downshift/braking methods

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by cellige, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. cellige

    cellige Adventurer

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    Someone said it would be a good idea to post in this subforum, so here we go ! Question about downshifting !

    Seems to be that the technique used out on the track (mainly without a slipper clutch) is to downshift while braking, releasing the clutch for each gear, finishing your braking/downshifting before you lean the bike, lean the bike and then immediately after done leaning, roll on the throttle.

    I would like to know why there is an advantage doing that method instead of: braking, downshifting through each gear with the clutch held in, leaning the bike and immediately after leaning getting the clutch in the friction zone/rolling on the throttle/getting clutch all the way out.

    So whats the deal?
    #1
  2. kyns

    kyns Long timer

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    It is WAY smoother to ride with the track style, releasing the clutch every gear. I allways ride like that, at the track or traffic or off road. Riding like that you are allways on the right gear and right rpm for the curve/situation. And you are then using the engine as rear brake. It is WAY smoother.:deal And smooth is fast.

    At the track you actually trail the brakes (front brake) all the way to the apex and down shift at the same time. Blipping the throttle while downshifts for smooth shifts. If you use the track method, you need to blip while down shifts, or you get a lot of CLUNCKS and eventually break your tranny.

    With the track method you allways have the engine connected to the ground, either engine braking or accelerating. RPM and gear matched to the situation.
    #2
  3. joexr

    joexr Banned

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  4. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

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    Clutch?? I only use that when I'm stopped.
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  5. henshao

    henshao Bained

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    I prefer to be in the right gear before I ever reach the corner, but I will skip every gear on the way down to it.
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  6. atomicalex

    atomicalex silly aluminum boxes

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    Be warned, once you start trail braking, you will never give it up. It is one of the most useful advanced techniques there is. You can bail out of some deeeeeeeeep sheet on tractive surfaces if you are confident and can apply it properly. YMMV on loose surfaces!
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  7. ADZ

    ADZ Been here awhile

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    Cause you don't want to freewheel through any corner.
    You want throttle cracked on as soon as u finish braking to balance the bike and hold a consistent line.
    Who tought u option 2??? It's dangerous.
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  8. Bounder

    Bounder ExternallyDisplaced

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    Option 2 runs the risk of the bike locking up as you bang down through the gears and then let the clutch out, also when the engine has been spun up by the lower gears its very likely to be in the meat of the torque curve and as you roll the throttle on you could spin the rear which usually means bad juju.
    Better to go into the corner under control and in the correct gear and on partial throttle.
    #8
  9. cellige

    cellige Adventurer

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    To clarify the only differences I was describing between option 1 and 2 were:
    letting the clutch out for each gear in option 1, and not in option 2.
    cracking the throttle on just after lean completion in option 1, versus letting clutch out just after lean completion in option 2. Both being at the same spot on the track.
    #9
  10. mdubya

    mdubya Right Brigade

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  11. pretbek

    pretbek Long timer

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    You don't have to concentrate on proper gas/clutch control when you are already in the right gear with the clutch fully released.
    That way you can focus on other things like apex, exit speed, obstacles and road surface.

    If you get the gas/clutch thing wrong while leaned over, you can more easily lose traction and lowside or highside. Repercussions are less bad when still approaching the turn riding upright.
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  12. cellige

    cellige Adventurer

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    pretbek, perhaps its just my lack of skill but it seems on my bike that even if I crack the throttle on the smallest amount I can, its still not smooth, whereas I can get the power on (in the same amount of time) by engaging the clutch/throttle very smoothly. Is that not common?
    #12
  13. GoUglyEarly

    GoUglyEarly Boots Still Clean

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    Learning to implement trailbraking increased my cornering confidence immensely.

    Letting the clutch out for each gear makes it easier to match revs on the downshift for me, requires less blip, decreases the chance I will upset the suspension, and provides engine braking.

    If you don't need all that and can match revs just fine on multiple gear downshifts I don't see why you shouldn't continue doing what you are comfortable with.
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  14. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    Let's confuse it a little more. I ride my street bikes, like a dirt bike. Lots of clutch action, especially at slow speed. When I'm down shifting, I don't bang the clutch lever back out, maybe 85%-95% all the way out, and since I don't have a slipper clutch, and I'm not springing $1000 for one, I don't have any issues with chirping or locking the rear wheel when I'm starting to get aggressive when I'm downshifting. Make sense?
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  15. kyns

    kyns Long timer

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    To be smooth, you need to go down to the correct gear and letting the clutch out BEFORE the apex. Then "cruise" trough the curve on steady gas and smoothly ad throttle once trough the apex.

    Do not go trough the corner with your clutch pulled in, and letting it out only after apex.
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  16. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    You're talking about when the throttle comes back on while the clutch is fully released? Each bike is a bit different when it come to how abruptly it comes back on. You may want to feather the clutch a bit to smooth the power delivery, because rough throttle engagement can upset the suspension in a similar manner as rough shifts.

    I enjoy letting the clutch out in each gear while doing rev matched downshifts. Not only is it just plain fun, but it also helps me to develop better use of the controls. I can tell when I'm having a good day when deceleration remains smooth even as I switch back and forth between engine braking and using the brakes. Early in my ride, I will make the decision of how aggressive I am willing to ride that day, and that is one of the indicators.
    #16
  17. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    What are you riding?
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  18. pretbek

    pretbek Long timer

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    Being smooth with the clutch / throttle engagement is not rare.
    I'm just saying (just like the other inmates) that you should be done with it before entering the turn. That way you are already on the throttle when approaching and in the turn (steady speed, same partial throttle opening) and don't spend any brain power on the required smooth coordination of clutch and throttle.
    Holding your throttle open at a steady position is more fool-proof than clutch/throttle play, even if you're good at it.
    #18
  19. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    Must have been bored on way home from work, was thinking about this peculiar question. One of those that, if you need to ask, you'll struggle with the explanation.

    Or perhaps it is the other way around: try this yourself at a track, and you will quickly have the answer with no further words needed.

    Anyway, riding home and was going down a few gears for a red light and was reminded that a motorcycle gearbox cannot be relied upon even to change down several gears reliably with the clutch "in". You need the clutch to transmit chain pull from the rear wheel and move the shift dogs a bit or one of your successive prods on the lever might not make a shift.

    So that alone is a reason why releasing the clutch a bit while downshifting helps.

    The other of course is that at corner apex on the track you are aiming to be going so fast that the tyres are using all their grip just to support you at lean. Idea is you then open the throttle a smidge at first and that is enough to begin a very gentle rear-tyre drift if you get it (i.e. your apex speed) just right.

    Obviously trying to do all that while simultaneously releasing the clutch after a multiple downchange adds enormously to the difficulty.

    Go slow enough and sure, you will manage it easily. :wink:
    #19
  20. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    Oh, and on the throttle smoothness thing, some bikes are better than others but on the track, a very smooth transition from no throttle to some is a very desirable thing.

    If yours is so bad that it helps you to feather the clutch for control at most apexes, then sure, feather the clutch. But in that case careful tuning could cut a lot from your lap times. :deal
    #20