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Clutch use during downshifting

  1. #1
    Lifer wiggeywackyo's Avatar
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    Clutch use during downshifting

    I didn't want to crowd up and go off on a tangent in WinVT's thread.

    In this case, let's discuss the scenario of heavy braking into a turn with more than one downshift on a bike WITHOUT a slipper clutch. A great example of course would be Turn 1 at NHMS. I'm sure the ideas generated in here would apply to other situations but to simplify the conversation let's try to focus on that one example.

    Going into Turn 1, I need to shoot off 3 downshifts. I make my first downshift right as I get on the brakes to load up the front for the real hard braking. I do this with a blip at WOT, click down a gear and then grab the brake in pretty much one motion. As soon as I get to the point of my "max" braking, I rattle off 2 more down shifts by blipping the throttle trying hard not to modulate the brake lever (small hands makes this tough). At no point is the clutch ever involved.

    The one thing I can see wrong with mine is that I would have an initial squirreliness from the back on the first down shift. And I can confirm that the back does get a little "vague?" for the first 50 feet of braking. The other 2 shifts go off without issue or drama.

    The clutchers probably like the idea of being able to use the clutch to modulate the amount of engine braking getting to the tire and in effect, their left hand becomes something like a manual slipper clutch. A great idea and all but it seems like a lot to think about.

    Obviously there are other ways to to this but which one is the best?

    Go.

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Whatever makes you go faster.

    If you can manage it on the clutch, you should be able to get smoother more controlled engine braking than bouncing the tranny all over.

    That's my opinion, I look forward to hearing more evidence either way.

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    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    I stomp clutch free as the speeds are appropriate for the next gear. Blipping is for rev matching with a clutch.

    It all happens pretty quickly for me though, I can slow that turd down from wfo to nothing in about 15'...it's the nature of that particular beast.

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    "Plymouth's Fastest" BrianC's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    I don't know wig, seems like there is alot wrong here!

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    #331 CBR929RE's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    my problem with this is when you blip the throttle without the clutch you're sending power to the rear tire. so essentially you're trying to slow down and accelerate at the same time.

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  6. #6
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Another options is to make youself the slipper. Give just a little clutch, enough to take the shock out of the rear wheel, but not enough to slip it once the rev's match.

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    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    I use the clutch...all the time. No way I'd downshift clutchless on a 600.

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  8. #8
    TRACK RAT!!!!! Pigman's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    I blip and have no issues...really if its messing with you your either doing it too late or to harsh.

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  9. #9
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    I believe that clutchless downshifts are easier, and free up mental focus that can be trained further up the track. That is what really allows higher entry speeds more than the actual difference in what the bike does. Wiggy, your scenario sonds good and could likely be improved by delaying that first shift a half second. as stated here you may not need to blip at all, as the tranny will naturally unload as you decelerate. It's all about timing those shifts properly.

    you can also use the clutch by just pulling it in a little and releasing it immediately. Not even close to pulling it all the way in and feeding it back out. If you watch Rossi shift you will see that they are lightening fast with only the last shift seeing occasional clutch modulation. If you need that modulation, then this is the way to go.

    No blipping if it is making you think about braking at all. That will put your focus on the now instead of the near future. =slow.

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    Last edited by Paul_E_D; 05-25-12 at 12:40 PM.
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    "Plymouth's Fastest" BrianC's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    There was a pretty cool article on Cal crutchlow's wss r6, basically it has auto-blip so he could downshift without the clutch. I would never downshift a stock bike without the clutch unless it was someone else's... also, I think its best to get most of the hard braking done before you downshift if possible. I'm not positive, but on a mw bike most of us are only going down 2 gears into t1.

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    #331 CBR929RE's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post

    you can also use the clutch by just pulling it in a little and releasing it immediately. Not even close to pulling it all the way in and feeding it back out. If you watch Rossi shift you will see that they are lightening fast with only the last shift seeing occasional clutch modulation. If you need that modulation, then this is the way to go
    those GP bikes have auto blippers which match the revs for you when you hit the pedal

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  12. #12
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Ask any of the fast MW Experts if they are clutchless downshifting.

    As far as downshifting is concerned, using the clutch is really not a lot to think about when it's practiced enough to be second nature.

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    Last edited by butcher bergs; 05-25-12 at 02:17 PM.

  13. #13
    Lifer wiggeywackyo's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    So far, the only advantage I can see from using the clutch besides preserving the transmission is a more planted rear end going into a turn. Am I correct?

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  14. #14
    Lifer wiggeywackyo's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by CBR929RE View Post
    those GP bikes have auto blippers which match the revs for you when you hit the pedal
    Actually, isn't that against the rules? I thought there was to be no electronic intervention with shifting from an engine stand point. Hence the whole reason Honda's been killing it with their transmission design.

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    #331 CBR929RE's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggeywackyo View Post
    So far, the only advantage I can see from using the clutch besides preserving the transmission is a more planted rear end going into a turn. Am I correct?
    I don't know if that's true because I've never tried not using the clutch but lets say its true. Your back end is naturally light while braking hard so keeping it planted gives more control. Its not as big a deal in T1 because the slight bit of "pre"turn you do while braking helps keep the back end down. But in T3 you're on the brakes hard and all the bumps help kick the back up more. So you want it on the ground as much as possible there. If you use the clutch there you might as well use it everywhere to stay in the habit.

