Shifting without using the clutch? - Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Shifting without using the clutch?

okay, here is my question.

Should you be able to shift into 3rd, 4th, and 5th gear without using the clutch?

I have had a few people tell me that on their bikes or on older bikes once they get to the higher gears they can simply shift up without using the clutch. I drive a 2002 V-Star and I simply cannot shift gears without pulling in the clutch. if you try to shift up or down without pulling in the clutch, the shift lever just does not move at all. it is just like trying to move something that is not intended to move.

now its no big deal, I really dont care one way or the other. I always pull in the clutch when I shift but I was just wondering if it was necessary for the higher gears. This is the only bike I have ever owned so I dont have anything to compare it to.
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post #2 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 03:15 PM
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You actually never NEED to use the clutch to shift UP. You have to use it to shift down, though.

What you do is you rev it up, then you let off the throttle a little bit and shift, then apply throttle again. It's very easy. I actually did it on accident while taking the MSF course.

Edit: I have a Suzuki 2007 GS500F so this doesn't just apply to older bikes.
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post #3 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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hmmm, well thats interesting. I wonder if there is still a problem with my clutch because my clutch plates were stuck together but I managed to get them to break loose.

But on my bike without pulling in the clutch it wont shift at all. However, all I have to do to get it to shift is just pull in the clutch a little bit
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post #4 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 03:36 PM
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let off the gas, shift then give it gas, you should be able to shift either way without the clutch. It take a little practice.

Your problem could be some kind of Yamaha safety feature to keep you from shifting with out the clutch. Manufacturers frown on the practice.

Last edited by roadster; 03-12-2009 at 03:38 PM.
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post #5 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 04:00 PM
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You have to lift the shift lever at the exact point when engine load comes off the gears. It's the point between acceleration and deceleration when you let off the throttle. If you try to shift while there's any accel or decel load on the gears, it'll be hard, or impossible to do. It's a timing thing that you just learn after a while. It definitely can be done though.
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post #6 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 04:03 PM
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If you've ever practiced speed-shifting, that's the exact same concept without the clutch.

What you do is try to shift so quickly that you barely even notice a decel/accel of engine speed. Smooth and quick. If you can do this alright, then when you factor out the clutch, you get the same result.
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post #7 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 04:40 PM
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It's all about matching RPM's. If you can match the rpm of where the new gear will be at that speed you can do it. I used to do it in my cars that had manual transmissions. I don't do it often because you can occationally grind gears, which is never good for the gears.
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post #8 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 04:53 PM
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You need to use the clutch,....unless trans is design so that you can shift without a clutch at certain rpm.

You can shift without a clutch,,,,but it's your bike. You can do whatever you want with it,....including eventually replacing some gears somewhere down the road.
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post #9 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skooter Bum View Post
You need to use the clutch,....unless trans is design so that you can shift without a clutch at certain rpm.

You can shift without a clutch,,,,but it's your bike. You can do whatever you want with it,....including eventually replacing some gears somewhere down the road.
no you don't. motorcycles have constant mesh sequential transmissions. no synchros. you can upshift or downshift at any rpm without the clutch. won't even damage the trans.

the clutch is there to get you out of first, and allow you to control how much power gets to the wheels, and how smoothly it's applied--in the case of downshifting, you're using it to reduce the driveline shock so you don't lock up the rear or overload it midcorner.
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post #10 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 06:35 PM
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I generally use the clutch. It's not really that hard to do.

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post #11 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 09:38 AM
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Yeah, it's a little handle to your left. Apply about 3 lbs of pressure, if that, and bam, you have disengaged the engine from the wheel, allowing you to shift freely. Call me crazy, but constant synchro transmission mesh sequential or not, the sound of grinding gears makes my stomach churn.
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post #12 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 10:42 AM
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This topic has come up numerous times and it's always the same thing. Those that swear by their clutches, those that aren't afraid to shift without it and those that just flat out don't have a clue what they are talking about.

