I am a novice, first bike, engine brake - Kawasaki Ninja 300 Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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I am a novice, first bike, engine brake

Hi there! this my first post, my name is Enrique i salut everyone on this forum first!

So....i bought a bike, i saw a lot of them, visited many stores and finally decided to get the 300 ninja and i am proud of my choice. I can not have an objetive opinion because havent ride any other bike yet but, the sensation is awesome, 4 month til now of going home-work work-home.

---> Alright so here is my question, may be a little odd tho.....i just love the sound of the engine braking from the 2dn-1st and stop, i do it all the time at low revs and speed, we are talking about 15km/h, the sound its like a jet turbine, the cluth or something. When i am in second pull the clutch lever, change to first and letting out very slowly, first sound like something is catching something very high pitch, then comes the best part that make eargasms on me everytime, the engine braking lol

so guys what you think, i am the only one that likes it? will it comprimise the bike eventually???
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 12:22 PM
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Normally, it is not advisable to shift from 2nd to 1st without the clutch held in from second to stop. Rarely, at speeds around 10 kph, to get through a very slow corner I will do it, or in stop and go traffic around 10 kph. However, if you are exploiting 1st gear to slow you down from say, above 15 kph instead of just clutching in and braking, its really not necessary or good for your clutch.

If one were to shift to first above 20 kph, the noise you are hearing could very well be your slipper clutch whining away. The slipper clutch is there to save you from mistakes. But you shouldnt depend on it, or lean on it because it makes a fun noise. So yeaaa, I'd cut it out unless you want your clutch to die early in its life.

All the gear, all the time!!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 01:20 PM
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1st is the only gear I don't engine brake with, except for perhaps to slow down to a crawl such as to time slow moving traffic but I'm already moving slowly at that point. The other reason for avoiding it might be that you forget on the next bike you ride which may not have a slipper clutch. Once you get used to doing something it's sometimes hard to change. I still occasionally squeeze the left lever on my Vespa real quickly forgetting it's a brake and not a clutch. Constantly hitting the horn instead of the turn signal button is another learned behavior that gets repeated on bikes where they reverse the position of those buttons.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 01:22 PM
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Oh yes. One other important issue. If you do engine braking in 1st, make sure you are at least on one brake or the other. Otherwise, the person behind you might not see you've slowed.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 08:41 AM
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With both bikes and cars I don't use first gear for engine braking, and I've heard that doing so may cause damage to the drive train due to high torque loads but I have not seen any real evidence to back up that claim. Maybe some day I'll sit down and try and run engine braking torque values versus output torque values to see if there's a real concern of overloading...
On a side note, I've seen on many forums people claiming that any engine braking at all will damage the gearbox/engine/etc and you and I both know that's bull-puckey, so take my previous anecdotal statement with a grain of salt.
I also find that first is too "slow" of a gear for engine braking. By the time you can use first for braking you're probably only going like 15km/h (number pulled out of somewhere, definitely not a precise or accurate value) and the braking force is so high due to the low gearing that I just don't find it useful for more than a second or two at the most. This one is more opinion than anything.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 08:33 PM
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I am new too. Only 90 miles on my first bike and 1st is out the driveway and dead stop gear only. I do however enjoy the engine breaking during my line up going into a turn at speed. I agree with what was said above about the high engine breaking in 1st gear with the possibility of the vehicles behind you not knowing you are stopping.

The slipper clutch thing is true though. On my ride home from the dealership I was coming down a big hill that has a turn into it and out of it with a stop sign. I was so worried about not breaking until the bike was upright that I downshifted into first when I was out of the turn *Thought i was going into 2nd* and the slipper clutch no doubt saved me but i still had back tire lock up for a couple of feet. Ever since my first ride I pretended that I dont have it because I want to learn how to ride any bike eventually. My upgrade may not have it and I feel if I was on something else I would of been the dealership wreck ride home guy.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 02:12 PM
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I agree the engine sound under deceleration is awesome, nice deep sound with occasional small backfire. I usually never use 1st gear except to start off from a stop, except maybe in a parking lot. I notice you do hear the sound of the valves a lot which is good in my opinion.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 01:50 PM
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I can't say for sure with a 300 as I've never owned one (maybe next bike)

I've had a 750 magna for almost 3 years, and in that at 10K rpm, first gear was like 30KM/h and top of 2nd gear was getting on to freeway speeds (canadian freeway)

If you rev match properly, you will not shock your drivetrain. But still, I wouldn't just dump the clutch downshifting into 2nd or first especially, release it slowly and let the engine speed match the drive. This might put a bit of wear on your clutch but nothing serious.

