Go Back   Motorcycle Forum > Motorcycle Riding > Learning to Ride

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-22-2008, 07:42 PM   #1
redsavina
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 25
Default Shifting gears

Aight,

This is a total newbie question.

I have about 18 years experience of driving a stick shift car, and 1 month of riding a motorcycle.

When I drive my car, I am fully aware of what gear I am in, mostly based on the gear shift position. I dont even have to look down, just feeling where the gear shift is lets me know where I am at. I have found that this is different for a motorcycle. Of course, I realize what gear I am in as I accelerate, I can count to 5. However, sometimes I am cruising for a couple of miles in 4th gear...or, was it 5th gear, then I want to slow and make a 2nd gear turn. Sometimes, I cannot remember if I am to shift down 2 gears or 3 to hit 2nd gear. Ending up in 3rd gear for the turn wouldnt be bad, however, I really dont want to end up in 1st for a turn I am anticipating taking in 2nd gear.

How do most riders manage this? Its not a problem when I come to a stop, because I just click all the way down, and usually I can feel when I hit 1st, it feels a little different. Also, it wont go down anymore, so I know I am in first when I come to a stop, so it really doesnt matter what gear I was in when before I started slowing down for a stop. Also, I can downshift one gear at a time, release the clutch, and feel if that gear is appropriate with my speed. But when I drive my car, I could be in 4th, break hard while downshifting right from 4th to 2nd, let out the clutch, make the turn, and be on the gas. I also do this from 5th to 3rd in my car as well, depending on the situation.

I know my MSF instructor said that if you ever forget what gear you are in and need to find out, no matter your speed, you can shift all the way down to 1st, then back up and count the gears, but you need to end up in a gear that matches your speed before you let out the clutch. Is that how riders figure this out? I dont think my bike likes hitting 1st gear at speeds over 30mph, even without letting out the clutch.

Anyway, it would be nice to be able to have a repeatable method for doing this. I guess also if I had a tachometer, I could learn at what speeds matched with what gears at certain rpm's, as I have a good feel for this in my car as I drive.

Finally, I could increase my awareness of what gear I am in, and repeat that gear in my head for miles, so I didnt forget, and although that sounds easy and logical, it doesnt sound practical.

Any suggestions or methods you guys use for this would be welcomed.
redsavina is offline   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links Remove Advertisements
Motorcycle Forum
Advertisement
Old 04-22-2008, 07:50 PM   #2
sachiwilson
Women Riders Moderator
 
sachiwilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,609
Default

Experience, dear.
__________________
Frappé LaRue
*Safety Queen*
Are you a Rounder?

Sarnali: "what could be more useless than arguing with a deaf female lawyer????"
sachiwilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2008, 06:12 AM   #3
seruzawa
The Toad

 
seruzawa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: 8501 ft.
Posts: 17,461
Default

Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
It'll come to you pretty soon. You just need more hours on the road.
__________________
"Make no mistake, Communism lost a big argument - one we know today as the 20th century."
seruzawa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2008, 06:22 AM   #4
longride
Super Duper Mod Man

 
longride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Anywhere they let me
Posts: 10,479
Default

There is a pretty simple way of doing this. I memorize the RPM at normal cruising speed for each gear. Example: 1st at 3000 rpm = 20 mph, 2nd at 3000 rpm = 30, 3rd at 3000 = 40. That was you can glance quickly and see if you are going 40 and you are at 3000 rpm, you know you are in 3rd gear. That way you don't have to repeat it to yourself 100 times a ride to remember.
__________________
I'm a knucklehead
longride is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2008, 07:11 AM   #5
redsavina
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 25
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by longride View Post
There is a pretty simple way of doing this. I memorize the RPM at normal cruising speed for each gear. Example: 1st at 3000 rpm = 20 mph, 2nd at 3000 rpm = 30, 3rd at 3000 = 40. That was you can glance quickly and see if you are going 40 and you are at 3000 rpm, you know you are in 3rd gear. That way you don't have to repeat it to yourself 100 times a ride to remember.
Yeah, I can do that in my car as well. However, my 2006 Suzuki Boulevard M50 does not have a tachometer, so its more of an estimate as to what rpm I am at. Also, after about 50mph, I cant really hear my pipes (yeah, they are stock) so I dont get much audible feedback as to my rpm's. Installing an aftermarket tach would be beneficial, although it would also invite me to look down more often, rather than having my eyes and chin up.
redsavina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2008, 07:47 AM   #6
longride
Super Duper Mod Man

 
longride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Anywhere they let me
Posts: 10,479
Default

No tach? Looks like you have to remember then!
__________________
I'm a knucklehead
longride is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2008, 07:58 AM   #7
Buzglyd
Founding Member
 
Buzglyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 10,904
Default Simplified version

Not enough power? Downshift

Sounds like she's going to blow? Upshift.
Buzglyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2008, 09:37 AM   #8
12er
Founding Member
 
12er's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: SF
Posts: 2,801
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzglyd View Post
Not enough power? Downshift

Sounds like she's going to blow? Upshift.
The simplified version of what I was going to post. If the revs are too high on the freeway grab another gear (though I try and shift into my imaginary 7th gear now and then and I have a gear indicator on the dash). Then run down through the gears engine braking while decelerating. You'll get used to the sound at speed and eventually learn what gear your in. But at least engine braking you can easily pick the right gear as you downshift.
12er is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2008, 10:04 AM   #9
mscuddy
MODERATOR X

 
mscuddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Next to my still checkin the temp.
Posts: 5,448
Default

Get a Bridgestone 250 Scrambler with the "rotary shift" option. Then you be sure you'll never know what gear you're in except the right one.
__________________
A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.
mscuddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2008, 06:50 PM   #10
redsavina
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 25
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12er View Post
The simplified version of what I was going to post. If the revs are too high on the freeway grab another gear (though I try and shift into my imaginary 7th gear now and then and I have a gear indicator on the dash). Then run down through the gears engine braking while decelerating. You'll get used to the sound at speed and eventually learn what gear your in. But at least engine braking you can easily pick the right gear as you downshift.
I have tried to hit the 6th gear on my 5 speed as well.

I think I will stick with the engine braking 1 gear at a time as a way to get the gear/speed matched up before the turn. Hopefully, with practice, I will be able to have more confidence in getting into the gear I need, especially if I need to go from 4th to 2nd to set up for a turn.

I have recognized that when I let out the clutch lever to use enging braking in 4th and 3rd gear, its pretty smooth and the bike settles nicely, however, I have to be extreemly careful how I let out the clutch in 2nd gear, as the bike easily lurches forward. Its like the friction zone is shorter. Its almost like as soon as I begin to feel the engine braking, I have to hold the lever there, cause even letting it out a little more fully re-engages the clutch. Guess its about really knowing your bike.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement.

I have recently acquired "Proficient Motorcycling" and "More Proficient Motorcycling" and they provide a wealth of riding information. I would highly recommend these two books to anyone who is learining to ride.
redsavina is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off