Those of you that have it figured out... congrats!!!!
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post #13 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 10:44 AM
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The clutch is the best way and the easiest way on parts too. It can be done withsome pratice. I have a stick shift car and it works there too.
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post #14 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evenrane View Post
okay, here is my question.

Should you be able to shift into 3rd, 4th, and 5th gear without using the clutch?

I have had a few people tell me that on their bikes or on older bikes once they get to the higher gears they can simply shift up without using the clutch. I drive a 2002 V-Star and I simply cannot shift gears without pulling in the clutch. if you try to shift up or down without pulling in the clutch, the shift lever just does not move at all. it is just like trying to move something that is not intended to move.

now its no big deal, I really dont care one way or the other. I always pull in the clutch when I shift but I was just wondering if it was necessary for the higher gears. This is the only bike I have ever owned so I dont have anything to compare it to.
You should be able to shift through all the gears without the clutch as long as the tranny main and counter shafts are moving.
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post #15 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 10:50 AM
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and those that just flat out don't have a clue what they are talking about.
Hey, you leave us alone!
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post #16 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 10:57 AM
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You can do this in a car too. Any manual transmission can be shifted without a clutch. Is doing it all the time good for the transmission? No. Will it hurt to do it every once in a while? No.

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post #17 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daw840 View Post
You can do this in a car too. Any manual transmission can be shifted without a clutch. Is doing it all the time good for the transmission? No. Will it hurt to do it every once in a while? No.
Car tranny and bike tranny= completely different.
In a bike tranny all of the gears on the main shaft are meshed with all of the gears on the counter shaft all of the time. The only things that engage when you shift are the dogs on a slider gear to the slots on a freewheeling gear.

Shifting without the clutch on a bike isn't going to hurt a thing. You would actually have to do some pretty bone headed stuff to mess it up. Like red line 3rd and kick the bike down into second.
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post #18 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
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Car tranny and bike tranny= completely different.
In a bike tranny all of the gears on the main shaft are meshed with all of the gears on the counter shaft all of the time. The only things that engage when you shift are the dogs on a slider gear to the slots on a freewheeling gear.

Shifting without the clutch on a bike isn't going to hurt a thing. You would actually have to do some pretty bone headed stuff to mess it up. Like red line 3rd and kick the bike down into second.

Hmm, I didn't really realize it was that much different. Thanks for the info. I'm really good with cars, but bikes are an entirely new territory for me. I guess I just assumed they worked the same.

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post #19 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, it's a little handle to your left.

thanks for letting me know where my clutch is. this is gonna make things soo much easier.

I always use my clutch, it only takes a split second, and that is what it is designed for. so why not?

my question was if I "should" be able to do it on my bike. Because I cannot. once the engine is running I cannot shift gears without the clutch.
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post #20 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmonkey View Post
no you don't. motorcycles have constant mesh sequential transmissions. no synchros. you can upshift or downshift at any rpm without the clutch. won't even damage the trans.

the clutch is there to get you out of first, and allow you to control how much power gets to the wheels, and how smoothly it's applied--in the case of downshifting, you're using it to reduce the driveline shock so you don't lock up the rear or overload it midcorner.
First I would like to thank you for this information and you are right,.....you don't need a clutch for up shifting. But you still need a clutch for downshifting. The clutch momentarly freezes to motion of the gears so you can downshift.

With the money that I have invested in my bike,...I prefer to use the clutch.
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post #21 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 12:48 PM
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These articles might help clarify things a bit...

