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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is a stupid question but I don't have much experience on motorcycle riding, and since this forum is TW200 specific, this is the best place to ask. Does anyone have good advice for stop-n-go traffic?



I mean shit, the TW200 doesn't change gears THAT fast for when coming to a halt and then suddenly having to go again. I know that when coming to a halt, you have to slow down and then put your bike into first gear so when it's time to go again, you can go off smoothly.



But I always get stuck into the situations where I begin to brake, i'm lowering the gear and then BAM its time to go again, and there I am with my hand on the clutch on 3rd gear. My bike is gonna stall if I just go! I end up holding traffic a little by changing it all the way down to 1ST again, then going, then stopping again, same process.



I know i'm missing a few techniques and tricks to this for a faster smoother ride, anyone care to share? Anything specific would be amazing. This is really the only thing holding me back to becoming confident to even get my permit.
 

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A reasonable question, of the three motor bikes I own, the TW is the most difficult to shift. For me, I think it is easiest to shift and get to the gear you want while the bike is moving slowly, don't wait until you come to a stop. Here in anchorage, light cycles tend towards being long, with a defined left turn arrow kicking off first so I generally go to neutral, then kick it down into 1st on the left turn light. Neutral is not always easy to find and sometimes takes multiple passes through the area to select. Obviously, you do not want to down shift into lower gears @ high speed. rw
 

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I agree about the hard shifting and finding neutral, but I just put a BBR shifter for a TTR125 on it and it shifts SMOOTH and finding neutral is EASY even when stopped. It really shifts like its a different bike now I have ridden it everyday for the last week waiting for the shifting to go back to normal
 

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don't worry to much about holidng up traffic. Focus on your shifting. It happens to all of us. try to start downshifting while your are still moving/slowing before stopping and try to finish as you stop. My TW downshifts better/easier while rolling with the clutch in. If you are in the wrong gear, down shift. The TW is capable of 2nd gear starts. Go someplace with no traffic and practice. It may be the pressure of the traffic that is getting to you.
 

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don't worry to much about holidng up traffic. Focus on your shifting. It happens to all of us. try to start downshifting while your are still moving/slowing before stopping and try to finish as you stop. My TW downshifts better/easier while rolling with the clutch in. If you are in the wrong gear, down shift. The TW is capable of 2nd gear starts. Go someplace with no traffic and practice. It may be the pressure of the traffic that is getting to you.


You also have to be aware that downshifting too early may require that you remain on the clutch and upshift quickly if traffic begins to move more quickly than you expected. For example, I can see that the light ahead is red in a 45 mph zone so - well before the anticipated stop - I come off the throttle, begin to lightly brake, check my mirrors, clutch and downshift to first as I'm still around 25 to 30 - ready to go from the anticipated stop - no need to downshift through the gears for this well planned event. Then the light turns green and traffic begins to go while I'm still in first at 15 - I have to upshift to second or third so as to make a smooth transition from stopping to going. If you just release the clutch lever without first upshifing, you'll get a real surprise!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You also have to be aware that downshifting too early may require that you remain on the clutch and upshift quickly if traffic begins to move more quickly than you expected. For example, I can see that the light ahead is red in a 45 mph zone so - well before the anticipated stop - I come off the throttle, begin to lightly brake, check my mirrors, clutch and downshift to first as I'm still around 25 to 30 - ready to go from the anticipated stop - no need to downshift through the gears for this well planned event. Then the light turns green and traffic begins to go while I'm still in first at 15 - I have to upshift to second or third so as to make a smooth transition from stopping to going. If you just release the clutch lever without first upshifing, you'll get a real surprise!




That is probably my greatest fear in traffic situations. That's exactly what I'm concerned about in stop and go situations--holding in the clutch and having the wrong speed/or gear to even go on the current setting. I'll take that advice and shift up to 2nd in the case that i've gone down to first already but the light goes green and i'm still going over 12mph.



The TW really is a difficult one to shift. I understand completely when some of you say it's hard to find neutral.



Trailboss, what exactly is a "BBR shifter" for a TTR125, and how does it work?
 

