Proper downshifting when coming to a stop - Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Proper downshifting when coming to a stop

When coming to a stop in a relatively short distance, I usually cheat and make it easier for myself and just hold the clutch in and apply the brakes rather than going through the full steps of downshifting while opening and closing the clutch between each gear.
I will bring the bike down into first gear by the time I'm stopped, but I just don't release the clutch until I'm stopped, giving me a smoother and more effortless stop.

Is this wrong or do many people do this?

If I know I will be stopping at a certain distance and have plenty of time, I do downshift gear by gear.
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 09:36 PM
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I do the same thing.

07 Ninja 500
98 ZX6E
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Urban Coyote View Post
When coming to a stop in a relatively short distance, I usually cheat and make it easier for myself and just hold the clutch in and apply the brakes rather than going through the full steps of downshifting while opening and closing the clutch between each gear.
I will bring the bike down into first gear by the time I'm stopped, but I just don't release the clutch until I'm stopped, giving me a smoother and more effortless stop.

Is this wrong or do many people do this?

If I know I will be stopping at a certain distance and have plenty of time, I do downshift gear by gear.
If you actually downshift though, you are doing what is called engine braking, by bringing it down, the engine will run at a higher speed, and slow itself a lot by just easing out the clutch. I like to do this so my controlled braking isn't relying fully on the brakes.
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-06-2007, 01:21 AM
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Some people told me about that and they said "well, I do that to save the brakes", then I thought "the brake pads or the transmission? Hmmm tough choice!!!"
So, for short distance I never use the gear to slow it down but the brakes instead.

In short: I do the same thing

YF
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-06-2007, 05:50 AM
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I've had a sports car for years, and because I downshift all the time, more out of habit than anything, my sports car went 133,000 miles before I had to change the brake pads. It didn't hurt the trannie at all. The secret of not tearing up the trannie on your bike when downshifting is not over revving your engine and putting that much strain on it. My new bike came with a manual that stated speeds at which I can downshift, but I ignore it. If you listen to your engine, you'll be able to tell by its sound when you're being hard on it.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-06-2007, 08:52 AM
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Here's a completely different slant on the subject. I was taught in the motorcycle safety course to downshift while stopping. Had nothing to do with engine braking. Rather, we were taught to do this so that you'd always be in the appropriate gear should you have to suddenly take off.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-06-2007, 09:00 AM
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Kev,
I would say that down shifting so you are in the right gear is a great idea and great for last min ditch efforts. I ride almost totally without using a clutch. Only from 1st to 2nd and that is all. i do down shift to most stops but I also engine brake without using the clutch. Same as I do a tractor trailer. No need to wear it out as well. And of all the years I have ridden I have always used the engine and tranny to slow me down as I was raised in a very mountainous area. Never broke a tranny or motor yet.

Hammer
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-06-2007, 09:41 AM
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remember that you can do that for a long distance stop, not short distance as questioned since you don't have much time.

YF
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-06-2007, 02:18 PM
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My Dad taught me to downshift the motorcycle while slowing, but would yell at me if I did it in the car "Brakes are cheaper than clutches". Never did figure out what the difference was. I downshift the bike because I like the noise it makes. None of my other vehicles has a manual anymore, much to my dismay, so I don't have that option there.
post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 04:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uesque View Post
My Dad taught me to downshift the motorcycle while slowing, but would yell at me if I did it in the car "Brakes are cheaper than clutches". Never did figure out what the difference was. I downshift the bike because I like the noise it makes. None of my other vehicles has a manual anymore, much to my dismay, so I don't have that option there.
IIRC, The difference is in cars the clutch is dry. The heat builds up very fast every time it's slipped. In bikes, generally, the clutch is a wet type clutch so it doesn't get worn from slipping.

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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by MadMaxR44 View Post
IIRC, The difference is in cars the clutch is dry. The heat builds up very fast every time it's slipped. In bikes, generally, the clutch is a wet type clutch so it doesn't get worn from slipping.

