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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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A couple questions about gears

1. Is it a bad thing, if I start the engine on the 1st gear (with the clutch on)?
2. Is it a bad thing, if I stop the bike completely using brakes and clutch (from, say, the 3rd gear) and only then switch to the 1st gear?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by n_dee View Post
1. Is it a bad thing, if I start the engine on the 1st gear (with the clutch on)?
2. Is it a bad thing, if I stop the bike completely using brakes and clutch (from, say, the 3rd gear) and only then switch to the 1st gear?
1) No, but it might be easier to put the bike in neutral first if you are parked.
2) No, but many will advise that you at least shift down while slowing down, so if you need to take off in a hurry you'll already be in the correct gear. It can also sometimes be difficult to shift if the bike isn't moving (though this is dependent on the bike).

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by n_dee View Post
1. Is it a bad thing, if I start the engine on the 1st gear (with the clutch on)?
As long as you have control of the clutch lever, it won't hurt anything.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 05:19 AM
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I think everyone is assuming by "(with the clutch on)" you mean the clutch lever pulled in. If so then not a problem. However if it's just slightly out of adjustment or cold you might get a little bump of movement when you first it the start button while in gear.

Number 2 not a problem but as has been stated, it's best to be down shifting and be in a gear where you could go if needed. If coming to a stop light or sign then all the way down to first gear. But on many bikes getting to first gear after it's stopped might require feathering the clutch(slight release and pull back in) in order to get a little movement to get into first.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 12:04 PM
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Best to start in neutral. There will be extra drag on the starter motor and battery if it is in gear, with the clutch in.

It is easier to shift down while slowing down. Shifting when stopped puts extra strain on the shift forks which can bend.

The above also generates good habits / skills. If you get sloppy in one area, you may get sloppy in other areas.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Got it, thanks.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 06:32 AM
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For the record: most bikes these days, will not ALLOW the bike to be started "in gear" but you CAN (as you have observed) override that by holding the Clutch in (engaged).

PERSONALLY: I prefer NOT to do that. It leaves me in a precarious position of having to KEEP that Clutch engaged.

As for avoiding downshifting until you are stopped........sure.........you can do that......but why not save your brakes, and use the down torque to slow you? It SOUNDS way cooler anyway!!

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 06:40 AM
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It really depends on the situation. When warming a cold motorcycle, it make sense to find neutral first then start. If the plan is to start and go immediately, it doesn't hurt to start in 1st holding the clutch.

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soupy1957 View Post
As for avoiding downshifting until you are stopped........sure.........you can do that......but why not save your brakes, and use the down torque to slow you? It SOUNDS way cooler anyway!!
Well, sometimes you just need to stop quickly. Switching several gears takes more time.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by n_dee View Post
Well, sometimes you just need to stop quickly. Switching several gears takes more time.
That's where practice comes in. When I find myself coming to a rapid stop, I often find that I've automatically downshifted accordingly. It's all about developing muscle memory.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 03:53 PM
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Neither is very bad but there are reasons for both to have a best practice...

Starting in neutral is easier on your starter, the cold oil drags on the clutch plates, in the summer it's usually not to bad but below 20 degrees my starter really drags if I do that in the morning instead of finding neutral first.

Downshifting while slowing down is safer, just in case you need to get going quickly again, say for example the car behind you doesn't seem to be stopping in time..

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 01:46 PM
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Every bike I've had was at least somewhat irritable about shifting back down into first after coming to a stop (especially from 3rd and up). Usually end up having to work the clutch and sometimes even a tiny bit of throttle to coax it into gear. As such I would recommend trying to get into first before you stop rolling completely. Unless of course its an emergency situation, then by all means, sort out the gear selection later.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soupy1957 View Post
For the record: most bikes these days, will not ALLOW the bike to be started "in gear" but you CAN (as you have observed) override that by holding the Clutch in (engaged).

PERSONALLY: I prefer NOT to do that. It leaves me in a precarious position of having to KEEP that Clutch engaged.

As for avoiding downshifting until you are stopped........sure.........you can do that......but why not save your brakes, and use the down torque to slow you? It SOUNDS way cooler anyway!!
Correct me if I'm wrong but if you are holding the clutch handle in, as in pulling it with your hand, are you not disengaging the clutch? I've always driven standard shift on my cages and of course bike and in a cage you push the pedal towards the floor to disengage the clutch. Exactly what you are doing by holding the clutch in. Let go of the clutch handle to engage the clutch.

My 04 will start in gear, gotta be careful when firing it up, always in neutral.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 04:10 AM
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Yes, pulling the clutch lever in (squeezing it) disengages the clutch.

What I'm saying is, by starting the bike in Neutral, it is not necessary to squeeze and hold the Clutch when you start the motor.

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudflap View Post
Every bike I've had was at least somewhat irritable about shifting back down into first after coming to a stop (especially from 3rd and up). Usually end up having to work the clutch and sometimes even a tiny bit of throttle to coax it into gear. As such I would recommend trying to get into first before you stop rolling completely. Unless of course its an emergency situation, then by all means, sort out the gear selection later.
It is especially important in an emergency situation to be in first gear when you stop. There is other traffic to be concerned with and a rider doesn't want to be stuck in the middle of a pileup because they couldn't get out of the way when needed.

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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 05:37 AM
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Stay in first gear at a light, unless you know the timing of that particular light, and know that you have a significant wait.

(Long Freight Trains are particularly troublesome; in which case, I might just shut off the bike, COMPLETELY!!)

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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soupy1957 View Post
Yes, pulling the clutch lever in (squeezing it) disengages the clutch.

