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Advice for a new rider - downshifting & etc

3997 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  RVOKNIO
I bought my cbr just two days ago. My first day was really rough. I took the CMSP training course two weeks before, but riding my cbr for the first time was difficult for me.

I'm having issues with downshiftng. For example, I was gong ~40 mph on a 45 mph speed limit highway, and the traffic started to slow - didn't stop completely. I went to downshift to third (from fourth gear), pulled in the clutch, rollethe thottle a smidge, then clicked down. The bike didn't really lurch, but the engine made a somewhat loud, angry rev noise at me. My friends say this is natural, but as it is my first bike and brand new, I'm trying to be cautious about breaking it in.

Is that really normal for downshifting? The noise continues until I shift back up or down to 1 or 2 for a complete stop. If you have any tips for downshifting please do share them. It's been an anxiety filled first two days. Also, if you know any good empty lots to practice in around the Daly City bay area (CA) I'd appreciate that as well, as I'm still too nervous to get on the freeway.

Much appreciated.
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It's normal but, if the revs sounded too angry as you described try slowing down a wee bit more before downshifting. In time and with practice you will figure out what feels and sounds smooth when shifting on your bike and the fact it didn't lurch shows you were shifting close to where you should of. :D
Congrats on the bike! I think it's normal with what you are experiencing with down shifting. I had my bikes for 3 wks now. In the beginning, it was a little scary getting used to the gears and the new BIKE as a whole. I realized I had to down shift more than I think I need because it has 6 gears. My Buell got only 5 and it's 500cc. I definetly LOVE...LOVE...LOVE my CBR250R.

I just put 130 miles on it yesterday with group. It was awesome. Raining, but great! Had to extra careful since the tires are still very new. I have 288 miles on it now and can't wait til the break in stage to be done with.

I don't know what wrote helped much, but I think you just need more time on it and get used to your new baby!

Happy and safe riding.
i do believe the rider tips books that is under your seat contains a rough
"speed to downshift gears" guide
i'll have a look later when i get home
Thanks for the encouragement, and live_to_ride, do you mean I have to break some before I downshift?
Thanks for the encouragement, and live_to_ride, do you mean I have to break some before I downshift?

he means you have to slow your engine speed to match your road speed.
if you down shift with 6 K on your RPM then you'll be at 8-9k rpm in a lower gear.
Practice makes perfect. In a few weeks you'll be an old hand at playing the gears, and then the fun really begins and you will be truly addicted. Welcome to two wheels!
he means you have to slow your engine speed to match your road speed.
if you down shift with 6 K on your RPM then you'll be at 8-9k rpm in a lower gear.

Absolutely what Top says....slow your speed down. With practice you will not only hear, but feel, the engine change. This same principle applies in driving a standard car. The sound and feel of the engine lets you know when to shift gears. Your bike will lug if you down shift too early but will lurch if too late. The revs must match how fast you are going. Your bike will tell you if you mess up lol. We've all learned that. Happy trails:D
The higher revs are whats called "engine braking' when you downshift and keep slowing down....just be careful to not downshift too low while still going to fast..your back tire can chirp and momentarily loose traction. (it could possibly make you loose control)..i have done this a couple times now going to 2 or 1st while while I was still getting used to the bike and it makes the bike lurch pretty good for a sec and always scared the crap outa me...i haven't done again it in quite some time now.
Hm so I practiced a little today and ended up skidding the back tire a couple times. I found the transition from 5th to 4th and 4th to 3rd gears a lot smoother/easier than 2nd to 1st. I was half and half good downshifts from 3rd to 2nd.

So am I trying to match RPMs (via throttle revving) from gear to gear? Say I'm at 5krpm do I want to downshift at the same 5krpm or lower at 4krpm? higher at 6krpm? Higher seemed to work out pretty well for me except at 3rd to 2nd and 2nd to 1st.

If someone wants to recall the proper process of downshifting...from what I've gathered through visiting random websites and advice from friends, is it pull in the clutch, downshift, rev, let clutch out, throttle? or rev, then downshift?
As you go down in gears, the revs need to be higher to match the road speed, no matter what gear you are in. One thing that might help is to let the clutch out a bit slower. That helps smooth things out a bit more. It also helps to learn what the "acceptable" speeds are for each gear, especially the low gears. For example, I know that I can downshift from 2nd to 1st at around 10 mph. I will be honest, though, and tell you that I don't usually go from 2nd to 1st unless I am going to be stopping, or at least moving very slowly.
I don't rev when I down shift but I have never taken a motorcycle course either. I have chirped the back as spdklls mentioned a few times but once you get used to it I don't think there is a need to rev. I just let the engine do the braking. I would be interested to know if more experienced riders rev the throttle when down shifting. I think Aufitt is going to intall a slipper clutch on his (hehe). Anyway, hang in the AMS and take it real slow to start out with. Read the threads or online about counter-steering if you aren't familiar with it. I could have avoided a few offs in my younger days if I had known about it.
I always give the throttle a bit of twist as I downshift. After a while it becomes natural to bring the revs up to where the next lower gear will want them to be. 3-to-2 and 2-to-1 are always a bit more touchy and I often just use the brakes instead of downshifting to 2nd or 1st. I'll drop down the last two gears when I'm almost at a full stop.
I've always driven a manual "cage" and often times only use the clutch to take off in 1st. After that I just use my ears, feel and experience to shift up and down the gearbox. The skill transfers quickly to a bike. I've even caught myself up shifting on the CBR w/out the clutch a time or two. I wouldn't recommend it, but it can be done once you get the feel for the bike.

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