Steve S.
07 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Custom Midnight

I had never thought of that. Thanks for the info

Hammer
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 01:02 PM
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I downshift the majority of the time even during relatively quick stops. As mentioned by other posters, that way I'm always in the proper gear and by using the engine it decreases your required stopping distance.
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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 09:18 PM
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I've always downshifted for the reasons kevsumac said in both car and on the bikes as far as heating the car clutch just let it out quickly without slipping it more than absolutly nessacery (I all but dump the clutch every time I engage it. I've never worn one out plus its easier to put it into a power slide that way!)
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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 11:12 PM
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So guys...

The best of both worlds...

Why not use your brakes to slow down, and hold the clutch in as you stop but downshift at a rate related to your breaking speed... So if you need to you can still release the clutch and get going...

I mean I agree it could be unsafe to quickly go from 6-1, but if you just hold the clutch and slowly downshift its the best of both worlds, no?
post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 12:12 AM
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Down shifting

Personally I combine both techniques. By incorporating engine braking I lessen the wear on brakes and get several other safety benefits.

By downshifting as you slow/brake you should be in a gear that allows you to quickly accelerate and maintain quick effective control of the MC should some one unexpectedly pull into your lane space or if you should need to make a quicker/shorter stop than expected. I.E. you can execute an escape maneuver to avoid a collision confident that you will not hear that KLUNK, KLUNK of the tranny and loss of acceleration torque and control you need to save your bike, body, and life. How many times have you had the light change to green while you’re decelerating, and needed to accelerate to avoid impeding traffic or worse yet stalling? Far better to be in the right gear to smoothly transfer from slowing down to accerating to speed.

The other benefit to using gears and brakes is to better control the MC. If you 'coasting' with the clutch in, and you encounter sand, gravel, water/mud and tug on the brake you WILL lose control and balance and likely go down.
Using engine braking brings the laws of physics into play. Since the engine braking causes more downward pressure you actually have more control and stability available to you.

For inexperienced (folks with less than nn,000 miles, or less than NNNN hours in the saddle) casual weekend type riders tend to brake for and coast through curves and turns. You should watch the supercross riders. They use engine braking to exert downward force to let them negotiate serious curves using physics. I use this technique even in town on normal roads. Combining inertia, downward force (gravity) good throttle control (engine braking). The technique works well for stopping also.

There is my two cents worth…

Ride safe & long,
Colorado Fats
post #16 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 12:14 PM
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So you are saying you go threw each gear and release the clutch every time you shift when you slow?
post #17 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jraice View Post
So you are saying you go threw each gear and release the clutch every time you shift when you slow?
you dont have to go through all the gears to successfully use engine braking.
post #18 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 02:20 PM
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I go down every gear until I get to 2nd. If I shift down into 1st, the gear is so low that it jerks the bike. I usually coast to a stop before shifting into 1st. It just feels better.
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post #19 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 08:13 PM
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I do both but it generally depends on the situation. When I'm just having fun, slowing down my downshifting is also fun. When it's an emergency, I just go for the brakes. My bike has ABS so I'm supposed to get makimum brakage power.
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post #20 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 09:35 PM
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Yup!

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Originally Posted by jraice View Post
So you are saying you go threw each gear and release the clutch every time you shift when you slow?
Yup, every time!

ride safe & long
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post #21 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 10:01 PM
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You are correct if braking is the only objective.

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Originally Posted by Nighthawk-Nino View Post
you dont have to go through all the gears to successfully use engine braking.
You are correct if braking is the only objective. But your need to accelerate and perform radical moves to escape a potentially hazardous situation requires you to be in 'the correct' gear.

Ever had to unexpectedly swerve into the other lane while you were braking, into the path of traffic in your escape lane? You don't want to be in 4th or 5 th gear when you need the torque and engine rpm of second gear to escape into the lane next to you or even the next lane over.. Cause in 4th or 5th gears you will hear and experience two things... the Klunk, Klunk of the tranny and the thump,thump of your failing heart.

