Holding in clutch while braking = bad habit?

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#21 Unread post by TxCZShooter » Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:36 pm

I know I'm just a newb....but in reference to using the clutch, there's a big difference from riding the clutch to engaging the clutch. In a manual, I to engage the clutch when breaking, and I have aplied this to my limited experience on a motorcycle as well. But I was tought to always keep my foot off the petal (riding) unless shifting. So IMO, I would say "riding" the clutch would be more damaging (if at all) then fully engaging the clutch. However, like the above posters have said, doesn't seem like many people ever need them replaced under normal circumstances.

Just my .02

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#22 Unread post by cherokeepati » Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:01 pm

Did you take the same MSF course as I did?? When doing any slow, tight turns (as in the figure 8's) we were told to ride the clutch and use the throttle to find the sweet spot that gives you momentum but control the speed with the throttle at the same time. I still use that when coming up to a stop light that is about to turn. That way I can still break or speed up when needed. I do it in city traffic and on the highway in traffic jams. I make a game of it to see how long I can go before putting my left foot down. :laughing:
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#23 Unread post by ArcticHarleyMan » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:52 am

HungPower wrote:Yeah you see, because for a car, there is no engine compression so I would always hold in the clutch for no apparent reason =\. Actually, to switch gears quickly if ever need to be I guess, but you're right, I guess with a motorcycle it's more preferable to not hold in the cluthc and have engine compression help with the braking.
I beg to differ with your statement. There is ALWAYS engine compression, unless you are coasting in neutral, which is what you are doing whith the clutch in. One of the rules of driving anything, from a m/c, to a car, to a transport truck. Never coast. If you do, all you have to rely upon for stopping is your brakes. If they fail, the only other option you have is to run into something else, or aim up a hill.

Engine compression can be used as a brake and the lower the gear, the more engine compression you have. :santa:

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#24 Unread post by ixolas » Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:47 pm

Although new to bikes, I am not to mechanics. The wet clutch of a motorcycle is made to endure long use in the disengaged position (in gear but clutch squeezed). Cars are not, if a car's clutch was used as frequently or in the same manner as a bikes clutch it would burn up in no time.

As for squeezing the clutch and only using the brakes it is a matter of choice. If no one is behind you or if surounding drivers look like there paying attention, using the engine to brake and barely using your actual brakes is fine. Just remember to use the rear brake when doing so. The rear will stop you less, using mostly engine stopping, but illuminating your brake light as much as possible.

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#25 Unread post by qwerty » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:39 pm

ixolas wrote:Although new to bikes, I am not to mechanics. The wet clutch of a motorcycle is made to endure long use in the disengaged position (in gear but clutch squeezed). Cars are not, if a car's clutch was used as frequently or in the same manner as a bikes clutch it would burn up in no time.
.
Multi-disc clutches are used in bikes for increased clamping in a smaller diameter area. Think about it, where would you put a 12-inch diameter clutch and flywheel on a motorcycle? Many auto clutches are used as frequently as a motorcycle's, with no ill effect.

The throwout bearing of a car is designed for 50 hours of use. Most motorcycles are designed to be held in gear when stopped at a light. The throwout bearing of the bike is designed for much more use.
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#26 Unread post by Kal » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:42 am

I drop in and out of the bite point all the time during my normal inner city riding.

If I am braking heavily I will dip into and out of the bite point to give extra braking without locking the back wheels up.

Mind you I also change gear and use my rear brake during cornering if I feel it needs it.
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#27 Unread post by Sev » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:45 am

Why would you want to hold in your clutch while you brake? Unless it's emergency braking where you should be downshifting as fast as you can, while you do it.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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Poppycock

#28 Unread post by SausageCreature » Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:19 am

Why would you want to hold in your clutch while you brake? Unless it's emergency braking where you should be downshifting as fast as you can, while you do it.
Why would you not? When I want to decelerate at a slower rate, like when a light ahead changes to green and I have to wait for a stopped car to get going, if distance allows I let air resistance slow me down and the engine idle.

