Neutral or 1st at red light ?
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  1. #1
    Junior Member willinbc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    British Columbia, Canada
    Newbie question here...When sitting at a red light (a long one) in and amongst traffic is it best to leave the TW 200 in first gear with the clutch pulled in and brakes on. Or do you put it into neutral (with the brakes on of course). I tend to leave it in gear in case I have to move defensively or quickly. However sometimes I put it in Neutral so I have my clutch hand free to adjust zipper or sunglasses or to shake my hand out etc.

    Maybe I'm overthinking this but would like everyones opinion particularly concerning safety. Love this forum and am learning a lot from you experienced riders. TW people seem to be GOOD people. I know I am in good company !

    Thanks, Willinbc.

    P.S My name is Will. And I am in B.C.

    Ride a 2012 TW 200. Her name is Rosie and she makes me happy !

  2. #2
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Pleasanton, CA
    Hi Will,

    Good question. Generally it is recommended to leave the bike in gear in case you need to move quickly and also so you don't need to fumble around when the light changes. Depending on the bike, however, it can also get tiring holding the clutch in for a long time. Don't sweat it if you have to put it neutral to adjust your mirror, scratch your nose, or whatever. Just be aware of what is going on around you and you'll be fine.


  3. #3
    Senior Member old mad max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Gobles, michigan
    I go with the out of gear method... It's easy to watch the turn arrow, when it goes yellow I'm putting it into first.. Besides I think the wear and tear on the throw out bearing by not holding it in will pay off down the road.... Omm.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member AFISHALBIZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Either way...Long lights , I find nuetral... and am ready for a quick gear input. Always keep your hand on that front brake lever,,, Had a friend have his clutch cable break at the stop light ~ in gear ... You might imagine the hurt that followed. Be safe !!!

  6. #5
    Senior Member DonBenito's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    For me it depends on a few factors.

    If I know the light cycle is short or almost over OR I'm not familiar with the light cycle, I'll keep it in gear.

    If nobody is behind me yet, I'll keep it in gear.

    If I know the light cycle is long and I'm going to be sitting for a while AND I have a cage or two stopped behind me, I'll usually nudge it up into neutral and give my left arm a break.

    If I need to use my left hand for something, I'll first try my best to make sure I actually have enough time at the light, then I'll put it in neutral and as soon as I'm done put it back into 1st.

    I've read the comment on here before that while we're all advised to keep the bike in 1st at a light so we can skedaddle if we're about to get rear-ended, nobody seems to have an example of a motorcyclist with the wherewithal and timing to actually speed away before the moment of collision.

    I've never read an account of such an occurrence (for the next to nothing that's worth!) but more to the point it seems that if you did actually find yourself in that situation, your escape route would likely take you into either the rear bumper of the car in front of you or into cross-traffic where you're unlikely to do any better than where you're already sitting.

    If anyone has an example of a motorcyclist sitting in 1st gear narrowly escaping tragedy I'd love to hear it though!

    And anyway, even if nobody has pulled it off before I'll still keep sitting in 1st because I'd love to be the first (I believe in myself!) and it just seems like a good idea!
    2011 TW200 - Sold - after 9700 miles and 1,000,000 smiles. So long Tee Dub!
    2012 KLR650
    - Sold
    2013 Tiger Explorer XC
    2014 CB500X - RRP L3

  7. #6
    Junior Member willinbc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    British Columbia, Canada
    Nice ! I appreciate all your replies and advice. I had never even considered that the clutch cable could break at a light and that particular circumstance. Stuff can happen...

    I like the advice about always having your hand on the front brake,I trust it more than the back for stopping power.I am still learning and need the feedback from others.

    Thanks again, Will.


  8. #7
    Senior Member Mad Mac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    The Motorcycle Safety Foundation course teaches to downshift to first, put the left foot on the ground, keep the right foot on the peg and hold the bike with the foot brake. The brake light also gives drivers coming up behind a visual clue you are stopped. I would work mine off and on if I thought they might be inattentive.

    As pointed out above, a long stop gives you a chance to make adjustments, once your six is covered by a cage or two.

    The factory gearing on the TW is so low, you may find it more manageable to ride away in second gear.

    One word of caution: When holding the clutch in, it's tempting to use the green light to launch like a drag racer. First, check for cross traffic before letting the clutch out. Some people think they can drive through an intersection when the traffic light has turned pink and has not reached a full red glow.

    Take it easy and enjoy the ride.
    2001 TW200 adopted January 2012. 2001 Moto Guzzi California EV acquired June 2012. Ex-rides: Hidden Content , Hidden Content that I rode 67,000 miles in six years and had many Hidden Content , 1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special, Yamaha XT 500, 1969 Yamaha DT 175 Enduro purchased new that started it all and a Honda 90 and 110 ATV, an Indian Mini Buffalo (a 50cc Italjet) and a couple of other dirt bikes.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Rainman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Ephrata, WA
    In gear for me.
    If you can't find it, grind it

    1990 TW200

  10. #9
    Senior Member r80rt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    In Neutral for me, I've had a clutch cable snap at a light while in gear. The bike crow hopped into the intersection, I was lucky and it died before I got in serious trouble, now I don't take the chance.
    Only a fool would attempt it, and God help me, I am that fool!

  11. #10
    Member matchu67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    near da beach, FL
    It is a rider's preference I suppose. I opt for being in gear, I want to be ready to react to anything thats goes on around me. Clutch cables breaking while stopped at a red light? A clutch cable can go out at anytime... I don't see that as a reason not to use it while stopped at anytime. Just my opinion

    Be safe & Keep on TW 'ing,

    Matt Ward

    - 2012 Yamaha TW200 -

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