What does a 'compression release' do?
I was sitting on the KTM Duke at the bike show, and I noticed this little sort of half-lever just above the clutch. I didn't know what it was for, so I asked the guy working the booth. He said it was a compression release (or something to that effect). I played it cool, "Oh yeah of course...the compression release. I knew that." Then I noticed the same thing on the Husaberg SM.
So what does it do? And when would one use it? I'm guessing this is something common to dirt-bikes...I've never owned a dirtbike, so that's why I'm not familiar with it. Or is just common to SMs? Also, this is probably just on the 4-strokes, right? Not on the 2-strokes? I'm thinking that it has something to do with the compression induced engine braking of the a 4-stroke motor...am I on the right track?
So...can someone help a brother out???