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I don't do a lot of stop and go traffic, but I have a couple of suggestions. First, I often downshift and compression brake as I approach a light. That way I'm in the correct gear for the speed I'm going and if the light changes all I have to do is twist the throttle and go. Second, don't worry about downshifting to first if you're still rolling at all. Just drop to 2nd gear (or other appropriate gear) and go. With stock gearing some people start in 2nd gear from a dead stop because they hate the short first gear. It takes a little technique, but with a little practice can be done without slipping the clutch too much. Third, a change to synthetic oil really improves shifting. So, if the engine is broken in I would recommend a change to synthetic. The extra cost is worth it to me for the improved shifting, not to mention the other benefits.
 

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... I often downshift and compression brake as I approach a light. That way I'm in the correct gear for the speed I'm going and if the light changes all I have to do is twist the throttle and go. Second, don't worry about downshifting to first if you're still rolling at all. Just drop to 2nd gear (or other appropriate gear) and go...
This.



Book recommendation: Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough. Link to Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Proficient-Motorcycling-Ultimate-Riding-ebook/dp/B004CLYCPM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348344495&sr=1-1&keywords=proficient motorcycling



You can probably find it at your local library. I highly recommend it.
 

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This.



Book recommendation: Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough. Link to Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Proficient-Motorcycling-Ultimate-Riding-ebook/dp/B004CLYCPM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348344495&sr=1-1&keywords=proficient motorcycling



You can probably find it at your local library. I highly recommend it.


Thanks for the recommendation. decade03 please disregard my riding advice, but I stick with my suggestion of synthetic to improve shifting.
 

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Also,difficult shifting could be a sign of a needed chain adjustment? or possibly too much or not enough motor oil.....maybe even change to a synthetic ( not starting a battle here folks....just bringing it up).
 

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Thanks for the recommendation. decade03 please disregard my riding advice, but I stick with my suggestion of synthetic to improve shifting.
I was agreeing with your riding technique, as does Hough, as did my motorcycle trainers. This way, should traffic conditions change drastically, you have the option to roll on the throttle which may be needed to avoid a collision.
 

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Frog brings up am excellent point. A too tight chain can cause difficulty shifting.
 

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Assuming there isn't anybody RIGHT behind me I just start coasting when I see a stop light turn yellow or a stop sign is coming up; and I just kick the gears down as needed so if I need to start moving I'll always be in the right gear.



IMO that's the best way, I don't like engine braking..it's just extra wear and tear for nothing.
 

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You could white line it, riding between the cars if it is legal in your area. If not you just have to shift, shift, shift, ........ There isn't an easy reply to this one.
 

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I haven't put more than 60k miles on any one bike and with that kind of mileage, I've never had to rebuild a motor or transmission so for me the extra wear with active down shifting is a non-issue. I have had to replace brake pads though...
 

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The best advice I can give is to come down through the gears the same way you went up through them, ONE AT A TIME. Don't think that you should drop several gears at once and then coast with the clutch pulled in. That's asking for trouble.



For instance, if you are cruising at 45-50 mph and see a stop sign ahead, roll off the throttle, take your time and downshift from 5th to 4th. Let the clutch out smoothly. As your speed drops, go down to 3rd the same way. Then to 2nd the same way as you get down to 10-15 mph.



DON'T shift to 1st at more than 5 mph. 2nd will handle it better at low speeds. If you are actually coming to a stop, shift to 1st just before actually coming to a stop. Use the clutch smoothly, don't just let it go. If you do it this way, you will always be able to just roll on the throttle at any time and be in the right gear.



Actually I seldom use 1st on the street, even with my 15-47 gearing. Drivers of cars behind you don't expect a bike in front of them to stop accelerating at 10-15 mph to change gears, and since many of them are not paying attention, they can get very close before they realize the danger. If you are not a klutz with the clutch, 2nd works fine for starts. Very little slipping required.
 

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MSF.
 

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As Phantom said, downshift while slowing down. That way, you are always in control. Slowing down with the brakes alone means you have a problem if an unexpected emergency pops up (like a car bearing down on you).



Blip the throttle while downshifting, matching the engine rpm to the new gear. Yea, you'll have to get a feel for it, but it keeps you in control (and safe!).
 
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