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Power Shift Technique


MichiganBob

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MichiganBob

Maybe can you teach an old dog new tricks. My 2018RT allows me to shift up and down without using the clutch. Granted, muscle memory and half a century of using a clutch to change gears is a tough habit to break. But I'm willing to try. I'm pretty clunky and lurch in my attempts. What have you found to be the best technique for smooth shifting without the clutch? Thanks in advance.

 

Michiganbob

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mileypop
Posted (edited)

Seems to work best changing up on acceleration,  don't close throttle, preload the gear lever & it snicks in easy. Works best 2,3,4,5,6. Very quick changes. 

Changing down, throttle off, preload gear lever & again will change easily. You can down change through the box very quickly.  6,5,4,3, then I usually use clutch for 2nd & 1st.

Edited by mileypop
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wbw6cos

Under normal to moderate acceleration, I shift around 3500 rpms.   The best way to minimize the herky-jerky shifts is to pop the shift lever a split second after rolling the throttle; I mean almost simultaneously.  Do not let the engine rpms level off then shift.  Not smooth.

 

Even if you are taking off slow and running a steady rpm, you can twist the throttle (slightly) and at the same time hit the upshift, without winding up a lot of speed.

 

As for down shifting, yeah, closed throttle is the key.  Completely closed.   I usually down shift at 3,000 rpms and as the engine speed climbs to 4,000 rpms,  then another downshift.   I usally go all the way down to 1st gear on routine turns in destinations.   Just make sure there is enough carry speed to allow for a downshift.  The purr of the Shift Cam motor is a good guide for me; sounds nice while doing so.

 

Good luck.  Practice makes better riding.

 

As usual, your kilometers may vary.

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RandyShields

After I got my 2016 GS, I tried no clutch shifting and, even though I got it to smooth out a bit, found myself having to think too much about the new process.  Yes, the years of riding and muscle memory made it much harder than I anticipated.  I found that I was not as able to focus on traffic and other things versus the new shifting process.  Using a clutch is just second nature and I don't have to spend any brain power thinking about it, so I just went back to using the clutch all the time.  

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Paul De

Steady speed using Shift Assist are really clunky and the system seems to work best under accelerating load for up shifts, although the 1-2 up shift seams not so smooth regardless of amount of acceleration drive line loading.  I have come to use the clutch for 1-2 and SA for 2 through 6 up shifts.

 

Down shifts have been another matter.  Again it works best while the drive train is under deceleration load, so you just keep the throttle closed while using SA.  I have found that the system won't engage the next downshift until the engine RPM won't over rev on the downshift and on my 2015 this is really set conservatively never letting the RPM get any where near red line.  You just put sufficient pressure on the shifter that would result in a shift as if you were using the clutch, keep the throttle closed and it will shift when speed/RPM are in the safe downshift zone. It works OK, but I can make downshifts smoother using the onboard organic computer.

 

While SA downshifts work as designed, I have found I still prefer to downshift with the clutch, especially when riding frisky.  I have found that if you are stuffing it into a tight corner, the SA system may delay a downshift too long as under this type of riding, the RPM would be dropping very fast and the conservative max RPM programing conspire to hit the next gear down after you hit the apex....Yikes! 

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gary45

 

 

With the quick shifter, lifting the shift lever a small amount causes the motor to cut out for Rev matching, after over 40 years of preloading BMW shifters in order to shift smoothly I found sometimes I was doing that wondering why the motor quit, so quickly switched to using quick shifter all the time. Very smooth shifting under mild acceleration shifting at 4k

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Rinkydink

I only use clutch less up shifts from 3rd gear up and only for merging on interstate etc. Downshifting works good anytime but I find myself blipping and using the clutch like the olden days. 

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On the 15 RT and now the 17.5 GS I only use it for going up. 

 

There is no quicker way to get from 0 to 120+.  None!  You just can not out shift the quick shifter for going up. 

 

Coming down the only time I use it is if I am in a corner and need to come down for some reason.  2nd to 1st never happens.

 

While I enjoy it to move out and haul the mail, just not something I use very much.  And coming down just works better for me with a clutch in the lower gears.  So being old I just try to remember it is there when I want to haul the mail, but I could forget it is there period for the little I use it.

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Rob Nowell
On 5/31/2021 at 2:50 AM, mileypop said:

Seems to work best changing up on acceleration,  don't close throttle, preload the gear lever & it snicks in easy. Works best 2,3,4,5,6. Very quick changes. 

Changing down, throttle off, preload gear lever & again will change easily. You can down change through the box very quickly.  6,5,4,3, then I usually use clutch for 2nd & 1st.

Doesn't the manual tell us not to use it going into 2nd and 1st?  To 1st, for sure.

