Not long ago we had a question from a customer asking us what exactly the difference is between EBS and Non- EBS clutches. In this blog we’ll answer their question and explore in more depth the benefits and weaknesses of both.

EBS stands for engine breaking system and Polaris is the exclusive user of EBS’ for better or for worse. That’s not to say they’re the only ones with vehicles that have engine braking, lots of other vehicles have systems that use and take advantage of it. Engine braking is great for vehicle longevity because it saves the regular braking system for those times when you really need to use them, and saves the tires from the wear that comes from traditional braking.

The EBS is a special type of clutch made to slow down your machine when you release the throttle. Non-EBS’ are the exact opposite. As soon as you release the throttle your machine coasts freely, otherwise known as “freewheeling” and relies solely on your brakes to slow down the vehicle. The EBS is especially impressive when you’re using an ATV to pull heavy loads, push snow or place the ATV under other heavy work because it makes the vehicle more stable under all that added weight.

Some people have problems with Polaris’ EBS because of how it slows down their vehicle when they let off the gas and in some cases the rear tires can seemingly lock up when going down steep hills making it feel like they’re out of control. There’s a lovely quote from a member of that sums up this reality, “The first couple of times, you feel like you’re going to die. Then you get used to it and learn to control it.” Some people love this stopping power, because it takes away that annoying process of rotating through braking and adding power to get down the hill, others not so much.

A fairly loud noise also accompanies the EBS when it engages which can sound like something’s broken. It’s a weird quirk, but you will definitely get used to it. Those are a couple of negatives compared to a bunch of positives over the Non-EBS clutches, but as always you should try and get your hands on a model with EBS to see if it’s something you’re going to be okay with.

If you don’t like the way the Engine Breaking System works there are alternatives to it and ways to switch out the system, but it will cost you a good chunk of change. Just one word of advice if you’re looking to go down this route, replacing the EBS isn’t as simple as it might at first seem. Forums have numerous different ideas, different changes you can make to lessen the engine braking as well as some ideas for getting rid of the EBS, but the easiest route by far is buying a vehicle without it.

We hope this answers most of your questions about the differences between EBS and Non-EBS clutches, and as always if you any questions, let us know in the comments.


  1. Polaris Drive Clutch:
  2. Polaris Sportsman 400 Manual:
ClutchEbsEngine breaking systemNon-ebs

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published