Track Tested | Slipshot Starting Device
Slipshot Starting Device
Developed by long-time motocross racer and funny car race team clutch specialist Charlie Pausina, the Slipshot is a small hydraulic damper that controls the rate at which the clutch is allowed to engage at the start of a race. Say what? Mounted down near your engine at the clutch actuation arm, the unit is activated by a handlebar-mounted lever on the starting line after you pull in your clutch lever and click your bike into gear. When activated, the shaft inside the Slipshot unit extends and rests against the clutch actuation lever. In theory, you can hold the bike wide open and just dump the clutch lever when the gate drops, and the Slipshot will do the rest by controlling the clutch engagement down at the arm. Once the clutch is fully engaged, the shaft clicks back into a locked state and allows you to modulate the clutch lever as normal. The damper is adjustable; slower action being more effective for slippery concrete starts, and more aggressive settings for tacky dirt or the new steel starting grates at the pro level. At the highest level, the Slipshot was used by Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger, Mitchell Oldenberg and Colt Nichols in last year’s 250 Supercross Series. (“That thing is legit,” replied Team Manager Wil Hahn, to the text we sent him as we were typing this review.)
We’ve tested the Slipshot at a couple rounds of the TWMX Race Series, and have had some nice results. On a concrete start pad, we had one terrible start and one massive holeshot. With a wide-open throttle setting on concrete, the Slipshot still allowed the rear wheel to break free and do a massive, time-wasting burn out. In the second moto, we used our normal concrete starting technique (low-mid throttle setting, calculated clutch lever release) and the Slipshot enhanced our start greatly…we wheelied off the concrete and pulled a rather large holeshot! The following week on a dirt start, the Slipshot performed flawlessly and we enjoyed two top starts with aggressive throttle settings off the line. Though it is initially tough to trust the device and dump the clutch lever as soon as the gate moves, the device will not allow you to loop out like you might expect to.
At $500, the Slipshot is a pricey investment, but the start of the race can make or break your result, especially in short local races. The unit is a little complicated to install—and especially so on the Yamaha YZ450F we tested it on—but it could make a big difference for the right rider.
Slipshot is so new that the website is still under construction. Interested parties should E-mail Pausina at firstname.lastname@example.org