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jim250 05-20-2010 07:59 PM

new rider need advice?
Hello everyone,

I just started riding my first street bike a few days ago and have a question. Say if you are cruising down the road at 45mph in fifth gear and you are approaching a red light. Are you suppose to downshift through each and every gear? Or can you pull the clutch in and slow down with your brakes ? Does it hurt the bike to shift from fifth gear to first gear with the clutch squeezed in the whole time? Thanks in advance. Jim

jeff10236 05-20-2010 08:04 PM

You can use the clutch, but then you'll lose engine breaking. Engine breaking helps slow you quicker, and it will prolong the lifespan of your brakes. However, it won't really hurt anything to just use the clutch and coast while braking.

In my car, and now on my bike, I usually downshift a gear or two, then around 10-15mph I'll disengage the transmission with the clutch and just use the brakes while I come to a complete stop.

JMcDonald 05-20-2010 08:39 PM

Ive heard mixed opinions on this regarding street riding, so I can't really tell you which way is better. When I used to ride dirtbikes, when coming to a stop on a sharp turn I would briefly engine brake (if at all) before pulling in the clutch and jamming the shifter back down to 1st or 2nd (from whatever gear I was in), depending on the turn and terrain type. I would then only release the clutch when I was ready to add power.

Though, do understand that while engine breaking through each gear is saving your brakes it bit, it is also putting a little more wear on the clutch discs and disengagement components with each use.

The_AirHawk 05-20-2010 09:03 PM

Be aware that, because with a sequential transmission, the gears must be turning a bit to move easily - it may not be possible to hold the clutch and shift all the way to first from fifth gear without releasing the clutch to get gears on the intermediate-shafts turning.

JMcDonald 05-21-2010 06:03 AM

That's true. On dirtbikes IIRC if you don't tap it down fast enough from a high gear (say 5th to 2nd), they do tend to crunch a bit or even require letting out the clutch to move.

I guess just learn what works and what doesn't, heh.

Though, always be sure to at least lightly use your brakes when in traffic. You definitely don't want to be slowing down without your brake light on!!

A Star Ride 05-22-2010 10:01 AM

I use the engine to slow the bike but usually not every gear. I don't recommend holding in the clutch during the braking process, you'll have less control over the bike that way. Depending on your speed, where you are in the speed range for the gear your in and whether your making a complete stop, riding 1 up or 2 up all are factors. If I'm at 55+ approaching a red light (not uncommon in VA to have traffic lights on highways), I'll drop outta overdrive right away to 4th as I start to brake, and depending on how much room I have to slow/stop, Ill usually go from 4th to 2nd (gently) when I hear the rpm's to the point that I know the engine isn't slowing me anymore, if the light turns green, I can roll on the throttle from 4th, or 2nd, if I'm having to stop completely, I stop from 2nd, pulling the clutch at low speed before engine chatter and return the tranny to 1st. Good luck!

olelar 05-22-2010 10:25 AM

It's true that you should use your motor to slow down because it saves your breaks a lot! But that doesn't mean that you can't skip a few gears when you're shifting down. You can for example skip the first two and use the motor to slow down, and then when you're riding slow enough you can shift all the way down, this method has worked for me for years.

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