I don't see how engine braking can give you any more braking power than your rear brake. I guess if you drop it down a gear or two the engine pulsing might act as a sort of ABS, but under normal conditions why not use your brakes, being as they are specifically designed for the purpose?
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#29 Unread post by jonnythan » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:03 am

Sevulturus wrote:Why would you want to hold in your clutch while you brake? Unless it's emergency braking where you should be downshifting as fast as you can, while you do it.
I'm I'm riding in 4th gear and see a red light up ahead, I'll usually drop it down to third gear... but not second. Going below 25 or so will make the bike chug in third gear, so instead of quickly downshifting twice (pull clutch, shift, release clutch, pull clutch, shift, release clutch, then pull clutch in while in first gear to stop), I just pull the clutch in and stop with my brakes.

Saves an awful lot of shifting and I see no reason to do it any other way.

I suppose that if you're in a bike where you're in first gear up to 40mph, then it makes sense.
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#30 Unread post by KarateChick » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:11 am

SausageCreature wrote:
Sevulturus wrote:Why would you want to hold in your clutch while you brake? Unless it's emergency braking where you should be downshifting as fast as you can, while you do it.
Why would you not? When I want to decelerate at a slower rate, like when a light ahead changes to green and I have to wait for a stopped car to get going, if distance allows I let air resistance slow me down and the engine idle.

I don't see how engine braking can give you any more braking power than your rear brake. I guess if you drop it down a gear or two the engine pulsing might act as a sort of ABS, but under normal conditions why not use your brakes, being as they are specifically designed for the purpose?
If this makes any sense...If you are coasting to a stop/slow down, how do you get your bike into the proper gear if you are somewhere between 1st and whatever - shouldn't you stay in gear so you are in the correct power band of the bike in case you suddenly need the power? A friend had to swerve into another lane because some driver was about to turn him into a sandwich with a stopped car in front of him and he was still moving but hadn't reached the stopped car yet.

If you really need to creep along on the bike, MSF instructors taught us stay in gear along with clutch and rear brake feathering.

I've always used engine braking in the car so it seemed normal to do so on the bike - flashing the brake lights in both cases.

Reduce wear on the brake pads? :wink:
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#31 Unread post by ArcticHarleyMan » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:05 pm

Right you are Karate-chick. The key word you used is feathering.

About the only times I can think of when I feather the clutch is when I'm starting from a dead stop or going slower than my bike can idle in 1st gear, such as approaching a stop light or line of traffic at a stop. If there is no one behind me who looks like they will run into me, I will go very slow, feathering the clutch to keep moving, but not having to stop completely.

I wonder if those who believe they should "ride" the clutch don't understand what is meant. They seem to think that "riding" the clutch means to pull the lever all the way in and coast.

In any case, whenever you disengage the transmission from the engine, you are free-wheeling and while free-wheeling, you have no control over the bike other than steering and braking.

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Re: Poppycock

#32 Unread post by ArcticHarleyMan » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:32 pm

SausageCreature wrote:snip.......

Why would you not? When I want to decelerate at a slower rate, like when a light ahead changes to green and I have to wait for a stopped car to get going, if distance allows I let air resistance slow me down and the engine idle.

I don't see how engine braking can give you any more braking power than your rear brake. I guess if you drop it down a gear or two the engine pulsing might act as a sort of ABS, but under normal conditions why not use your brakes, being as they are specifically designed for the purpose?
Why would you not? Well, when you put your vehicle into "neutral", which is what you are essentially doing when you pull the clutch in, you are taking away any control of your bike, other than braking and steering. So, why not just either shut off the throttle, and if you aren't slowing fast enough, drop a gear or two? That way you are staying within the power band in case you need power to move out of the way quickly (God!! how many times do we have to say this???)

But you are correct in saying that engine braking does not give more braking power than the rear brake, but remember, rear brakes are only 1 source of slowing/stopping. You also have your front brake andengine braking. So, add it up and you come to the logical conclusion that 3 sources of slowing/braking are better than 1, do you not?

Also, another thing about braking.

The front brake is more effective than the rear brake. Why? you ask.

