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Old 08-20-2008, 02:28 PM   #1
Scotty
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Default Rocker clutch question regarding

I've got a question about the modified rocker clutch assembly on these two bikes:






I'm planning on using the rear floorboard tabs to run my pegs like these two bikes on my next project.

I'll be running a mechanical drum rear and jockey shift so I'll be using the standard front brake pedal, rod, and backing plate on the right. On the left I was just going to use the standard matching foot clutch pedal, rod and backing plate until I saw this.

I've never used a rocker clutch before, just regular foot clutches(suicide) on my prior chopper and on my shovel trike. I don't know how stock rocker clutches work and what their purpose is over a regular foot clutch.

It looks like a modified floorboard rocker clutch set up so here's my questions:

1) How does it work? Better than a standard foot clutch(suicide)?

2) Is the backing plate modified?

3) How is the rocker assembly modified to achieve the one arm lever?

Sorry if it's a stupid question(s). Thanks for any info.

Scotty

Last edited by Scotty; 08-20-2008 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008, 03:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

>I've never used a rocker clutch before, just regular foot clutches(suicide) on my prior chopper and on my shovel trike. I don't know how stock rocker clutches work and what their purpose is over a regular foot clutch.

The rocker clutch, in most years, had an internal friction washer and spring that allowed you to disengage the clutch and put your foot down while still in gear (originally known as a "safety clutch"). The friction washer kept tension on the clutch pedal to overcome the clutch spring.

>It looks like a modified floorboard rocker clutch set up so here's my questions:

1) How does it work? Better than a standard foot clutch(suicide)?

Probably about the same, really. But since you're just reusing the backing plate on the rocker, which has a replaceable bushing and (depending on the year) a grease fitting, it's likely to be a bit more durable than your average homebuilt.

2) Is the backing plate modified?

Probably only to remove the internal spring and friction washer. And of course to weld the pedal on...

3) How is the rocker assembly modified to achieve the one arm lever?

See above.

>Sorry if it's a stupid question(s). Thanks for any info.

It's only a stupid question the second time you ask.

-Kuda
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Old 08-20-2008, 03:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Kuda,

Are you saying the spring and friction device have been removed from these rockers making them function like a standard footclutch?

If so, why not just use a standard foot clutch assembly?

If not, and these will still disengage the clutch at a stop, how do you release the clutch smoothly with only one arm?

Thx,

Scotty
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Old 08-20-2008, 04:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

1) How does it work? Its a suicide clutch pedal just homemade. No perks other then it looks cooler. Slight downside you cant rest for foot on the peg for leverage in releasing the pedal.

2) Is the backing plate modified?

No just dont use friction disks.


3) How is the rocker assembly modified to achieve the one arm lever? No rocker assembly used. Get some 5/8 round a washer to hold it in place, the rocker COVER piece, and a rubber.

4)why not just use a standard foot clutch assembly? These look cooler.
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Old 08-20-2008, 04:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Here's a picture of mine for comparison , regular FLH style clutch pedal modified a little . It's about the same hight as the rocker one , maybe a little lower at best I think .

Same as about I think they work about the same , just look different and catch a few street cred points for being different and unusual

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Old 08-21-2008, 07:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

>Are you saying the spring and friction device have been removed from these rockers making them function like a standard footclutch?

Yup.

>If so, why not just use a standard foot clutch assembly?

You got that answer above. Street credit, or maybe just tryin' to use what's there instead of starting from scratch...

>If not, and these will still disengage the clutch at a stop, how do you release the clutch smoothly with only one arm?

You don't. Wouldn't work that way at all..

Having said all the above, I do NOT like the way those two are set up. To me, there's no good reason to hang the foot pedal way up in space like that. If it were me, I'd have made a longer pedal with a big "L" shape and put it closer to where the front of the factory rocker would be. Oh, and BTW, the first true "suicide" clutches were just rockers with the frictions removed and the heal pedal cut off...

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Old 08-21-2008, 08:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty View Post
I've got a question about the modified rocker clutch assembly on these two bikes:






I'm planning on using the rear floorboard tabs to run my pegs like these two bikes on my next project.

I'll be running a mechanical drum rear and jockey shift so I'll be using the standard front brake pedal, rod, and backing plate on the right. On the left I was just going to use the standard matching foot clutch pedal, rod and backing plate until I saw this.

I've never used a rocker clutch before, just regular foot clutches(suicide) on my prior chopper and on my shovel trike. I don't know how stock rocker clutches work and what their purpose is over a regular foot clutch.

It looks like a modified floorboard rocker clutch set up so here's my questions:

1) How does it work? Better than a standard foot clutch(suicide)?

2) Is the backing plate modified?

3) How is the rocker assembly modified to achieve the one arm lever?

Sorry if it's a stupid question(s). Thanks for any info.

Scotty
From memory on the stock clutch pedal the clutch release rod is on the pedal at the bottom
so when you push the heel down the clutch disengages, push the toe down
and you take off, sort of opposite to suicide. these have rod on top so it looks like they would just work like a suicide set up.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

The way that rocker clutch is set up it would work like a conventional suicide clutch.

