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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I am new to this forum and I have a question about downshifting properly.

I did quite a lot of research and found that there are 2 ways to downshift:

1. Engine braking
2. Rev matching/Throttle blipping.

1. Engine braking.

This is basically the "general" way to down shift. Basically you let go of throttle, slow down as needed, then pull clutch, down shift, then release clutch slowly. Is my explanation correct?

2. Rev matching.

This is basically like Engine braking, BUT when you pull in the clutch, you "blip" the throttle/rev the throttle quite high before down shifting and releasing the clutch. Is this correct guys?

I have one massive worry when it comes to downshifting....I have this fear that either in step one or two, if I release the clutch too fast the machine will die and as a result I will jump forward from my bike and....potentially severely injuring myself.....is this possible? Is the machine able to die when going at 20km/30km per hour?

Or do I have to release the clutch slowly and gently, ALL the time?

Thanks guys, appreciate the time and I hope I could get a detailed, and I mean really detailed, explanation on how to down shift properly as I am a total beginner!

Thanks again all :D
 

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The momentum of the bike makes it pretty much impossible to stall the bike as you described - don't worry about it. Momentum will force the engine to turn when the clutch is out unless there is a serious and sudden mechanical failure.

That said, ease the clutch out - no real reason to dump it. If you're new to riding just focus on and practice the shifting without blipping the throttle. Roll off, clutch, shift, clutch.

Have fun! I'm sure some other folks will be along to chime in, too.
 

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If the gear is to low for the speed, and the clutch is dumped, the rear wheel could momentarily lock up, causing a loss of control.

Downshifting a single gear at a time and gently easing out the clutch will avoid any mishaps like that.

I wouldn't worry about blipping the throttle for a super fast downshift. It's not a race, and most do it just to make noise to be truthful.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I truly appreciate the replies guys.

1. So, could someone tell me in details (yes, I am a total newbie :( ) How to downshift step by step? I will give an example to make it easier. I am in 3rd gear. I see red lights ahead. What do I do step by step?

2. So my definition of engine braking and rev matching are both correct, no?

3. Is it ok to go down multiple gears at a time? Someone told me I can be like a rocket if I do this, and nobody knows how scary this sounds to a beginner....

Just need help in details on how to downshift properly and safely, that is all...

Gonna go sleep now, see you guys again tomorrow!!:)
 

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If the gear is to low for the speed, and the clutch is dumped, the rear wheel could momentarily lock up, causing a loss of control.
That's very true - make sure the gear you're selecting matches the speed you're going.
 

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Stopping from third gear:
Release the throttle while pulling in the clutch. Press down on the shift lever. Ease the clutch out smoothly. Repeat from 2nd to 1st before the stop.

Your definition was correct.

You can shift down more than one gear at a time by holding in the clutch and pressing down and releasing on the shift lever as many times as it's needed to get to the gear you want. Take care that you are paying attention to which hear you are in, however, as being in the wrong gear for the speed of travel can have bad results.
 

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If you are approaching a red light, pull in the clutch and downshift as if you expect to let out the clutch, but don't do it. As your speed drops even more, again downshift with the clutch still in. If the light turns green your objective is to be in the right gear to just let out the clutch and go. The brakes are for stopping, the engine and clutch are for going. Brake pads are dirt cheap but engines and transmissions can be very expensive. Use your brakes for slowing or stopping.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Everyone, I truly appreciate the advice and help given. I apologize but I still have a few questions that I am not sure yet, and I thought it is best to ask here to avoid potential dangers on the road.

1. Dodsfall mentioned:

"If the gear is to low for the speed, and the clutch is dumped, the rear wheel could momentarily lock up, causing a loss of control."

Dodsfall, may I ask that you elaborate more on this? What exactly do you mean and what is the solution to it?

2. Secondly, Dodsfall also mentioned

"Stopping from third gear:
Release the throttle while pulling in the clutch. Press down on the shift lever. Ease the clutch out smoothly. Repeat from 2nd to 1st before the stop."

Lets break this down step by step as this is pretty much my number one confusion.

Release the throttle while pulling in the clutch - Check.
Press down on the shift lever. - Check.
Ease the clutch out smoothly. - Ok, but do I just release the clutch smoothly all the way without having to do anything with the throttle? Or do I have to add a little throttle?
 

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........... Roll off, clutch, shift, clutch................
I would modify this just slightly........"Roll off, clutch, shift, clutch/throttle.

I try and avoid forcing my bike into a lower gear, when the speed of the bike is higher than that gear is designed to handle. Good way to cause some damage.

Anticipating the slowing down process in normal driving situations, is a big help here. Gradual downshifting can in fact BE "gradual" if you see ahead and start your deceleration early enough. You don't prove "cool" by being fast and loud.

"Cool" is the guy who DOESN'T have to show his skills, but knows how to use them, and knows that his machine CAN do what he wants.

