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I have been watching a pretty good youtube tutorial on beginner riding. Some of the things that wasn't completely clear is, how do feel the difference in downshifting, between going down one gear and going down to first?
Is it ever possible to accidentally shift into Neutral?

One of the other thins that wasn't completely clear was, when you are going to stop, do you shift directly into first?
He also mentioned something about pulling the clutch in, if you have to make an abrupt stop. How exactly does that work?

I wouldn't be able to get into a class until August. I thought I'd get familiarized before then.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Lots of questions:

1. Usually each downward motion of the shift lever is one gear. Occasionally if you shift to hard you can skip a gear.

2. The get to first you have to move the lever the proper number of times to get to that gear. If you were in 4th, you have to shift to 3rd, 2nd, and then first.

3. Yes it is possible to shift into neutral by mistake. It is located between first and second.

4. You can wait until you are almost stopped or at a complete stop before starting the process of shifting to 1st. Most people start the shifting sooner so that they are in the proper gear for the speed they are going as they come to a stop. That allows them more control if the have to drive on from that point.

5. The clutch is the lever on the left handle bar. You have to pull it in (disengage) and let it out (engage) the clutch to start moving, shift gears and stop. During a abrupt stop you would pull it in quickly before you stop to avoid stalling.
 

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Fantastic questions!

A lot of it's definitely by feel and by hearing as some bikes don't have gear indicators. If you're going fast enough, when you downshift you'll feel/hear the engine rev up a little and the bike will slow (this can be used as engine braking, too). You should be able to move through the full range of gears without hitting neutral and on many gearboxes, First will have the tactile feel like any other gear. Typically, to get into Neutral it's a "half shift" down from second or up from first.

Because of that, it is definitely possible to accidentally shift into Neutral. This sometimes happens to me when I'm trying to accelerate fast. I don't move the foot lever enough and miss Second. You can technically hit a Neutral shifting between any gear if you don't move the lever all the way. If that happens, don't panic, just shift again and you'll be back into a real gear. :)

When I'm coming to a stop, I don't shift directly into first right away as whatever I'm stopping for may no longer require me to stop. What I'll do is as I stop I pull in the clutch lever then downshift a gear based on speed. That way, if I didn't need to come to a complete stop I'll already be in the correct gear. If I do have to come to a complete stop, I'll usually pull the clutch in and move my foot to put me in first by the time I stop.

This will make A LOT more sense when you actually get into class. :)
 

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I have been watching a pretty good youtube tutorial on beginner riding. Some of the things that wasn't completely clear is, how do feel the difference in downshifting, between going down one gear and going down to first?
Is it ever possible to accidentally shift into Neutral?

One of the other thins that wasn't completely clear was, when you are going to stop, do you shift directly into first?
He also mentioned something about pulling the clutch in, if you have to make an abrupt stop. How exactly does that work?

I wouldn't be able to get into a class until August. I thought I'd get familiarized before then.
Great questions! Critter and Miss M covered them but I'd add that, regarding accidental shifting into Neutral, it can be very easy to do on certain bikes. I did that multiple times while pulling through intersections when I first started riding! Nothing like revving the hell out of your bike while slowing down with a line of cars behind you! :eek:

Most folks on here have been riding for a very long time. I'm just entering my third year, so I am still pretty new and found the whole process very intimidating and, at times, anxiety inducing. It helped to tell myself that I was going to make mistakes... a lot of mistakes... and to be smart enough to not push the envelope too much. That way, when mistakes occurred, I had plenty of leeway to get back on track.

So much of the fear goes away with familiarity, so watching those vids will be a definite plus by the time you take your course in August. It also might be helpful if you know anyone who has a bike to just sit on it and manipulate the controls. Muscle memory and all that!

Glad to hear that you are sticking with it! :thumbsup:
 

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On some bikes, it's easy to inadvertently shift in to neutral; on other bikes, it's darned hard just to find neutral! They all differ a bit in that regard. On my Honda, I had to learn to tap the shift lever "just so" to find it, while on my Suzuki it's easy as pie. Ride one for a while, though, and such things become second nature.
 

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On some bikes, it's easy to inadvertently shift in to neutral; on other bikes, it's darned hard just to find neutral! They all differ a bit in that regard. On my Honda, I had to learn to tap the shift lever "just so" to find it, while on my Suzuki it's easy as pie. Ride one for a while, though, and such things become second nature.
Heh, yeah. My old Honda Rebel would simply not select Neutral unless the engine was off. The two Rebels that were at the MSF BRC were the same way. So every time I finished an exercise I had to shut off the engine just so I can get into Neutral.
 

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You’ve already received great responses to your questions, so I will attempt to fill in one particular gap I see......

Leave yourself plenty of time when possible, to downshift gradually, to a stop. It looks “cooler;” gives others around you plenty of time to appreciate your bike, and is more relaxing and safe.

It will also save on your brake wear!!
 

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They all shift a bit differently. Suzuki usually shifts the best IMO. But there are variations to everything. After every shift, it is important to move your foot away from the shifter. It is easier to press down, than to lift up with the tootsies. Bikes shift more easily when in motion.
Second down to neutral, and first up to neutral, are a half click each way. Going between first and second is a full click, but often just a bit more distance, than shifting between the other gears. As said above, some bikes are a pain to find neutral. The old 650 Royal Enfield had a magic lever, when pressed found neutral. There might be other bikes with a magic lever, but I can not think of any. Some bikes with larger engines, and therefor larger gears, may shift like a Mack truck. Loud clunks are not unusual. Some may move forward a bit when first is engaged, due to clutch drag. A finger pulling the front brake, or a foot on the rear brake fixes this. For that reason it is best to start in neutral. But, if you park on a slope you will need to leave the bike in gear. Then you can start the bike in gear, or rock it back or forward to get it in neutral.

UK
 
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