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gary45

My 18 works smoothly with quick shifter up or down all gears, trick is to shift quickly not slowly. I normally shift around 4k moderate acceleration, the higher rpm I shift at the more dramatic the shift is

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longjohn

I’ve mastered all of the up shifts and down shifts, except up shifting from 1-2. It still clunks jerkily. Shifting from 2-1, buttery smooth, puts a smile on my face. 

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wbw6cos

My owner's manual does not state anything about using the shift assist going down into 1st.   It does mention that it prevents over revving when downshifting so as not to hit the redline (9,000 rpms) .   

 

Also, for upshifts, there are release thresholds for each gear, given in minimum rpms.   

 

I have a Shift Cam motor, so I am not sure what those engine speeds would be for the 1200 motors.

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14 hours ago, wbw6cos said:

My owner's manual does not state anything about using the shift assist going down into 1st.   It does mention that it prevents over revving when downshifting so as not to hit the redline (9,000 rpms) .   

 

Also, for upshifts, there are release thresholds for each gear, given in minimum rpms.   

 

I have a Shift Cam motor, so I am not sure what those engine speeds would be for the 1200 motors.

Well on my 1200 GS the release thresholds are 9000K RPM :-)

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longjohn
2 hours ago, MichiganBob said:

What does "preload the gear lever" mean?

 

Thanks

A slight pressure applied by your foot on the shift lever in the direction that you want it to move. 

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gary45

Those big old getrag gear boxes on dry clutch R's and K's shifted beautifully if the lever was preloaded,

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MichiganBob

Interesting. What do you think this slight pressure is doing that assists in the shift?

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Good info.  I'm still learning how to break 50 years of using the clutch.  As others have mentioned, I don't use it until I'm in 2nd gear.  All shifts from 1 - 2 or 2 - 1 are made using the clutch.  

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tbrown

Well, I've read enough of these posts to comment:  

 

Upshifts:  I agree that it works great when you have a little acceleration going on...not so much at steady-state.  It's swell when you're hammering for max acceleration...Shift when the torque just starts to fade,  it'll move to the next gear seamlessly and give great results.    3 thru 6th upshifts are pretty easy...just be pulling some torque, not a ton.  

 

Downshifting is where the magic really happens.   NOTE:  ...And this is in the Rider's Manual...the feature doesn't work unless the throttle is CLOSED.   It's activated by a sensor that sees the closed throttle.  If it's not closed, the bike acts like a bike without this feature.   

 

What this downshift feature  is really great at is scrubbing off speed rapidly, say for a 20mph corner when you're going considerably faster.    Just close the throttlle while squeezing the front brake hard and keep bumping that shift pedal....Get to second and you're good to go around that tight bend.  

 

This is a tool you should have in your belt.  Practice it. Find a suitable place, get up to about 70 and just work on stop/downshift to 20.   Be agressive and you'll see how much faster the bike will stop with a lot of engine braking added to the brakes.   When you get the feel, try it on a twisty road when setting up for a turn.   Develop new muscle memory for it and you'll feel a lot more confident with hard, technical riding on great back roads.   It's just great and much less awkward than trying multiple downshifts using the clutch while trying to brake hard and steer...and hold on.    

 

You can go down to first with this feature but not really smoothly unless you're really hauling it down.  I usually don't try unless I really NEED to for some sort of urgent situation.   It's OK to use the clutch and I do for 1-2 and 2-1 shifts more often than not.    Likewise, a 1-2 shift is rarely smooth with the upshift feature.   I would only use it above 4000 if I was really giving it the beans.   It works just fine then.   

 

Skills like this should be practiced because they enlarge your window of safety and give you more and better options when things go wrong out there.   

 

:yes:

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, tbrown said:

Well, I've read enough of these posts to comment:  

 

Upshifts:  I agree that it works great when you have a little acceleration going on...not so much at steady-state.  It's swell when you're hammering for max acceleration...Shift when the torque just starts to fade,  it'll move to the next gear seamlessly and give great results.    3 thru 6th upshifts are pretty easy...just be pulling some torque, not a ton.  

 

Downshifting is where the magic really happens.   NOTE:  ...And this is in the Rider's Manual...the feature doesn't work unless the throttle is CLOSED.   It's activated by a sensor that sees the closed throttle.  If it's not closed, the bike acts like a bike without this feature.   

 

What this downshift feature  is really great at is scrubbing off speed rapidly, say for a 20mph corner when you're going considerably faster.    Just close the throttlle while squeezing the front brake hard and keep bumping that shift pedal....Get to second and you're good to go around that tight bend.  

