Riding a motorcycle well takes practice, hours upon hours of seat time, and a dedication to learning how to do it right. Bereft of either of those, no rider can operate a bike optimally, or smoothly. If you are truly interested in honing your skills at shifting gears, you will follow the steps below and do so repeatedly until you can change gears so smoothly a passenger may think you are using an automatic transmission.
The procedure outlined here applies to a standard five or six-speed transmission in the common street shift pattern – first is down from neutral and second through fifth or sixth is up in successive order – and can be applied on any motorcycle using such. Though, if you reverse the ups and downs in the text, much of it does apply to the GP (or reversed) shift pattern – in fact, it is a little easier once you adjust to it.
- Step 1 – Assuming the motorcycle is in neutral and the engine is started, squeeze the clutch and press the shift lever down into first gear. Roll on the throttle, slowly release the clutch until first gear is engaged and you begin to ride.
- Step 2 – Pre-load the shift pedal by applying slight upward pressure with your left foot.
- Step 3.1 – Squeeze the clutch lever, but not to the bar. All you need here is about one-third to half-way in to allow for a proper gear change. (This is why you often see racers only use two fingers on their clutch lever as the ring and pinky fingers act as a stop.)
- Step 3.2 – Quickly close the throttle while simultaneously…
- Step 3.3 – …adding progressively more pressure to the shift lever and you will feel the gear dogs engage…
- Step 3.4 – and after this happens, let out the clutch…
- Step 3.5 – as you open the throttle and try to match engine RPM to your speed.
- Step 4 – Ride on in the new gear, repeat steps 2 and 3 as necessary or until in top gear.
This will be rough at first but, as you practice the procedure over and over, you will improve significantly with time. The smoothness will come as you gain more experience.
If you decide to forgo the clutch when moving from second on up the gear stack, take care to get the throttle to match speed as closely as possible. Always use the clutch when downshifting so as to avoid serious transmission damage.
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com