When you apply the front brake, the bike's centre of gravity migrates foreward, the front suspension compresses and this puts more weight on the front wheel, tranferring the weight into increased pounds per inch between your tire and the road surface.

For those of you who believe that you should pull the clutch in and use the brake to slow/stop your bike, I would like you to try the following.

1: Take your bike to a street with next to no traffic.
2: Get up to the speed limit
3: Close your throttle and check to see how long (time, not distance) it takes to drop down to 10 MPH.

Repeat this with the only change being
4: Drop one gear lower and close your throttle again and check the time it takes to drop to 10MPH.

Repeat but do this
4: Pull your clutch lever in all the way and check to see how long it takes to get to 10MPH.

Finally, do this
4: Shift down and use braking at the same time to slow to 10MPH.


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#33 Unread post by scan » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:01 pm

Many good points here. I have never understood how you could ride without downshifting. I've done it since day one. It provide added stability when slowing down to me. I downshift in my car and on my bike. I would only disengage the clutch in emergancy stopping, when there was no real time to downshift safely. Otherwise in almost every case I can think of, I give myself enough time to stop using almost ONLY my engine. My brake lever is for flashing the light for the most part.
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#34 Unread post by Sev » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:14 pm

jonnythan wrote:
Sevulturus wrote:Why would you want to hold in your clutch while you brake? Unless it's emergency braking where you should be downshifting as fast as you can, while you do it.
I'm I'm riding in 4th gear and see a red light up ahead, I'll usually drop it down to third gear... but not second. Going below 25 or so will make the bike chug in third gear, so instead of quickly downshifting twice (pull clutch, shift, release clutch, pull clutch, shift, release clutch, then pull clutch in while in first gear to stop), I just pull the clutch in and stop with my brakes.

Saves an awful lot of shifting and I see no reason to do it any other way.

I suppose that if you're in a bike where you're in first gear up to 40mph, then it makes sense.
I've done the same thing before myself, usually I double down while I'm shifting to increase my compression braking. But I still try and work my way down to first while I'm rolling and under power. Because if something big comes up behind me at speed I've got power to the engine, and all I need to do is roll the throttle and I'm away.

No dicking about wondering if I'm in the right gear, no need to worry about smoothly releasing the clutch, because I'm already rolling under power.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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Re: Holding in clutch while braking = bad habit?

#35 Unread post by silentx » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:54 pm

HungPower wrote:When I used to drive my stickshift car, or even any manual car for that matter, everytime I brake, I would find my self holding in the clutch. If i needed to accelerate or maintain a speed, I would just go up to the friction point and then release. But then I realized that as I started to ride a motorcycle, everytime I brake I would also hold in the clutch and follow the same habits. For example, say if I was to start braking, I'd hold in the clutch as I would brake but if I had to continue on, I would slowly let out the clutch and give it some gas. Now if I still needed to brake harder I would hold in the clutch continuiously and then downshift if necessary. Now just wondering, does anyone else do this or do I need to fix my habit?
I find that I have a controlled Descend when I am not engaging the clutch. For example if I was driving down the freeway at 75 MPH, and want to slow down or stop quickly I would apply the breaks while on the gear without engaging the clutch. When I have slowed to about 10-15 mph, I would then engage the clutch or simply put the gear to neutral and relax.

It also causes the Car to slow a lot quicker due to Engine friction.

Another method I use to slow down quicker is to shift-down as I am breaking. Though it stresses the engine to its limits, clutch acts like some sort of a secondary break; causing the car to slow down a lot faster.


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This post has been Re-Written Dude to constructive critisism of "ZooTech"
Last edited by silentx on Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Holding in clutch while braking = bad habit?

#36 Unread post by ZooTech » Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:01 pm

silentx wrote:I find that I get have a controlled Decend when I am not holding the clutch. Ex: my 4 wheeler, If I am on freeway at 75 MPH and wanna slow down/stop quickly. I would apply break while on the gear with no clutch. When am slowed to about 10-15 mph I would then hold the clutch or simple put to nuetral and relax my foot :)

Also it slows lot quickly due to Engine friction.

