10 Tooth vs 12 Tooth Clutch: Which One Should You Choose?

Clutches come in different sizes and vary depending on the expected performance. Today our focus is on the clutch teeth. Two clutches are commonly seen in go-karts; 10 and 12 teeth. Is there any significant difference between the two?

The main difference between the two is that the 12-tooth clutch supports a lower gear ratio than the 10-tooth clutch. There are a few more differences that will be covered in this article. We’re going to take a closer look at a 10 tooth vs 12 tooth clutch.

Choosing the right clutch can make or break your go vehicle, literally. With so many centrifugal clutches available in the market, it’s not going to be easy to choose one! So, we’ll also try to steer you towards making a good purchase.

What Are Teeth on a Clutch?

While many of you know what a clutch is, many are new to this. Take me, for example; I always knew clutches don’t have teeth and they work through friction.

Later I found out that clutches can be toothless or with teeth. The toothless clutches work through friction. On the other hand, clutches that have teeth like gears work by interlocking with chains or another clutch.

Like gears, these clutches will have these hills (these are the teeth) with even gaps in between. It allows the clutch to avoid friction and avoid wearing out.

What Is the Purpose of Teeth on a Clutch?

Before we go into discussing the difference between 10T and 12T clutches, it helps to know what exactly the teeth do.

If you’ve seen how gear works, you know that the teeth of two gears are in contact. When one gear moves, the other one moves. That’s how energy is transferred.

If the number of teeth is the same in both parts, the energy will be transferred equally where the ratio is 1:1. But if the number of teeth is different, we get a gear ratio of something like 2:3 where the speed decreases or 2:1, where the speed increases.

Gear Ratio

It’s what you get when you divide the number of teeth in the driver gear by the number of teeth in the driven gear.

When it comes to a clutch, it’s determined by the number of teeth on the clutch and the number of teeth on the axle sprocket. Below is a simple formula:

  • If there are fewer teeth on the clutch, the gear ratio will be higher
  • If there are more teeth on the sprocket, the gear ratio will be lower

And this gear ratio, along with engine speed, will determine your go-kart’s speed.

The Difference Between 10T and 12T Clutch

In technical terms, the only difference is the number of teeth. The difference becomes meaningful when you put them in a mini bike or a go-kart and drive them.

A 10-teeth clutch will give you a completely different performance than a 12-teeth clutch in the same go-kart. It’s because if you use a 60-teeth axle sprocket with both clutches, the gear ratio will be different.

The 10-teeth clutch and 60-teeth axle combo have a gear ratio of 6:1. And the 12-teeth will result in a gear ratio of 5:1.

Performances of the two go-karts will be affected by the difference in torque produced. The 6:1 gear ratio will provide more torque than the 5:1 gear ratio. They will behave differently with the same load.

But does a lower gear ratio mean that a 12-teeth clutch is better? No, far from it.

10 Teeth vs. 12 Teeth Clutch; Which Is Better?

It depends on what is “better” for you. Several things decide which clutch configuration is suitable for you.

  • What you’re using your go-kart for
  • Axle sprocket’s number of teeth
  • Tire size

These 3 factors will tell you whether a 10-teeth clutch or a 12-teeth clutch will work well with your engine.

I have a general guideline you can follow to make your life simple and easy. If you have a larger heavy go-kart, the 10 teeth clutch with its lower gear ratio meets your needs. The high torque is necessary when you need to push a heavy load.

However, if you’re looking to use a go-kart for high-speed performance, you’ll need to use the 12 feet clutch. The 12T clutch’s gear ratio provides high speed, whereas the 10T clutch’s ratio provides very high torque.

Chain Compatibility

This is also an issue you need to keep in mind if you want to customize your go-kart or mini-bike.

It is obvious that the difference in the number of teeth will impact their compatibility with chains that hooks them up to the motor. Fewer teeth, such as 10T on the same clutch size, means more gap between two teeth. And that requires a different chain that you’d use on a clutch with more teeth like the 12T.

In technical terms, the gap between two teeth is called the pitch. You can find out which chain is compatible with your clutch by the pitch size chart.

For instance-

  • A 10-teeth clutch will support chains with the numbers 40, 41, and 420 as it has a ½ inch pitch
  • A 12-teeth clutch will work with chains with the number 35, as it has only 3/8 inch pitch

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main advantage of a toothed clutch?

The main reason why people prefer a toothed or centrifugal clutch is that it can offer 3 times more torque compared to a friction clutch of the same diameter. And it doesn’t need to deal with wearing out as often.

What engine is commonly used with a toothed clutch?

Combustion engines are commonly paired with a toothed clutch.

Final Words

So, after going through a detailed comparison of 10 tooth vs. 12 tooth clutch configurations, it’s clear that neither is better than the other. It completely depends on what you are expecting from it. If you want to carry or tow a heavy load, it’s the 10-tooth clutch, but if you want more speed, the 12-tooth clutch is what you need.

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