 

This is a tool you should have in your belt.  Practice it. Find a suitable place, get up to about 70 and just work on stop/downshift to 20.   Be agressive and you'll see how much faster the bike will stop with a lot of engine braking added to the brakes.   When you get the feel, try it on a twisty road when setting up for a turn.   Develop new muscle memory for it and you'll feel a lot more confident with hard, technical riding on great back roads.   It's just great and much less awkward than trying multiple downshifts using the clutch while trying to brake hard and steer...and hold on.    

 

You can go down to first with this feature but not really smoothly unless you're really hauling it down.  I usually don't try unless I really NEED to for some sort of urgent situation.   It's OK to use the clutch and I do for 1-2 and 2-1 shifts more often than not.    Likewise, a 1-2 shift is rarely smooth with the upshift feature.   I would only use it above 4000 if I was really giving it the beans.   It works just fine then.   

 

Skills like this should be practiced because they enlarge your window of safety and give you more and better options when things go wrong out there.   

 

:yes:

 

 

 

 

Nahhh, after 50 years of muscle memory I think I got it.  After this long I am supposed to learn a "new" way to shift/ride/control my motorcycle?   Sorta like hill hold never needed it and never will.

 

And I have retrained at least 6 or 7 SAP equipped bikes in my time and while I have seen improvement in 6 of them one never worked no matter what and went to a dealer.

 

In this day and age if you can't make a transmission snick with using the clutch, how the hell do you think it is going to do it using SAP?  These are the worst shifting bikes into 1st gear I have ever ridden in my life.  It is down right embarrassing listening to these bikes going from neutral to first especially until the updated 17 transmission and even they are not a whole lot better but better for sure.

 

Shifter pre load?  Until I owned my 07 K1200 LT I had never heard of that.  Never needed to do that to any previous bike I owned.  It is a BMW thing.

 

If SAP is a useful tool for you and others great, but it will never replace or become my shifting technique.  Something about a old dog, and all that.

 

I am wondering if you guys are using your shift warning light also?

 

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gary45
11 hours ago, MichiganBob said:

Interesting. What do you think this slight pressure is doing that assists in the shift?

Anytime someone has complained on the forums about having trouble shifting those older bikes they are given the same advice from multiple members - preload the lever - it works

You put enough pressure on the lever to take up all slack in shift mechanism and when you disengage clutch it will shift quickly and smoothly, as to why it works??

The technique did not cause problems with my 2012 GTL, no quick shifter, but with the 2018 touching the shift lever causes the motor to react, perhaps mine is unusually sensitive.

 

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1 hour ago, gary45 said:

Anytime someone has complained on the forums about having trouble shifting those older bikes they are given the same advice from multiple members - preload the lever - it works

You put enough pressure on the lever to take up all slack in shift mechanism and when you disengage clutch it will shift quickly and smoothly, as to why it works??

The technique did not cause problems with my 2012 GTL, no quick shifter, but with the 2018 touching the shift lever causes the motor to react, perhaps mine is unusually sensitive.

 

That is interesting,  So if you preload the shifter your bike does something different?  Does the RPM change or something? 

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gary45
53 minutes ago, LAF said:

That is interesting,  So if you preload the shifter your bike does something different?  Does the RPM change or something? 

There has to be a sensor/switch to detect when the shift lever is moved, when you are upshifting the motor is briefly cut off for Rev matching, on my 18 if I lift the lever a tiny bit while accelerating the motor will cut out. 

 

When down shifting the motor needs to rev up for rev matching 

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Bernie
9 minutes ago, gary45 said:

There has to be a sensor/switch to detect when the shift lever is moved, when you are upshifting the motor is briefly cut off for Rev matching, on my 18 if I lift the lever a tiny bit while accelerating the motor will cut out. 

 

When down shifting the motor needs to rev up for rev matching 

Interesting, I have never noticed the "cut out" of the motor. On some of my SAP upshifts, it feels almost like the clutch doesn't re-engage for a second (clutch slipping?). That always happens on 2-3 or 3-4 gear shifts after the completed shift, under hard acceleration.

I accomplish the smoothest upshifts by rolling on the throttle while forcefully moving the shift lever up. 

Also make sure, regardless of using the SAP or the clutch, to release the pressure on the shift lever completely before attempting the next up or down shift. 

As for down shifts, if I downshift from a high rate of speed, I can hear the motor reving up a little. I never have a problem down shifting all the way to first gear. Sometimes I even can shift into neutral, by mistake.

But if I am riding a tightly curvy section of road and need to drop a gear or two, I rather use the clutch. It allows me the feather out the clutch smoother and prevent any traction loss. Besides using the clutch I can drop two gears, without a pause.