If I am correct these things have a wet clutch so slippage isn't as bad as with a dry clutch, like would be in a car.

I just replaced my 06 Focus, and I dropped over 300,000KM on that and shifted/downshifted very aggressively and it still has the original clutch, and while it would probably be an improvement to have replaced it, it was still very functional.

Definitely don't do it while going too fast as you can seriously damage your engine if the revs go too high, and like previously mentioned, make sure you press the rear brake, just hard enough to light your brake light, so that traffic behind you can see that you are slowing down.

Even after driving manual for 6 years, I was not even prepared for how fast a motorcycle engine can stop the vehicle, the guy behind you likely isn't ready for it either.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:58 AM
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I do the same. However I rev-match to not stress the clutch.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 11:18 AM
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Welcome to the forums. I used to rev-match downshift from 2nd to 1st all the time on my ninja and engine brake all the time. I did it all the time on my GSX-R 750 and do it still now on my R1. The biggest issue with the ninja that makes it a bit harder is way the gearing is setup. The ninja uses a relatively short, standardized gear spread and not like the super sport close on the super sports and super bikes. On a super sport, there's a very large overlap between all of the gears so when downshifting to the next gear, you don't have to blip the throttle very much at all as the difference between gears is usually only around 2k between gears and 2.5k rpm or so between 2nd and 1st. Makes rev matched downshifts and engine braking much easier. This is important for racing as it makes it much easier keeping the engine on the boil and in the meat of the powerband longer. The only downside to the super sport setup is that if you're going for max performance and efficiency, it takes a lot more work from the rider but can be much more finely controlled. What makes it a bit trickier on the ninja is that it uses shorter overall gearing to make up for its power deficiencies as well as a much more standard gear spread. There isn't nearly as much overlap between the gears so the RPM difference when downshifting is much more pronounced. It's been a while but I think it was around 3-4k rpm between each gear when downshifting. Where things get trickier on the ninja still is that pronounced bigger gap between first and second that is even seen on the super bike, is MUCH more pronounced on the ninja. It's nearly 4-5k rpm difference between 1st and 2nd. This means that when downshifting from second to first, you need to rev the throttle quite a bit more to rev match the downshift. This also means that you don't want to be overly aggressive between 2nd and 1st. You don't want to be trying to do a rev matching downshift to 1st if you're still at around 8k rpms in 2nd. What you're trying to prevent is dropping gears and pushing the engine past the redline. The rev limiter wont kick in if it's being driven by the rear wheel and you can overrun the engine by being too aggressive with the downshifts. If done right though, there's no jerking or extraneous loads being put on the clutch.

1st gear is much more usable than what people give it credit for. Not nearly as long as a super sport's 1st gear, but I feel it's about standard for a smaller bike. You can easily get past 20mph in 1st as most people don't shift anywhere near redline in first because it sounds much louder and like it's in much higher rpms than it really is. Because you're not going very fast in first gear, there's almost no wind/road noise so the engine is much more prominent. Trust your tachometer until you get the feel for it. Once you know at what RPMs a certain speed is in all of the gears that you can be in safely, rev matching on a downshift will become much easier because you'll know at that point that you can't over-rev the engine past redline since you aren't going fast enough to get past the redline for that gear. I've taken first up to 25mph indicated on the ninja so you should be safe downshifting to first at around 18mph and lower just fine. First gear on the ninja is pretty short, but it's not as short as people are making it out to be. My WRs first gear is even shorter and I can still get it up past 20 mph and at the least complete a full left hand turn before I absolutely have to shift.

Good luck and welcome.

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Last edited by FreelancerMG; 02-17-2017 at 11:21 AM.
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