Down Shifting

by Ree

Hi All,

My question is, when shifting up to increase speed, I clutch in each time I shift up a gear. I also do the same for decreasing my speed, clutching through each gear comming down to 1st. I was told when decreasing speed, I could hold the clutch in and just shift down from 3rd or 4th to 1st without letting the clutch out. This did not make sense to me as I thought you had to bring your speed down for each gear to match rpms.

Hope this makes sense. Can somebody help me with this? I want to shift easily, but also safely.

Comments for Down Shifting

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Mar 23, 2012
by: Alystar McKenneh

No you don't have to downshift into each gear, just make sure your speed matches the gear. If you are a new rider it will take some experience to learn how fast you can or should be going to downshift into a gear. I do it by sound not by actual MPH on the speedometer. When I'm traveling at a consistant speed and traffic is stopping smoothly I normally downshift in order but if I have to stop fast or faster than I have time to downshift then I just pull in the clutch, put on the breaks and shift down to second or first. Many times I skip third gear all together. I've never had to put a new clutch in my bike. I ride a 99 Heritage Softail.

Feb 26, 2012
by: linus69

Many manufacturers allow a certain amount of clutch slippage to happen for safety sake. This means when you downshift into 1st while moving and release the clutch it slips somewhat to prevent rear wheel lockup/wheel hop.
While safer it also means your clutch has a shorter service life, mine went 17,500 miles. The aftermarket clutch I installed has none of this slip, so I have to be rolling very slowly before downshifting to 1st.

Feb 22, 2012
Down Shifting
by: Barbie

The girls are right, I only hold my clutch in for down shifting in an emergency.. If I desperatley need to stop unexpectly the shifting down, goes out the window (so to speak)..

Paying attention and knowing that you need to slow and cluth between each shift is a great way of having a smooth stop and not the wobble that some get from stopping to fast. I have seen many and not only beginners stoping to fast, and getting that wobble and then unexpectly you go down. Not hard, but it will happen.

Feb 22, 2012
down shifting
by: krazy

i agree when down shifting if emergency I dont let go of the clutch, i break easy and down shift fast but never ever ever down shift all the way to first unless at a stop.

Feb 22, 2012
by: Dawn

You do not need to let the clutch out in order to shift, up or down, more than one gear. Meaning, you CAN shift up to second, third, or forth without letting the clutch out each time, and vice versa. I usually let my clutch out between each gear because I'm shifting up or down slowly with my speed. In an emergency stop, you may need to stop faster than just at the rate of 1 gear at a time. In that case, you don't need to let your clutch out each time between the gears. Just shift all the way down after you've come to a stop. It will eventually happen. You are correct though, that the safer way is to slow down at the same rate as your gears will naturally do. Just be ready for that emergency... every second you ride.

I hope this helps. Keep the shiny side up! Good luck in your travels.

Feb 22, 2012
by: Kat

When I downshift, when coming to a stop, I hold the clutch in and down shift as my speed decreases. The only time I let the clutch out after down shifting is if I'm in traffic and reacting to the speed of my bike and traffic. Hope that helps.

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