Did you know how to use the manual transmission before even learning how to ride a motorcycle? Well, if your answer to that is NO! Then this is a chance to learn. It doesn’t matter what wheels you’ve got; a manual transmission will put you in total control. It might seem intimidating because of your inexperience, but once you get it, everything motorcycle opens up.
To downshift a motorcycle with no problem, all you have to do is Pull your clutch lever all the way in, Begin braking right after you pull your clutch lever in, Shift Down to Your New Gear Level, Modulate the Throttle, and Match engine-rear wheel speed. In this article you will learn more about each one of these steps.
Just like getting a motorcycle phone mount is vital to take your calls and not miss out on anything while riding, downshifting is just as crucial as up-shifting. There is more to it than just recalling “five down”, and after we walk you through downshifting on a motorcycle, you will be able to step up your downshifting game.
First, you have to understand that downshifting on a motorcycle requires all of your four extremities. It would be best if you got your left hand and foot to control your transmission, your right hand and foot to hold the brakes.
Also, your right hand will have to do double duty as it is going to have to control the motorcycle throttle. In essence, downshifting on a motorcycle requires you to combine all of these inputs into the flowing motion.
5 Steps To Downshift on a Motorcycle Like a Boss
Step 1: Pull your clutch lever all the way in
Pulling your clutch lever will ensure you have a smooth shift that will also eliminate all unnecessary wear and tear on your transmission and clutch.
Step 2: Begin braking right after you pull your clutch lever in
It is crucial that you use both brakes and also remember that your right hand will also need to control the throttle as well as the brake lever. Therefore, we advise that you use your index and middle fingers to brake.
Step 3: Shift Down to Your New Gear Level
Sometimes, you may find yourself downshifting only on one gear or downshifting down to the first gear. The good news is that anything in between is also possible and of course, your selection of gear level depends on the future traffic situation which may be “a stop sign, a turn”. So, make sure that you make the appropriate change of gear.
Step 4: Modulate the Throttle
It is up to you to decide whether you want the throttle open or closed as you try to downshift on your motorcycle. Some people like the throttle closed. This helps to provide some quick bugs to the throttle. You can achieve this through a wrist snap. Depending on what you prefer, you can also leave the throttle open as you try to rev-match in the new gear. Overall, what is crucial to both methods is merely maintaining your brake pressure. Therefore, always practice doing so while you control your throttle.
When downshifting, always remember to use your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers to control the throttle. Besides this, you can also choose to modulate the throttle with your thumb and index fingers while applying the brake with the remaining three fingers. It all boils down to what is more comfortable with you. Remember to use some throttle at least up to 50% of a full turn, but then again it still depends on the kind of situation you find yourself in.
Step 5: Match engine-rear wheel speed
This is the most critical aspect when downshifting on a motorcycle. You have to understand that the purpose of downshifting on a motorcycle is to ensure the engine has a normal range of the revolutions per minute (rpm) when you put it into use in the future. Therefore, you have to rev your engine to be sure that the speed of your bike’s rear wheel is equal to the speed of your engine’s first gear, as you start the bike.
Your engine speed might sometimes get higher in a lower gear, and as discussed earlier, endeavor to apply more throttle to match it. Also, if you find yourself slowing to a stop, you may have to close the throttle and re-start in a lower gear if possible. However, when re-starting, you should maintain the throttle until you release the clutch lever and dive into the new gear.
Finally, release the brakes and after a while, release the clutch so that you can maintain your throttle application. Faithfully abide by these simple steps, and you should experience an unhindered gear change without your motorcycle putting up any attitude.
Caution: Here’s the danger if you rev-match wrongly or fail to do so: the rear gear will hop and you are sure to hear chirps as it locks up and struggles for traction which could result in a crash.
Downshifting a Motorcycle like a Boss: FAQs
Q: How do I downshift my motorcycle when coming to a stop?
As you are coming to a stop, all you have to do is apply brakes, and as you begin to slow down, pull in your clutch and downshift all the way to the first gear.
Q: When do I downshift on my motorcycle?
You can downshift the moment you drop in speed and any time where the following acceleration can cause your engine to lug.
Q: What happens to my motorcycle if I downshift too soon?
Well, if you don’t first throttle a little to rev-match, you might run the risk of locking up or more accurately and end up dragging the rear wheel and forcing it to break traction.
The fact is that downshifting on a motorcycle is a skill that should be continually practiced. You should always aim for a perfect result. If it is half done, you may regret starting it; if it’s done properly, you’ll enjoy it in the long run.
Although there are some considerations, it is one of those skills that eventually become a motorcyclist enthusiast second nature. Just like the saying “Keep doing it, and eventually you will get the hang of it.”