 

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Paul De
1 hour ago, Bernie said:

But if I am riding a tightly curvy section of road and need to drop a gear or two, I rather use the clutch. It allows me the feather out the clutch smoother and prevent any traction loss. Besides using the clutch I can drop two gears, without a pause.

Yup, agree with that and as LAF said there is a bit of the old dog thing for me.   I still find it more comfortable knowing that with manual down shifts I will have the gear I want exactly when I need it to be there. The bonus is that the Wethead uses a slipper clutch which helps if, like me, your feathering out skills are not quite what they were.   

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Frank Brown
On 6/3/2021 at 11:37 PM, tbrown said:

Well, I've read enough of these posts to comment:  

 

Downshifting is where the magic really happens.   NOTE:  ...And this is in the Rider's Manual...the feature doesn't work unless the throttle is CLOSED.   It's activated by a sensor that sees the closed throttle.  If it's not closed, the bike acts like a bike without this feature.   

 

You do not have to close throttle to downshift, you just cannot be accelerating.  My manual says, 'if the throttle is closed, the engine rpm's will be increased to match speed'.

On 6/3/2021 at 11:37 PM, tbrown said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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wbw6cos

Maybe for each model year, the SA gets more refined.  In my manual, "During deceleration and downshifts (throttle plate closed) the system blips the throttle to obtain the correct engine speed."  I can verify that closing the throttle, completely,  makes the downshift smoother.  Much smoother.  I downshift at engine RPM's that I normally use with the clutch.  Generally, I just let up off the throttle and downshift.  Then wait for engine braking to slow the RPM.s to select the next lower gear.

 

No need to pre-load the shift lever for SA (upshifting).  I have to do that on my 2000 R1200C when I shift without the clutch, but it is a dry clutch and shifting with the clutch is a LOT better than not using it; I did that a few times just to say I did it.; I do use the clutch on that bike.  I cannot say anything about clutchless shifting on a wet clutch (without SA,) as I have never ridden one to try.  My rider's manual states "For the system to detect the rider's intention to change gear, the gearshift lever previously not operated must be moved against the force of the spring by a certain amount of "overtravel" in the desired direction with a normal to brisk action and held in that position until the gear change is completed. A further increase of the force applied to the gearshift lever during the gear-shift operation is not necessary. After the gear change is completed, the gear lever must be fully released before the Pro gearshift assistant can execute a new gear change."  I just shift the lever as I sould with using a clutch; no pre-loading the lever for a shift.

 

Sorry to go on and on about this post, but I,too, thought about similar old school clutch use, but adapted to using SA and absolutely love it.  Of course, I also drive a big rig and only use the clutch on that for starting and stopping on a manual 10 speed.  So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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I just never knew(thought about it)the pre load would trigger the throttle cut,  but as you said, it has too.  I am dumb sometimes.  But in my defense, as I said, I dont use it much and mostly just pegging the throttle across a long 8 lane bridge in our area.  It is my "Ton For The Day" road.  When I am doing this I never preload the shifter and I am WOT as much as possible to keep off the rev limiter and not hit it and drop rpm/mph  :revit:

 

I think there are plenty of guys who can RPM shift pretty well.  I know a gentleman who has posted on another forum he does it all the time with ease on his RT not equipped with SAP.

 

I have driven 3 pedal cars since my 68 Studebaker I bought 15 years old in 1983 and that has not changed, that one was 3 on the tree.  I have had to rpm match on more then 1 occasion in my life to get home, bike and car :classic_biggrin:

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Frank Brown
11 hours ago, wbw6cos said:

Maybe for each model year, the SA gets more refined.  In my manual, "During deceleration and downshifts (throttle plate closed) the system blips the throttle to obtain the correct engine speed." 

It's telling you if the throttle is closed what will happen.  It's not telling you to close the throttle.........

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PastorJay

As I have gotten to know my bike I have learned when to shift without the clutch. My first several rides Im thinking I was going to blow the engine it was so rough. I realized my rpms were too low for a smooth shift. From advice on this forum and trial and error it is all quite smooth now. 'About the only time I use the clutch is 1st to 2nd. No problem going up from there or from 6th -1st. Loveing it. 

I still not understanding the whole pre-load thing. I guess I do not need it as the bike shifts fine. 

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Hosstage

Those that think a BMW gearbox is embarrassingly loud when shifting must not have ridden a Harley with the Cruise Drive 6 transmission ('07 up I think). Talk about a kalunk! There is always discussion how to avoid it, some have had success. Me, I just jam it in let that thing bang like a gunshot.

BMWs are smoothe compared to HD, trust me. Nothing to worry about, just own it and say "Yup."

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TSConver

So I never use a clutch above second gear. Just preload the shifter and blip the throttle.

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