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  16. #16
    #331 CBR929RE's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggeywackyo View Post
    Actually, isn't that against the rules? I thought there was to be no electronic intervention with shifting from an engine stand point. Hence the whole reason Honda's been killing it with their transmission design.
    unless they changed it this year. I clearly remember reading an article from Elena Myers after she was allowed to ride the Suzuki GSVR and the mechanic told her not to touch the clutch after she was rolling because it would autoblip for her.

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  17. #17
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    So, if they are telling a rider not to touch the clutch, there has to be a reason.

    I think, Bergs, you are right that not many fast MW racers at loudon are clutchless downshifting, but I'm quite sure that you are wrong to say that it doesn't take any mental attention, no matter how many times you've done it. ANY action you can remove from the list frees up focus IME. When I stopped using the clutch I noticed immediately that I was spending a lot less energy on shifting.

    As I stated earlier though, I don't race a 600... there may well be reasons to use it that I am not aware of. When I borrow 600s I will often slip back into clutchless habits and it feels great to me. I think I have taken it to a 17 pace or so...

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    KB KB's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    I use the clutch and the last thing I do is downshift set up, brake, downshift release clutch while trail braking and repeat. I used to downshift brake then tip in. Seems to be smoother and faster to not use the engine to brake into turns.

    Just me though.

    KB

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    Senior Member catahoulabuldog's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by KB View Post
    I use the clutch and the last thing I do is downshift set up, brake, downshift release clutch while trail braking and repeat. I used to downshift brake then tip in. Seems to be smoother and faster to not use the engine to brake into turns.

    Just me though.

    KB
    I used to do the same thing... this past weekend I continued changing to brake/clutch/down shift. Riding the Duc forced the change, I just repeat it across both bikes. last thing I want to do is blow that thing up.

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  20. #20
    Lifer wiggeywackyo's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by CBR929RE View Post
    unless they changed it this year. I clearly remember reading an article from Elena Myers after she was allowed to ride the Suzuki GSVR and the mechanic told her not to touch the clutch after she was rolling because it would autoblip for her.
    Actually, I just remembered, the MotoGP bikes aren't allowed to have dual clutch transmissions, not electronic intervention. My mistake, carry on.

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  21. #21
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    I think, Bergs, you are right that not many fast MW racers at loudon are clutchless downshifting, but I'm quite sure that you are wrong to say that it doesn't take any mental attention, no matter how many times you've done it....
    No matter?

    Might wanna read the first paragraph.

    Muscle memory is how we learn to do many things. Brush our teeth, play guitar, or as in our example, ride/ race a motorcycle (body position and various other rider inputs, etc).

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    Last edited by butcher bergs; 05-25-12 at 03:40 PM.

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    First name on the shit list.... SVRACER01's Avatar
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    I use the clutch up and down. Into 1 I pre turn, then brake/blip/downshift once all at the same time. And I dump the clutch, then grab another downshift just before tip in (dump the clutch).
    Going into 3, I brake and grab a downshift and dump the clutch. I don't modulate the clutch very often and I have no slipper. I usually have a lot of clutch lever freeplay too. When I take the slack out of the cable the lever is halfway to the bar. Fully pulled in its enough to keep the clutch from dragging on the start line. When I shift (up or down) I use just enough clutch to activate the shifter lever. Which i guess is why I can just dump the clutch on downshifts. On up shifts I don't roll off the gas, just slip the clutch and click another gear.

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  23. #23
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianC View Post
    I think its best to get most of the hard braking done before you downshift if possible.
    If you're not braking hard all the way to the apex, you're doing it wrong.

    I use my clutch when downshifting.

    Early on in my track riding carreer, when I had my ZX6R, I relied heavily on my blip to match revs and very little on using the friction zone. I would squeeze the clutch in JUST enough to release the tension on the transmission, blip the throttle and relase the clutch lever rather quickly. It was difficult to consistently get seamless downshifts.

    I then began experimenting rather extensively with clutchless downshifting back when I raced my EX500. Although it did free up some of my mental processing just as Paul mentioned, I was very inconsistent with it. I couldn't just mash my shifter and get it into the next gear without a slipper. The gearbox required a VERY light blip, just enough to release the tension on the transmission caused by engine braking.

    Sometimes I wouldn't blip quite enough and it wouldn't shift.
    Sometimes the rear would drage and step out a touch if I was cornering, such as on the entry to T11.
    And sometimes I would blip a little too much and the bike would lurch forward.


    These days, on the SV, I downshift almost immediately after I begin braking and I use a healthy amount of friction zone. I DO blip a little bit JUST as I apply the brakes (when blipping has the least effect on my braking pressure), but I pull the clutch lever just enough to release tension on the transmission and I rely mostly on the friction zone to smooth out the shift.

    This is especially important for me when entering T11, where I'm downshifting while almost knee down.

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    Last edited by OreoGaborio; 05-25-12 at 11:06 PM.
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    #331 CBR929RE's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    So, if they are telling a rider not to touch the clutch, there has to be a reason.
    yes the reason is the bike rev matches for them. and of course they have much better slipper clutches than any of you (I don't have one). you can never rev match if you don't disconnect the engine from the rear wheel. I just can't fathom any reason for not using the clutch on downshifts. I've never ridden a motard/dirtbike but I still can't wrap my head around not using the clutch.

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    Last edited by CBR929RE; 05-26-12 at 12:50 AM.

  25. #25
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Re: Clutch use during downshifting

    Ride a bike that allows for it and you'll fathom why very quickly.

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