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Noob question - Gears

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by QWKR1, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. Hi All,

    First of all - Great forum guys. There is a wealth of knowledge on here and I have been a long time reader!

    I recently got my restricted Licence and purchased my first bike (ninja 250cc)...

    One thing I'm having problems with is stopping gear...now this also affects my take offs due to confidence..

    My problem: When stoping at a set of lights I never know what gear I'm in..sometimes when I'm 99% sure I'm in 1st gear and attempt to take off I stall it because in actual fact I was in second! This of course is a major safety hazard both to myself and other road users. Now when I'm approaching a red light I go through the gears to come to a stop..although just not sure if I'm in second or first.

    I realise that I will get used to this once I know my bike a little better aswell as with more experience. I guess I was wondering if anyone has any tips or pointers for my little problem above? Please don't be harsh as I'm a new rider however I will take all constructive criticism and pointers happily :)


    Sorry for the noobish question :facepalm:
  2. when you reach the lights just clutch in and push down 6 or 7 times on gear lever if u cant be assed counting , pull up to lights and push down a couple times if u think its right just keep sittin there pressing down on lever :p
  3. The neutral light is your friend...
  4. Agree with Kryt - just keep pushing down until the lever goes solid, then you know its first

    also instead of taking off gently like it seems you are, try just revving to about 7k, half way up the tacho.. and keep it there when slipping the clutch
    It should take off in 2nd alright like that
  5. If the problem is that the bike won't reliably change down to first when stopped in a high gear, before you take off let the clutch out a fraction with your foot on the brake until the revs start to drop, then pull the clutch in and tap it down again.
  6. Actually..I usually do that....just keep kicking down as many times as I can whilst 'pumping' the clutch...maybe I'm just too slow. (I was told never to hold the clutch in and keeping kicking down as it won't go down in multiple gears anyway...is that right? For every gear I go down I should release the clutch...)

    To be honest.. the few times I looked down at the tacho I think a normal take off for me is in the 5k ish area...perhaps I just need to be more aggressive.
  7. I have actually tried this a few times...perhaps this is also the way to go. Although sometimes the lights have turned green just as I have come to a stop so doing this is sometimes not a good thing :eek:hno:
  8. no, you can just hold the clutch lever in and pick any gear you want.. but be sure you select a gear that matches your speed/revs or things could get interesting/fun.
    if you're slowing down your speed and using engine braking to assist slowing you can change down one gear at a time and blip the throttle.. i think that's what was meant when you were told that.

    don't stress, you"ll get used to the bike in no time and know what gear you are in by sound and feel.
    dialing up 5k rpm for a take off is probably about right, but all i know about 2fiddy ninjas is that you rev the shit out of them because that's what they love to do... but stop looking at the tacho and rely on listenning... you know where you are supposed to be looking, so stop looking down at your bike.. perfect the good habbits they taught you now and you"ll always have them. and then when you're bouncing of the rev limmiter everywhere, buy a bigger bike.

    if you get her into neutral at the lights (assuming it's safe to do so).. release clutch, pull it back in, and it should kick down to first easilly... if not, roll it back/forward a little, try again...or you can rev it a little when first is selected and release the clutch a tiny bit, just to click it in there nicely.
  9. There's two things at play here:

    (1) Is it a good thing to tell new riders? Yes. If an inexperienced rider changes down one gear and snaps the clutch out without giving the throttle a blip, there might be a brief lockup of the rear wheel but things should be okay.

    If an inexperienced rider crashes down through three or four gears ("how many gears? I've lost count!") and snaps the clutch out while travelling at a speed totally inappropriate for that gear, something very spectacular's gonna happen.

    Downshifting one at a time encourages the rider to keep the bike in a gear appropriate for the current speed, too.

    "Only change down one gear at a time" is simply a good, basic foundation for new riders to build off of, until they learn what gears can be used at certain speeds, and what gear they're in right now, and how to "blip" the throttle to make the downshift smoother.

    (2) Is the bike capable of changing down multiple gears at once? It sure is. You could be travelling on the freeway in 6th, pull in the clutch and downshift five times into 1st gear. Mind you, releasing the clutch at that point could cause a major lockup at the rear wheel and probably overspeed the engine, causing severe engine damage. ;)

    Bearing in mind that most transmissions cannot change gears whilst stationary, I would recommend that once you're down below 10kph, or down to walking pace, you downshift into first before stopping. As others have said, the gear lever of any non-vintage bike will "go firm" once it's in first and resist any further attempts to change down a gear.
  10. That was important so I hope you noted it.

    As you slow down you should also be changing down gears. This means you are always in the ride gear for the speed you are doing. If you need to accelerate you can, immediately without the engine bogging down because you are in the wrong gear.

    So if you follow this practice it follows the whenever you are coming to a stop you will already be in first or maybe second. Then it is only one click to neutral, waiting for the lights or maybe in 1st, clutch in, eye on the mirrors if you are first in queue. Either way you are either in first or only one click away when the light turns green.
  11. At my intermediate course they were talking about 'pilot position' - get your bike into first and then swap legs, use left leg to stand, with right foot resting on the brake. They said this was the safest ready-to-go position, ready both to take off and low-speed brake if anything unexpected happens while u r taking off.

    For what it's worth, first on my bike *sounds* different, a deeper clunk, and that is how I learnt to know I'd hit it. Have a listen.

    Someone said most bikes can't change down when stopped - really? Mine certainly does, but is that ok for it?

    Also the HART guy said starting in 2nd too often will wear out your clutch super fast.

  12. 100% this !

    When you slow down Change down.

    This is one of the main things i picked up from that course 10+ years ago.

    Right foot up.

    As you took off, if you had you right foot up on rear brake, hammering that instead of front may have kept you upright.
  13. Brilliant, thanks for all the tips guys. As for having the right foot up...that was also drilled in to us at the Q-Ride course...so I'm always doing that out of habbit :) Although when I'm not sure which gear I'm in at the lights.....down comes the right foot...up goes the left to see if it'll click any lower..haha.
  14. I don't know about most bikes, but my 250 used to stop changing down at second or third if I rolled up to the lights in fifth or sixth and then tried to get into first.

    I don't know if my current bike does the same thing, because I've never tried.
  15. The best way is learn to count (hope you learnt that at school) on upshifts and downshifts.
  16. I have tried that but I end up forgetting because I'm constantly shitting myself when in traffic...keeping my eye on everyone and everything and ensuring I keep out of trouble ](*,)

    I'll just keep at it
  17. i always downshift to first before stopping, or second at least. at lights, you just make sure it's in first, then shove it in neutral whilst eating your burger, then back to first when it's time to take off
  18. nuetral also allows you to use both hands to read the paper.
  19. or to make suggestive hand signals to the people in the cars next to you ;)
  20. it has no effect on it.
    all the clutch does is connect and disconnect the motor to the gearbox.
    clutch in = no connection... the motor has no idea what gear it's in.
    the speed your motor is turning at is rpm, revolutions per minute.
    your throttle controls rpm.
    when you connect the two separate entities together, gearbox and motor, via clutch lever out = clutch is now engaged to the motor., you have now connected your driveline to the motor.
    so, you are selecting a size gear in your gearbox to connect to the motor that will turn your driveline, let's say your rear wheel.
    now, your motor in itself, connected to anything or not, is turning a crankshaft at the indicated rpm on your tachometer.
    your gearbox has different sized gears to basically connect to the crankshaft via the clutch, to the rear wheel.
    the size of the gear you select will determine how fast the motor then turns the rear wheel.