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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it not a good thing to slow down the bike without using the clutch. Going 60mph and just releasing the throttle without the clutch, I do belive its called "engine braking" is it or will it do future damage to the bike?
 

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Not at all

There will be no damage. It will, however, extend the life of your brake pads and clutch. Be sure to not let the engine labor, in other words, stay in a higher gear for too long, so the engine "chugs" along. That puts too much strain on the engine and drive train.
 

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No problems, that's what race cars and trucks do all the time to save brakes and the clutch. It is also a good way to slow down in rain or slick conditions as the wheels won't lock-up 8)
 

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I seldom brake...downshift all the time...by the time I get to the light it is green and I am in first ready to go.......makes life easy....also you can take off quickly if the cager behind does not stop.......
 

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H-Town X said:
Is it not a good thing to slow down the bike without using the clutch. Going 60mph and just releasing the throttle without the clutch, I do belive its called "engine braking" is it or will it do future damage to the bike?
I want to make sure I understand correctly. Do you always pull the clutch in every time you let off the gas? If so, you're losing the braking power of the engine, wearing out brake pads unnecessarily, and increasing the chance of a wreck, especially if you slow way down quickly with the clutch pulled in, and then try to find the correct gear for that speed. You should always downshift as your speed decreases, in conjunction with the brakes if they are being used.

I routinely go from 5th to 2nd gear (sequentially) without ever touching the brakes. For example, I'm cruising along at 60 MPH, see a light change to red a half-mile ahead, and let off the throttle. As the bike slows, I downshift at the appropriate time. Just as I reach 2nd gear, the light changes to green, and I begin accelerating, having never touched the brakes, nor having strained the engine or clutch. You need to always be in the correct gear for the speed you're running. If you're routinely riding along at 20 MPH in 5th gear with the clutch pulled in, you may not be able to get it into a lower gear fast enough, thus preventing you from accelerating out of a dangerous situation.

Eddie
 

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eddiecohen said:
H-Town X said:
Is it not a good thing to slow down the bike without using the clutch. Going 60mph and just releasing the throttle without the clutch, I do belive its called "engine braking" is it or will it do future damage to the bike?
I want to make sure I understand correctly. Do you always pull the clutch in every time you let off the gas? If so, you're losing the braking power of the engine, wearing out brake pads unnecessarily, and increasing the chance of a wreck, especially if you slow way down quickly with the clutch pulled in, and then try to find the correct gear for that speed. You should always downshift as your speed decreases, in conjunction with the brakes if they are being used.

I routinely go from 5th to 2nd gear (sequentially) without ever touching the brakes. For example, I'm cruising along at 60 MPH, see a light change to red a half-mile ahead, and let off the throttle. As the bike slows, I downshift at the appropriate time. Just as I reach 2nd gear, the light changes to green, and I begin accelerating, having never touched the brakes, nor having strained the engine or clutch. You need to always be in the correct gear for the speed you're running. If you're routinely riding along at 20 MPH in 5th gear with the clutch pulled in, you may not be able to get it into a lower gear fast enough, thus preventing you from accelerating out of a dangerous situation.

Eddie
I decelerate exactly as Eddie does. However, I give a cursory blink of the brake light ( tap the rear brake enough to light the brake light for a second) so that whomever is behind knows I am slowing down. You never know who isn't paying attention behind you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
using clutch 100% of the time

I was taught in the MSF course to apply clutch and then brake, and that is how I have been doing it all the time. Comming to a stop I usually will apply clutch and coast and downshift as bike slows, will be in first as I come to a stop. I dont think that is how it is done going highway speeds 70mph a car moves over in front you need to decrease speed just a bit, or a better example going through a curve you detect speed may be a little high you need to adjust you line, is it proper to just roll off the throttle let the engine slow the bike and then roll back on to maintain speed. I really want to be able to use the throttle correctly and effectively just not sure of the proper technique. I hate to say this but If you were riding behind you would probably think that I have a short im my tail light.
 