What I'm saying is, by starting the bike in Neutral, it is not necessary to squeeze and hold the Clutch when you start the motor.
On my 2005 Katana 600f. Even if it's in neutral, you have to have the clutch pulled in to start it.
Just saying..
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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudflap View Post
Every bike I've had was at least somewhat irritable about shifting back down into first after coming to a stop (especially from 3rd and up). Usually end up having to work the clutch and sometimes even a tiny bit of throttle to coax it into gear. As such I would recommend trying to get into first before you stop rolling completely. Unless of course its an emergency situation, then by all means, sort out the gear selection later.
I have also found that if you go down into first gear too quickly that's not good for the motor, because you're dropping from a higher gear ratio, and the motor isn't ready to down shift that far. you got to be careful when you downshift, to be gradual about it.

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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
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I have also found that if you go down into first gear too quickly that's not good for the motor, because you're dropping from a higher gear ratio, and the motor isn't ready to down shift that far. you got to be careful when you downshift, to be gradual about it.
Yes, good point that I wasn't clear on for the OP. Speed matching for the proper gear as you downshift is always preferable. You don't want to put it in first while you're coasting at 50mph, etc. I usually end up hitting first right as I'm rolling to a stop.
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 10:51 AM
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It is especially important in an emergency situation to be in first gear when you stop. There is other traffic to be concerned with and a rider doesn't want to be stuck in the middle of a pileup because they couldn't get out of the way when needed.
100% agree, however whether someone actually has the wherewithal to downshift while actively trying not to die (panic brake) is the X factor there. Surely a good goal.

There are also many plausible single rider scenarios out in the country where it wouldn't really matter of course. Really all this is where telling someone how to ride typed out here, really isn't effective at all. Too many variables and its very situational.

The OP has several opinions here, should send him in the right direction anyway...
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post #21 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soupy1957 View Post
Yes, pulling the clutch lever in (squeezing it) disengages the clutch.

What I'm saying is, by starting the bike in Neutral, it is not necessary to squeeze and hold the Clutch when you start the motor.
What I am saying is, by starting the bike in Neutral, it is necessary to squeeze and hold the Clutch when you start the motor.

It is necessary on my newer Suzuki. It is not necessary on my older Yamahas. Some trucks and cars require the clutch to be pushed down to start.
I would suggest, it depends on the vehicle.
Some bikes like to be in second gear, then pushed and bumped to start. But now they use powered rollers under the back wheel.
With older trucks, you can not leave it in gear over night when it is cold. There is so much drag on the gears, it is next to impossible to get it out of gear, and there is so much drag, the engine will not turn over.
You guys that live and ride in the warmer places, do not get the of operating stuff on chilly mornings.

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post #22 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
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100% agree, however whether someone actually has the wherewithal to downshift while actively trying not to die (panic brake) is the X factor there. Surely a good goal.
That's where practice comes into the picture. Quick stops should be practiced until it all becomes automatic.

Sadly, there are many riders who practice their first quick stop when someone pulls out in front of them. That's bad timing.

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post #23 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by soupy1957 View Post
I have also found that if you go down into first gear too quickly that's not good for the motor, because you're dropping from a higher gear ratio, and the motor isn't ready to down shift that far. you got to be careful when you downshift, to be gradual about it.
That's why many modern sport bikes have slipper clutches. Yes, they protect the motor from over revving, but more importantly they mitigate engine braking that would otherwise drag the rear wheel.

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post #24 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
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What I am saying is, by starting the bike in Neutral, it is necessary to squeeze and hold the Clutch when you start the motor...........
Why? If the bike is in "Neutral," it ain't goin nowhere?! I mean, I get it............."safety feature" and all........but there ought to be a "gimme" when the bike knows it's in Neutral!!

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post #25 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
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Why? If the bike is in "Neutral," it ain't goin nowhere?! I mean, I get it............."safety feature" and all........but there ought to be a "gimme" when the bike knows it's in Neutral!!
Your bike and mine is just a stupid hunk of metal, it only knows what it's told. My 04 Sportster will start in gear or in neutral, and I do not have to hold the clutch handle in. So if I inadvertently hit the starter with bike in gear and not holding in the clutch handle, it will leap ahead and scare the crap out of me because I wasn't thinking. It happens..

My cage on the other hand, a 5/speed, will start in gear if I push the clutch in. It will not start in neutral unless I push the clutch pedal in. As you said, the bike or cage should know, someone needs to tell them..
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post #26 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 11:26 PM
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post #27 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soupy1957 View Post
Why? If the bike is in "Neutral," it ain't goin nowhere?! I mean, I get it............."safety feature" and all........but there ought to be a "gimme" when the bike knows it's in Neutral!!
Some bikes have clutch cut-out switches. Many of the Police package Harley's, for example, have this and won't start until the clutch is pulled in regardless of what gear the transmission is in.
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post #28 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
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Why? If the bike is in "Neutral," it ain't goin nowhere?! I mean, I get it............."safety feature" and all........but there ought to be a "gimme" when the bike knows it's in Neutral!!
I have been complaining about stupid design features, ever since they put the shifter on the wrong side.
On the big ferries I often have a cage 2 feet in front of my bike. One day I pressed the starter button on Yami and he jumped forward. I usually have the front brake on when starting. Saved the day. Yami will start no matter what gear he is in, or where the clutch and side stand may be.
The 83 XS400 requires the clutch pulled in.
The Suzuki wants the clutch in, neutral, and then will not proceed until the side stand is lifted. The older bikes do not have side stand switches.

The complexity may be to stop riders after a few drinks. But if you have a check list, the dumb things will start. In the old days with no safety features, they never started after a few drinks.

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