August 23, 2008 at 4:57 am #1955
I’m getting better at the up shifting on the new Ninja but my down shifting still needs work. I think I’m still down shifting too early. If I am cruising along in 3rd gear and come to a 4 way stop do I need to shift down before I stop? Thats what I am doing now and it’s not smooth. Thinking about it I wonder if I can come to a stop in 3rd and down shift twice while the clutch is pulled in and the revs are low?
Any tips on getting my revs right on down shifting apart from lots of practice.August 23, 2008 at 5:07 am #11005megaspazParticipant
You probably can, but coming to a complete stop in 3rd might lead to the clutch plates not actually being aligned to shift down while stopped. In that case you’d have to slowly let out the clutch, not all the way, and listen for the plates to catch before pulling in the clutch to continue downshifting… and you might have to do the same thing again when in 2nd. What I do is to start braking first with front and rear brakes and then slowly let out the clutch to get added engine braking. I’ll then start to downshift, blip the throttle or slowly let out the clutch (whichever I feel like doing) to rev match, and continue to repeat the downshift parts until in first and then clamp the brakes to completely stop. If you downshift to quickly, don’t blip… over-revving the engine happens easy. Ease the clutch out sloooowww instead.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…August 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm #11078RabParticipant
If you know you’ll be coming to a complete stop fairly abruptly (e.g. at a stop sign), then there’s no need to shift down through the gears letting the clutch out each time. In fact, as you’ve found, it can be counter-productive.
When you’re approaching the stop sign or whatever, just pull in the clutch, holding it there, and click, click, click down through the gears while braking, until you get into first gear just before you stop.
Then you can either hold it there in first gear with the clutch still pulled-in (e.g. at a stop sign) or you can put it into neutral and let out the clutch once you’ve stopped (e.g. at a traffic light).
Some people advise to always keep it in first gear with the clutch pulled-in at a stop. That’s so that you can quickly get out of the way if a madman in another vehicle is approaching too rapidly from behind and looks like he might ram into you.
For traffic lights, you can modify this slightly because the light might change to green during your approach.
So! For red traffic lights, do as above, but instead of just click, click, clicking down through all the gears one immediately after the other, instead, hold in the clutch for the duration of your slow-down (as above), but only click down into the next lower gear when you have slowed to a speed which is appropriate for that lower gear (you’re also braking at the same time remember). That way, if the light changes to green at any time during your slowing down phase, you’ll be in the correct gear to proceed, in which case, you just let off the brakes and slowly let out the clutch as you give it a little throttle. Voila!August 25, 2008 at 4:56 am #11113TheAbomb12Participant
So! For red traffic lights, do as above, but instead of just click, click, clicking down through all the gears one immediately after the other, instead, hold in the clutch for the duration of your slow-down (as above), but only click down into the next lower gear when you have slowed to a speed which is appropriate for that lower gear (you’re also braking at the same time remember).
imo I don’t think that is a good idea; honestly its a bad habit when moving to not release the clutch after every gear change (or at most more than two gear changes). The reason I say this, what if you misjudge your current speed (or arn’t concentrating right) and you down shift 2 or 3 gears, but aren’t going slow enough when you accidentally drop the clutch…. that is a very dangerous situation.
Andrew, here are my tips for shifting.
* If you have a 6 speed transmission and are in 6th gear and coming into a stop- try estimating how long it will take you to come to a complete stop. Then count to 5, down shift after each number so that you should be on “5” (or first gear) by the time you come to a stop. Start the counting a little after you first start braking or decelerating (shift down each time you count).
*You know you are downshifting correctly when you are able to downshift (pull clutch in, shift down, release clutch) feeling little to no jerking or engine braking AT ALL.
* just practice down shifting BY Ear…. I too had lots of trouble downshifting too, especially when I looked at my speedometer and tach; its much easier to simply listen and shift.
* You don’t have to pull in the clutch all the way down, just enough to get it past the friction zone. I found this speeds up shifting quickly through gears.
