New Rider Questions

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Yankees1212
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New Rider Questions

#1 Unread post by Yankees1212 »

Hey guys,

So I took the MSF course and got my first bike and I've been practicing around my neighborhood to just get comfortable before going out on main roads. I have a few questions/concerns.

1) I was going downhill around 25 mph in 2nd gear and all of a sudden I was going like 30-35. I brought in the clutch and braked a little, but when I let off the clutch, the bike just lurched forward. What can I do to make this more smooth? Should I even be grabbing the clutch to brake?

2) After downshifting, when you ease off the clutch, do you then apply throttle (just as you do when upshifting)? I've been reading a lot about blipping the throttle, but people say to just get regular downshifting down before you try this? So if someone can just confirm the regular downshifting technique, that would be perfect. My bike also has a slipper clutch if that changes anything.

GS_in_CO
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Re: New Rider Questions

#2 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

You can use the brakes without pulling the clutch until the engine RPMs get to near idle speed. But of course close the throttle when you use the brakes and before pulling the clutch.

On downshift you should be trying to match the RPMs in the new gear. Think about it and recognize that for the same road speed if you shift down a gear your RPMs will be higher. You'd do this for something like downshifting while climbing a hill.
Blipping throttle is really only briefly matching revs while selecting the lower gear and is normally done under braking when the throttle should be closed except for gear changes down.

Slipper clutch means that if you downshift badly (say select 3 gears down when you really only need 1) and let the clutch out while rolling the rear tire won't lose traction when the engine resists being spun up way too high.

Downshifting and rev matching is more easily demonstrated in a manual transmission car by a driver who knows what they are doing.
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

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JackoftheGreen
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Re: New Rider Questions

#3 Unread post by JackoftheGreen »

Yankees,

Welcome to TMW and thanks for joining! You've come to the right place.

A different interpretation on your question about downshifting. With context, I assume you mean if you're downshifting to slow the bike. If you're downshifting to get extra power, such as passing or when climbing a grade, you definitely want to match RPMs for the lower gear as you're releasing the clutch. But if you mean downshifting to slow the bike, as when approaching a red light or overtaking slow-moving traffic, then you can absolutely let out the clutch without applying throttle and let engine compression slow the bike. Downshifting is a lost art and I'm glad to see someone still uses it, most folk just pull in the clutch and brake to a stop.

Of course, brake pads are cheaper than clutch pads and easier to replace, so maybe we're the dummies. (-:

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Re: New Rider Questions

#4 Unread post by blues2cruise »

Yankees1212 wrote:Hey guys,

So I took the MSF course and got my first bike and I've been practicing around my neighborhood to just get comfortable before going out on main roads. I have a few questions/concerns.

1) I was going downhill around 25 mph in 2nd gear and all of a sudden I was going like 30-35. I brought in the clutch and braked a little, but when I let off the clutch, the bike just lurched forward. What can I do to make this more smooth? Should I even be grabbing the clutch to brake?
Probably just let the clutch lever go too abruptly. Just ease it out next time.
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pchast
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Re: New Rider Questions

#5 Unread post by pchast »

Yea, I'd say practice some more with clutch control in a controlled area like a
parking lot. Its something I need to do at the start of every season.
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Re: New Rider Questions

#6 Unread post by Yankees1212 »

Ok, so now I recognize that it's best to stay in gear and not use the clutch to slow down (unless you're in the process of downshifting). My problem before was that I was closing off the throttle way too quickly while in 2nd gear which caused the bike to lurch. Tomorrow, the weather should be nice so I'm going to work on controlled turning without using the clutch and downshifting.

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Re: New Rider Questions

#7 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

Yankees1212 wrote: Tomorrow, the weather should be nice so I'm going to work on controlled turning without using the clutch and downshifting.
It's trying to snow here so.... enjoy your good weather.

Turning at slow speed you should have your hand on the clutch ready to slip it if needed if RPMs get too low. It's hard to be sure what situation you are describing.

If doing parking lot slow turns only use your back brake - not the front. Front is only safely used when the bike is upright and going straight.

You'll find writeups saying that you can brake in a turn and that's true for experienced riders and only a little braking while going fast (Like on mountain roads - NOT parking lot!).

For newbies braking in the parking lot should always be the rear brake. Else you'll find yourself on the ground surprisingly quickly.
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

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Re: New Rider Questions

#8 Unread post by Lion_Lady »

Yankees1212 wrote:Ok, so now I recognize that it's best to stay in gear and not use the clutch to slow down (unless you're in the process of downshifting). My problem before was that I was closing off the throttle way too quickly while in 2nd gear which caused the bike to lurch. Tomorrow, the weather should be nice so I'm going to work on controlled turning without using the clutch and downshifting.

When you pull in the clutch, it disconnects the engine from the wheel. Essentially, the result is that you're now coasting, just like when you stop pedaling a bicycle.

If you don't squeeze the clutch when braking, listen/feel the engine. If you sense it starting to 'chug chug,' then lightly squeeze the clutch/roll off a little/ downshift, and eeeaaase out the clutch/roll on gently. Repeat as needed, if you're coming to a stop. Come to a stop in first gear, and stay in first gear so you can get moving quickly if needed.

If you were slowing for a curve, then you may need to upshift again as you finish exiting the curve.

Focus on being SMOOTH with all your control inputs. It will come, it just takes practice.
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Re: New Rider Questions

#9 Unread post by Yankees1212 »

GS_in_CO wrote:
Yankees1212 wrote: Tomorrow, the weather should be nice so I'm going to work on controlled turning without using the clutch and downshifting.
It's trying to snow here so.... enjoy your good weather.

Turning at slow speed you should have your hand on the clutch ready to slip it if needed if RPMs get too low. It's hard to be sure what situation you are describing.

If doing parking lot slow turns only use your back brake - not the front. Front is only safely used when the bike is upright and going straight.

You'll find writeups saying that you can brake in a turn and that's true for experienced riders and only a little braking while going fast (Like on mountain roads - NOT parking lot!).

For newbies braking in the parking lot should always be the rear brake. Else you'll find yourself on the ground surprisingly quickly.
My situation was either

1) slowing down to turn right off a 35 mph street at 90 degrees

or

2) slowing to turn left across traffic but not coming to a complete stop

But, yeah I've found myself tapping on the rear brake and it really does help with slow speed stuff.

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Re: New Rider Questions

#10 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

Yankees1212 wrote:
GS_in_CO wrote:
Yankees1212 wrote:
My situation was either

1) slowing down to turn right off a 35 mph street at 90 degrees

or

2) slowing to turn left across traffic but not coming to a complete stop

But, yeah I've found myself tapping on the rear brake and it really does help with slow speed stuff.
Since you aren't stopping you would just use both brakes to slow and downshift as needed to keep RPMs where they belong. You should complete all braking before you roll into the turn (MSF standard) then add a little throttle to maintain speed thru the turn. Slow, Look, Lean, Roll - remember? Be very, very careful of what might be on the pavement and choose your line to follow the cleanest path. These kinds of turns are not the place to get big lean angles.

Back brake only when maneuvering in the parking lot to a parking space because you might have the bars turned.
If you use the front brake in this situation a tipover is likely. Even just rolling the bike around while you are alongside if you use the front brake with the bars turned it could get away from you. (and it's not fair that you can only reach the front brake in that situation!)
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

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