My .02...upshift without clutch is ok...downshift NO.

http://www.vf750fd.com/blurbs/shifting.html

http://sport-motorcycles.suite101.co...ift_techniques
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post #22 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 01:41 PM
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Some people "pre-load" the shifter. Which is: You apply a little bit of tension under the shifter when you're getting ready to shift, and once out let go of the gas, pull a little harder.... I never actually tried it, I always shift with the clutch...
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post #23 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 03:06 PM
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post #24 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 10:27 PM
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I tried it when I was out riding this evening, simply because I never have before. No go. There was something physically blocking me from shifting up or down, with the exception of shifting up from 3-4 and 4-5. It did that easily too, barely any pressure applied and it slid into place with ease. However, even with moderate to heavy pressure, there was no shifting to be done up or down in any other gear. The shifting leaver would not move regardless of force, as though there was a physical obstruction, such as a safety block of some sort, preventing me from doing so. On some bikes, perhaps, but not on mine.
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post #25 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
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I tried it when I was out riding this evening, simply because I never have before. No go. There was something physically blocking me from shifting up or down, with the exception of shifting up from 3-4 and 4-5. It did that easily too, barely any pressure applied and it slid into place with ease. However, even with moderate to heavy pressure, there was no shifting to be done up or down in any other gear. The shifting leaver would not move regardless of force, as though there was a physical obstruction, such as a safety block of some sort, preventing me from doing so. On some bikes, perhaps, but not on mine.
Because I've only done this on two bikes, I'm not sure if all bikes have the ability. However, I was just wondering how you did this?

When I do it, I have to shift as quickly as possible. If I let the engine slow at all then it probably won't work. What you're describing reminds me of going 50 in my car and trying to shift into 1st gear. The speed is too fast to put it in gear.

Basically what I'm asking is: Did the process of you shifting take less than 0.2 sec?
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post #26 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 11:40 PM
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I shifted quickly, my shifter is like a switch, it either moves and clicks and is done, or it doesn't move at all. Yes you cannot shift into 1st on a car above a certain speed, with or without clutch, due to a protective feature to prevent you from killing your engine/trans. This was not that. You can feel it starting to shift before it shifts, or you cannot.

I would be accelerating, let off the gas and a split second later go to shift up, when there is no pressure either from accelerating or decelerating between the engine and transmission, that split second where they're matched and if there was play, and time was frozen, you could wiggle it. Accelerating there is pressure to go faster keeping things locked up, and decelerating there is pressure to slow down keeping things locked up, in between there is a happy place where everything is under no pressure. That is where I attempted my shifts.
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post #27 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 04:14 AM
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This thread is goofy....
Just sayin'...

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post #28 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 07:47 AM
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You actually never NEED to use the clutch to shift UP. You have to use it to shift down, though.

What you do is you rev it up, then you let off the throttle a little bit and shift, then apply throttle again. It's very easy. I actually did it on accident while taking the MSF course.

Edit: I have a Suzuki 2007 GS500F so this doesn't just apply to older bikes.
Yeah, that's what I do too, but it's not as smooth as using clutch..

Now I wonder.... can stick shift cars do that?
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post #29 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 08:07 AM
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I have shifted without using a clutch on a bike and a car. I'm a cruiser at heart, and I see no need to not use a clutch.

Shifting without using a clutch is basically done when you're racing or in some type of competition. But I have to keeping asking myself, "Why would you want to shift without using a clutch if your not racing?" If your racing, those engines and transmission are torn down and inspected after ever race.

You can shift without using a clutch in a car,...but those trans are built so you can do that. And before I get any feed back,...you can shift without a clutch in a car,...but again,...those are basically used for racing purposes. And they are torn down and inspected on a regular bases.
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post #30 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 10:04 AM
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As posted above, auto and bike trannies entirely different. Auto trans missions are synchronized and most bike trans are not. Back in my teamster days, I drove a dump with a synched 5-speed over a non-synched 4-speed giving me 20 forward and 4 reverse speeds 2 shifters. Often, you'd have to shift both trannies at once. Shifting a synched tranny w/o the clutch is easy but VER HARD on synchronizers. Downshifting a non-synched tranny is easy but you must double-clutch. If you're at 3K rpm and want to downshift, you let the clutch back out when the shifter is in the neutral position and rev the engine to just above 4K allowing the engine and gear speeds to match. That'd be a little tough on a MC since they don't have an "H" shifting pattern. Bottom line, it eats synchronizers if the trans is synched.
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post #31 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 02:01 PM
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I have shifted with out the clutch on occasion by mistake from 5 down to 4th with no problem at all no grinding or any signs for it being a problem, I did it once trying to slow down quickly because of a cage pulling out in front of me I just flat forgot to clutch I down shifted from 5th to 4th and then to 3rd all with out the clutch It can be done but I do not recommended it at all.
Bikes and cars have clutches for a good reason so I try to always use the clutch and using the clutch will make My bike last longer.