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Re: using clutch 100% of the time

H-Town X said:
..is it proper to just roll off the throttle let the engine slow the bike and then roll back on to maintain speed.
Yes - eddie has described it perfectly.
You can even brake while not clutching. Once the engine slows to the point where you need to shift...clutch, shift to the next lowest gear...let the clutch out.....continue. Repeat as necessary. You always want to be in the proper gear for your speed. Being in the wrong gear and trying to roll on the throttle is an accident waiting to happen.

I was taught in the MSF course to apply clutch and then brake
I think what the MFS course taught that way is emergency braking.
 

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VERY nice tip....I too tap my front brake handle quite a few times to let the cager behind know I am slowing..........Since I am not using brakes they can and will run over top of you..........
 

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Ditto on what eddie and Poison said.

As far as the brake light flashing, this little addition is fantastic.
http://www.hondadirectlineusa.com/store ... =698765819

I have one and love it. I don't have to think about tapping for the light to blink. I installed one for my buddy with a C and he's happy too. Takes about 20 minutes or so. I soldered my connections, then shrink tube sealed them. I don't like the wire crimps when it comes to the bike and vibrations -- just me.
 

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ditto on what eddie, poison and nevermore said, but i like to give a little rev of the throttle when i down shift just because I like to hear the pipes and , it wakes the cagers up too as i pull up beside them, they hear me comming.
I usually tap the brakes twice durring the down shift routine
 

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Ditto Eddie and Poison

I was kinda shocked to see that people ride pulling in the clutch whenever they decelerate. I can't believe MSF teaches that. :shock:

The only time coasting is good is to avoid skidding on super-slick surfaces.

Do you shift cars and trucks (w auto/trans) into N whenever you let off the gas :?:

Losing any part of your braking is not good. Could you imagine highways full of 18-wheelers without engine braking? I'd move to a houseboat a mile offshore and sell all my other vehicles.

I do know that there is a school of manual/trans cagers who always shift into neutral when coasting. They claim it is more fuel efficient . This was called to my attention about 20 years ago. One made the news, because he shifted the stick into neutral to take a tight turn in a very busy urban area. The engine stalled, his power steering went out, he couldn't turn the wheel unassisted, couldn't shift because he was trying (unsuccesfully) to turn the wheel with both hands, the car went straight and he caused a 10-15 car accident that killed a pedestrian.

Factoid: :D Engine braking is good for an engine. :D With the throttle closed, this sends vacuum WAY up (anybody old enough to remember vacuum wipers?) and helps draw a teeny bit of oil up into the rings. Remember, you never want DRY cylinder walls. The old-timers (anybody older than me) called it "breathing" an engine. Before modern machining tolerances, it was essential to roll off and on the throttle plenty to "breathe" an engine during break-in.
 

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Also, it can be illegal to freewheel

BTW the way, haven't you seen signs "Stay in gear" and "Use lower gear" on steep downgrades? It is illegal to coast on many downgrades. There's a reason why they made those laws and put up those signs.

And in the fast twisties, does this mean you are pulling the clutch in and out constantly instead of throttling up and down with the rythym of the turns?

After 48 years of riding, this is the first time I EVER heard anything about pulling the clutch in like this.

I thought I had heard it all: "The trick to riding is to NEVER use the front brake so you won't do a front flip." "Always drive on the white line so cars can go by on both sides." "Bald tires are safer because they have more traction, like drag slicks." "Never change oil. That's a ripoff. Oil doesn't wear out." "Run with your tires at half-pressure, and you'll have better traction." "If you carry a passenger, let air out of the rear tire so it won't burst from the added weight." Yeah. Sure. :p

But this!

No wonder there are so many posts about clutch (and clutch cable) failures. This is like 1000 times the wear engineered for.
 

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Re: Ditto Eddie and Poison

Bouxdaddy said:
I was kinda shocked to see that people ride pulling in the clutch whenever they decelerate. I can't believe MSF teaches that. :shock:
I took the MSF (NJ) in April of 2003. The DID teach us to use "engine braking" to slow down.
 