From the factory (as seen below) a spring is attached to the top of this assembly. During the initial depression of the clutch pedal it works just like a suicide clutch as well (ie.. like a car clutch)

The difference is however, if you push the pedal past a certain point then the spring drops below the pivot point of the pedal assembly and actually forces the clutch fully open. This is why they were considered safer. You then use the 'heel' portion of the clutch to begin to force the clutch closed, eventually the spring will 'revert' to a suicide style clutch and you're off again. Sorry if this isn't described the best. The pic below may help a little..

I'll post a decent pic once i remember my photobucket password
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

The clutch pedals you are looking at appear to be LEE pedals. They were made by LEE in Pasadena, CA back in the day.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Quote:
Originally Posted by rigidshovel View Post
The way that rocker clutch is set up it would work like a conventional suicide clutch.
A suicide clutch is one that has had the saftey friction washers and spring removed. When your foot is removed from the pedal the clutch engages. Factory clutch mechanisims were not suicide.
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Old 11-08-2008, 02:35 AM   #11
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Haynes View Post
A suicide clutch is one that has had the saftey friction washers and spring removed. When your foot is removed from the pedal the clutch engages. Factory clutch mechanisims were not suicide.
Thats right... If u look at the original pics the main spring has been removed (as has the heel portion of the pedal as its no longer needed).. therefore it's effectively a suicide clutch!

The pic below shows the factory rocker once it has travelled to the point where the spring passes over the pivot point. It's easy to see now that the spring now locks the pedal in this position (the spring forces the rocker anti-clockwise). The rider then pushes the rockers heel section until the spring begins to rotate the rocker clockwise again..

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Last edited by rigidshovel; 11-08-2008 at 02:47 AM. Reason: added decent pic
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

So with the clutch in the position shown you are saying that you would be sitting at the lights not riding along?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rigidshovel View Post
Thats right... If u look at the original pics the main spring has been removed (as has the heel portion of the pedal as its no longer needed).. therefore it's effectively a suicide clutch!

The pic below shows the factory rocker once it has travelled to the point where the spring passes over the pivot point. It's easy to see now that the spring now locks the pedal in this position (the spring forces the rocker anti-clockwise). The rider then pushes the rockers heel section until the spring begins to rotate the rocker clockwise again..

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Old 11-08-2008, 04:24 AM   #13
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbg View Post
So with the clutch in the position shown you are saying that you would be sitting at the lights not riding along?
No.
Toe down = clutch engaged. (riding along)
Heel down= sitting at light.

Works the opposite action of a "Suicide Clutch"

Heres a good example. Rocker Clutch in action.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-yEJSY9FK8
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:29 AM   #14
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Back in the day, the choices were fewer when a guy wanted to modify his clutch pedal and make it "suicide" style. There was the cheap and easy way of taking the friction discs and springs off and cutting off the toe pedal, or you could modify the back so the pull was above the pivot and cut off the heel pedal. Or, if you had money (many bikers were big on innovation but low on cash) you could buy the Lee pedal. Very cool.
The way it's done in the first couple of pics was just another option. A little bit of scrap, some welding/brazing/threading/filing, and bingo, a very cool "suicide" clutch pedal.
The fact that these are kind of far from the footpeg was no big deal. With most of the choppers I was familiar with back in the day, the rider had to lift his foot off the footpeg and move it to get to the brake, clutch, or shift pedal. Not "safe" by today's standards, but most chopper riders, then and now, are not a bunch of safety pussies.
Somewhere in my stash I have a foot clutch bracket that's been sectioned and shortened, the pivot point moved down an inch or two, someone else's idea of a way to make his clutch pedal different from the rest.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

what a good thread, thanks. im new to old harleys and ive been trying to figure out foot clutch ideas on my swapmeet pan build. building a bike from scratch starting with nothing, its hard to figure out how things were and what im missing.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:13 PM   #16
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Haynes View Post
The clutch pedals you are looking at appear to be LEE pedals. They were made by LEE in Pasadena, CA back in the day.
1. No, they're not.

2. Regarding Lee's though, they do have an advantage over modified rockers when running mid.'s because you can set the Lee's arm up to be directly below the ball of your foot. You don't even have to take your foot off the peg if you do it right. I guess you'd say it's ergonomic.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:17 PM   #17
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

starting a pan build from nothing is gonna be "FUN".........on my pan i got a suicide set up ...that is pretty hairy to ride ......just a pedal and it snaps back pretty good if yer not paying attention ......
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

i have two pan's, one of each style clutch. i think they both are cool in their own way. the rocker is very nostalgic.
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:37 PM   #19
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Default Re: Rocker clutch question regarding

Quote:
Originally Posted by yard man View Post
No.
Toe down = clutch engaged. (riding along)
Heel down= sitting at light.

Works the opposite action of a "Suicide Clutch"

Heres a good example. Rocker Clutch in action.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-yEJSY9FK8
Thanks for the youtube link Yard.. pic tells a 1000 words as they say.

From memory, I think Indian used the same idea but the opposite away around.
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