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If I drop into first at too high a speed, it'll clunk hard, and I'll have trouble popping into neutral after stopping (rolling back and forth helps).
This post is great. I agree that the performance of this bike is unusual and idiosyncratic. I have almost 200 miles on mine and I'm still trying to figure it out.

1) Coming to a stop and shifting up to N, there's not just one way that happens. Sometime the shift up is subtle. Sometimes there's a tangible click. Sometimes I can't find N at all and it takes a couple attempts.
2) I'm not buying this 'only shift down at 12 mph thing' in the manual. It doesn't makes sense from a driving perspective--there are times, constantly, that traffic slows then resumes and you need to pick up somewhere higher than 1st gear. I also don't like the way slowing from 45mph in 5th down to 12mph, still in 5th, feels.
3) Yes, there seems to be something about when you're shifting down to 1st that affects the way the whole process feels. If you shift quickly down when approaching the stop light that feels one way in the foot. If you shift down gradually, matching your road speed, that feels another way. Today for the first time I noticed the clunk going to 1st. It was slightly frightening. The insight here into why that happens on cpit's bike is useful.
4) Lastly, I still don't know how to take this bike off the start line. Following the manual's shift points it's slower than a car. I'm in the break-in period, so I'm not hitting it too hard, but the bike seems to like to accelerate from a stop at a snail's pace. Literally like a tractor. I have my suspicions this bike is not even meant to drive in traffic around town with cars. It feels like getting the bike up to speed in any normal way, like it's pushing the bike beyond what it was designed to do.

Thoughts welcome.
 

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Some people are more mechanically inclined than others. Some can "feel" what the bike wants or needs. Other people have to learn the bike first. Once you ride enough and get more use to it, you will know what gear you need at which speed. The tw will keep up with any vehicle starting off from a stoplight. I don't mean someone in a car flooring it. I mean normal driving. I have no problems at all keeping up with normal traffic even with my wife on the back. Just stop trying to follow the manual to the letter. You will never "learn" the bike that way. Go outside the lines every now and then. Then you will get the feel for the bike.
 

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I have factory gearing and usually take off in second gear on road unless the situation demands the "tractor" gear.

Marty
 

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Rayleigh Scattering. Light refracts differently through different gasses. Mostly nitrogen= blue sky. Mars' carbon dioxide atmosphere makes for a pink/ red sky.

View attachment 26094
What gases are emitted from the rolling pin after 2am that causes black sky?

Marty
 

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Could it be farts Marty?

I would tend to ignore the simplistic generalities of the TW200 owners manual. One has to consider why , and for what audience, these owners manuals are written.
With a little experience one's own senses will give adequate feedback as to what works and feels best over ever changing situations. This is something a manual cannot begin to address without confusing a new rider/owner. Ride and learn. Making one's own decisions seems to be the core of motorcycling IMHO.
 

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This bike is very low geared. As soon as you get it rolling you can pretty much shift into 2nd. Roughly I shift about a gear per every 10 mph. When braking from high speed I just let off the gas, when around 40 mph I will drop a gear, let out the clutch and finish my stop. I never down shift into first stopping. I tried this when I first got my bike and the back tire went to sliding until I pulled the clutch back in. The lowest I will down shift to is 2nd and that is only if traffic is moving at about 20 mph. Take your bike to a parking lot and play around with the different responses. A field is even more fun. Ride about 20 mph and lock the back brake up and see how it responds, my back tire slid around. I don't suggest slamming the front brake on as your wheel can wash and send you down. Take it easy and play safely. Have fun. Watch the videos about unloading the front end while you pull up on the bars and gas it and jump some small hills, all is fun. You would be surprised at how many people tell me to slow down on this slow bike. I guess I make it appear fast. I took off from a parking lot, traffic coming, a work truck in the right lane, I swerved around it, back in front of the work truck and went home. My friend on his 600 got caught behind the traffic from the light, didn't see me around the truck. He saw me take off and saw me at my house. He was saying how quick my TW is. That is funny.
 

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I never down shift into first stopping. I tried this when I first got my bike and the back tire went to sliding until I pulled the clutch back in. The lowest I will down shift to is 2nd and that is only if traffic is moving at about 20 mph.
Great feedback. Thanks, Ken!

I took my bike into Gary, IN today. It's the town Michael Jackson was born in, and although it was once kind of a thriving place it's now a burnt out ghetto with tons of urban off-roading opportunities. I took a little detour here and there...yes, starting slow I'm finding my way and having a lot of fun on this bike!
 

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Just stop trying to follow the manual to the letter. You will never "learn" the bike that way. Go outside the lines every now and then. Then you will get the feel for the bike.
Took your guys' advice today and yesterday...what a difference it is not trying to baby the bike into submission. I found I like to shift up into 4th and 5th a few mphs higher than the manual suggests. My downshifting is much improved. I look a lot of detours off the road into long fields with powerlines running through them, getting a feel for the bike on bumpy grass in different gears. A CBS Chicago news crew found me sitting under a tree at a beach playing my ukulele. They did an interview, and I'll be on the news tonight.
 

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O yeah, we want to see that clip!! Were you playing "Tiptoe through the tulips"? (y)
 

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Pretty cool bro. Short, but cool. They might have given you the whole clip if you had had your beautiful TW in it... (y)
 

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I had a very similar question when i bought this bike. I had never ridden a motorcycle before and was overconfident yet apprehensive at the same time.
The best advise i can give is...
Learn to operate the controls, then the bike will teach you how to ride it.
 
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