May 2000 News   
    Home / Features / KING clutch
    New Indian Clutch!
   By Rob Olsen
The different problems associated with the operation of the Indian clutch are well understood. I found the most aggravating problems were sticking, failure to release, that annoying grabbing, and the famous Indian CRUNCH while not so gently slipping into 1st.   

I've always thought there must be a solution, something that works well, and won't cost us an arm and a leg. It would have to last a long time and be able to take a real beating. So with those demands in mind and technical expertise from Duff, the two of us set off to work out and solve these problems that we all experience.   
Yes, many have come before us with different materials and designs; some work and some, well kinda work. We decided to start from scratch and see what other clutches were made of, and just what worked and what didn't. We finally found the materials to produce a cost effective, basic hard working clutch. Based on a race proven materials found in drag bikes and aftermarket clutches, we were able to make a high grade aluminum core plate, lined with a type of Kevlar fiber that can be bonded to the core under great pressure and heat. This material is also used in dry conditions in some applications, but is fully compatible with all fluids including ATF.   
While the new plates should be soaked in oil or ATF-5 for 15 minutes prior to installation, although the fiber material doesn't actually soak up oil, which will prevent glazing or burning. The fiber backing has a very high co-efficient of friction, with a maximum groove pattern for oil circulation and clean release, and extremely good wear resistance. The aluminum core assures excellent heat dissipation, besides being stronger than the original fiber material, so the stud cut-outs should last much better.   

With a set of prototype plates in hand Duff went and installed them in his Chief. After the installation and some set up to the clutch pedal the difference was immediately felt. NO sticking, no grabbing, and a much smoother shift (like silent shifts into 1st!). Duff's tests show that the new clutch is a huge improvement over the original system, and it has even exceeded our expectations! An interesting detail is that the new clutch seems to require a tightly adjusted clutch linkage with almost no slop. This adds to the neat tight feel of the new setup. We believe that this could be what we have all been waiting for: A vastly improved Indian clutch at an affordable price!  

With the new plates installed and working very well we decided to manufacture this in kit form. The kit we made up consists of 8 new fiber plates that will replace the existing fiber plates in the clutch. One advantage to the kit is that you have the option of using your existing metal plates, provided they are in decent condition, and only replace the old fiber plates. We are expecting the first lot very soon, and they will be ready for the market as soon as we get a few more test results.  

Realising that not everyone has a set of steel plates, our next goal is the manufacture of the steel plates and springs to offer a complete clutch kit. We named them the KING Clutch Performance Kits. These kits will fit all models of Chiefs and Sport Scouts/741. Kits for Indian and ACE Fours (and Hendersons!) as well as for 101s might follow later.  

Performance Kit 1 will include 8 fiber plates to replace the existing fiber plates. Performance Kit 2 will offer the 8 fiber plates and 6 new steel plates with new springs for a complete clutch kit, and offered separately will be the new steel plates. Manufacturing dies are now being made for the new steel plates. We are aiming to provide a low cost, high quality alternative to what now exists in the clutch market and retain full compatibility with existing parts.   

Rob Olsen & Terry Duffy (Duff)

 The projected retail price for a set (8) of the KING Kevlar clutch plates is $119.95. 

The first batch of KING Kevlar clutch plates is available to VI Readers for only $100/set! 
To order your set, email Rob at 
Dealer inquiries welcome! 
There is a number of these new clutch plates going through extra testing in the bikes of
VI "Test Pilots"
This service is available to all manufacturers of new Indian parts. 
Have a look at Duff's Moto Valve and Valve Cover Skirts pages to see how this works.  
This page will be updated with tester feedback as it comes in, so if you are in the market for a new improved Indian clutch, it might pay to watch this space....