Shifting on a Motorbike: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

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Shifting on a Motorbike: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Shifting on a Motorbike: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
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One of the most important processes of motorcycling is shifting. It may seem difficult, but shifting on a motorcycle is actually very easy. In this article, we'll show you how to do it!

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Shifting on a clutch lever motorcycle

Shift Gears on a Motorcycle Step 1
Shift Gears on a Motorcycle Step 1

Step 1. Learn what to do to switch

To shift gears on a clutch lever motorcycle, you need to pull in the clutch, release the throttle and operate the shift pedal. The clutch transfers the torque from the engine to the gearbox, releasing the gas prevents the engine from stalling and the shift pedal allows you to switch between the different gears.

  • The clutch can be found behind the left handle on your handlebars, the shift pedal is located at your left foot.
  • Press the gearshift pedal down one position to put the engine in first gear, the other gears are reached by moving your foot upwards.
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Step 2. Turn on the engine

The first step is to start the engine in neutral. It is now the intention that you are on the motorbike.

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Step 3. Shift to first gear

Release your throttle and pull the clutch all the way in. At the same time, press the gearshift pedal down one position with your foot. Now let the gas come up slowly.

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Step 4. Shift to higher gears

You do this in the same way. Release your throttle, pull in the clutch, move your foot up to the next gear, and let the throttle come on.

  • You can now shift to higher gears by moving the shifter one position higher with your foot. The first position above neutral is second gear, second position is third gear, and so on.
  • Don't worry if you accidentally skip a gear. You won't damage the engine with it, as long as you adjust the amount of throttle to the current gear.
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Step 5. Shift down to a lower gear

If you want to slow down or stop, you can downshift to a lower gear. With your foot, push the shifter down one gear at a time, one at a time. When you are completely stationary, you can put the engine in neutral, which is the position between first and second gear.

Method 2 of 2: Shifting on a semi-automatic

Shift Gears on a Motorcycle Step 6
Shift Gears on a Motorcycle Step 6

Step 1. Learn what to do to switch

To change gears on a motorcycle with a semi-automatic gearbox, all you have to do is release the throttle and use the gearshift pedal. With a semi-automatic, the clutch is incorporated in the gearshift pedal, so you don't have a separate clutch lever that needs to be operated.

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Step 2. Turn on the engine

Sit on the bike and make sure the engine is in neutral before shifting.

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Step 3. Shift to first gear

This is a very simple process, all you need to do is let go of the throttle and tap the shifter down one position with your foot. The first gear is always one position below the neutral position, the other gears are above it.

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Step 4. Shift to higher gears

Use the same procedure as when shifting to first gear. Release the throttle and press the shifter pedal up with your toes. One position above neutral is second gear, one more up is third gear, and so on.

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Step 5. Shift down to lower gears

To slow down and eventually stop, you can downshift by pressing the gearshift pedal down with your foot. Always put your engine in neutral when you are stationary.

Tips

Modern motorcycles brake with the front brake. Using the rear brake at high speed has little effect. It does help to keep the bike stable. So if you are going fast you can slow down by gently pulling in your front brake, then you can brake more and more until you have reached the desired speed, then you can gently release the brake. Use your rear brake a bit to keep the bike stable. The split between front and rear brakes are between 80%-20% to 100%-0%, depending on how hard you want to brake and the road condition. The harder you brake, the less rear brake you need to use. Because the weight is transferred to the front when braking, the rear wheel can lock up much faster

Warnings

  • Shift one gear at a time when downshifting.
  • When you shift the engine from first gear back to neutral, always release the clutch carefully. If you release the clutch quickly and you are accidentally still in first gear, the engine will stall or you will shoot forward with engine and all.
  • If you don't shift up when the speed indicator is in the red you can blow up the engine.
  • Listen to your engine as you shift gears. If you hear a low rumble you have to downshift. If you hear a loud whining sound, you have to shift up.
  • If your gearbox is making 'clunk' noises, you can try adjusting the air intake.

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