Street Savvy

A well-timed throt­tle blip can make you a smooth shifter

Motorcyclist - - Contents -

botched down­shifts are rough on your driv­e­train and can mess with your con­fi­dence. It can even lead to a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous rear-tire skid if your tim­ing is off and you re­lease the clutch abruptly dur­ing a high-rpm down­shift. The ef­fect of clumsy clutch work is es­pe­cially bad on big sin­gle- or twin-cylin­der bikes that pro­duce a lot of en­gine brak­ing.

A slip­per clutch can help solve the prob­lems caused by sloppy or rapid down­shifts, and while slip­pers are be­com­ing com­mon equip­ment on mod­ern bikes, not all of us ride the new­est mo­tor­cy­cles. If your bike doesn’t have a slip­per clutch, you can avoid most down­shift­ing drama by sim­ply eas­ing out the clutch grad­u­ally, the way you were taught as a novice. The slow-re­lease method is fine if you have am­ple time, but some­times you gotta get the job done quickly. This is where throt­tle blip­ping comes in. Blip­ping the throt­tle mo­men­tar­ily in­creases en­gine rpm to bet­ter match en­gine speed to the road speed for su­per-quick and but­terys­mooth down­shifts.

Blip­ping en­tails rapidly rolling the throt­tle open and then closed while si­mul­ta­ne­ously clutch­ing and click­ing. It’s sim­i­lar to a nor­mal down­shift but with the ad­di­tion of a per­fectly timed throt­tle blip as you click into the lower gear. Do the shift quickly by squeez­ing the clutch lever part­way into the fric­tion zone, blip­ping the throt­tle, shift­ing, and then re­leas­ing the clutch swiftly but smoothly. This all hap­pens in an in­stant. The tech­nique is re­peated with ev­ery down­shift, one gear at a time.

Of­ten­times, you need to brake while down­shift­ing, but do­ing both si­mul­ta­ne­ously means jug­gling a lot of mo­tions. You can make the pro­ce­dure eas­ier to man­age if you use your in­dex and mid­dle fin­gers to brake and your thumb and two out­side fin­gers to work the throt­tle. A prob­lem you’ll likely dis­cover is that blip­ping causes your brak­ing fin­gers to move, dis­rupt­ing brake pres­sure. You can try to iso­late your fin­gers from your fist by curl­ing the first knuckle of your in­dex and mid­dle fin­gers over the front brake lever. Com­bin­ing brak­ing and throt­tle blip­ping is eas­ier with very firm brak­ing pres­sure when slow­ing from higher speeds.

Get­ting the tech­nique right takes pre­cise co­or­di­na­tion and tim­ing that comes from prac­tice. Start by go­ing through the mo­tions in your garage with the en­gine off. Then take a ride and try it on a quiet road. Just blip the throt­tle dur­ing a nor­mal down­shift and then per­form the tech­nique more rapidly as you get used to it. It won’t be pretty at first, but even­tu­ally you’ll be blip­ping like a boss.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.