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Featured Riding up and down hill theory

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Minority153, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. Hiya guys,

    So as you all know, I'm a noob, just over a week on my learner's. And while I'm still practising the basics, I've been trying to wrap my head around gear changes and braking for riding uphill and downhill.

    Now, as mentioned, it's just me thinking about it, not planning to tackle anything too big for me at the moment, I'm sensible ;-)

    So just be kind enough to explain the theory of how to ride up and down Hills, particularly steep, with regard to gear changing and braking, and please use absolute layman language, I'm still wrapping my head around bikie talk too.

    Thanks in advance! :)
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  2. High gears are fast but lack power. So if you go up a hill too steep the bike will struggle. So you need to drop down gears so that you have the power to climb the hill. Going down hills you also want to use lower gears so that it slows the bike down without braking. Down hill corners can be a bit tricky if you dont drop gears because your bike will start speeding up and using the brakes will stand you up so it's easier to control your bike with a lower gear and the throttle.
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  3. You're way overthinking this. Just get to keeping upright and getting good at balance, starting and stopping without falling over, gear changes etc on the flat. Once you are competent in these disciplines you won't even worry about hills.
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  4. When you're riding around on the flat, make a point of gratuitously practising downshifts. When you're headed up a steep hill you want to be able to shift down reliably and smoothly.

    If you're already a car driver, the first time you effortlessly carve up up a steep hill should bring quite a smile to your face.
  5. It's just that the area I live in, in order to get around you have to go up Hills, so obviously my mind started wondering about how to be able to actually tackle them.... Plus, I stalled and fell over when I was trying to get the bike up the driveway.

    So essentially, how do you not stall on hills?
  6. Rev a bit harder when engaging the clutch and use the rear brake to stop yourself rolling back. You feel when the clutch is starting to engage and release the foot brake. Just do it a whole bunch of times in a row and you'll have mastered it before you get to the top of the hill.
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  7. There are some good advices in this thread already, so I'll just add two things I found quite important for going uphill/downhill.
    Firstly, try not to use rear brake when going downhill. Your motorcycle will have it's weight shifted to the front wheel already so not only braking with the rear brake will be less effective, but it will also be very easy to lock the rear tyre which is the last thing you need while doing down the steep hill.
    Secondly, never underestimate the tightness of the turn. I cannot stress this enough: you should always be ready to turn tighter than you think you should for that particular turn. Mountain road turns are tricky, especially ~180 degree turns of serpentine roads. You rarely encounter turns like that so you may not know in advance how much you have to slow down for those ones. And even if that's a turn you're familliar with, you can never know what you can expect to be on the road. There might be a fallen tree branch, some gravel on the bitumen in the middle of the road or a clueless cager parked right around the corner. Things like that might be a problem even in a normal turn but in the hills it's even more dangerus. So brake in advance(and then brake some more) before entering the turn, enter wide and gently roll on the throttle while cornering for added stability and tighter turning curve.

    Source: Lazy motorbike article on braking, personal experience.
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  8. Re hill starts. What smileedudesmileedude said, but I'll add: you also need to be able to stop comfortably on slopes. The next few times you ride into your driveway, make sure you're straight and upright, and come to a gentle stop on the steep part. Then do a hill start to get the rest of the way up. Practise this a bit and you'll be fine.
  9. I was taught at an early age that, in general terms, you go down a hill in the same gear you went up it and vice versa - mind you I was taught to drive in an EH Holden with a '3 on the tree' gear box.

    Minority153Minority153 remind me again - can you drive a manual car?
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  10. I remember distinctly my dad telling me to knock it into a high gear when going down hill to save on petrol.

    Yet it's my mums side that is Jewish.
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  11. That's what the the 'angel gear' as my dad called it was for.

    You also have to remember that I was taught that brakes are for stopping, you use the gears and the throttle to modulate your speed.
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  12. Don't ya whack it in Neutral going downhill to save petrol?? Or better still switch off the engine?

    Disclaimer: OP, not to be used as credible advice!!
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  13. That's what the 'angel gear' was. Or simply pull the clutch in - I have done this when the next fuel stop was potentially further than the fuel in tank would get me...
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  14. Certainly practice hill starts as per previous posts, but start on gentle ones first. As for not stalling it going up hill, ride up in a lower gear and keep on the throttle steadily and evenly until you get to your stop point. This is where your slow riding is going to be really important, so remember to keep practicing low speed riding and keeping upright.
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  15. Yeah SiilkSiilk, I read that same article, even saved it as a pdf for future reference.

    And b12mickb12mick, nope, never driven a manual, so I'm one of those noobiest of the noobs. Every time my hubs remembers this when he's trying to give me a tip, I feel like he wants to smack his head. Lol

    Okay, so going uphill doesn't sound as bad, I know in another thread on netrider that people generally prefer going uphill, but what about downhill? If you're like me and don't know anything about what gear to be in, how do you know what gear to be in when going down?

    And riding down with the clutch in, wouldn't that damage the engine?
  16. #16 smileedude, May 2, 2015
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
    This question tells me you're thinking about it all wrong. If a recipe ask me to simmer a stew, if I was new to cooking I might ask "What gas setting does it need to be on for it to simmer?" Now if you've spent any time near a sauspan you know that's an absurd way to think about it and no cook book in the world could tell you what your gas setting should be. It's the same thing with your bike. If you're on a flat you want it to simmer and if you're going up or down a hill you want it to boil harder and harder depending on the slope. Gear number is irrelevant and if you asked a rider what gear they are in at any point during a ride they wont be able to tell you. You just know you can't go up or down any more when it wont let you.

    So how do you tell if the engine is simmering? The revs. Shift gears so your engine is reving the right level. Begginers use the tacometer while youll eventually go on bike noise. I cant tell you what your revs should be. It varies depending on how many cylinders your bike is. More cylinders generally means higher revs. On mine, a twin it has power quite low. On a flat I'll rev at 2-3k. Up or down a hill 4-6 depending how steep. While accelerating I let it get higher. Your Rev ranges will be different. You work them out by feeling if the engine is labouring. This means your revs are too low.

    More revs =more power so it will go up hills better but it also means you burn more fuel for the same speed.

    Going down hill is a bit different again. You're now gauging your gear selection on how fast the bike is rolling. Higher revs will slow your bike down. You want to select a gear so you dont need to apply any brakes and preferably need to put on a tiny bit of throttle. If there's any corners on the hill, more throttle.
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  17. It doesn't damage the engine. It's the equivalent of neutral or angel gear as above. There's a reason it's called angel gear Minority153Minority153.
  18. Just to make sure you understand Minority153Minority153 you should stay in gear and not coast with the clutch in. The bike will feel much more under control and you won't need to use the brakes as hard. As smileedude said choose a gear where you don't need brakes and have some throttle on exiting corners.

    The short answer is both up and downhill select a lower gear.
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  19. how about this bridge to practice on????? the eshima-ohashi bridge in Japan eshima-ohashi-bridge-1.
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  20. Minority153Minority153 I hope this doesn't come across as patronising but if you can't/dont drive manual, has anyone explained to you in the past how gears work be it on a bicycle or car or motorbike? Not simply how to change gears on a bike but more why we need to change gears and why we have 5-6 gears, effect of the clutch etc etc, and their relation to power and revs. If no one has, I wonder if thats a good idea first. Then add the hills element into the equation. That should help you understand riding in general and gears for all conditions and scenarios you'll face on the road.
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