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First week of riding - Couple of questions

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by Samboss260, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. HI all,

    This week has been my first real week of riding with my own bike on the roads with my RE license. I have been practicing at night (bloody cold mind you) just to get some seat time and put into place some skills and to just practise, learn, practise, learn, learn etc etc

    I have a couple of questions that I would assist me in my learning journey. No doubt that there will be more to come, so I've started a thread here.

    - 1st gear. Obviously 1st gear is used for taking off. But when slowing down to a roundabout, intersection, give way sign etc, is it best practice to gear down to 1st gear, even if you are not coming to a complete stop? Is it best to gear to 1st in anticipiation to come to a complete stop? Or slow down in 2nd, then if a complete stop is not required keep moving and apply throtle in 2nd? I suppose the same question is for those stops where you must come to a complete standstill, ie red lights and stop signs. Down to 1st then stop, or stop in 2nd click to 1st ready for take off? I'm just trying to get a smooth routine happening here and am struggling with the smoothness.

    I'm sure that there are more to come, so thanks in advance with your patience and responses.
  2. Only time I use first gear is when I'm coming to a complete stop, or travelling at a very low speed. Less than 10km/h. In the case of a roundabout, I would usually take it in second, so you can still move at a reasonable speed and line up the corner you need to take. Usually coming up to a roundabout I would pull the clutch in just a fraction, then apply throttle and release clutch so the throttle application is smooth.

    However, with giveway signs and stuff, it all depends at the speed you're going at. If you're having to slow down enough to come to a very near stop, at a blind corner give way sign or something - I would gear down to first. But, if you can see that it is a safe situation to continue moving above 10km an hour then I'd stay in second. It's all about what is safe.

    For all stops I usually gear down to first with the clutch in as I roll to a stop, and as you get more experienced you might start clicking it into neutral when you're stopped at lights ect. But usually I wait at lights in first, making sure I'm primed and ready to go before I stop at the lights.

    Despite any of this - if you have smooth clutch control at the speeds you're talking at it won't really matter which gear you're in.

    Just my $0.02. Only been riding for three months now - but this is what I have learnt.
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  3. As a newby rider myself, for stop signs and red lights - by the time I hit the stop, I'm in 2nd and then drop into 1st once stopped. If I need to take off in case the SHTF behinds me - I'm in gear and ready to roll.

    For roundabouts - I assess the situation and usually keep it in 2nd as I find that a bit easier to control than 1st. Depends on the size of the roundabout :D

    For giveways - same deal, I assess the situation - if I've got good visibility then I usually roll through in 2nd or 3rd. If bad visibility or I actually need to giveway then I'm usually in 2nd or if stopped, 1st.

    From my perspective - everyone is different and it probably depends on the bike too. I just do what feels "right" to me.

    Just my 2c and I'll be interested to see other replies.
  4. Thanks guys. I know that I need to work on more clutch control, and come up with something tat works for me and the bike. Just seeing some things to try out and keep in the back of my mind if it works.
  5. Yeah mate, don't fret too much if you take a little while to get in the groove of it. Just make a point to try and notice if you bring it out too fast or get it just right ect ect. Over time you'll become a lot more fluent and it will become second nature. Just gotta put in the time :)
  6. You should be in the gear that is appropriate for the speed that you are travelling. Don't be afraid to change gears, if you are going slow enough to be using first gear, then use first gear.

    When coming to a stop you should work your way down the gears sequentially, you should be in first gear by the time you stop so that you are ready to go immediately if necessary. Holding the clutch in and dropping multiple gears is poor form IMO, as is stopping in anything other than first under normal riding conditions.

    You might find that it is more difficult to control the bike at low speed in first gear, if this is the case then you need to work on it, be smooth with the throttle, use clutch and back brake to control your speed and get to know how your bike will behave.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Cheers. I hear you about putting in the time. The wife, and probably my neighbours think that I am crazy heading out at night, particularly last night as it was freezing. But I need seat time, so that I can get out there amongst it...
  8. Who knows, she might be right... All of us are just a little bit crazy... :wink:
  9. No need for 1st gear unless you are slowing to a crawl, or stopping completely. If you don't stop It's better to help the bike by slipping the clutch a little in second.
    On your bike, 1st gear will be quite low.

