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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm trying to get my license and my intention is to buy a 250-400cc automatic motorcycle, but the only one I'm allowed to learn on is a 250 mechanical.

I've been riding road bikes for years, so getting a grip on a 125 automatic took about 5 minutes.. but for the life of me I can't seem to grasp the mechanical one (pun intended).

My main issue is that to achieve momentum, you have to play a very precise game with the clutch and gas. You have to very slowly let go of the clutch until the bike just barely starts to move, then quickly apply gas to a point where the engine is between 2,500 and 3,000 RPMs, and keep it that way steady.

What I've learned is that if you let go of the clutch too fast - the bike stalls. If you don't give the bike enough gas with the clutch in proper place, the bike stalls. It feels like I'm playing operation!

Even when I get the clutch into the perfect position and rev the engine just right, it still vibrates in a fashion that feels very much like it's about to stall, though it doesn't.

So, in the end, I'm able to perform well on the obstacle course, but I just don't feel like I have a good understanding of what I'm supposed to do and it ends up feeling like trying to crack a safe while riding a bicycle.

All this when I have no intention of purchasing a mechanical bike, so I feel extremely out of sorts. Doesn't help that my teacher isn't that great and he's the 7th teacher I've found and the best of all of them.. and it's costing me $25 for a 40-minute lesson.

Does anyone have any assuring words?
I just wanted to get this license so I can take my girl on long trips. It's what we've always wanted to do. :|

Thanks!
 

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Practice practice practice. And don't be afraid to "slip" the clutch. Bikes are designed differently in the clutch area. Most are a wet clutch system. Which means you can slip them without harm. Well to a point that is. You can always do something too much. But a bike clutch can take lot more than a car. Just keep slipping and giving throttle until you get the "feel".
 

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Don't release the clutch all the way as the motorcycle begins to move. It is a gradual process done smoothly. Try to move 20 feet or so before the clutch is released fully.
 

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I don't know about all that technical clutch release stuff, I just give it gas and let out the clutch at the same time.

For learning do as you'd do for a hill stop. Apply brake, give it a little gas, gently let out the clutch, when the rpms drop let off the brake and you begin moving, give it a little more gas and continue releasing the clutch.
 

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Welcome from Seattle! Have you taken the BRC? One of the first things they will teach you is how to use the clutch. No one came out of the class still having problems with it. It just isn't very hard.

And, just fwiw, the clutch is one of the funnest parts of riding. I don't know anyone who rides an auto bike except for a couple of guys, and that is for medical reasons. You're missing half the fun on a Hondamatic. I do wish you the best of luck.
 

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Practice practice practice. And don't be afraid to "slip" the clutch. Bikes are designed differently in the clutch area. Most are a wet clutch system. Which means you can slip them without harm. Well to a point that is. You can always do something too much. But a bike clutch can take lot more than a car. Just keep slipping and giving throttle until you get the "feel".
Yes ! Practice and youll get it, try rocking, ease the clutch out (no throttle) and let the bike move up just a little then squeeze the clutch back in, let the bike roll back a little and ease the clutch out again, just keep trying that until you get the feel of your clutch, I did that with my fiancé and within 20 minutes she had it.
 

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or try it against a curb, no throttle, just using the clutch try climbing the curb. As soon as it is in the air pull in the clutch and do it again.
 

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Critter has the answer to learning your clutch. Every time I start my bike I need to turn it around to face the street. While it is idling to warm the engine I just use the clutch to move forward as I go back and forth to turn the bike in the driveway. By the time I am ready to pull out on the street I have reminded myself exactly where my clutch starts to engage. This morning I rode out into the street without giving it any gas at all, I just slipped the clutch and let it move forward at idle until I could fully release the clutch. Once you catch on to it a clutch is easy peasy.
 

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I had the same issue with the clutch friction zone when I first started to ride. Even after the BRC class, I struggled from time to time.

One of my instructors suggested that I sit on my bike with my left foot on the ground and my right foot on the rear brake. Just let the clutch out enough to start feeling it move forward against the rear brake, then push back with my left foot.

At first I thought it was a "balance" thing, but it wasn't. Because I was so focused on not losing my balance, I was using a feather touch on the clutch.

After about 10 times rocking back and forth, the feel became honed. I don't believe I have ever killed it since.

I still do it ever time I get ready to ride. Just a quick 30 second thing while it's warming up.

(PS... it also makes starting on an uphill grade a WHOLE lot easier)
 
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