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What Jeremy Bowdler taught me about upshifting

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by lipstikpig, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. OK so the reason for this post is because in another post I said I will be enduringly grateful to the late Jeremy Bowdler of TwoWheels magazine for a tip that vastly improved my gearshift technique, and Raven suggested I share it, so here it is.

    The first ever newbie instruction I read on upshifting came from a few years old photocopy (don't know when published) by "Dave Gibson of Stay Upright". Here is my shortened summary of it's steps:
    1) Check mirrors.
    2) Throttle off to idle speed.
    3) De-clutch quickly to disconnect drive from engine to rear wheel.
    4) Lift gear lever to stop and hold it.
    5) Smoothly release clutch lever all the way, while gently rolling throttle back on.
    6) When clutch is fully re-engaged [...] release pressure from the gear lever.
    Those instructions are pretty typical of all the instruction for newbies I saw. So I rode like that for the first few months.

    Then, I read this by JB in TwoWheels Sep 2011:
    The key to quick and smooth shifting is to preload the gearshift pedal. The idea is to take the slack out of the transmission system before you try to shift.

    To shift up, push gently up on the shift pedal until you feel some resistance. Go too far and you'll upshift anyway, but at this stage you just want slight upwards pressure on the pedal. When it's time to shift, disengaging the clutch even just a tiny bit should allow the gear dogs to slide home smoothly and quickly. Then it's a question of easing out the clutch lever smoothly. Note that smoothly (not quickly or slowly) is the key.

    Get the sequence right and gearshifts can be made with the merest brush of one finger on the clutch. It's well worth practising.

    Downshifting is much the same in reverse, though the clutch work is slightly slower and more deliberate (you have to get the engine, gearbox and wheels turning at the appropriate speeds as quickly as possible). Preload the pedal, pull the clutch lever in and at the same time rev the engine to the speed it will be turning in the next gear down, snick the pedal and ease out the clutch. Easy to type, difficult to do.​
    That preload upshifting technique is awesomely smooth and quick, the merest touch of the clutch allows the gear to shift, and it's not hard to do.

    .. I still say "f**k yeah" to myself every time I get it perfect! \\:D/

    Thanks JB. (y)

    My downshifts are still dodgy .. its harder! And fellow newbies, don't push the gear lever too hard before you clutch, or you will get a nasty crunch of gears. :eek:
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Now you need to learn to clutchless upshift...
  3. Good info for noobs. Even if it's just to reaffirm that a rider is using the correct technique right from the beginning. Thanks :)
  4. I'm glad you mentioned that so early here, as soon as I read "unload the transmission" I thought that the post was going turn into a discussion on clutchless shifting.

    Match revs, unload transmission, 'snick' and you're in the next gear. So fast and smooth, love it.
  5. Don't even bother to unload, just hold it flat till it hit's the rev limiter. That's enough "unload" for it to snick home rather gracefully, and all without ever getting off the throttle.
  6. Poor mans quick-shifter, been doing it for years.
  7. That works. But a rider should be able to finesse it at any revs. Bouncing off the limiter doesn't teach that, and we can't ride around bouncing off the limiter everywhere we go. Even on the track.

    So learning to unload the gearbox by a quick throttle-off is a better choice, all things considered.

    But let's not turn this into a clutcless shifting thread. It's been done to death.
  8. Great advice, when I talk to newbies that are getting a clunk from the gear box (or shitty shifting in general), particularly noticeable 1st to 2nd, this is the technique I point them towards...

    Also, on the topic, roadcraftnottingham on youtube has some good video on the topic, and others (aimed mostly at newbies).
  9. That advice about preload the gearshift pedal is great advice for newbies lots of riders miss that . good post
  10. preloading the gear lever is great if you want to replace gear selector forks more frequently than normal.
  11. I agree JD. I don't convincingly 'pe-load' but rather just rest my toes under the lever and take up the slack without too much pressure, in position to snick it through.
    Preload to noobs sometimes translates to applying too much pressure on the lever. This actually makes it harder to shift and is mechanically clumsy IMHO.
  12. Not so good for those that can't get to redline without killing at least 3 kittens.
  13. Nope, I would agree, but it certainly is fun. Not getting caught is another dimension to the challenge. The usual time and a place stuff applies. It's almost useless in anything other than a straight line too. Still loads of fun.
  14. Pretty sound advice aslong as your not too hard on the preloading as jimmy said.

    That revlimiter "quick" shift is the funniest thing I've ever heard in a long time lol. I cant see it working that well though since most bikes ideal shift point is way below the limiter (my bike is 700 rpm less). You'd be better off just flat shifting it with a tiny flare of the clutch at the right rpm.
    In both case I'd be saving it for some hire bike not my own :p
  15. thats how i used to shift my 125mx bike, except without a rev limiter. just hold it flat open and foot on the gear lever, it would pop into gear when the engine stopped making too much torque and would shift very fast.

    death to gearboxes though!!! but i wasnt paying!
  16. When I miss 2nd and go into neutral, and then have to reselect second I get a nice clunk.

    I call it the 'clunk of shame'. It's like it taunts me. Had another one today, somehow hit false neutral between 5th and 6th - somehow gear indicator running off the diagnostics port popped up with 3rd :p
  17. You get a clunk? I get a quick bark up to redline and scare the shit outa myself when I lean on the throttle expecting some resistance from the wheels! Then I UPSHIFT, repeat UPSHIFT into the gear I though I had in the first place....

    Haven't done it in a while, usually only happens when I'm rushing and also not concentrating, which is a deadly combo for gearboxes, flesh and bones.
  18. Good read OP - might be a candidate for a sticky...
  19. Cheers. But the thread veered pretty quickly out of newbie territory, all those posts about rev limiters and redlining :roll:
  20. So just ignore that and go by the OP. :)