* Release the clutch slowly when downshifting, as if you are going from a stop in first gear.
* For emergency stops, pull in the clutch then apply the brakes until you come to a complete stop. Worry about shifting back down after you have stopped.August 25, 2008 at 5:01 am #11114megaspazParticipant
Worrying about shifting after emergency stopping will lead you to getting ass packed in traffic. Srsly, practice getting into gear while in the process of emergency stopping so you can take off to an escape route from a stopped position immediately.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…August 25, 2008 at 5:27 am #11116TheAbomb12Participant
while I agree that it’s good practice to shift down 1 at a time gradually when coming to stops… when there is a REAL emergency ( as In “oh shit, I need to stop NOW”) Its very important to forget about shifting and focus completely on simply braking; especially at his skill level.
Remember… in panic situations its hard to think about things and react to them quickly especially with new riders– worrying about shifting while trying to stop a bike quickly very often simply adds to reaction time, or worse, degrades the quality of your response.
Being in first gear in order to take off to an escape route is very very important; But if you hit the car in front of you anyways, the escape route doesn’t matter.August 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm #11124
I got some practice in yesterday and found that the tach helps for me to know when I’m under 5000 and in the area where I should be downshifting. I saw that at Ninja250.org and it’s a useful queue for me not to downshift too early. Also tried rolling on the throttle to mach revs which helps to be smoother but seems to make slowing for a traffic sign more complicated.
There is no substitute for practice though. I was practicing my start from a dead stop in a parking lot and started noticing that I can hear when the engine hits the friction zone. Thats the point where rolling on the throttle makes for a smooth start.
Had to emergency brake on the way home when a cage in front of me did a last minute left turn that stopped the car directly in front of me. I stopped fine but was heavier on the front brake than I would like.August 26, 2008 at 3:21 am #11179
Got 1 hour 45 of practice in tonight. Once I was done with the cone work I used a dead end road to practice my shifting. Got pretty smooth at up shifting and better at down shifting. I think they key for the down shift is rolling on the throttle to get the revs up and the releasing the clutch very slow. I even tried 4th gear for the first time which gave me an extra gear shift down from.
The road is a narrow with 2 lanes and I stalled it twice when trying to do a tight u-turn. I must have missed a down shift on the first one because it went into neutral from what must have been 2nd. The other one stalled mid u-turn and maybe I just let the revs get too low? The road will be a good one for me to master as I think it will take a full lock turn to do a 180. I was able to do it with a foot down but not without yet.August 26, 2008 at 3:34 am #11180
I haven’t done the multiple shifts without releasing the clutch yet but I have seen it done many times. I have been watching bikers when I am in my cage and most of them use this approach while in traffic. It must be ok for the engine if so many people are doing it.August 26, 2008 at 1:27 pm #11194BuddParticipant
I get plenty of opportunity to work on quick stops in Nashville Traffic. Not the ideal place to practice but the opportunity presents itself almost daily. I usually only shift through gears without letting the clutch out in this situation. Even then I don’t do so in rapid succession just in case the car behind me is following too close or doesn’t see me. If possible, aiming it at the shoulder before quickstopping is to your advantage.
“I am the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineAugust 26, 2008 at 1:41 pm #11201
I bet those hills in Nashville are interesting to ride in traffic. I was stopped in traffic on an incline the other day while in my car and realized how much it would suck on a bike.August 26, 2008 at 1:48 pm #11202BuddParticipant
The Ninja is light so it makes it easier. I have the hold the backward roll down to not going far at all on most hills and I have almost mastered the rear brake application until friction zone manuver. Because I had driven a stick for so many years I really didn’t obsess about hills or even worry about them. One day I stopped on a hill and just muscled it until I was in the friction zone and let the friction zone hold me. Then I realized that I could just keep my foot on the rear brake until I had enough pull to keep me from moving backwards but not so much that I was moving forward.
“I am the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-Wolverine
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