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Rickbrowngsts

Two fingers on the clutch

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Rickbrowngsts

OK, I'll admit it, I stink at shifting. As much as I try to be smooth, my shifts are way to rough too much of the time. Just read the book "Sport Riding Techniques" by Nick Ienatsch recently. He was advocating not only two fingers on the brake, but also two fingers on the clutch. The two fingers remaining on the grip keeping you from pulling in the clutch too far. Been doing that on my upshifts now for a month or so, and have found myself getting much smoother. Now if I could only get that throttle blip when shifting down into 2nd at speed right ...

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Lighthiker90

The MSR school advises to use your full hand on the clutch and brake. I got repeatedly schooled for using only a few fingers. The belief there was it is possible for the fingers to become wedged or part of your glove pinched and not allow the brake or clutch to function.

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upflying

All four over the lever is the way I was trained. In fact, you are supposed to keep the clutch lever covered with your fingers all the time.

The reason give by the instructors was to keep the rear wheel from locking in the event of an engine seizure. Pretty unlikely... I know.

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RTJohn

Thanks for posting this...glad I'm not alone. I always think I'm not shifting right, especially out of first. I'm always trying to improve my riding but shifting is always something I'm thinking about. :P

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Dashbaw

Once moving I pull the clutch on my R1200RT with one finger. Guess I wouldn't pass the course.

 

DA

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Meriden

Not too long ago a new dual sport rider asked me this question and I had to admit that I didn't know what I did. I just never thought about it any more, so I started paying attention. I don't always use the clutch when I'm shifting up, especially on the street, but sometimes off road as well. It's harder to do on the RT than on any of my other bikes. I always use the clutch down shifting and generally all of my fingers unless I'm trying to do something that requires a lot of controls. My Dad raced when I was a kid and taught me to do it as the normal way to ride. He referred to not using the clutch as button shifting and said when done right it saved time on the shift and didn't hurt the transmission. I guess I might trash a transmission one of these days, but after 40 years I'm starting to think the old man was right... yet again.

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New2Wheeler

I have been trying to improve my shifting as well. Just added a Triumph Street Triple to the fold, and it is quite a bit different engine/transmission. I seem to notice some improvement with the following: prior to upshifting, apply slight pressure to the shifter, pull clutch just through the friction zone, complete shift and release clutch. Seems to help keep the rpm's in the right range. I keep the clutch covered with four fingers... but cheat sometimes on the front brake (two fingers).

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na1g

Riding with two or four fingers on the clutch lever (I use two) is a hold-over from the good old 2-stroke days when engine seizures were common and being ready for one was prudent. On the brake lever, if you can pull it hard enough with two fingers to lock-up the front wheel, then that's all you need. But pinching the other two fingers between the lever and grip is a definite possibility under panic mode. When that happens you will either let up on the brakes (not good in an emergency) or keep the fingers pinched which will limit braking and limit throttle control (also not good)

 

I generally subscribe to the all fours method but can't seem to break myself of the habit of riding with two fingers resting on the clutch lever.

 

So how many toes do you use on the brake pedal? :)

 

pete

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Mike

I don't claim it's the right way to do things, but I only cover the clutch when I'm in traffic. I figure the couple tenths of a second it would otherwise take to activate the clutch could make a difference if I'm being tasked heavily by what's going on around me.

 

I used to be a two-fingers-on-the-brake-all-the-time rider, but I've had to modify that to deal with what is apparently a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome; riding in that manner now causes my hand and arm to get all tingly. As a result, I generally ride with all four fingers covering the brake lever. If I'm on the superslab with no traffic around, I'll switch over to all fingers on the grip, but I seldom do so.

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Selden

Old habits die hard. For me, serious motorcycle riding started with a 1500 mile ride around Italy on a 50cc Mondial 2-stroke, and I had to cover the clutch in case the engine seized (which it did, repeatedly). I had to go out to the garage, but I just confirmed that I normally ride with 3 fingers covering the clutch lever. The boxer engine is never going to seize on me, but I'm always in a position to disengage the clutch on short notice.

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Sonor

MotoMark1.com offers a variety of skill improvement classes. The guy who owns and teaches there, Mark Brown, used to teach the NC State Police two wheel force how to drive. He advocates two fingers on both clutch and break. He states that it provides plenty of stability but with the advances in technology, there is no reason to need to have more than two on the levers.

 

As for shifting better, MC News had an article on that a year or so ago. In it they stated not pulling in the clutch all the way or taking the gas all the way down was the way to increase smoothness in your shifting.

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