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I've finally been able to ride my new 2010 and I'm learning its personality, etc. Like others who have posted here, first gear is way too steep for ordinary, unloaded street riding. I've tried starting in second gear which certainly works better. If I do this correctly, I can't feel any unnecessary stress on the clutch or drive line. But could second gear starts cause problems later?
 

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this is just my opinion but starting in 2nd does put a greater load on the engine than starting in 1st. it has the greatest mechanical advantage to get the bike going from a stop in the lowest gear. it may not hurt anything but it could prematurely wear the lower end. the connecting rod takes the blunt of the stress. possibly slight difference in gas mileage.

just my opinion shawn
 

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Taller the gear ratio, the more wear on the clutch. As long as the engine isn't lugging, no harm there. How is your 5th for your ridng habits? Gearing down for better offroad would take some of the excess load off the clutch when starting in 2nd. Gearing up for less rpm and vibration for street use would make 1st more useable.
 
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