Nah, I don't do engine braking just to stop.

Ride safe & long,
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post #22 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 12:27 AM
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I would ask myself the following: would I rather have the engine-transmission or the brake fail in the most inopportune time?

I always say I rather blow the engine-transmission than have a run-away vehicle. Just think if you're decenting down a narrow mountain road, you would want to have good brakes, and would careless about the wearing out the tranny. The brake system is the most important system in any vehicle, in my opinion; thus, keep it in good shape and don't abuse it.
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post #23 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 03:03 AM
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Its basically a judgment call. I usually apply light brakes and downshift 2 gears before i release the clutch. but not every time. whatever makes you comfortable. This is not hard on your tranny or clutch. "slipping you clutch" under high load or hard acceleration is.
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post #24 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-08-2008, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by COFats View Post
Personally I combine both techniques. By incorporating engine braking I lessen the wear on brakes and get several other safety benefits.

By downshifting as you slow/brake you should be in a gear that allows you to quickly accelerate and maintain quick effective control of the MC should some one unexpectedly pull into your lane space or if you should need to make a quicker/shorter stop than expected. I.E. you can execute an escape maneuver to avoid a collision confident that you will not hear that KLUNK, KLUNK of the tranny and loss of acceleration torque and control you need to save your bike, body, and life. How many times have you had the light change to green while you’re decelerating, and needed to accelerate to avoid impeding traffic or worse yet stalling? Far better to be in the right gear to smoothly transfer from slowing down to accerating to speed.

The other benefit to using gears and brakes is to better control the MC. If you 'coasting' with the clutch in, and you encounter sand, gravel, water/mud and tug on the brake you WILL lose control and balance and likely go down.
Using engine braking brings the laws of physics into play. Since the engine braking causes more downward pressure you actually have more control and stability available to you.

For inexperienced (folks with less than nn,000 miles, or less than NNNN hours in the saddle) casual weekend type riders tend to brake for and coast through curves and turns. You should watch the supercross riders. They use engine braking to exert downward force to let them negotiate serious curves using physics. I use this technique even in town on normal roads. Combining inertia, downward force (gravity) good throttle control (engine braking). The technique works well for stopping also.

There is my two cents worth…

Ride safe & long,
Colorado Fats
Colorado:


Hell of a 2 cents worth my friend. I bought my first bike a week ago, and really have only ridden a bike a few times in my 31 years. At frist I was waiting until I stopped, then downshifting the bike -- basically coasting to a stop... It didn't feel right doing it like that -- so I googled it (ha) and read your 'two cents' worth. I had an idiot pull out on me, and had I not been downshifting I probably wouldn't be typing this. Unbelieveable... You probably saved my life.. =)
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post #25 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-08-2008, 03:25 PM
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Under normal, slow top conditions I usually use the brakes alone, but not always. It somewhat depends on my mood. If it's a faster stop, or a steep hill where I can feel the brakes have to work hard, I use the engine to help them out. I'd rather not overheat my brakes.

Usually though, I'm a coaster and I can mostly stop just by coasting most of the distance before a stop. I do it in my car too. Who needs a hybrid- just don't use your brakes! :-)
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post #26 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-08-2008, 04:18 PM
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post #27 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-08-2008, 10:35 PM
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I go down every gear until I get to 2nd. If I shift down into 1st, the gear is so low that it jerks the bike. I usually coast to a stop before shifting into 1st. It just feels better.
Same here, almost, I usually get 1st just before I stop, I have a hard time shifting from 2nd to 1st sometimes when I am not moving (ie: tranny is in that just right position, that you need to rock the bike to shift) but for a panic stop, just grab the clutch and hit the brakes.
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post #28 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-08-2008, 10:48 PM
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Wow, this thread is actually pretty good but I think there are some misconceptions here. What is being referred to as engine braking isn't actually engine braking; at least in the technical sense. Engine braking actually has nothing to do with the brakes or the clutch and in fact has everything to do with compression and gearing. Compression braking is the reduction in speed caused by the engines compression and the relative gear being used. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with the actual brakes. It is a very effective tool when used with Rev Matching meaning that you blurp the throttle each time you go down 1 gear matching the engine speed with that of the clutch and when done properly it is very smooth. Done improperly and you get the jerks man encounter.

