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Downshifting after a stop


JayW

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Our city recently installed photo equipment at some key intersections, and they are catching a lot of folks running red lights. I recalled this as I was coming up on one of these crossings and ended up doing a quick stop at a yellow light. After stopping I realized that the bike was still in 6th gear. Yes, I was not concentrating and should have downshifted as I slowed down.

 

Usually the tansmission clashes in protest when I try to downshift after stopping, but today I had the idea of partially releasing the clutch handle as I downshifted. The key is to just barely engage the clutch - not enough to get the bike rolling. I was able to downshift 5,4,3,2,1 without any hesitation or unpleasant sounds.

 

Maybe everyone else already knew about this, but just in case not, I thought I'd pass it on.

 

Jay

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Nice, I discovered the same thing after stopping in 3rd because of a sudden traffic change. Luckly I had a couple minutes stopped to figure it out. I released the clutch just a bit and then pulled it while down shifting. Worked well.

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the scary part of all this is that you were in 6th gear in a city. i never get below 55 mph in 6th gear anywhere. in fact, i keep it in 5th above that speed if i am using the engine for control and braking. i hope you were truly going fast enough to justify that gear, for the sake of your engine. curry

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You're right, but nothing scary here. I was on the outskirts of the city on a 4 lane bypass with a 55mph speed limit. I was probably going 60 or more when the light turned yellow.

 

I agree that higher rpms can be very useful for controlling a bike in terms of both engine braking and accelerating efficiently. I find throttle control most useful on twisty country roads rather than on straight city or suburban roads.

 

Jay

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A recent advanced riding course I attended suggested that in emergency (or semi-emergency) stops like yours, that you get into the habit of downshifting back to first (without letting the clutch out) rapidly as you stop. This also allows for quick takeoffs if something is about to run into your backside. It takes a bit of practice, but is worth the effort.

 

I also find the 'clutch release' tactic you mention here handy after starting the bike in the morinings, when I initially engage first gear. Sometimes, first can be hard to engage unless you release the clutch slightly. My previous K1200Gt had the same quirk.

 

Dave.

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i hope you were truly going fast enough to justify that gear, for the sake of your engine.

Oooooo, scary! tongue.gif Evidently you've never heard of the "Swiss Army Knife" 2nd gear that can be used for anything! Lugged, revved, you name it. So, I'ma thinkin', if you can torture 2nd like I and many others have, I doubt 6th will grenade on a city ride. Don't take offense, just ride.

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