IMG_4543GRGet to know Dirk Starksen, owner and president of Advanced Clutch Technology, and you’ll know his company, too. He’s an unrepentant gearhead, and you get the feeling that he’s built his business, at least in part, to give him and his staff interesting projects to work on. When we came across the ACT booth at SEMA, we spent a bit of time talking clutches, but what really grabbed our interest were the other things going on in the R&D department.

IMG_4540GR“About 15% of our company is devoted to nothing but engineering,” Starksen explained, showing us the new clutch master cylinder currently under development. “We found that with some of our clutch applications, even with a new ACT clutch, things still weren’t right because the factory master cylinder was badly designed.”

For those “problem child” cars, ACT is developing their own master cylinder in house to correct deficiencies in OEM units that range from weak firewall mounts to plastic bodies that can actually come apart in use. The best part is that they’re doing it with the retail price firmly in mind – it won’t cost a fortune to put right what the factory should have done in the first place.

IMG_4549GROther projects currently underway at ACT include the simple-but-effective Monoloc, which is designed to prevent throwout bearing failures in pull-type clutches (and is standard equipment on ACT clutches for those applications and available as a standalone replacement as well), and wide-ratio gearsets for Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki dirt bikes. The gearsets offer higher top speeds and better mileage thanks to the taller gearing.