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Old 08-19-2014, 06:01 PM   #1
black_labb OP
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1st or 2nd - split the difference

Just a quick story with no real consequences except I won't do that again. I've only been riding about 5 months but I've lots of bycicle experience commuting or touring so I have better bikeskills and confidence in traffic than most new riders.

On my way home I was turing right into my street from a turning lane. We drive on the left here so keep in mind that this is crossing the oncoming traffic (equivalent to a left turn when you drive on the right).

I slowed down as I pulled into the turning lane when I saw a gap open up and stopped. With the DRZ400 gearing, the fact that I was going down a slope and that I was still moving I decided I would be a bit better off in second that first but either would be fine. I stopped my downshifting early guessing I would be in 2nd but I could have been in first. I originally planned on shifting to first by the time I stopped so I hadn't been counting or doing particularly firms shifts. I slowly move forward in the lane, let the clutch with a bit of throttle out as I lean for the turn waiting to adjust my throttle to suit 1st or 2nd gear.

Of course I hadn't considered that neutral was in between 1st and second and my lazy downshifting had left me in neutral with a revving engine. Without the expected bit of acceleration I was leaning too far over and wasn't going to straighten back up. I quickly grabbed the front brakes and put my foot down just in time to not drop the bike all the way to the ground. I was quick enough to react to just be barely in the oncoming lane until the bike was back upright. The gap had a nice safe margin and the oncoming car and motorcycle slowed down making sure I wasn't going to somehow move infront of them.

Just thought I would share the experience as it is a situation that caught me completely offguard and could have been much worse if it happened in a situation with less margin for error.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
NJ-Brett
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I always downshift and let the clutch out, no guessing what if any gear I am in, and I am always ready to bolt if need be.

Some new riders just pull the clutch in and stop, then try and work the gears, does not work very well on a non moving bike!
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
I always downshift and let the clutch out, no guessing what if any gear I am in, and I am always ready to bolt if need be.

Some new riders just pull the clutch in and stop, then try and work the gears, does not work very well on a non moving bike!
I normally downshift fully when coming to a stop and know that I am in first because the tranmission doesn't downshift any further. It was the sudden decision that I don't really want to be in first that changed things out of the usual safe routine.
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Old 08-19-2014, 07:52 PM   #4
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Not a face plant.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:07 PM   #5
DAKEZ
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I'm with Brett... let the clutch out and KNOW!
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:11 PM   #6
ragtoplvr
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When you make a mistake you reflect , analyze and change behavior, you will become a much safer and accomplished rider. So, no more coasting with the clutch in, right?

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Old 08-20-2014, 10:24 AM   #7
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Another reason I am a fan of engine braking.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:48 AM   #8
aldend123
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Let the clutch out before you tip in to the turn. It's good habit for the reason you experienced, but also when you're going in to a turn after coasting down a hill. You don't want to let the clutch out as you lean in to the turn and discover you're in too low a gear (so that the RPM would be in the upper part of the rev range). The engine braking is sometimes enough to cause the rear wheel to lose traction when trying to spin the engine up to the matching speed of the tire, with a potential to become a high-side.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:58 AM   #9
High Country Herb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldend123 View Post
Let the clutch out before you tip in to the turn. It's good habit for the reason you experienced, but also when you're going in to a turn after coasting down a hill. You don't want to let the clutch out as you lean in to the turn and discover you're in too low a gear (so that the RPM would be in the upper part of the rev range). The engine braking is sometimes enough to cause the rear wheel to lose traction when trying to spin the engine up to the matching speed of the tire, with a potential to become a high-side.
...or a supermoto slide.

I agree though about developing habits that prevent mishaps. I would not have imagined the OP's scenario. In hind sight, however, it becomes obvious that engaging the gear before tip-in would have prevented the issue. I just learned something.
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:29 PM   #10
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Has the bike got a neutral light? Worth a glance sometimes.
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:53 PM   #11
Roland44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
I always downshift and let the clutch out, no guessing what if any gear I am in, and I am always ready to bolt if need be

Some new riders just pull the clutch in and stop, then try and work the gears, does not work very well on a non moving bike!
Yeah I always do the same as well. It's sad how many people don't do that though.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland44 View Post
Yeah I always do the same as well. It's sad how many people don't do that though.
I blip shift all of the things, its overkill for commuting, but that shit is a perishable skill, and NOT something you want to screw up over-cooked on the brakes up in the mountains.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:18 AM   #13
black_labb OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRG View Post
Has the bike got a neutral light? Worth a glance sometimes.
Yes, it was one of the things that could have helped it.



Not sure if all the comments are directed at me but I always shift down to first when stopping and use engine braking down to about 3rd or lower if slowing gradually. The situation was basically a rolling start in second where I steered before being sure I was in gear and realised I wasn't in gear at all. In normal riding I don't do anything suggested in the thread but I may when doing things differently like this situation; something I'll be more cautious of in the future.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:26 AM   #14
dwizum
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Two things the rider coach for my BRC tried his best to drill into our heads (I guess it worked, because I remembered):

1) For slow speed maneuvering or turning, make sure you are in the right gear before initiating the turn

2) When you're shifting low in the range, don't trust your foot or the neutral light. If you've got the clutch in, give yourself time to feather it out and feel if the bike is in 1, N, or 2.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:30 AM   #15
NJ-Brett
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Yes, you want to study the neutral light in heavy traffic.

I tend to downshift and let the clutch out in every gear but first, shifting into neutral before the bike stops moving.
I put my right foot down, and look in my mirror, ready to snick the bike into gear and bolt.
I do not trust clutch cables much so I do not sit there with the clutch in, in a car or on a bike.

Its fun to stop fast and smooth, and put one foot down once, in one spot, then have the foot on the peg before the clutch is all the way out, even 2 up.

Makes you look like you know what you are doing, instead of the two feet down, bike in neutral, not looking at anything but your very cool looking gas tank, both feet down till the other side if the intersection at 30 mph, when it might be safe to put your feet on the pegs.
Or, light turns green and you have to screw with the shifter, clutch, rock the bike, then stall it out when you try and take off in 2nd gear.

Its easy to tell how good a rider is in how they stop and how they take off.


Quote:
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Has the bike got a neutral light? Worth a glance sometimes.
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