how to use the clutch on a motorcycle

How to Find Neutral on a Motorcycle?

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Finding the Neutral on a motorcycle is one of the most generic and uncomplicated skills a rider has while riding their motorcycles. Most experienced motorcycle riders like myself have facilitated the steps to finding neutral so we have been able to master this skill. Like I said, most riders find it quite simple in finding the neutral on a motorcycle either while riding or while the engine is off.

So, how can you find the Neutral on a Motorcycle? Below we have briefly listed the steps you should take when finding the neutral on a motorcycle.

  1. Start with the Engine Off
  2. Pull the Clutch In
  3. Shift Down to Gear 1
  4. Shift Half a Gear Up
  5. Let Go of the Clutch and Roll the Bike

Now that you have the brief list above, we will list these exact steps below and make sure that you know everything that is necessary for each step.

Let’s dive into it.

Start with the Engine Off

It’s important that you start with the engine off for safety reasons. If you switch gears with the engine off, you are not harming the motorcycle whatsoever in this process.

Step 1: Pull the Clutch In

The first thing you’re going to do is pull in the clutch. Pulling the clutch triggers a series of events, but now you can shift gears without putting stress on the engine.

Step 2: Shift Down to First Gear

If you shift all the way down, you will find yourself in first gear. Now that you are in the lowed gear, you can ensure that you have one last step until the motorcycle is in neutral.

Step 3: Shift Half a Gear Up

Now you must shift half a gear up, so technically between first and second gear on a motorcycle transmission. This type of transmission is universal between motorcycles and dirt bikes and whatnot.

Step 4: Let Go of the Clutch & Roll the Bike

Now it’s time to gently release from the clutch, if you are able to roll the bike when you release the clutch. That means you’ve successfully got to neutral. If the motorcycle is stuck, this is most likely because the motorcycle is still in gear.

Now Try While the Bike is Moving

The next step to successfully mastering this skill is to try to get the motorcycle in neutral while riding the bike at low speeds.

Step 1: Ride 5 MPH

Riding at slow speeds when this is your first time is recommended, we want to make sure your safety is taken first and foremost. So, go approximately 5 miles per hour and get ready to start using your practical knowledge when switching gears.

Step 2: Gently Pull the Clutch In

Now that you are going at a reasonably slow speed on your motorcycle, gently pull the clutch in just like in the other set of steps. Once you pull the clutch, safely continue to hold the clutch in for the next couple steps.

Step 3: Down Shift to First Gear

As we mentioned above, down shift to the first gear of the motorcycle. Remember, you should still have your clutch pulled in so you can down shift to the lowest gear on your motorcycle.

Step 4: Shift Half a Gear Up

Once you’re in first gear, the next step that follows is shifting half a gear up. This is the most important step, if you can’t seem to shift the gear half way up from first gear to second gear, I would recommend you test out the steps from “Starts with the Engine Off”

Step 5: Gently Let Go of the Clutch & See if the Motorcycle is Still in Gear

Once you think you’re in neutral, you should still be moving about 5 miles per hour. Slowly release your hand from the clutch, and if the engine initiates power, that means the motorcycle is still in gear. The motorcycle should continue it’s smooth role if it is indeed in neutral.

Now that you have accomplished getting your motorcycle into neutral, we have more discussion below.

Do you Start a Motorcycle in Neutral?

A very popular question people ask me is do I start a motorcycle in neutral? I can understand how this is confusing at first especially if you are a new rider in the motorcycle community.

It is recommended that you start any type of motorcycle in neutral. This is recommended for plenty of reasons, yet there are no malfunctions that happen if you start your motorcycle in gear.

I recommend you always start your motorcycle in neutral for safety reasons primarily. Only because in the past I’ve seen some disturbing moments when friends of mine were riding their motorcycles and one started while the bike was still in gear, as he geared up, he let go of the clutch and there he went flying where he didn’t intend on going. So again, it is more of a safety precaution rather than a motorcycle technical perspective.

Why is a Motorcycle Neutral Between First & Second Gears?

Have you ever asked yourself why the motorcycles gears are lined up as such? Does this even make sense? Tons of motorcycle enthusiasts ask why the motorcycle neutral is between the first and second gears.

I can’t tell you the scientific reason as to why motorcycle manufacturers make their motorcycles like this but I can provide some dialogue here.

  • Provides Safety: Since the motorcycle neutral is between first and second gear it provides a degree of safety in the event of an emergency. For example, when I was riding one time, I had to slam on my brakes and at the same time I down shifted the motorcycle to the first gear, in a split second I still had to have power to get out of the sketchy position. My thoughts here are that having a motorcycle where the lower gear is first gear, so if it was neutral at the very bottom I wouldn’t have found the time to get out of the sketchy situation fast enough.
  • Starting in Neutral: When you start a motorcycle in neutral, you aren’t running the risk of not being in the right gear. What I mean by this is that if you can push the motorcycle while the engine is off, you can assure yourself that your in neutral and nothing will go as unexpected when you start the motorcycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does stalling a motorcycle damage it? Nope, stalling a motorcycle doesn’t have any defects on the motorcycles performance down the road. However, in older motorcycle models, if stalling is prevalent often, then the gear nut might come loose and malfunction, but again this is predicted not to happen usually.

Can you start a motorcycle in 1st gear? Absolutely, you can definitely start a motorcycle in first gear. However, you will need to gently pull in the clutch or else the motorcycle will try start and will most likely jolt you and your motorcycle forward awkwardly which wouldn’t be good after all.

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