Do Honda ATVs Have a Clutch?

A clutch is responsible for changing up and changing down gears. A clutch needs replacing or servicing every so often. Therefore, it’s important to know whether an ATV has a clutch or not, so here’s the long and short of whether Honda ATVs have a clutch.

Overall, all Honda ATVs have a clutch. The clutch they have is what’s called a wet clutch. A wet clutch functions exactly the same as a regular clutch. The clutch is engaged electronically when you shift gears using the levers on the handlebars.

Today, I will explain how the clutch works on a Honda ATV when it should be serviced or repaired, and how to know if your Honda ATV clutch is bad.

ATV Rider in the action on Honda sunset background

How the Clutch Works on Honda ATVs

If you’ve ever ridden a 2 wheeled motorbike the clutch functions in exactly the same way on a Honda ATV. As well as, any other ATV. However, it is a bit different from most cars. The reason is the way to change gears is to either change the gear up or change the gear down. These are the only two options.

Whereas, on a car, the gears can be shifted from say 1st gear to 3rd gear in one go. On a Honda ATV, other types of ATVs, and motorbikes this is not possible. The gear first needs to be changed up from the 1st gear to the 2nd gear, before it will go up to the 3rd gear. Here’s a quick diagram of how the gears are laid out on an ATV:

1st gear


Down one gear/Up one gear




Down one gear/Up one gear


2nd gear


Up one gear


3rd gear

If you start in neutral you need to go down one gear to get to first. Then you need to go up two gears to get to 2nd. 

Honda ATVs have a full clutch but it’s electronic in recent ATV models. Rather than needing to engage the clutch manually, you only need to press a button on the handlebars, to change the gears either up or down. When you press the button the electronics on your ATV automatically engage the clutch. Before, it changes the gears. This is sometimes called a clutchless vehicle. Although, it technically has a clutch the driver does not need to engage the clutch themselves. 

It’s somewhat akin to being in between an automatic and a manual transmission. You still need to press a button to change gear so it’s not fully automatic. Like an automatic transmission. But, you don’t need to engage the clutch like you do a manual transmission.

But, the clutch still functions in exactly the same way. ATVs have what is called a wet clutch, which is different from a dry clutch. I explained what a wet clutch is in this article about what a wet clutch is on an ATV. It covers the pros and cons of a wet clutch over a dry clutch.

To understand how a Honda ATV clutch works it’s easiest to see how it’s taken apart and repaired. Here’s a video that shows how to replace a Honda ATV clutch on a specific model of Honda ATV:

But, the clutch shown is virtually identical to the clutch on other Honda ATVs. 

The new dual-clutch system (DCT)

Honda has created a new clutch technology called the dual-clutch transmission. As the name implies it has 2 clutches that work simultaneously. It allows for a much smoother transition between gears and is more efficient. 

One clutch is engaged for the gear you are in. And the other clutch is already in the next gear. Rather than changing gears on the clutch you’re using, it switches over to the other clutch.

When to service a Honda ATV clutch

The requirements can vary based on the exact model. But, in general, the clutch should be inspected after the first 20 hours, or 100 miles, whichever comes first. And again at 100 miles or 600 hours, whichever comes first, after that. Also, if the gears begin slipping, the transmission and clutch should be serviced or replaced.

Slipping is where you go to put it into gear and it’s very difficult for it to get into gear. Or, when it’s in gear it will pop out of the gear on its own. This is a sign the internal rings on your clutch are worn and need to be replaced.

ATV Rider in the action on Honda TRX700XX

Does a Honda Fourtrax Have a Clutch

The Honda Fourtrax is one of the main models of ATVs that Honda sells. It comes in the Foreman and Rancher models. So, do Honda Fourtrax have a clutch?

In general, Honda Fourtrax do have a clutch. But, the clutch does not need to be engaged manually. Instead, it has up and down gear-change buttons on the handlebars. When the gear is changed up or down, it electronically engages the clutch automatically.

A Honda Fourtrax has an identical clutch to a motorbike that requires you to use a foot pedal to shift the gears and down. Some ATVs have these. But, all the modern Honda ATVs have a built-in automatic style clutch. Which does not require the rider to engage it themselves manually. 

How Do You Put a Honda Quad in Reverse

If you’ve never put a Honda quad or other type of motorbike in reverse before it’s not exactly clear how to do it, and it’s necessary to read instructions or have someone show you. This is exactly, what to do to put a Honda Quad in reverse.

Generally, you press the reverse button located on the left-hand steering wheel, and then shift the gear down. However, the ATV needs to be in neutral ‘N’, or in 1st gear for the reverse button to work. If your Honda quad has a digital display it will show R to say that it’s in reverse. 

The reverse button is a small red button that you press down with your thumb. While holding it down, you shift the gear down. This will put it in reverse. It’s very important to be at a complete stop before attempting to put it in reverse. 

ATV Rider in the action on Honda TRX700XX side


I’m Rob, the owner of RX Riders Place. My family and I have a long history of riding dirt bikes and ATVs and want to share what we have learned.

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