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post #32 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-16-2009, 11:56 AM
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LOL, over the weekend I took a ride with my friend. I was trying this no-clutch shifting and he freaked out a little bit. When we got to the place he couldn't figure out how I was running through the gears with only my right hand on the handlebars.

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post #33 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-17-2009, 09:01 PM
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Now lets see it with out using any hands

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post #34 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evenrane View Post
thanks for letting me know where my clutch is. this is gonna make things soo much easier.

I always use my clutch, it only takes a split second, and that is what it is designed for. so why not?

my question was if I "should" be able to do it on my bike. Because I cannot. once the engine is running I cannot shift gears without the clutch.
Yes....you absolutely should be able to do this. I have a 2001 VStar....and my boss has a 2005 Vstar. Ive ridden both numerous times and Im a big "no hands" shifter. Easily done on both bikes with no issues.

I suspect its not a phyical problem but an issue with your technique cause I can think of nothing that could be wrong with your transmission that would allow it to function correctly with the clutch but would not shift clutch-less.

The clutch plates sticking are normal as can be....happen to alot of my bikes if they either set for a long time or if the temperature drops. If its cold usually the clutch plates stick....I either free them by bracing myself when I hit the starter to hold the bike back...therefore breaking them loose.....or a rock the bike back and forth until they free.

At any rate....thats not the problem.

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post #35 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 03:47 PM
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um... you guys sure it won't damage the gearing/transmission parts? I did it by accident before, it the bike kind of vibrated a bit then shift


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LOL, over the weekend I took a ride with my friend. I was trying this no-clutch shifting and he freaked out a little bit. When we got to the place he couldn't figure out how I was running through the gears with only my right hand on the handlebars.
Man you got some guts... if you fall both of you will fall, and if your friend freak out, s/he might go down with you

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post #36 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 11:32 AM
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Man you got some guts... if you fall both of you will fall, and if your friend freak out, s/he might go down with you

No, he was riding his harley right next to me, not on the back of the bike. That would look absolutely ridiculous, considering he outweighs me by about 50 pounds.

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post #37 of 96 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 02:40 PM
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lol, I see, I was thinking he was at the back of your bike...
But anyway, doesn't feel safe to me to ride with one hand.... but then it's just me
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post #38 of 96 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 01:04 AM
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Very fascinating...really.
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post #39 of 96 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by xTorvos View Post
You actually never NEED to use the clutch to shift UP. You have to use it to shift down, though.

What you do is you rev it up, then you let off the throttle a little bit and shift, then apply throttle again. It's very easy. I actually did it on accident while taking the MSF course.

Edit: I have a Suzuki 2007 GS500F so this doesn't just apply to older bikes.
I haven't used my clutch for upshifts for probably 10 years, on probably 8 or 9 different sport and dirt bikes. Never once have I had a problem!

A racer buddy of mine looked at me like I was stupid or something for using the clutch, so I tried it and haven't used the clutch since!
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post #40 of 96 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 01:53 AM
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I just started doing this on my Suzuki boulevard. I can up or downshift. It took me a little while becuase you really have to kick it at the right spot. I just do it for fun every now and then. Shifting with the clutch doesn't cost me much time.

2005 Suzuki Boulevard M50
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