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Discussion Starter #1
As some of you know, I'm brand new to the scene of bikes and riding (Yes I have taken & passed the MSF course), so this may seem like a stupid question.

I'm still having some trouble when shifting gears. Upshifting, not so much an issue, but downshifting is where I have problems.

My question is, how often do you guys use 1st gear? Is it basically just for starting out, and when you're coming to a complete (or almost complete) stop...or do you ever actually ride around in first gear?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Manual states first gear up to 12mph.
Yeah, I know...but even when I shift down to first when I'm at or below 12mph, it still sometimes lurches forward a bit. I'm sure I'm probably doing something not quite right, I'm just curious as to what. Thanks though.
 

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It will always "lurch" a bit going back to 1st, if you think too much let the clutch out slower or let it slip a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just for starting out. I always downshift all the way down to first gear as I come to a complete stop, just because I have to start out again. It's the same principle as when driving a manual car, you don't ever want to downshift into 1st gear if the car is moving.
Thanks llory! I wish I could compare it to driving a manual car...I don't know how to do that either :eek:
 

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Manual says 12mph and lower, but I also use 1st gear if I'm in bumper-to-bumper traffic and going slower than 20mph. I just play with the clutch a little bit. This avoids shifting between 1st and 2nd too much and helps me concentrate on the road more.
 

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I am still parking lot bound but I do have a 5-speed car to compare.

I am pretty comfortable with 2nd gear for most everything but a dead stop. Same as in the car.
 

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i have a lot of experience driving a manual transmission so using a clutch is pretty much second nature.
i surprise myself all the time by accedentally starting in 2nd gear from a stop. (forget what gear im in and dont shift down enough times)
in a car its different because i can move from any 1 gear to another without passing through the middle gears.
this bike has a lot of tourque compared to my little L4 sentra and i bet if i tried i could start from 3rd gear.
anythinig above 1st though is making extra strain on the clutch and will wear it out faster so starting from 1st gear is definitly the best way to go.

about the lurching:
you should be able to shift down to first without any lurching anywhere up to 15mph with practice.
if the bike is lurching forward you arent putting enough throttle into it before letting out the clutch, if its suddenly jumping forward then youve got too much trottle for the speed your going.
its a very delicate balancing act between the engine and the wheels.
in order to help yourself find the exact balance you should let the clutch out very very slowly in a controlled enviorment (like an empty parking lot) and just do it over and over again going from 20mph down to 5 and shifting from 2nd to 1st in between.
 

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....in order to help yourself find the exact balance you should let the clutch out very very slowly in a controlled enviorment (like an empty parking lot) and just do it over and over again going from 20mph down to 5 and shifting from 2nd to 1st in between.
You just described every Sunday morning for me and my CBR!:D Up through third gear and back down....again and again and again.
 

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to minimize lurching forward, familiarize yourself very well with the friction zone of your clutch. from a dead stop you shouldn't really have to roll on the throttle before hitting the friction zone and then gradually roll on the throttle once the friction zone is hit. This will give you smoother and more controllable launches.
 

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Best excercise any new rider can do is 1st and 2nd gear slow as possible figure 8's riding the rear brake, slipping the clutch, both feet on the pegs... That really teaches you where the friction zone is for each gear.. and teaches other things at the same time.
 

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I'll add this thought because it really made a difference for me so far:

When I bought my first car, it was a 4-speed manual. My Dad taught me how to drive in the local school parking lot.

First thing I had to do was learn to take off from a stop in first gear with minimal gas pedal no bogging or stalling. I am working on this with the CBR now.

My problem with learning the friction zone on the bike, is that I remember my Dad saying never to ride the clutch in the car, so immediately I thought that the clutch lever on the bike was the same, in or out- stay away from the middle. Now I know that won't work on the bike.

One of the few things that I did get from my now decided terrible MSF class was the instructor saying to think of the clutch lever in terms of 1-10 with 6-10 being the friction zone to fully engaged.
 

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Best excercise any new rider can do is 1st and 2nd gear slow as possible figure 8's riding the rear brake, slipping the clutch, both feet on the pegs... That really teaches you where the friction zone is for each gear.. and teaches other things at the same time.
Thanks. I'm adding this to my Sunday routine!
 

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I'll add this thought because it really made a difference for me so far:

When I bought my first car, it was a 4-speed manual. My Dad taught me how to drive in the local school parking lot.

First thing I had to do was learn to take off from a stop in first gear with minimal gas pedal no bogging or stalling. I am working on this with the CBR now.

My problem with learning the friction zone on the bike, is that I remember my Dad saying never to ride the clutch in the car, so immediately I thought that the clutch lever on the bike was the same, in or out- stay away from the middle. Now I know that won't work on the bike.

One of the few things that I did get from my now decided terrible MSF class was the instructor saying to think of the clutch lever in terms of 1-10 with 6-10 being the friction zone to fully engaged.
Don't be shy about using your clutch!

Finding the friction zone and working with it was pretty straight forward for me as my clutch was adjusted with a bit of slack from the showroom floor. During the first service the dealer adjusted it to have almost no slack and well... let's just say that the first 4 minutes or so of my ride (lots of stop signs, tight turns, and merging onto the highway) were kinda awkward lol.
 

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I found I had much more control with adjustable levers. Moved the clutch 3 notches inwards, maybe just under an inch. May be just me tho.
Will practice your routine this weekend Aufitt going for P's on Monday.
 

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Don't worry about engaging your clutch for prolonged periods of time. This has a wet clutch and will not burn if you have it engaged for a while. Remember, your clutch is your best friend.

Have fun practicing!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I found I had much more control with adjustable levers. Moved the clutch 3 notches inwards, maybe just under an inch. May be just me tho.
Will practice your routine this weekend Aufitt going for P's on Monday.
Killstrelok...what levers did you buy? I think that may help me out quite a bit (and just make my riding more comfortable as well).
 

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When your going 50mph or so and coming to a stop light, do you hold in your clutch while you go from 6th all the way back to 1st? or do you let the clutch in and out going from each gear? i know the bike does most of its own braking but what do all of you guys do? whoever started this thread i feel your pain. i am probably the worst 'shifter' on this site and trying my best. my clutch may be my best friend but right now i'm sure it hates my guts.
 

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When your going 50mph or so and coming to a stop light, do you hold in your clutch while you go from 6th all the way back to 1st? or do you let the clutch in and out going from each gear? i know the bike does most of its own braking but what do all of you guys do? whoever started this thread i feel your pain. i am probably the worst 'shifter' on this site and trying my best. my clutch may be my best friend but right now i'm sure it hates my guts.
I usually try to time my approach to a traffic light so that I don't have to go to a complete stop and when I do that, I kinda use engine braking. But there are always instances that you can not avoid making a quick stop because all the vehicles in front of you are stopping. In this case I hit my brakes and disengage the clutch while downshifting to match the gear with my speed.

You might ask why do you have to match the gear with the speed when you have the clutch disengaged anyway???........... Why not just try to downshift as fast as possible and be done with it???........ Well, if in case the vehicles in front of you start moving again before getting into a complete stop, you can easily just engage the clutch and go at the current speed. Also, there are some cagers who may not see you and bump you from behind, if you see one coming at you from behind then you are at the proper gear to make a sudden swerve and probably save your life.

So in short, it is a case-by-case basis, but if you can mtch your gear to your speed, that will really serve you well.
 
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