    Same goes for suburban street corners. Stay in second or third even. Additional help to keep the revs up a bit by slipping the clutch.
  10. Yep, after my ride last night, stayed in second unless coming to a complete stop. Need to work on applying the clutch a little more whilst applying a bit of throttle
  11. This.
    That shouldn't take long bro. The more you ride the more fluent you'll become.
  12. Ahoy raven. What's your reasoning for second gear + clutch + revs as opposed to first gear with a focus on good throttle control? Do you suggest this more for smaller/LAMS bikes/noobs or is this ideal on the big litre bikes too? Why? When you say "On your bike, 1st gear will be quite low" are you referring to OP's/small bikes or bikes in general? I'm not trying to argue by any stretch of the imagination - I'm just more inclined to think along the lines of:
    I could perhaps see on small bikes it being a matter of personal preference, with second gear + clutch control being relatively easy to get used to and more effective what with the comparatively (to bigger bikes) limited range of first gear.
    (Just outright stating I don't really do the second gear thing on my bike... mine hates me sitting on the clutch - oh the stink she kicks up - and generally wants to die at slow speed, so imagine second gear and a shit-ton of clutch. The old bike was fine and second gear was a more reasonable request. Ignore this bit though OP :))
  13. I agree with above...I'll always drop to first gear unless I know there's a very small chance I'll have to stop at a roundabout/intersection - first gear is more than comfortable for 0-25 area which leaves you more than enough space/time to wring the throttle briefly then kick to second on take off as opposed to putting unnecessary stress on the clutch - stick to whatever gear the situation calls for...
  14. +1. Completely agree. I assume OP is on a LAMS bike in which case you have a lower 1st gear top speed and lower first gear _comfortable_ speed than say the 1300cc bike I'm on. Therefore there are situations I would be in 1st and OP would be in 2nd, but both would be appropriate gears. Don't be afraid to feather the clutch, in first or second.

    Both sequential and block changing are legitimate IMHO. The police road craft handbook does endorse block changing down while braking. This block changing is probably more suited to OP with increased experience however; sequential is fine for now.

    Just remember with sequential changing, if you are slowing sufficiently with a closed throttle, apply a little brake anyway to show a brake light to vehicles behind. The front brake will for most bikes show a brake light with less lever pressure than the rear brake.
  15. The clutch catch point is different on all bikes. So it's the finding it...the "catch point" or friction point.
    Like learning a G chord on guitar. It's a feel thing and pretty soon you just reach for it and it's there.
    So get a feel what the claw (your hand) feels like holding the slip point
  16. It will depend to some extent on your bike. Most bikes, even small ones will cope with pulling away from a very low speed in second. If you are wanting to scream away then first will be faster, or if your bike is cold or you are on a steep uphill, first may be better but generally it probably isn't necessary.

    Also depending on when you change up to second, you may be going down to first , simply to change up again almost immediately, so why bother.

    If you do change to first it isn't wrong, but if you don't need to why bother.

    All of that said, if I found that I needed to slip my clutch significantly to get moving again in second then I would consider myself in the wrong gear and would or should have changed down to first.

    And if you aren't sure if your bike will pull away insecond, try it. Find a car park or quiet stretch of road and come down to walking speed in second, then roll the throttle on smoothly and see what happens. If your bike bogs down you need first. Try it from diffenernt speeds and see what the limit is when you need to go down to first.
  17. On smaller and lams bikes, first gear is typically quite low. This makes throttle control a lot more difficult, unless you have developed a good feel with the rear brake and are dragging to aid stability.
    Apart from that, unless you have stop or slow to a crawl, 1st gear just isn't necessary.
    On any suburban corner where you can go through at an acceptable speed, 2nd gear is ample.

    On larger litre bikes you may prefer to go down to first, but if unhindered I nearly always cruised through corners in 2nd gear on my fireblade. And maybe slip the clutch just a little to help it if the speed got a little too low.
    I do the exact same thing on my Daytona. And on both those bikes 1st gear was good to at least 1.40. (meaning it should be a lot more difficult, but isn't.
    I will select first only if I have to get down to a crawl, or stop.

    Yes, absolutely...one should always be in the appropriate gear. Use first if you think that is the appropriate gear, but I believe 2nd gear on small or most LAMS bikes covers a wider range circumstances and therefore appropriate, for most suburban corner scenarios, if you don't have to stop or slow right down, IMHO.

    A new rider may not have the confidence or balance initially to maintain a normal speed around a corner where 2nd gear will work fine, and will often make it worse by going down into first, where the power delivery is harder to deal with. It can turn into a bit of a mess actually.

    But a real noob, may need to do it in 1st for the first few weeks or a month. For that person dragging the rear brake should be learnt straight away.
    Very quickly though, if they can shake the habit, and cruise around intersections in 2nd, assisting with a little clutch if necessary.
    So because shifting down into first at noob speed can be quite destabilising, leaving them in a gear which is rather poor for exiting (all because the gearing is quite low on LAMS bikes, or small bikes), I do promote that 2nd gear be used.
    Noobs can chime in here and tell us what they do. A real beginner will likely be really slow and nervous, so clunking all the way down to 1st may be necessary for them. But as soon as they are beyond that, they would be much better off in 2nd gear.

    Second gear and a little clutch if necessary is easier to deal with, and it is where they will end up anyway, in a few weeks or months.

    I DO use first myself if the speed gets too low, but on approaching a corner (say left), I never go to first if I am able to just go around unimpeded. Smoother, easier to control, can drag a brake and slip the clutch a little if required.
    I can sometimes fully intend 2nd gear, get half way through the corner, get baulked by a ped or large pot hole etc, and then I will tap into first for the remainder of the corner, and exit.
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  18. Ya See!
    I knew if I typed a worthy and therefore, long response, I'd kill the thread...
  19. Well if people cbf reading it, they can't pick it apart with petty arguments and nonsense.

    I skimmed your post.. something about gears.

  20. Well at least you got the main thrust of my pro's. :)