close

Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Help me improve my downshifting please.

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by freakshow10mm, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    Messages:
    6,902
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula
    One thing I can't seem to get right is downshifting. Sometimes I am smooth and sometimes I am a hair away from locking the rear. The problem is I don't know what I am doing wrong so I can't fix it and I don't know what I am doing right either. I am looking to the more experinced riders to help me.

    In the MSF class I took, we were taught to close the throttle, downshift, then bring the RPMs up and let the clutch out. In the latest edition of Sport Rider, it stated that I am supposed to blip the throttle and then downshift. Basically goose it a little as I pull in the clutch, but not really rev it. Which is it? I think I have the wrong technique and am confused trying to figure out which one I should use.

    Another thing. If I downshift to pass, I normally just go from 6th to 5th and make the pass, shift back to 6th. Could I drop more than one gear, say down to 4th from 6th, to pass? I hear talk about matching RPMs to gears on downshifts and such. What is that all about? The bike manual says to match the gear with approx speed (15,25,30,42,50,59 mph on a 6 spd) which seems weird to most I talk to as they say to run it closer to redline (at 9500) before shifting and not go by speed.

    Sort of confused on the whole deal. I don't understand the relationship between engine RPMs and gear selection. I don't know how to drive a manual trans vehicle, so the motorcycle transmission is all I know. Like I said earlier, 6 speed with a 9500 redline, if that helps. Thanks.
     
  2. VWglocker

    VWglocker

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    just get on a long straight road, and play with it. try dowshifting with no throttle imput (let the engine get back to idle). it will lurch.

    then try it with a lot of throttle (pick the RPMs up by a couple thousand) it will lurch pretty hard also.

    just keep fooling around with it and it you will find the happy medium. fwiw, i err on the side of too many RPMs in most cases.

    as for dropping more than one gear at a time, HELL YEAH!! i don't "need" to very often, but it sure is fun.
     

  3. Goldstar225

    Goldstar225 NRA member

    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    When downshifting pull in the clutch, "blip" the throttle and downshift simultaneously then release the clutch. It doesn't take much to synchronize your RPM's and gear speed for the lower gears. For passing just select the gear that gives you the acceleration you need to make a clean pass. If you're riding a bike with a redline at 9500 you are probably making your best power at 5000+ RPM.
     
  4. FoxMustang

    FoxMustang We Deal in Lead

    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Same thing. The idea is to bring the RPMs up with the throttle so when you let the clutch out the bike doesn't lurch.

    Yes, but the more gears you skip, the more important it gets to match RPMs. You need to "blip" it higher.

    It's to avoid the "lurch" when you let the clutch out. Like VWglocker said, practice is the key.

    As an example (all these numbers are theoretical) - you're cruising along at 70mph in 6th gear. Say you're turning 4500rpm, and you want to drop a gear accelerate. At 70mph in 5th gear, say your bike will be turning 5500rpm. When you have the clutch in for shifting, rev or blip the engine to 5500rpm and let the clutch out. If you don't feel the bike lurch forward or backward, you've successfully matched the engine speed to the transmission speed :)

    But say you really want to haul ***. You want to drop down to 4th gear. Say at 70mph in 4th gear, you'll be turning 6500rpm. That's where you'll need to blip the engine before letting the clutch out. It gets more important to match the engine speed to the trans speed because the difference in before-and-after RPMs (4500rpm vs 6500rpm) is getting bigger.

    The real trick is figuring out what RPM you want to blip the engine to before letting the clutch out. For that you just need to get familiar with your bike. Ride around in different gears, noting the speed vs RPM in your mind. Also note how much the RPMs change on each gear shift. Until you can figure this out, let out the clutch SLOWLY when downshifting. Don't be afraid to slip the clutch. That way if you haven't rev'd to the right spot, it won't lurch so bad. And don't try this in a corner, get your braking and shifting done beforehand ;)

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    Messages:
    6,902
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula
    Thanks a lot guys. I rode to school today (gotta take care of financial aid stuff) and was a little smoother. I didn't read this until I got to school, so I will try some stuff on the way back home. Mix of city and highway speeds.
     
