To make the comparison, let’s start with the claims made by other brands:
- Increased friction zone, while bringing the zone closer to the grip for easier clutch modulation.
- Easier to pull clutch.
- Black Anodized with special coating for high durability.
- Uses factory hardware.
- Installs behind the factory transmission end cover.
- Direct bolt on, no modifications needed.
The website also includes the following caution:
This product is meant to be used with all factory components. Factory grips, lever, factory & Screamin eagle clutch plate kit are highly recommended for proper operation of the Light Force Clutch.
The laws of physics apply to every product. Disengaging the Harley clutch requires that the slave cylinder force the pressure plate back enough distance for the friction discs to clear. For example, on a 2015 we did recently, the Harley spec is 0.086”. The Harley pistons are 1.5” in diameter, so the volume required is 0.152 cubic inches.
1. In order to reduce the lever effort 40%, the area of the slave piston has to be 40% larger. However, the volume supplied by the Harley master cylinder is still 0.152 cubic inches, so the stroke delivered by the Light Force cylinder is 40% less, or only 0.0516 inches. That will cause the clutch to drag when the bike is in gear at a stop light. That is a dangerous condition, since the bike will start to move as soon as the brake is released. There is also extra wear and shock on the drive train and clutch every time the gear is changed without fully releasing the clutch. Hard shifting and difficulty finding neutral will be part of the problem. There is no free lunch. That is why Harley doesn’t simply do what Light Force does.
The ominous note above (it’s in red on the website we did not add the color) indicates the need for the optional Screaming Eagle clutch plate kit. It appears that may be necessary to avoid the hazard and damage caused by failure to properly release the clutch.
2. As claimed, the friction zone would indeed be closer to the grip, simply because the clutch is not releasing all the way, but at the cost of reduced reliability of the drive train.
3. We do not see any reason why the friction zone would be increased.
Let’s compare it to the Feather Lever MEC (Minimum Effort Clutch) series.
1. The MEC does not change the Harley slave cylinder, master cylinder, or the clutch. It uses a multiplier cylinder and actuating cylinder to boost the pressure from the master cylinder to that required by the slave cylinder. The area ratios are 7.11 to 1, so the pressure required by the master cylinder is reduced by that ratio, or 86%, considerably more than Light Force’s 40%.
The clutch is fully released by the MEC. Finding neutral and shifting are actually easier than stock because it extends the stroke of the Harley slave cylinder to full stroke by delivering 10% more fluid than the master cylinder supplies. Shock and wear and tear of the clutch and drive train are avoided.
2. Friction zone is closer to the grip by the design of the patented hydraulic circuit.
3. Friction zone is considerably increased because of the way the valve in the MEC controls the stroke of the slave cylinder.
4. There is no modification to the motorcycle. It is a true bolt-on.
5. It is not necessary to make any change to the clutch mechanism to ensure “proper operation”.
6. The MEC-300 comes with a clamp to attach it to the engine guard or frame.
7. The MEC-400 comes with a bracket that mounts between the passenger footboard/peg bracket and frame. It does not interfere with either.