Downshifting & Clutch Wear Question

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Michael, May 31, 2013.

  1. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    Don't go driving in the mountains with a standard shift car or truck, then. It'll get interesting after you burn the brakes out halfway down. :lol3
    #21
  2. SteelJM1

    SteelJM1 Undercover KTM rider

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    Ahh yes, nothing better than the fishy smell of fried brakes when following cars down Mt. Lemmon!

    p.s. even on auto's one can hold lower gears ;)
    #22
  3. Michael

    Michael Been here awhile

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    Tried it, and it works pretty good! At least where there is time for a lesuirely shift, since it takes a half second or so for the engice to rev up after letting in the clutch.
    #23
  4. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I do this frequently when I'm just toodling along and am not slowing down rapidly. Works well.

    However, for slowing down quickly, while riding more aggressively it doesn't bring the revs up fast enough and a "blip" is still necessary.
    #24
  5. TahoeRider

    TahoeRider Red Rider

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    Upshifting without the clutch should not damage anything as long as it is done correctly. Although I still do it occasionally on the street it really doesn't serve much of a purpose there. I don't like to ride that hard on the road although I still manage to let myself slip now and then :evil

    As far as the rev matching is concerned blipping the throttle is my preferred method as well. As ttpete mentioned it becomes automatic once you have some practice, and is the quickest & easiest method to get it into gear quickly. The worst thing you can do is drag the clutch without compensating for the rpm change. Not only does it wear the clutch, but it will lock up the back tire on occasion as well. When I was a relatively new driver I made this mistake with a diesel pickup that had a manual trans. I downshifted & let the clutch out rather quickly without matching revs, and the high compression locked the back wheels & started sliding down the road sideways :rofl
    #25
  6. bradluke0

    bradluke0 Been here awhile

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    Hi all ! ttpete ..... you have downshifting confused with being in the proper gear while going downhill utilizing engine braking . Using the engine to slow down otherwise is a risky move , lock up that back tire with a sloppy downshift and it gets interesting real quick .
    #26
  7. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    Don't do sloppy downshifts. I don't. Proficiency is a good thing.
    #27
  8. bradluke0

    bradluke0 Been here awhile

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    Hi all ! Proficiency is a great thing......in the real world however , we are not perfect and by using the engine to slow down just magnifies any mistakes . Just remember we are not as great a rider as you .
    #28
  9. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    I finally read the rider's manual for my K1200RS on changing gear/shifting down. Sorry BMW......too slow your procedure.:wink:

    Close the throttle first as in fully close???? Sorry again BMW that's really hard on the package that in the lower gears. Slightly better with the Corbin/Ohlins vs the OEMs but still.:lol3

    Not using engine compression for some braking and speed control in them very long hills here, and I say long (up to 15 miles).....now that's funny. I must have been doing it wrong for a very long time on BMWs.:evil
    #29
  10. erkmania

    erkmania Still Adventuring

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    For me, matching revs during a downshift becomes sloppier when I'm just tooling around town or just mindlessly going about my riding. In that case, it's easy for me to just hold the throttle steady as the clutch is released and a lower gear selected followed by slowly re-engaging the clutch. Like the others that said it before me, this method works well and if you're not in a hurry.

    While hustling the bike around, I'm with the others here too. Best to match the revs as well as possible to make the ride smooth.

    What I'll add here is that I don't always return the clutch lever to its neutral position immediately after a downshift. I will sometimes return the lever to a partway position so the clutch can slowly match engine speed to gear train speed. I do this particularly If I mismatched engine/gear train speed too much. I will even give a subtle throttle blip while the clutch is in the friction zone to reattempt smooth clutch re-engagement or I'll wait for the engine revs to drop if I've over revved. This has worked well when hustling the bike around and not wanting to overwork the rear tire.

    I guess my main point is that you can use the friction zone of the clutch when selecting a lower gear just as you can when taking off from a stop; same but reversed. I think the biggest thing for longevity is to keep the gear train and engine speeds matched as well as possible and don't demand that the clutch transfer a lot of power when these speeds are mismatched too much.

    I know, I know. I'm the master of the obvious. :D
    #30
  11. bradluke0

    bradluke0 Been here awhile

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    Hi all ! Some great feedback here . I think another thing to remember is a motorcycle clutch is different than a car clutch . They are built for abuse and designed to help control the power to the rear wheel . This is especially true off road . Using the clutch on a street bike is useful when turning in tight places , makes it alot smoother on a bike with a "loose" drivetrain . I abuse my clutch alot when dualsporting , it is only about $100 to replace and I do my myself .
    #31
  12. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    You crest a hill on a twisty road and start to descend. You're in sixth. It's a long downhill. Do you stay in sixth all the way down and use only the brakes for adjusting the speed?

    Please explain the '...by using the engine to slow down just magnifies any mistakes' comment.
    #32
  13. lnewqban

    lnewqban Ninjetter

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    Very true!
    That is why I cannot understand why so many riders perform clutch-less gear shifting.
    The clutch is robust and introduces flexibility in the engine-wheel connection and is our best friend.
    #33
  14. bradluke0

    bradluke0 Been here awhile

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    Hi all ! You guys are still confused regarding using the engine to slow down and using the engine to control your speed on a long downhill . It's not complicated . It's two separate things . Let's try this ....you are on a flat road and you approach a curve in sixth gear . So I pull in my clutch , shift into fifth ,let the clutch out , pull the clutch back in again , shift into fourth , let the clutch back out , pull the clutch in again , shift into third , let the clutch back out ( braking the whole time) and turn the corner . No , no , no and no . Sound dumb because it is . Hope this helps clarify .
    #34
  15. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Now you can respond to my other query, if it isn't too much for ya.
    #35
  16. bradluke0

    bradluke0 Been here awhile

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    Hi all ! " by using the engine to slow down just magnifies any mistakes " That is very simple.....if you are braking hard for a corner almost all of your weight is on the front tire . Almost always I use both brakes . If you are using alot of front brake and 10 % or so back brake and you downshift you have a good chance of skidding the rear tire . If you start skidding the rear tire with just the rear brake , it is not as serious as skidding it by doing two things at one time . There is more than one way to skin a cat so do it whichever way you want . Don't want to joust back and forth just trying to give another point of view , maybe it will help someone . Hope everyone has a great weekend !
    #36
  17. Barry

    Barry Just Beastly

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    Not sure I agree with this... I am not sure if you are suggesting to use only or mostly the rear brake????? If that is your suggestion, it is a bad one.

    Barry
    #37
  18. bradluke0

    bradluke0 Been here awhile

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    Hi all ! Reread my post......I am suggesting being hard on the front brake and possibly skidding the rear tire by downshifting and using the rear brake at the same time . Just to be clear , what I do is hold the throttle partially open , clutch in and click down the appropriate number of gears ( while using both brakes) and then letting clutch out slowly to match road and engine speed . Kinda like heeling and toeing in a car .
    #38
  19. Barry

    Barry Just Beastly

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    Makes sense...
    #39
  20. PalePhase

    PalePhase Humour Noir

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    That's neither here nor there
    ^ That is what I do and as long as you don't take too long to let out the clutch, it is very smooth and drama-free. :deal

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/rOax2ftgbNU" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>
    #40