  6. Razoreye

    Razoreye ♥♥Adorkable!♥♥

    Messages:
    3,122
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    Equinsu Ocha, Equinsu Ocha!!
    I always had a problem downshifting as well. Mine are a bit smoother once I practiced for hours. The first time I ever rode a bike I killed it starting, stopping, etc. I also had the lurch from downshifting and the engine whines from upshifting. What did I learn? Let off the gas when upshifting, give it some when down shifting. Gotta match RPMs. :)

    BTW, this is so cool since I never knew the moto club was hidden away in the vehicle area!
     
  7. ndbullet500

    ndbullet500 Unmutual

    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    6 Private
    Yamaha just came out with a bike with an automatic clutch. That's the $15,000 solution to smoother shifting.:) Otherwise, FoxMustang pretty much nailed it.
     
  8. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed JAFO

    Messages:
    11,320
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Location:
    NY
    I always blip the throttle when I downshift. Unless I'm about to hit a tree and then sometimes I forget :)
     
  9. J.R. Bob Dobbs

    J.R. Bob Dobbs Nerd

    Messages:
    1,677
    Likes Received:
    290
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Location:
    McGaheysville, VA
    I adjust throttle to "no load", and then downshift very quickly with just a tap on the clutch, it makes it so smooth you almost can't feel it. Give it a try.
     
  10. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    Messages:
    6,902
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula
    Went for a ride today to drop off some video game rentals. The technique I used today was to close the throttle, shift, then blip the throttle up to the RPMs and release the clutch. I only run the bike up to about 7-7.5K RPM before I upshift (9500 redline). For some reason, I don't know why or can even fathom how this happens, the sweet spot seems to be 5-5500 RPM no matter what gear I am going to/ from.

    When I get up to shift around 7K RPM I make the shift and the next gear RPM starts at about 5K RPM. So I am keeping the engine in a seemingly narrow window. I don't have usable power below 3K, as I need that to take off from a stop. Sort of like a sled. Does nothing under 3K, but at 3K starts to move forward.

    I was in 6th gear doing about 62-63mph, needed to pass in a hurry. RPM was about 5500. Dropped down to fourth using my above method (first para) and at about 5000-5500 RPM it was a smooth shift. For some reason everytime I downshift, if I engage (release) the clutch to the transmission at 5000-5500RPM it is smooth. Am I just crazy? That doesn't seem to make sense from what you guys are telling me about leaving (upshift) a gear at a certain RPM and entering (downshift) it at a different RPM. Maybe I am analyzing my engine RPM wrong. I pay attention to the RPM behavior on almost every shift (except 1st and 2nd cause they don't do much) on what my RPMs are and what they are after I shift.

    When I first started riding last year I rarely leaned any on a turn. My wear path on my tires were very narrow. I wanted to get used to downshifting and breaking before turns. I never drove a manual anything before and was just used to braking on turns if needed. Now I lean over great. I have a 120 wide rear tire and there is maybe 1/3" on the outer edges that isn't touched.
     
  11. FoxMustang

    FoxMustang We Deal in Lead

    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Yup, you're keeping it in the power band.

    With a redline of 9500rpm, that doesn't surprise me. When starting from a stop, just slip the clutch (keep it in the "friction zone" where it's not all the way in but not all the way out) to keep the engine RPM up at 3k. (Forgive me if I'm telling you stuff you already know :) )

    When you let the clutch all the way out in 4th, what speed and RPM were you at?

    But, hey, if it's smooth and it works, keep it up :thumbsup: That's the important part. It could be that rev'ing to that RPM matches the engine and trans speeds close enough. You don't have to be spot on - but it sure feels nice when you are :)
     
  12. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    Messages:
    6,902
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula
    About 59mph at 5000-5500 RPM. Seems the RPM should be higher. I am back at school now and will ride home in about an hour. I'll try again going from 6-4 and see what the numbers are. See that's the weird part. Seems almost whatever I do, as long as it happens at 5000-5500 RPM is ok.