"Short shifting" WTF is that?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by EetsOK, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. EetsOK

    EetsOK Been here awhile

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    WTF is short shifting? Do you mean shifting before the power/torque peak? SHifting at too low revs? I've been riding for over a decade and I still haven't had anybody explain WTF short shifting is despite them standing around talking about it.
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  2. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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  3. Barman

    Barman Way Offline

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    Short shifting is what rattles you out of a slumber at 3am as that empty 18 wheeler goes up and down the entire 10 speed shift range with the frickin' jake brake still on despite the fact that it's a 30mph zone.:boid
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  4. EsconDeasy

    EsconDeasy Ectomorph

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    The Wiki explanation is accurate, but doesn't cover every use of the technique

    Back in the ol' days, the dirt bike magazines would talk about short shifting open class (500cc) dirt bikes. I assume the reason is because those bikes would fall off the power curve at about the time a 250 is coming on. So, guys accustomed to smaller bikes would need to break themselves of the habit (the habit of letting revs climb past 3000) in order to get the most out of the machine.

    On a 450 thumper, I will sometimes take advantage of the soft power of the lower rev range by riding a gear high, eg - short shifting. It's handy if too much power would make the back end kick out or otherwise adversely affect handling. A quick pull of the clutch can then pick up the revs and get me back into the power.
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  5. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    I short shift for different reasons depending on the bike. On the 640 riding trails it is usually so I either don't kill myself and/or have a prayer of hooking up. If I let that bike get into the meat of its power on tight trails it either launches me into something, loops out or spins the tire. And having been pounded by the first two, I really try to limit how often I do them. So for the 640 it is normally to limit how much power I put to the ground. For the street it is usually for wheelies.

    On a bike like my 200 that has a very hard hit when it comes on the pipe I usually want to hit a turn or a jump a gear high to avoid having it come on the pipe mid turn or off the lip of the jump. Either of those scenarios can be exciting. See above about hitting things and looping out. For my riding style a gear low is better than a gear to high because it saves a shift and a quick fan of the clutch gets it back on the pipe. The 200 isn't very powerful lugging but it is nice to NOT come on the pipe in some situations.

    I learned to ride in deep sugar sand where short shifting was the fast way around a track or down a trail. The best way I found to hit those soft berms was to short shift into the turn then <STRIKE>use</STRIKE> abuse the clutch out of the turn. That kept you from blowing through the berm or spinning the tire too much on the gas and saved a shift on the next straight. It uses the clutch like an automatic transmission to modulate power and save a shift. It is magic when done right in loam and sand.
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  6. car94

    car94 What's this Box for?

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    What most fail to understand ^:rolleyes: is that short shifting with dog ear gears will destroy your driven gears in a very short(pun intended) time, so unless you have straight cut gears, or you like ruining your trans! I would suggest winding out your shift to there intended tolerances, or at least close to them!:deal It is also very hard on the Clutch plates.
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  7. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    If I wanted to be easy on the machinery I would ride a street bike. :deal
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  8. nanotech9

    nanotech9 ** Slidewayz **

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    ^^^ load of crock, if the definition of short shifting is as defined by the above posts... i.e. shifting early to stay in a particular power range.

    No way it can damage a thing.
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  9. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    And just how many transmissions have you re-built? :lurk
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  10. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard I have no soul

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    So riding a gear high in order to hook will destroy your gears ?
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  11. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

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    He was probably thinking of power shifting.
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  12. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    personally, i would love to hear an explanation of how/why short shifting damages anything in a tranny or clutch.

    bad for the engine? maybe.....with the emphasis on maaaaaaaaybe.

    bad for the tranny or clutch? :huh
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  13. Ranger Ron

    Ranger Ron Been here awhile

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    I have to short shift. I'm 5'6" and have a small foot. :lol3

    Ron :D
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  14. farmerstu

    farmerstu Been here awhile

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    i've rebuilt a bunch . and nonotech is correct.
    btw. i short shift to keep my loud pipes quieter in town and when courtesy dictates.
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  15. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    Not mentioned in the wiki def, short shifting and feathering the throttle will help keep the noise down on a loud bike. Thus, some riders will short shift in their neighborhoods to keep their neighbors from lynching them.

    As far as fuel economy goes, short shifting often helps get better mpg but not always. The hyper milers usually have to experiment with the machinery to learn where it gets its best mileage. Naked bikes often get their best economy at 40mph or less while slipperier aero'd sport bikes might do better up near 50mph due to a sweet spot where there is minimal drag. Some engines are designed with better efficiencies at slower rpm making them feel very good for plonking about and picking up rpm well from just off idle. Modern fuel injection has really improved overall performance across the rpm range. FI computers allow a multi to be ridden at slow speeds and not fall on its face when the throttle is opened. And large bore twins don't need accelerator pumps anymore.

    Old carb'd engines would load up on carbon if short shifted over a long period of time. I never heard of any trannys damaged by short shifting. Granted, one could short shift so low in the rpm range that the engine is lugging. And lugging will damage mechanicals. But lugging is an operator error. For example, let's say that an asian bike with 4 cyl luggs at 2500rpm in 6th gear and will not pickup cleanly when the throttle is eased open from near shut. But, it accelerates smoothly from 3000rpm. A rider might short shift into 6th at 3500rpm and save fuel, rubber, and mechanical strain while still having some useful power at hand.
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  16. Tosh Togo

    Tosh Togo Long timer

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    Ahhh...finally someone who sees the real truth. :thumbup :thumbup

    For the others, some of whom appear to be misguided, short-shifting doesn't increase wear on the clutch or the gearbox, and the only real risk is that you drag the engine revs down into detonation territory while using a lot of throttle. :puke1

    -If you think it's bad for the clutch or gearbox in some way, please explain how shifting at lower shaft speeds and less torque is a problem. Klutziness is not an excuse.

    Short-shifting is a technique that has several reasons for use...'fer instance: if you're on a pissy loose surface where the rear tire can't hook up very well, the best cure is to simply avoid revving high enough in the powerband to make that much power. Shift before you get there, maintain the drive because with less torque going to the rear tire, it has a better chance to hook up instead of spinning.

    Ditto on roadracing in the rain. This is a large part of why, with a decent rider, smaller and "slower" bikes tend to march to the front in wet races.


    PS- anyone who shifts before redline is "short-shifting" :lol3
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  17. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    hmmmm...would shifting at/after peak horsepower RPM, but before redline, really be short-shifting?

    i would not have thought of that as short-shifting.
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  18. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    Short shifting causing transmission damage? :rofl Yeah, sure. And Car, if you're rebuilding motorcycle transmissions, you're doing something wrong. There's no reason a motorcycle tranny should EVER have to be rebuilt if it's not power shifted (poorly) a LOT.

    Short shifting CAN however ruin your gas mileage if you're doing it a lot, and substantially
    #18
  19. dattaway

    dattaway yeehaw!

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    I short shift, because I don't need to live in the powerband all the time.
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  20. car94

    car94 What's this Box for?

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    Yes it does. If you do not have the revs high enough, the gears do not mesh completely causing premature wear. Same principal for added pressure on the clutch plates. And if you have never worn out or broke a trans on a bike? ! You are doing it right, but not fun!,, and it was not from short shifting.
    #20