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Old 09-18-2013, 09:58 AM   #1
blinkstafoo182
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Beginner Shifting Question

I am new to riding motorcycles or anything with a manual transmission.

I am still a little unsure on how to properly downshift, and use engine breaking.

What I have been doing is I'll get up to 60-65 mpg in 6th gear, I'll see a red light a quarter mile up so I will let off the throttle and let the engine breaking slow me down to around 50 mpg. Then I will downshift into 5th gear and slowly let our the clutch into the friction zone so the transmission barley catches. Then once I reach about 35 mph I'll downshift to 4th slowly letting the clutch out to engage the engine and allow more slight engine breaking and will repeat this process till I am in first great and coming to a stop. While doing this I am using the front and rear breaks as well, not just the engine to slow down.

My question is, is this process correct? Or should I just pull the clutch in, coast, and change gears at their appropriate speeds before coming to a stop only using the caliper breaks? Will engine breaking harm the engine or transmission in any way?
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:03 AM   #2
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I think you should pay a visit to MSF, you will get some confidence there for your basic skills....
Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkstafoo182 View Post
I am new to riding motorcycles or anything with a manual transmission.

I am still a little unsure on how to properly downshift, and use engine breaking.

What I have been doing is I'll get up to 60-65 mpg in 6th gear, I'll see a red light a quarter mile up so I will let off the throttle and let the engine breaking slow me down to around 50 mpg. Then I will downshift into 5th gear and slowly let our the clutch into the friction zone so the transmission barley catches. Then once I reach about 35 mph I'll downshift to 4th slowly letting the clutch out to engage the engine and allow more slight engine breaking and will repeat this process till I am in first great and coming to a stop. While doing this I am using the front and rear breaks as well, not just the engine to slow down.

My question is, is this process correct? Or should I just pull the clutch in, coast, and change gears at their appropriate speeds before coming to a stop only using the caliper breaks? Will engine breaking harm the engine or transmission in any way?
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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I would say for now.... If that is working for you continue that. There are so many different ways to help you brake. It changes all the time for me on how I brake. Just depends on the senario i'm approaching.
Doing what you are doing will not harm your engine.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
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I would say for now.... If that is working for you continue that. There are so many different ways to help you brake. It changes all the time for me on how I brake. Just depends on the senario i'm approaching.
Doing what you are doing will not harm your engine.
Yep. It depends on my speed, distance i have to stop, other traffic, etc.

I will sometimes coast in, downshifting as needed (if I have a long distance to stop, and see the light turn red. I know I will have a wait at light). Other times, I drop right into N, and brake my way down. I never really think about it. It changes all the time.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:11 AM   #5
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What kind of bike do you have? sportbike? harley? regardless youre going to be using engine braking whenever youre slowly down because you let off the throttle when youre trying to stop i assume

of course if youre in a "oh moment" use the front brakes as much as possible, add the rear brake a tiny bit if you can without locking up. i saw someone a couple days ago, good rider but he was in a bad moment and locked up his rear brakes because he didnt use the front brakes as much as they can be used.

oh for someone reason you ever accidently decide to drive into the grass, try engine braking and rear brake slowly
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:13 AM   #6
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i only use rear brake like a boss
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:15 AM   #7
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It's a good habit to downshift through the gears as you slow down or approach a stop. When you get more comfortable riding you can "blip" the throttle when you pull in the clutch so as to match the engine RPMs to the lower gear to allow for smooth downshifts. I too use both brakes
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:16 AM   #8
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Lock dat rear up and lay-er down.


In all seriousness what you are doing is fine, but you need to learn to blip the throttle to match the rear wheel speed. Makes down shifts smoother and sounds great
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queenmoka View Post
I think you should pay a visit to MSF, you will get some confidence there for your basic skills....
I did the MSF course with Awesome Cycles, I was told I could hold the clutch and lower gears are needed no need to let the clutch out after each down shift.

I was just a little unclear on the down shifting process, and don't want to damage my new bike by doing something wrong during this process.

Thanks everyone for their help!
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkstafoo182 View Post
I did the MSF course with Awesome Cycles, I was told I could hold the clutch and lower gears are needed no need to let the clutch out after each down shift.

I was just a little unclear on the down shifting process, and don't want to damage my new bike by doing something wrong during this process.

Thanks everyone for their help!
What you've described will not damage the bike. I just prefer to have the bike in the proper gear for the speed I'm traveling in case I need to hit the throttle to escape a up situation.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_5.0 View Post
i only use rear brake like a boss
Braking thread again?
+1 with everybody, over time you will develop your own riding style and how you stop will different than everyone else's. Plus who needs brakes any way I still use my shoes as a brake.
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:37 AM   #12
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what kind of bike are you on? i dont really engine brake on sports bikes (brake pads are cheaper than engine parts) but if you feel you are having confidence issues maybe you are on the wrong bike.
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 90degree View Post
i dont really engine brake on sports bikes
Why? What does it hurt to close the throttle with the clutch engaged, especially if you know how to RPM match. I do it on any and every bike with a clutch
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:10 PM   #14
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I engine brake as much as I can and then match engine speed for clutch less down shifting
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
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what kind of bike are you on? i dont really engine brake on sports bikes (brake pads are cheaper than engine parts) but if you feel you are having confidence issues maybe you are on the wrong bike.
He has only 1-3 months of riding, confidence issues will be there with any bike to a beginner
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:24 PM   #16
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He has only 1-3 months of riding, confidence issues will be there with any bike to a beginner
It's more like < 1 month of experience, I'm on my first bike ever, oh and BTW its a Honda CBR250R w/ ABS. I know I know low power..... but I'm just trying to learn and be as safe as possible, I wanna ride a long time, not get something over my head, wreck, and then want nothing to do with motorcycles again.
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkstafoo182 View Post
It's more like < 1 month of experience, I'm on my first bike ever, oh and BTW its a Honda CBR250R w/ ABS. I know I know low power..... but I'm just trying to learn and be as safe as possible, I wanna ride a long time, not get something over my head, wreck, and then want nothing to do with motorcycles again.
i wish i got a 250 or a 600 as my first bike...
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkstafoo182 View Post
It's more like < 1 month of experience, I'm on my first bike ever, oh and BTW its a Honda CBR250R w/ ABS. I know I know low power..... but I'm just trying to learn and be as safe as possible, I wanna ride a long time, not get something over my head, wreck, and then want nothing to do with motorcycles again.
You don't have to apologize. Ride proud, brother
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:06 PM   #19
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One point, if I'm understanding correctly, you're only releasing the clutch a little during engine braking.
Of that's correct then you are causing the clutch to do a lot more work than it should. That would be allowing the clutch to slip for extended periods as you slow down.
Using the engine to assist in braking is fine and causes no harm but you need to fully release the clutch while slowing or it will wear faster than necessary.

Let's say you're in 6th at, for example, 60 mph. Pull in the clutch, blip the throttle to match rpm to transmission speed (you'll learn to feel it), at the same time shift to 5th then ease the clutch all the way out as engine and wheel speed come to match.
Decelerate to what feels like the right rpm, pull in clutch, blip throttle, shift to 4th, ease out clutch all the way, etc.

Never apologize for your bike. You ride what works for you and tell the rest of us to off.
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:09 PM   #20
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We will never criticize someone for starting small, and learning. We will, however, rag the out of someone that starts too big.

It wil all become second nature before you know it. Ride within your abilities, and enjoy for years!
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