The transmission on a motorcycle is integral in its functioning and it is imperative that you shift gears at the right and in the most precise way possible to ride safe and extract the best riding experience out of your motorcycle.
How to use the clutch?
The clutch is to help your transmission shift smoothly from one gear to another. On a motorcycle, the clutch lever is found on the left handlebar of a motorcycle. Most people pull the clutch in fully, and while that is not incorrect, it doesn’t allow them to gauge the biting point of a clutch properly. Most motorcycle manufacturers keep the bite point of the clutch at a point where you can fully disengage the clutch by just pulling half the lever and vice-versa. When you are setting off from a stand-still, you will have to slip the clutch slightly to get moving.
Once you are already rolling, you don’t need to slip the clutch if you are carrying the right speeds, however, if you are riding in a higher gear, you might still need to slip the clutch in slow-moving traffic. The clutch is one part of your powertrain that is designed to incur heavy wear and tear and be replaced once it is done and dusted. Therefore, you should not feel afraid to use your it in a manner that might burn. Once you have practiced your clutch pull (in and out), you will be able to do it effortlessly.
How to shift the gears?
Shifting a gear on a motorcycle is a simple procedure, but you will be surprised at how many people get it wrong. For starters, motorcycles use two kinds of shift levers - the toe-shifter and the toe-and-heel shifter. The former approach is the one that is used on most motorcycles sold in India, although budget-end low displacement motorcycles do prefer the latter. And while there are two different types of shift levers, the shifting technique remains the same.
Ideally, the rider should pre-load the gear before selecting one. What the means is that one should keep push their shoe against the lever in the direction they intend to shift. On a side note, the Oxford shoe Shift Guard will come in handy if you are afraid of spoiling your shoes exterior while shifting. This way, when you do actually shift, you need to get off the power and pull in the clutch for the least amount of time which makes for a smoother experience. This also makes sure that you engage a gear fully and it is locked in to place. Careless shifting can often lead to a half-shift and the transmission can pop out of the gear when you accelerate, so following this technique will reward you with proper shifts.
What RPMs should you shift your gears at?
This answer will differ depending on the style of motorcycle you are riding, your riding style, and what exactly you want to do with your motorcycle. But the basics remains the same. If you are leisurely riding in the city, you want to shift up as soon as possible to burn the least amount of fuel and to keep the riding experience smooth. If you are riding on highways, it is recommended that you shift once you are past the halfway mark yon your tachometer to be able to keep up with highway speeds. And lastly, if you are riding fast or on a track, then, you should stretch your RPMs to the point where your engine is making maximum power and then shift.
Also Read: Motorcycle Tyre Maintenance and Inspection
Shifting on a motorcycle will differ across the spectrum depending on rider, motorcycle and the road, but the basics remain the same. You should always be smooth in operating the transmission and should always be pre-empting a gear change for a smooth riding experience.