Another method I used to slow down faster is I shift down as I am breaking. The clutch act like some what of a break also (again engine friction) but Stresses engine out a bit.
Exactly which country are you from, silentx? I need to know so I can use the proper accent in my head when reading your incoherent ramblings and broken English.

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Re: Holding in clutch while braking = bad habit?

#37 Unread post by silentx » Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:05 pm

ZooTech wrote:
silentx wrote:I find that I get have a controlled Decend when I am not holding the clutch. Ex: my 4 wheeler, If I am on freeway at 75 MPH and wanna slow down/stop quickly. I would apply break while on the gear with no clutch. When am slowed to about 10-15 mph I would then hold the clutch or simple put to nuetral and relax my foot :)

Also it slows lot quickly due to Engine friction.

Another method I used to slow down faster is I shift down as I am breaking. The clutch act like some what of a break also (again engine friction) but Stresses engine out a bit.
Exactly which country are you from, silentx? I need to know so I can use the proper accent in my head when reading your incoherent ramblings and broken English.

LOL.. I see.. Let me fix it for you..

Oh the country... don't think you can replicate the my accent. Also I cannot replicate your accent either, simply because your accent is too insulting and some what rude. But thank you for the correction(s) It was pretty bad; I agree. I am sleepy as hell. :nitenite:
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Re: Holding in clutch while braking = bad habit?

#38 Unread post by Koss » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:48 am

silentx wrote:
ZooTech wrote:
silentx wrote:I find that I get have a controlled Decend when I am not holding the clutch. Ex: my 4 wheeler, If I am on freeway at 75 MPH and wanna slow down/stop quickly. I would apply break while on the gear with no clutch. When am slowed to about 10-15 mph I would then hold the clutch or simple put to nuetral and relax my foot :)

Also it slows lot quickly due to Engine friction.

Another method I used to slow down faster is I shift down as I am breaking. The clutch act like some what of a break also (again engine friction) but Stresses engine out a bit.
Exactly which country are you from, silentx? I need to know so I can use the proper accent in my head when reading your incoherent ramblings and broken English.

LOL.. I see.. Let me fix it for you..

Oh the country... don't think you can replicate the my accent. Also I cannot replicate your accent either, simply because your accent is too insulting and some what rude. But thank you for the correction(s) It was pretty bad; I agree. I am sleepy as hell. :nitenite:
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#39 Unread post by ill'n » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:25 pm

KarateChick wrote:I've always used engine braking in the car so it seemed normal to do so on the bike - flashing the brake lights in both cases.
A lot of people replying to this thread hinted at the brake lights, but I thought I'd emphasize it. I commute in Silicon Valley, the cell-phone driver capital of the world (you can dispute if you want). It's a good idea to turn on the brake lights the instant you think of braking. A few on this forum suggested feathering the rear brake pedal to illuminate the brake light. My MSF instructor discouraged this behavior for a beginner, as it might train us to rely only on the rear brakes as an instinctive reaction during an emergency. (Whatever we normally do, we'll do in panic.) He suggested using both brakes, and if the bike slows too much from the combination of both brakes and engine compression, then eliminate the engine factor with the clutch from the start of the braking process.

Just a newbie perspective.

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#40 Unread post by childoffire » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:58 am

scan wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:01 pm
Many good points here. I have never understood how you could ride without downshifting. I've done it since day one. It provide added stability when slowing down to me. I downshift in my car and on my bike. I would only disengage the clutch in emergancy stopping, when there was no real time to downshift safely. Otherwise in almost every case I can think of, I give myself enough time to stop using almost ONLY my engine. My brake lever is for flashing the light for the most part.
Then in all honesty, you're just unnecessarily screwing your engine up.

Motorcycle brakes are already over qualified for their purpose (they're almost as strong as car brakes and have to stop a mass that's hardly a quarter of it). But if you still want to use your engine as a brake, you should brake first and drop your revs before you downshift.

So using ONLY the engine to stop is not only unnecessary, it's... umm, let's say... the opposite of smart!

In the words of Keith Code the legend: "Brakes are cheap, engines are expensive".

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