There's an old joke about an old Ram and a young one, standing on top of a hill. The young one says to the old one, "Hey! Look at all those female sheep down there!! Let's race down there and get us one!!"

The old Ram looks at the young one, who's eyes are about to pop out of his head as he paces back-n-forth and says, "Why don't we WALK down, and get em ALL!!"

When you release the clutch, after you have clicked your way into the gear you have chosen, LISTEN to your engine. You'll know if you need some throttle to compensate. The motor will tell you.

USE THE FORCE, LUKE SKYWALKER..........



-Soupy
 

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"If the gear is to low for the speed, and the clutch is dumped, the rear wheel could momentarily lock up, causing a loss of control."

Dodsfall, may I ask that you elaborate more on this? What exactly do you mean and what is the solution to it?


Ease the clutch out smoothly. - Ok, but do I just release the clutch smoothly all the way without having to do anything with the throttle? Or do I have to add a little throttle?
Make sure you are not going too fast for the gear you are shifting down to and ease out the clutch instead of dumping the clutch.

You don't have to add any throttle as long as you are simply slowing down to a stop. You may have to add some throttle if you are only slowing down a bit but are continuing to ride but in a lower gear.

One thing that I failed to mention is that the brakes should be used at least enough to light the brake light when downshifting. Downshifting slows the motorcycle and this will allow traffic behind you to see that you are slowing. It's a good habit to get into when riding on the street.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks people. Guess I just need more practice now.

I love practicing, but the fear of me locking the back/front wheel up....or stalling the bike while going at a decent speed, etc....I admit as a beginner, these things truly scare me. I don't wanna fly over the bike and die:frown:

Is it even possible for the bike to come to a complete, 100% stop when going at, say, 30 or so KM/hour?

I just need to know some of the things that can cause potential dangers such as: releasing clutch too quickly, braking so hard that my wheels lock up, downshifting to a lower gear but the engine is too fast, causing a loss of balance etc.
 

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Don't be so afraid. If your front wheel locks up, you just release the front brake. then reapply if needed. Even in an emergency stop you don't want to just grab a whole handful of front brake. A good steady progressive grip on the brake is the best way to do things. You'll get to know your bike and what its capable of doing. If your rear wheel locks up, DO NOT release the back brake until the back tire comes back inline with the front. You will still have control of the bike with the back wheel locked up, but you will lose control if you release the brake while the back wheel is not inline with the front.
 

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The good news is that the rider actually has total control over all of those issues mentioned.

I would recommend taking the MSF BRC course. You will get expert instruction on these and many other things and get to try it all out for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thank you guys.

I am from Australia, I have passed my learner permit course. Basically I can use the L plate now and ride legally. To my surprise, they did not mention the word "downshifting" a single time during the L course. Which is why I am asking on forums...haha

Well, just gotta practice I guess... if I fall I guess so be it..

EDIT: Guys, I have been watching tutorial videos on Youtube, most of which are from America. Apparently in America you have to carry your insurance while riding also? This confuses me because here in Australia, as far as I know you only have to carry your license, not insurance...Now I am confused lol :p
 

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Riding a motorcycle is more mental than physical. A little fear is a good thing, it keeps you from being over confident. But too much fear can be a bad thing too. I was afraid of taking one hand off the handlebars, but I've been working on it over the past week, and now it seems easy. Before, I was afraid to try it, but now that I've been doing it, it's not as bad as I thought.

When I first started to ride, I accepted the risks involved with it. I knew there was a strong possibility that I could die. I've accepted it. I have a higher chance of dying from Breast cancer, as it has taken all the women in my family. I'd rather die on my bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
No, they told us to go to 2nd gear after a while, without telling us HOW to do it. But then again upshifting is nice easy and simple. Downshifting though....

EDIT: So guys, just to confirm, tell me if this process is correct if I want to come to a stop from say, 5th gear.

1. Slow down as required/brake and release throttle.
2. Pull clutch in.
3. downshift as many times as possible, which means I will be in 1st gear while still going at....something like 60 KMs or so? But this should be ok right, since I still hold the clutch?
4. Continue with step 3 and brake as necessary to adjust the speed to slow down.
5. Stop.

Is that ok? I am concerned with number 3 though. What happens if I let go of the clutch, say, when I am in 3rd gear? Will it lock up the bike and propel me forward?
 

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No it is not OK to just downshift. You really want to always have the gears aligned with your present speed so that you can let off the clutch and go. If you downshift too far you can damage the transmission even if you keep the clutch pulled because the gears are still moving even if they are not connected to the engine.
 

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No it is not OK to just downshift. You really want to always have the gears aligned with your present speed so that you can let off the clutch and go. If you downshift too far you can damage the transmission even if you keep the clutch pulled because the gears are still moving even if they are not connected to the engine.
Uhmmmmmm......?
 
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