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clutching topic

i was taught to use a clutch only when absolutely neccessary. honda even says to not coast the VTX. anyone who drives big stuff will tell you that clutching is not used even when shifting, up or down. i have driven 18 wheelers, crown school busses, and even my old '64 cornbinder crew cab without using the clutch. for you younger guys (gals), i could even tell you how to start from a dead stop using no clutch. a trick reserved for company vehicles or in the event of a clutch failure. remember kids, always practice this maneuver on a borrowed vehicle!
 

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GoldenKnight said:
As far as the brake light flashing, this little addition is fantastic.
http://www.hondadirectlineusa.com/store ... =698765819

I have one and love it. I don't have to think about tapping for the light to blink.
I have the Signal Dynamics BrakeLight Modulator, too, and I tap the brake when I'm slowing as I'm downshifting in order to alert the drivers behind me that I'm slowing. However, the modulator doesn't begin the blinking cycle until the brake is depressed for a couple of seconds. When the brake is just tapped, the brakelight responds as it would without the modulator; it blinks once each time the brake is tapped.

The modulator is nice when one comes to a full stop with the brake engaged, or if one is using the brake to slow down, because its blinking cycle reminds the driver behind the bike that the bike is there. Before I installed the modulator, I tapped the brake while I was stopped when I saw a driver coming up behind me; the modulator now does the job for me.

I was taught that one of the chief benefits of a manual transmission is the control it gives the driver. Eddie's recommended procedure gives the motorcycle rider maximum control of the bike at all times ... and makes riding the VTX, or any motorcycle, a helluva lot more fun.
 

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:?: Think I missed,something..do you pull in the clutch everytime you downshift or do you leave the clutch engaged and just use the shift lever to downshift/upshift with throttle matching the selected gear?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
a little bit confused

If I am reading things correctly some dont use the clutch when comming to a stop. Comming to a stop my way is as follows:
Light is 40 yards ahead I am going 50mph no car in front, the light changes to red as I reach the 40yd to stop riding in third gear.
1.Begin the stop: clutch in/light front brake
2.Clutch remains in downshift to 1st as I get to the 20yd to stop. 3.Clutch remains, now in first, apply more brake if necessary to come to stop.
The informaton what I am not getting is how to properly use the throttle to slow the bike down, is it proper to roll off the throtle as the initial move when preparing to either slow or stop, which puts it on the engine to slow the bike instead of the clutch. Going 70mph needing to slow a bit in traffic is it proper to let off the throtle and when I way let off I mean totaly back off and the bike makes that engine "gurggleing" wind down sound and at that point adjust your speed accordingly and clutch to a lower gear if necessary.
 

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to change speed slightly at 70 mph, just let off the throttle a small amount, check to see if that speed is acceptable, and if it is, then SLOWLY apply more throttle till you get back to speed.

As far as stopping goes, here is what I do;

I'm approaching a red light, and know I have to start slowing,
1. first thing I do is lightly touch my front brake lever twice, to make the brake lights flash/come on, but not yet brake,
2. then SLOWLY let off the throttle a little, till I hear the motor get quiet as the rpm's drop, (roughly 1800 to 2000 rpms, you will develop an "ear" for this in time) then
3. I pull in the clutch, downshift to fourth, let the clutch out, holding the throttle where I had it at down shift, then
4. ease up a little more on the throttle, listen to the motor, when it sounds & feels right, clutch in, downshift to third, clutch out, throttle where it was when I downshifted that time, and
5. same for 2nd gear, but I tend to be almost stopped by the time I downshift to first, so I usually hold the clutch in at first gear, and release the clutch a little if I need to move forward before reaching my stopping point.
I use both brakes, sparingly as I feel is necessary as I am approaching the stop, all through the downshifting cycle, and more as I feel that I need to stop sooner. As you ride more, you will develop a feel for when to downshift. Sometimes I have downshifted, and find that I have to give it more throttle to get closer to my stopping point, or to avoid danger. You want that throttle right where you had it at down shift, so that you can move fast if you have to.
Hope this helps you. Ride safe.
 
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