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How to downshift smoothly on a track?

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by skylinerocks, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Hi guys,

    I am going to my first trackday soon. Just want some tips on how to downshift smoothly during braking into a corner. I am a bit nervous. I can't really perform the blip throttle thing on my bike because my brake lever bites in really hard and quick upon light depression. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  2. Hi SKR, it is all about weight transfer. plus how you use the rear brake.
    What model bike are you on, how much do you weigh amd how tall are you?
  3. I am on CBR250RR. I am about 73kg and 185cm tall. Tried the blipping thing again. Just can't get it to work. Problem is smooth braking no blipping and when there is blipping, i lose the smooth braking. Hai........
  4. Keep at it. It just takes practice.
  5. Unless you're one of those highly coordinated people naturally (like me... yeah right), it's just familiarity. In the interim for your trackday, what about just slipping the clutch on downshifts? Still requires a fair bit of finesse but might be easier for you.
  6. Skyline, get involved fully with the 250cc ride school at broadford thread. Thats where you will learn this stuff, and more. Cheeeeper too.
  7. i'd suggest you should be braking before worrying about down-changing anyhow. Ie. you approach a corner on the gas, ease off the throttle, brake, then "blip" the throttle and shift down - granted this all happens pretty quickly but that's the general idea. And blipping the throttle is not absolutely necessary in any event, you can just pull the clutch and kick down a gear or two, it's just a bit easier on the gearbox to match the engine speed to the wheel speed which is what "blipping" is all about. I think. :grin:
    thing is to just to get out there and with practice and some advice it'll make a lot more sense. No point stressing too much about it before you get there. Good luck!
  8. Or just down shift two, compression lock, back it in and power out? Kiddin - only for tards.

    As already mentioned, practice practice practice - this might be a dumb question, but how many fingers have you got on your brake lever?
  9. Two fingers on the brake lever.
    Thanks guys for the advise. I think practice is the key.
    But on the other hand, when I tried this on my GSXR, it worked smoothly because the brake lever does not brake in as fast as the CBR250RR. It goes in gradually rather than sharply.
  10. Have you tried adjusting your lever to match your GSXR, or is simply that the brakes on the 250 are more sensitive? If so, concentrate on gripping the throttle a little more firmly with your two outside fingers.
    Also, you'll find that the harder you brake the less the "brake pulsing" becomes a problem becuase you are applying much more pressure to the lever.
    Keep practising and as you get faster and brake harder it will become easier to do.
  11. When i was teaching a few mates to ride, i found that their biggest problem was getting the revs right, and they often over revved the bike, and caused it to surge forward with a bump. But like they all said, keep practising. Its well worth the effort, once you start doing it right, although I have found on my new baby, rear wheel shutter under hard brakes on uneven surface is a bit of a problem, you wont be having that on the track though ;)
  12. Tied all sorts, Brake first then Shift down, Brake and shift together, Shift down and brake then blip and go... etc.

    I reckon the most confortable i found was to clutch in, Brake almost till the end,Shift down, keep the clutch in and when you feel you are the right speed to take the corner loose the brake, blip and then let go of the clutch. This way you are not doing too many things at the same time. I prefer to brake then shift down and open up. But I am still learning and might use a different style as I grow. :)
  13. I don't know if you've already done the trackday or not, but either way you might be able to use these ideas.

    Have you ever seen the close up of Valentino's throttle hand? Get out the MotoGP tape and have a look, he doesn't blip the throttle, he caresses it. Off and slowly back on. He doesn't nail the brake lever, he squeezes it. He is so gentle, so smooth, and sooooo very fast.

    Changing down is about selecting the right gear, at the lowest revs you can get away with whilst still engaging the gear in time for the corner. You dont need to blip the throttle but when you let the clutch out you must do it progressively or you will lose traction at the rear wheel (commonly known as a compression lock-up). Gently winding the throttle on as you ease the clutch is much less disruptive than blipping the throttle.

    To ease the transition from clutch in to clutch out, and from off the power to on the power, you can raise the idle to 3 or 4000 revs (use the idle adjusting knob - I'm assuming your bike has one). On your 250 you will be riding at 10000 rpm plus so having the idle a little higher wont change anythig except make it easier in these transitions. My GSXR750 idles at 3000rpm.

    Braking should be smooth and firm in application, and released progressively as you turn into the corner, finally releasing the lever as your suspension is fully compressed by the centrifugal force of the turning bike. In this way you avoid the suspension pogo-ing.

    Put them all together and the corner entry looks something like this, brake smoothly, clutch in and bang down the gears as late as you can, release clutch smoothly whilst squeezing the throttle and progressively releasing the brake on the way into the turn.

    You will find that as you progressively release the brake it is easy to wind on a gentle bit of throttle to match your engine to your road speed.

    Use a braking marker that wont get you into trouble and practise being as smooth as Valentino.

    This is what I learned from Keith Codes' "A Twist of the Wrist". Get the book, I cant recommend it highly enough. Since reading this book and applying the lessons I am ready for I have become a much faster rider. In the vicinity of 10 seconds a lap at Eastern Creek, and I get faster every time I go there.

    I hope some of this helps, good luck and keep learning.

  14. hey bunabaroo,as a guy who has done 4 track days at the island and am fairly inexperienced,thanx for explaning so clearly.we as amatures get on the track and want to do the best we can but often are not sure of what is the correct thing to do.I often hear other riders blipping but cant really do it.at 250 plus it takes sweet timing into turn 1.too much to do it seems to me. On the R1 I often don,t even get 6th , so 5th to 4th at turn 1 while braking then tipping in is enuf for the brain to process . smooth is the way and do what you can is the safest cos we don't want to bend our babies.
  15. I'd certainly get the clutch back out in the new gear and have the rear wheel settled before you tip in.
  16. Blipping is only a must on a grand prix 2 stroke as they don't idle, so you would blip to keep the thing running, production 4 strokes don't need it.

    You could always take Dowsons approach and not use the clutch at all to downshift.
  17. Too much free play in the throttle cables makes it hard to blip.