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Discussion Starter #1
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!
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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.
 
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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #9
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!
 

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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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Always be aware what gear your in.

Yep, true. Because I also ride other more powerful bikes I can't tell you the number of times I've tried to shift the TW into high gear...only to find I was already there. :D
 

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Keep in mind that clutches cost more than brakes. Even though clutches on bikes are relatively cheap, brake pads are even cheaper.

For me, I just slow down for a light in whatever gear I'm in. If I think about it, I may do the "rolling downshift" that others have described. More often than not, I don't. I come to a stop in whatever gear I was in. Then I just clutch-in and tap the shifter down. You can feel if it if it goes down or not. If it doesn't feel like it is, ease the clutch out ever so lightly, maybe even blip the throttle a tiny bit, and then it will. It's enough so that you don't move forward while at the light.

It comes with practice and experience... I wouldn't stress too much about it. Find what works for you and stick with it.
 

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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.
I have no worries of a cable braking because not only am I in gear at a stop (just in case) I also have one or both brakes applied (again, just in case)
 

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Unless you have to make a panic stop, you should always be in some gear (matching your speed) so that you may apply power and accelerate out of a dangerous situation if the need arises. You should not be coasting with the clutch in to a stop. For a regular controlled stop you should downshift through the gears as you slow, simultaneously applying some brake (mostly front until you get to a few mph, then more rear to finally stop the bike). Both brakes would and should activate the rear light, you don't have to have them both on at once to have the rear light on. When you stop at a light you should always be in first gear, so you can take off if you have to (like if you see a car coming up fast about to hit you in the rear because "he didn't see you". And you should have the rear brake light on or flash it with the front lever or foot pedal to make yourself more visible to a driver approaching from behind you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Unless you have to make a panic stop, you should always be in some gear (matching your speed) so that you may apply power and accelerate out of a dangerous situation if the need arises. You should not be coasting with the clutch in to a stop. For a regular controlled stop you should downshift through the gears as you slow, simultaneously applying some brake (mostly front until you get to a few mph, then more rear to finally stop the bike).
So I should release the clutch each time I down shift a gear?(with slight brakes to alert riders behind me)?
 

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You would have to release the clutch to gain the benefit of engine braking, yes. As for brakes...your call, I don't do that personally.
 

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All depends on how fast your traveling and how quick you need to stop... Going 40-50 and an intersection/stop is coming up I usually shift down as the rpm drops below <>3500. I give it a bit of bump on the gas...to reduce the amount of drag on the clutch... I do use the brakes and if someone is behind me I will pulse the brakes to flash the tail light. A quick stop from that speed is brakes, clutching between each gear all the way down into 1st.
Going 30-40 and a causal stop coming up and no on behind me I will hold off down shifting, clutch in to reduce the klunk on shifting, always ready to go..

So I believe most of us mix it up.... Depending on the situation... I drive my stick cars the same way.... I think most do what is comfortable to them.

As for the M cycle safety course... My instructor talked about traffic behind us and letting them know you are slowing... Bump that brake.. Calif written course has a question about it too.

We also talked about lane splitting. I do not do it for the main reason My TW will not accelerate as quickly as most cars... I always position myself to the left of the lane so the car in front of me can see me in his side rearview mirror and his in car rearview mirror. I usually angle my bike slightly left so if a car coming up behind me looks like it is not going to stop I can move beside the car in front of me easily. Also, if the car behind me hits me I am not going to be sandwiched....

Jim
 

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I frequently like to take the opportunity to practice rev matching when coming towards a stop, so I blip the throttle before each downshift and then let the clutch out like you would when downshifting with no stop planned.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
"You should not be coasting with the clutch in to a stop."

I've heard many people say this but I don't understand why I should avoid doing this? I notice I tend to coast when coming to a stop (clutch in, never letting go and clicking down the shift pedal until I stop. Brakes applied the entire time)

Thanks again everyone.
 
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