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Using the clutch...

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by bambam_101, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. Just curious as to how many people here actually use their clutch when riding. Obviously you have to use it when coming to a stop or taking off in first, but lately im finding that not using the clutch is much easier/quicker/smoother that actually using it. Upshifting or downshifting, it doesnt matter. I find it heaps easier. All you need is good throttle control for it to be a nice smooth clutchless gearchange.

    Is this a commonly done thing?
  2. Hey Bambam.

    I seldom use the clutch once I'm under way. Of course as an instructor I'm always being Mister Nerdy and going on about clutch use and practise...but as so often is the case in life, once you've learned them, you can start to break some rules.

    I grew up racing dirt bikes and upshifting not just without dipping the clutch, but without backing off the throttle, either. My sense of mechanical sympathy for my road bikes means that I generally at least back off before upchanging on the road...unless there's someone ahead that I really want to catch up to.

    Of the experienced sport road riders I know, few use the clutch to upshift. Hope this helps answer your question...


  3. Yeah thats pretty much what i was getting at. To upshift, i usually back off the throttle very slightly and its smooth as. You can do it without backing off at all but it feels very rough and violent.


  4. Geez old blue - I was at one of your courses (maybe) and took in everything you said to heart!

    I run through the lights check on my bike (delayed my start yesterday by about 2 hours while I rewired the front indicators - poor earth); I run from left hand side to right hand side on starting; stay in 1st at the lights, and use the clutch and rear brake almost constantly!

    Sheesh :roll: :grin:
  5. Once you know your bike its easy to do and if done correctly there is no harm done. Going back the other way is a little harder.
  6. Good man EmmGee!

    I now have written proof that at least one of my students listened to something that I said! Almost brings a tear to my eye...oh, and keep using that rear brake. Unless you own a Ducati, of course.

    And Bambam...yes, upshifting without backing off IS rough, violent, and strictly for those with the mechanical sympathy of a baboon. Some bikes take it better than others. I don't do it often on road bikes, honest. But I rebuild my own gearboxes, so I guess I get what's coming to me...

  7. Since bikes have wet clutches you can get away with no clutch in the upshift, with good throttle control

    I still clutch when upshifting unless I am trying to go real fast somewhere :)
  8. Its got nothing to do with a wet clutch. In fact its got nothing to do with bikes. You can do it with most if not all manual trans.
    Its all to do with drive load and timming.
  9. Sorry to sound like a loser, but is upshifting 1>2>3 etc or 3>2>1....
  11. I only really use clutchless upshifts when I'm right on the gas and accelerating as hard as I can.
  12. Warning: Newbie question.

    Isn't changing gears (up, down, reverse etc) without the clutch going to wear excessively on your bits (gears etc)?
  13. I dont like downshifting clutchless, and I dont see much point on the road.

    Going up, I'll go clutchless all the time unless I'm accelerating very slowly or want to change up a gear when not accelerating. Hold slight pressure on the shift lever then back off and get back on the throttle quickly, not the whole way, just enough to take the load off the box for an instant and it will snick up a gear perfectly.

    No damage. They're designed to do it.
  14. Ive just started changing gear without using clutch. well i use clutch to take off and into 2nd but from then on its no clutch. I blimp the throttle while doing this and found that it helps if put pressure on the leaver before doing it otherwise it can sometimes be jerky.
  15. I've started doing it in my 4wd too now. I've known how for ages, but never been game to try it, but now I'm learning to drive a non-syncro truck and that gave me a bit more confidence.

    On the bike, I'll do it when I know the engine load conditions are right, and at other times I'll use the clutch. Being an old bike it's sometimes tricky to select first and second properly, so I generally use the clutch for those gears, but not always.
  16. I wouldn't say they are "designed" to do it.

    But there design allows for it.

    Some people argue that if done correctly you get less ware because you are not waring the clutch and you are getting the gears to settle at similare speeds.

    But if/when you get it wrong it can clip gears and round them off, and it can give you a nasty thump on the gears.

    It doesn't take long to get it right, and it can give you much better/smoother shifts at high acceleration.

    As for why downshift without a clutch.
    Get out riding twisties for 5 hours, then on your run home your clutch hand will be killing you.
    Anything to avoid needing to use it.

    Also if you are in no rush, once you get good at clutchless downshifting they can be much smoother than using the clutch. You can't really punch the gears down at higher revs so you have to wait for the gears to match (with a blip)
  17. Most boxes are of the "dog" enguagement style, there are no syncro's like a car gearbox, and are built very tough. dog boxes can be shifted clutchless with no ill effects to its operation or lifespan if done correctly.

    Upshifting (1st>2nd>3rd>etc):

    when u enguage the gear, u enguage the dog teeth on the side of the gear. with or without clutch this will be a rough enguagement unless a syncro is fitted. most bike gearboxes go without syncro's.

    on a bike, when u pull in the clutch, you DO NOT STOP the gearbox internals from spinning... all you are doing is unloading them. infact the ONLY time the internals of the gearbox arent moving is when you're STATIONARY.

    during the upshift, by taking the load off the dog teeth in the gear you're currently in will allow an easier shift out of that gear (disenguaging) and into the next (enguaging). going into the next gear will always clunk or be notchy with/without a clutch as it's a dog box not a syncro fitted "soft box".

    what's all this mean??.. clutch or no clutch, the way the box works when u shift up a gear is no different. you're simply unloading it. you can unload by rolling off the throttle a little, or pulling in the clutch, it's no different for the gearbox and the dog teeth that are doing the work.

    I upshift without the clutch as it's mechanically the same as with the clutch, as long as it's unloaded!

    Downshifting (3rd>2nd>1st):

    Use the clutch and rev match.. nuff said (that and i cant be typing anymore)

    Make of this what you will... i'm a mechanical engineer. if in doubt, try www.howstuffworks.com for more info on gearbox's and how they work.
  18. Another tip - a clutch can make an excellent pair of oversized spectacles:


    Although this is recommended only for d1ckheads.

    /I now have oil on my nose. I trust that was worth it.
  19. :LOL:

    you are a spectacle!
  20. I use the clutch mainly because I change in one quick smooth motion and don't notice it. If I was racing or something I might notice that fraction of a second but I'm not so I <3 my clutch.