speed. Press your motorcycle’s front brake harder than the back brake to slow it down. 

But if you choose clutch over brake while riding at high speed, it starts falling the speed of your motorcycle in a quicker period. This aggressive stop is also not good for your motorcycle engine and the clutch unit. 

I suggest you use the brake first and after that clutch to slow down your motorcycle systematically while riding at high speed. In fact, it’s the ideal method to slow down a high-speed motorcycle. The brake will slow down the speed of your motorcycle, and then the clutch will ensure a safer stop of it.

2. While Riding At Low Speed:

Use your clutch before the brake to stop a motorcycle while riding at low speed. If you press the brake first and then use the clutch in low-speed riding, your motorcycle will start to stall and struggle for insufficient speed.

Suppose you’re riding at first gear, what does it mean to use a brake before the clutch slows it down? It doesn’t represent any sense. By doing that, you may make the stopping task tougher. So first, use the clutch to stop engine dependency on the transmission and after that, start braking to control your motorcycle easily while riding at low speed.

3. For Temporary Slowing Down:

Usually, riders temporarily slow down their motorcycles on the roads or highways where another motorcycle is in front of them. If you face any obstacles or just wish to temporarily slow down your motorcycle, in that situation, using a brake is OK. But use that method only when you’re riding at medium speed, not at a clutch significantly lower or higher speed.

For example, when you ride your motorcycle at 35kmph, just use the brake to temporarily slow down. It’ll just decrease the speed slightly and allows you to continue at the previous speed. But if you use the clutch to temporarily slow down your motorcycle, it directly hits the lowest gear speed and creates difficulties to get back your 35kmph speed again.

4. While Facing Emergencies:

In an emergency situation, you should use both clutch and brake together to stop the motorcycle immediately. It is the most effective method to stop your motorcycle quickly. Just using a clutch or brakes may not be enough to prevent the possible risk of an accident.  When you use them together, they’ll stop the full braking power of your motorcycle.

Accidents cause severe damage to the different machinery parts of your motorcycle. If an accident happens, it’ll cost additional money to repair those damaged parts of your motorcycle. Hence, don’t forget to use both clutches and brakes together while facing emergencies during motorcycle riding.

5. While Riding At Downhill:

In downhill motorcycle riding, you require a more powerful stopping system to avoid the risk of falling down. You should never use a clutch or brake while riding downhill. Instead of them, use engine braking to control your motorcycle safely and adequately in that situation.

In downhill, the traction is limited because of loose rocks and pebbles. Using the clutch or brake of your motorcycle in that situation will make them overheat and also decrease the lifespan of both. So, don’t use any clutch or brakes, just use engine braking while riding your motorcycle downhill.

Truth be told, engine braking isn’t easy to use at downhill riding. If you use engine braking in the wrong ways, it could damage your motorcycle’s engine very badly. Before using engine braking, I suggest you must read this article.

For riding your motorcycle safely on a road or highway, you definitely pull the clutch in the right situation while braking. Above I explained how you deal with those situations while riding on a motorcycle. Follow my guidelines, and wish you happy and safe riding.

What Happens If You Pull The Clutch In The Wrong Situation When Braking?

You may face a few troubles by pulling the clutch in the wrong situation when braking. Here are these troubles that you’ll face:

1. It Will Damage Motorcycle’s Clutch Plates:

If you pull the clutch while the gear is engaged, it’ll do severe damage to your motorcycle’s clutch plates. Usually, you require to change the clutch plates after 60,000 miles of riding, but this error will force you to replace them much sooner. The motorcycle’s clutch plates are too much pricy. So, pull the clutch wisely for the sake of saving your money.

2. You Won’t Be Able To Use Engine Braking:

While riding your motorcycle on a steep road, engine braking is the trustiest option to keep control. But when you pull the clutch, engine braking may not be working properly. It limits the stopping power of engine braking. My suggestion is never to pull the clutch of your motorcycle in steep and downhill riding.

3. It Decreases The Lifespan Of Brakes:

If you use a clutch instead of engine braking to stop your motorcycle, it creates too much pressure for the brakes during stopping. And by doing that regularly, you damage the lifespan of your brakes. For using your motorcycle brakes for a more extended period, you should pull the clutch as little as possible.

4. You Won’t Be Able To Stop Quickly:

Pulling the clutch will not help you stop the motorcycle in a short period. Because when you pull the clutch, the engine braking system is altogether disabled, and only the brake works to stop your motorcycle in that situation. If you want to stop your motorcycle by only pulling the clutch, do that from a longer distance.

For avoiding these problems, pull the clutch appropriately when braking on a motorcycle.


Pulling the clutch depends on which situations you’re going through for braking. To see how to pull in the clutch when braking on a motorcycle visually, click here.  

You might be want to read:

What Regular Maintenance Should Be Done On A Motorcycle?

Things To Consider Before Starting Ride On A Crotch Rocket Motorcycle

Can You Use WD-40 To Clean Motorcycle Chain?

Recent Posts