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I just started riding bikes and I'm having trouble with downshifting and rev matching...

Does it hurt the bike if for example I am in 4th gear going to stop at a red light and I just let off the throttle, pull in the clutch, then just down shift all the way to 1st gear then come to a complete stop?

Also whats the point of downshifting? Can't I just cruise around in 5th gear then when ever I need to slow down just put on breaks and slow down but not come to a complete stop, then when I need to go faster I can just give it gas?

Last question:
Does it hurt the bike if I downshift and don't rev match? Before I have been letting off throttle, pull in clutch, down shift, release clutch slowly, then my bike jerks, then I give it gas... What happens if I did that at high speeds?
 

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It doesn't hurt the bike to pull in the clutch, shift down through the gears as you brake till your stopped. If you downshift and release the clutch while going too fast, the slipper clutch will keep you from locking up the rear wheel (that's what it's for). As for WHY you'd want to downshift? If say your coming up to a corner and your in 4 gear, you probably want to downshift to 3rd or 2nd to go through the corner so you can roll on the throttle as your going through the corner, then shift up when your back in the strait. You basically want to match your gear with your speed, keeping the rpm's in the 4000 to 8000 rpm range for cruising around town. If your in too high a gear for your speed, you'll "lug" the engine and the bike will go really slow and not perform as it should. Hope this helps :D
 
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Agree, downshifting is a must for cornering, but as a new rider, keep practicing by just going in a straightline somewhere (big empty parking lot, long road barely used) and listen to the engine, most new riders keep looking at the rpm guage and downshift where they are told is best. That is a good learning curve thing to do, but.... it gets you into the practice of looking down while slowing down, in traffic thats not a good idea. While in your practie area you can look down, but, listen to your engine as the revs rise and fall when you let out your clutch while downshifting it will get you into the practice of listening to the rpms so you can keep your head up in traffic. You will hardley ever over-rev the engine while downshifting one or two gears or break traction when riding the 300 due to the above mentioned slipper clutch.
Practice, practice, practice....that will make you a better rider. I still pull off in an empty parking lot on occasion and try to turn as tight as possible and pretend that the parking cement stoppers are objects i need to dodge on the road (gives me swerving practice).
 

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You can clutch coast any time you want (with the bike running) without any adverse effects, as far as I know. I usually coast to a stop from second or third gear - it's pointless to downshift/engine brake into first when you stop, most of the time.

But you really do want to practice good downshifting. Rev matching is less wear and tear on the components, although it's not really anything to worry about.. some people ride like this always. Also perfect rev matching prevents torque shock which upsets the bike's suspension. Very important technique.
 

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The procedure I use is the 2 finger braking blipping technique. When coming up to a corner brake with the index and middle finger, pull in the clutch and downshift 1 gear, before releasing the clutch and while braking, blip the throttle, then immediately let the clutch out after the blip and use the engine braking. I do this until I get into 3rd gear which I take most corners in, sometimes in 2nd if needed. It takes practice to learn how to blip the throttle while braking, how much to blip the throttle, and how quickly to release the clutch after the blip, but with practice it becomes pretty easy.

Its important to be able to do this so that you can quickly get into the right gear for a corner. Blipping the throttle allows better use of engine braking, faster down shifting, and allows you to not slow down to much before taking a corner. This last one is important because most car drivers go into corners too fast and have to brake in the middle, so its safer for a motorcycle rider to not have to slow down to much before the corner for fear of being rear ended.

Practice and combine with counter steering and you will not have any problems.
 

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If you clutch coast in 1st gear until complete stop, you remove all escape tactics from the equation if there were some threat.

For instance, suppose you're coming to a stop, clutch coasting in first gear, when all of a sudden you hear screeching tires and you do a shoulder check to see a car barreling out of control aimed right at your rear tire.

You could let out the clutch and twist that throttle till kingdom come but you won't go anywhere. 1st gear on these bikes is useless. Always be in the right gear for the right speed. Don't look at the tach, just feel the bike and listen to her needs.
 

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What I do, when stopping most of the time. Is keep the clutch in, but down shift pertaining to what gear I would need to be in. So it's not clutch and down to first. It's clutch, down to 4.... Down to 3.... Down to 2.... Then when almost stopped down to first. But I don't release the clutch. I personally only use engine braking when taking corners or turns.


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I like to downshift while approaching familiar lights. I use the engine to brake ahead of time, downshifting as my speed decreases. If the light turns green, I'm in the right gear to take off through the lights. This also lengthens the time it takes to get to the lights, so I won;t have to stop the bike like I would if I had approached the light at speed and then braked late to a stop.

Note: It's a bad idea to rip through the light as soon as it turns green unless you have a good view of cross traffic stopping. Otherwise you could get smoked by someone running a red
 
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