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Engine braking ... what is it?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Opal, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. I've been reading a few topics including "Slowing down for corners and gear changing" and lots of people mention "engine braking". Sorry for my ignorance, but what exactly is engine braking? I'm not after a technical explanation, more of a "when this happens on your bike, it's engine braking ...".

    After a couple of sessions of riding around my local streets I decided to start changing into third gear. However, I wanted to change back into second gear prior to turning the corner. I slowed down using both brakes and then shifted to second gear, but when I released the clutch (slowly) I was sort of jerked forward on my bike, as if I had suddenly applied the brakes. Is this engine braking?

    My first reaction was that I was doing something wrong, and since I couldn't quite figure out what I was doing wrong, I've more or less avoided going up to third gear again. I find I can quite happily travel around in second gear, but know I'm only putting off what I'll have to learn at some stage.

  2. You know when you're gunning along and then you roll off the throttle (not using the brakes, just off the throttle) and the engine then starts making a different kinda noise like it straining and the bike slows down to 'catch up' with revs of the engine...

    That's engine braking.

    Happens more in singles and twins that I-4's.

    Someone want to throw up a more technical answer...

    Full article here:

  3. No that is not engine braking.
    Engine braking is when you gear down and slowly release the clutch to use the engines compression to slow down
  4. [Major edit] :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

  5. I was not referring to Pete's but now you mention it i think i missread the original post too.
  6. Think snowball was refering to Opals message - and replying to that one while the other one was typed... :p
  7. wiki article tells no lies. What you experience when you stick the bike in first and drop the clutch is just more severe because the gear is very low, and the engine revs at idle need to be brought up a lot to meet roadspeed. That takes more effort! If you blip the throttle on downshifts to match roadspeed, you won't suffer that ish oki yesh.
  8. I'm very fresh to biking, but I'll try to give a slightly more technical explanation to engine braking.

    Ok in the cylinders, fuel is combined with compressed air to create the explosions that power the bike. So when you aren't throttling, the motor is still turning but fuel isn't being pumped into the engine. However the air is still being compressed, and this takes energy. This energy comes from the kinetic energy from the bike moving forward, hence the braking.

    So in any gear if you throttle off, there will be some engine breaking. The higher the rpm, the more often air is compressed, and the harder the braking. So when you go down a gear, your rpm goes up, hence more braking.

    I'm not mechanically minded and I understand it so hopefully I explained it ok.

    Also, when you downshift, your rpm isn't fast enough to maintain the speed you were going in the higher gear, so when you pull in your throttle, change gear, before you let the throttle out, you have to throttle on and increase the rpm (around 1000) to compensate for the engine braking. I'm still trying to get used to doing this, its taking a while but getting smoother and smoother slowly. As you get better people do the throttling up to compensate for the downshift very quickly, refered to as a 'blip'. But dont worry about that until later on, I'm not.

    Good luck.

    edit: Also, when you're practicing gear shifting (mainly for downshifting), make sure you do it in a quiet area and that if there is anyone behind you, they are not close, because you dont want them running into you if they're tailgating. Engine braking is very powerful, so dont forget it doesn't trigger the brake light! Try using your back brake very lightly when you're going to be slowing considerably. Oh and make sure you always have your L on, some people are smart enough to keep some distance, which helps.
  9. Yes that's engine braking. Although the reason for the sudden jerk is probably due to your revs coming from rather high in 3rd to rather low in 2nd... try to let the clutch out even more slowly.

    Later try a blip of the throttle to help match the revs...
  10. if the engine sound and revs jumped up when you released the clutch that was engine braking you experienced....

    if you bang down gears too fast and dump the clutch you can even lock up the back wheel (called compression lock), as the engine will be spinning a lot slower then the wheel is.

    have you heard how bike riders will rev the engine or blip the throttle a little as they slow down, this spins the engine up a little as you change down gears to try and match the engine speed to the wheel speed to minimise the effects of engine braking.

    you weren't doing anything wrong at all, but it's easy to upset the bike if you're not careful. by blipping the throttle it enables you to change down gears smoothly while slowing down, so you can keep the revs up and have plenty of drive available to you as you come out of the corner!!
  11. wow, everyone beat me too it while i was typing!!!
  12. Experience the magic of engine braking in three easy steps:

    1) Accelerate.

    2) Let go of throttle.

    3) ...OK, there's only 2 steps.
  13. You are all wrong! Engine braking is a cunning plot by the tyre manufacturers to reduce rear tyre mileage and sell you a new one more often. Owners of long stroke, large displacement V-twins all know this. Owners of short stroke, inline buzzboxes may not.
  14. Not aimed at anyone in particular, just a general rant from my couple of months on this forum. Please, people, it's 'brakes' and 'braking', not 'breaks' and 'breaking'. 'Engine braking' is good, we like it, if used carefully. 'Engine breaking' is to be avoided at all costs!
  15. *watches your engine breaking*

    can it do windmills??? please mono your spada and freeze in a classic b boy stance. i really think you should. \:D/
  16. +1 what Loz said. Roll off throttle... experience engine braking.

    What the op experienced was the "crap downshift and minor compression lock up... " part of the engine braking spectrum. It causes a tiny bit of wear and tear which one day could ultimately lead to engine breaking!

    But you know what?? Crap down shifts and compression lockups is a rite of passage for all of us... and something that we all aspire to be rid of!

    Try this next time:

    FEEEEEEED the clutch out SLLLOOOOOOWWWWLLLY and you'll avoid the COMPRESSION lock up on a crap down shift [as the engine will slowly spin up to match the different gear ratio].

    Add some revs yourself when doing the feeding, and the compression lock up will dissappear all together.

    Mastering downs shifts will bring a smile to the face and a feeling of control.... just ask Mrs Scumbags! :dance:
  17. Okay, had to re-read most of the replies many times in order to get my head around them, but basically, in simple terms, engine braking is slowing down the bike by means other than actually using the brakes (excluding things like running into something ...).

    So, to avoid the jerking experience I described, I either need to "blip" the throttle or increase the revs (may worry about that a few months down the track) or just make sure I release the clutch even slower than I have been. I'll try it next time I practice.

    Thanks all.
  18. haha you got it. and when thats done there is even more - you get to use the clutch, whilst braking (or breaking if flexorcist is chillin and waiting to catch your b-boy stance :dance: :dance: :music: ) and blipping the throttle at the same time yo!