Downshift question. Major newbie alert!!
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Thread: Downshift question. Major newbie alert!!

  1. #1
    Member Tdubluv's Avatar
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    Downshift question. Major newbie alert!!

    I've taken already the msf course and they actually didn't teach so much "real world situations". My question is how to properly stop at a red light/stop sign. This is how I've been doing riding.
    Say I'm in 4th gear I see a stop sign coming or red light

    Clutch in first
    Both brakes lightly (to aware drivers behind me)
    While brakes still lightly pressed, downshift and release clutch for each gear until 3rd gear and leave clutch in and apply more force to brakes and come to complete stop and click down to 1st while clutch still in at stop light/sign. My other question is, do I have to release the clutch for every down shifted gear? or can I hold it in the entire time while simultaneously braking and down shifting to my stop?

    Sorry if my question is too long.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member phelonius's Avatar
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    You can hold it in and just keep down shifting as you are still rolling so the tranny parts are rotating and there should be no problem selecting lower gears. It is also a good way to find neutral while still slightly rolling. If you still have trouble, check clutch adjustment.
    ejfranz likes this.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member grewen's Avatar
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    let the clutch out in each gear and use the engine to slow you down and that will save some brakes
    Greg

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    Senior Member Jon62602's Avatar
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    You don't have to release the clutch everytime you can just hold it in. But be cautious if you go from 4th to 1st then you might skid, I'd recommend going slow or rev it up when you let *off the clutch.
    Last edited by Jon62602; 08-06-2015 at 11:10 PM.
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    Senior Member TWROG's Avatar
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    I dont think there is a wrong way to do what your saying but there are better ways. Im sure most would agree its best to always be in a gear that matches your speed. You never know when something may happen that requires you to accelerate. You dont want to be in first gear doing 50 (clutch in) or 5th gear doing 5 (again clutch in) then all of a sudden need to accelerate.

    So when slowing down for a stop from speed I always downshift to the next gear that matches my speed. By the time Im stopped Im in first. Depending on which bike Im on determines whether I release the clutch each time. You dont have to release the clutch on each downshift. My KZ and TWs have comparatively little engine braking. When I down shift with those the engine braking is pretty smooth. My sportster on the other hand is not so smooth, it wants to slow you down NOW So with it I keep the clutch pulled and just downshift as I slow down, each downshift matching my slower speed.

    Also, unless you have an itch that has to be scratched or something that needs adjusting at a stop, do not go to neutral. Again, you never know when you may need to accelerate.
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    Senior Member Borneo's Avatar
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    I generally downshift in the ways described above to use engine braking, matching as said, gear to decreasing speed. However, I seldom go to first until that final roll to a complete stop (clutch in) which avoids that skid potential and "lunge factor". That being said, things happen and I've found myself having to stop quickly from say fourth gear and in those case I just contend with the critical part...getting stopped, and then contend with the gearbox, sometimes rocking the bike with clutch in to get to first. That being said, on smooth level pave the TW takes off in second pretty easily.

    PS: At least that's what I think I do. I actually had to sit here a think a bit, shifting is somewhat automatic for me at this stage of my riding career and to be honest it's an almost automatic thing that I seldom really think about.
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    Senior Member Borneo's Avatar
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    The more I think about it, in your scenario, 4th gear, I would not be using brakes at all on my downshifts. Just engine braking. I suppose you are correct that in that case the brake light does not alert those behind. Not something I ever really thought about...then again I've never taken a MSF course.
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    Senior Member scotti158's Avatar
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    What the others have said, especially the "shift while you're rolling". This applies to most motorcycles, they normally won't easily go through a bunch of gear changes standing still without tickling the clutch, rolling back and forth, etc. Not what you want to be doing at a stop light. Always be aware what gear your in. Oh, by the way, welcome to the forum!
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  10. #9
    Member Tdubluv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    The more I think about it, in your scenario, 4th gear, I would not be using brakes at all on my downshifts. Just engine braking. I suppose you are correct that in that case the brake light does not alert those behind. Not something I ever really thought about...then again I've never taken a MSF course.
    Yeah, I just feel safer applying the brakes slight enough to alert the drivers that I am slowing down, and then I start my down shift. The MSF course unfortunately did not even teach us this.

    Thanks for all the info everyone!

  11. #10
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    I think Borneo summed it up.
    If you have time downshift though each gear and let the gearbox help slow you down.
    If you have to stop suddenly for a light or .... , just start braking and then get the clutch in and stop then deal with the gear box. If you are not in a total panick stop, but don't have time to let the gear box slow you down then you can shift down many times without releasing the clutch quickly.

    I have the bike in neutral once stopped and the clutch released, but I am aware of my surroundings. I do this as habit as the old 70s bikes I owned did not have the best clutch cables and I have gone through a few. If you had the clutch pulled and the cable broke you could lurch forward.
    Back in the day we learnt how to ride a bike without using a clutch, at least on the trails to get home.
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