MIP 3-Shoe 1/8 Scale Clutch Ring

Look, No Power Cord Needed!

By Buono, Derek

Publication: Xtreme RC Magazine

Date: July 2007  - Under the Scope

Issue 140 (July 2007)  Words: Derek Buono

With the 1/8-scale nitro boom in full swing, it was only a matter of time before MIP would add a 1/8-scale clutch to their already significant arsenal of hop-ups. Abandoning the standard three shoe/three scissor spring setup most commonly seen in 1/8-scale nitro racers, MIP decided to stick with a close relative of their widely popular 1/10-scale clutch and go with three carbon shoes and two wraparound springs. I was eager to see if this design would translate to the engines of its bigger, more powerful brothers.


• Three black carbon shoes

• Two heavy wraparound springs

• Heavy 3-pin aluminum flywheel


Installation and setup couldn't have been any easier in my .21 Ninja-equipped Mugen MBX5-R. In fact, taking off my stock clutch, which consisted of three aluminum shoes and three 1.0 springs, took the most time! With the MIP, all I had to do was hook and crimp the two ends of the springs together and roll them into the grooves that the three carbon shoes formed when lined up in the provided flywheel. Slipping them onto the flywheel posts was easy and fit with zero slop. Mounting the setup to my engine was also painless. All it took was a small inner shim, and the clutch bell lined up with my center diff gear perfectly.

I decided to hit a club race at my local track, Hot Rod Hobbies in Saugus, California. HRH is a small, tight track with lap times in the low 20s. To establish a baseline feel, I ran my stock aluminum clutch shoes and springs for the quals and switched out to the MIP clutch for the 15-minute main. Upon starting the engine I noticed that the wheels of my buggy were spinning as it sat on the starter box. This told me that the heavy springs were a bit lighter than the 1.0 Mugens. When the buggy was on the ground, it didn't roll and kept idling, so the good news was that the clutch wasn't fully engaging. On the track, I found that I was getting more of an electric car feel with the throttle. Engagement was a bit earlier but not enough where it sacrificed bottom end. Throttle felt progressive, yet still had good snap if I punched it. I did get better acceleration from the mid to high range than stock, which tells me that these shoes ain't slipping. The clutch felt consistent for the entire 15 main. I wish I could say that was the case with my driving.

Post-race inspection revealed hardly any signs of wear. All I had to do was blow out some light carbon dust from the inside of the end bell and that was it. After about a gallon of use the shoes were ready to be replaced—not too bad for a single set. The clutch bell also showed no signs of wear. This is a nice contrast to my stock setup where the aluminum shoes required daily de-burring while the clutch bell turned a nice purplish color indicating slippage, overheating and premature wear on the clutch bell bearings.


Tuning your clutch can be as important as tuning your engine. MIP gives us a great option with their Carbon 3 Shoe 1/8-Scale Clutch Ring. For the price of replacing your stock clutch, you could pick one of these up and enjoy hassle-free setup and maintenance with their wraparound spring design. Even though I ran the heavy springs, they felt lighter than the stock Mugens. You could try to cut a few coils on the springs to make them tighter, but I'd still like to get this setup to a larger track and see how it compares. I have a feeling I won't be disappointed.


Celebrity Equivalent; Rating 9.0



• Easy to install and remove

• Low maintenance

• Perfect fit



• Heavier than stock flywheel makes for unnecessary rotating mass

• Lasted for about a gallon of fuel



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