So, if you are in any one specific gear and you simply let off the throttle you are in compression braking or as some people refer to it as "engine braking." Get into diesels with a Jacobs brake "Jake" and this gets even more interesting.

I use both the brakes and the transmission in an emergency stop and the technique when applied properly is very effective.
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post #29 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 11:10 PM
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Still pretty new to riding but I use the engine as well as the brakes. I slow down and shift safely from 5th to 3rd then 2nd and not to 1st until I'm completely stopped. I feel I have a better chance of avoiding something if I'm in the proper gear and off the clutch so I can accelerate quicker if the need comes up. I pretty much did the same thing in a car with a manual transmission and always thought that was the best way.
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post #30 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 12:02 AM
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I'm also a newbie, under two weeks of riding. In the basic rider's class they teach you to shift into first to get away quickly, if necessary, but what if you aren't stopped? They never talked about that. Logic would dictate that you be in the correct gear to save your bacon, no matter the speed.
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post #31 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 12:04 AM
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Logic would dictate that you be in the correct gear to save your bacon, no matter the speed.
Quite right as you never know when you will need to be in launch mode.
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post #32 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 02:19 AM
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Isn't any gear launch mode on my HigherBoosa?

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post #33 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-12-2008, 10:50 AM
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Isn't any gear launch mode on my HigherBoosa?

In effect, no as even the mighty Busa can get caught off guard.
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post #34 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 12:29 PM
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great thread! i wonder what downshifting does to the gas consumption..
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post #35 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 03:50 PM
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I doubt you would even notice a difference in gas milage,
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post #36 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
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I've had a sports car for years, and because I downshift all the time, more out of habit than anything, my sports car went 133,000 miles before I had to change the brake pads. It didn't hurt the trannie at all. The secret of not tearing up the trannie on your bike when downshifting is not over revving your engine and putting that much strain on it. My new bike came with a manual that stated speeds at which I can downshift, but I ignore it. If you listen to your engine, you'll be able to tell by its sound when you're being hard on it.
I agree with you it saves the brakes and no harm.
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post #37 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 04:44 PM
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When people here are talking about downshifting through the gears for a stop, do you also 'rev-match' by revving a little for every downshift? Or is 'rev-matching' for when you want to continue going at the same speed, or a little less, without stopping?

If I'm downshifting (and braking) for a stoplight, I usually just downshift when the rpms are low and there really isn't any dramatic slowdown. Thus, I see no need to 'rev-match' (though everyone seems to recommend this?)
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post #38 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 04:54 PM
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I always clutch and downshift as I come to a stop. In a quickstop, I'll hold in the clutch and brakes all the while downshifting to 1st.
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post #39 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ecd View Post
When people here are talking about downshifting through the gears for a stop, do you also 'rev-match' by revving a little for every downshift? Or is 'rev-matching' for when you want to continue going at the same speed, or a little less, without stopping?

If I'm downshifting (and braking) for a stoplight, I usually just downshift when the rpms are low and there really isn't any dramatic slowdown. Thus, I see no need to 'rev-match' (though everyone seems to recommend this?)
I do rev-match sometimes (when just stopping) but its just to make my bike growl a little.
Most of the time when I downshift, if I am around houses, I just drop a gear when rpm's are low enough and don't rev-match.
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post #40 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 08:03 AM
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I agree with you it saves the brakes and no harm.
Brakes are cheaper to replace than a clutch though.

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