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post #1 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 11:53 am Thread Starter
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Downshifting for braking

How do you riders feel about using lower gears to slow bike to a creep ? I have been told that it does more harm to the engine than what it's worth in saving the brake pads. Of course it is needless to say that you shouldn't over-rev the engine.
Your input is apreciated
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post #2 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 12:04 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

BMW has some of the best brakes on any motorcycle, use em. Brake pads are easy to replace and transmissions, clutches and bearings are not.

Nuf said

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post #3 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 1:07 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I use just the brakes unless its a near emergency thing, then I use everything I got.
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post #4 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 1:08 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I beg to differ as you have immensely more control over the the bike while downshifting that you don't have by slamming on the brakes. It does no harm to the engine or transmission as they are turning already anyway. I don't do it to save brake pads I do it to maintain better control of the machine. Yes I am one of those guys that run the twisties in 2nd gear @6-7,000 RPM.

No don't get me wrong this is for normal driving and I always grab a handful of these wonderful brakes when some one pulls out in front of me, but I usuall am not surprized enough to hit it hard and usually just down shift so I am ready to scoot again if the need arises.

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post #5 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 1:12 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I am from the "keep the bike in the proper gear for speed and circumstances" school.
This means that on mountain roads, ie twisties, I downshift a lot - not just to decelerate but also to keep the RPM high enough so I take the turns by rolling the throttle on and off as needed and making minimal use of the brakes.

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post #6 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 1:52 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I do use the downshifting method for slowing/braking. Just to mention it, since I use the bike for my daily commute, when I hit the clutch to shift I also hit the brake lever to at least put the brake light on, so that the driver behind me knows I am slowing down.

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post #7 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 2:35 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Engine braking. Always keeping revs in the power band to maintain complete control, light tap on the brakes to show brake lights to those behind right before coming to a stop.

Never known anyone to hurt an engine, transmission, or any other part in a car or motorcycle by using the above style. Neutral coasting or clutch pulled in coasting is not my style. If you like to do it that's fine. However, as others have said you have no control over the bike while coasting or if you are not maintaining the power band.
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post #8 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 3:19 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Never had a bike with any brakes to speak of the LT will put you over the handle bars if you're not careful I don't have a problem with it I try not to jump down to quickly and over rev her or Lock the rear up I can't see where it hurts anything.

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post #9 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 3:30 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I am always trying to read the traffic situation in front of me and trying to quess the "mistakes" the others are doing, changing lane without singals etc. I use enginebraking a lot, and it is cheap; the motors fuel consumption is ZERO while enginebraking!

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post #10 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 4:05 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

John, I am with you. I have always on every bike I have owned used gearing to slow the bike down. I give the throttle a little blip when down shifting and releasing the clutch at the the same time to keep the bike on revs for best control. I have a 2006 LT with 37000 miles and have pushed it hard a lot on the twisties when wanted to. I have not had any problems with the bike a all.
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post #11 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 4:30 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Another agreement from me. Always be in the correct gear. Engine braking is safer and more controllable, especially downhill.

Sadly in the legacy of Blair's Britain, learners are taught to use brakes not gears. Wonderful thing this edumakashun, edumakashun, edumakashun. :-)

Just pussin' through.
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post #12 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 6:22 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sit
I use just the brakes unless its a near emergency thing, then I use everything I got.
Well said sir! Well said...

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post #13 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 7:03 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

It really depends on the situation for me.

Mostly I use the downshifting, when I need to just "reduce speed" (i.e.: approaching the next turn in a series of twisties, going downhill to avoid brake overheating, or when the traffic ahead is slowing down slightly). Sometimes, as on highway rides with traffic, I do it exactly to AVOID the stoplight to light-up: red lights on motorways tend to create nasty chain reactions sometimes.

But when I need to stop, I definitely use brakes more than engine, unless I have plenty of space and time and want to take it easy.

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post #14 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 8:24 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

After 20 years of driving trucks, I downshift to slow my bike. It helps slow the bike and I'm in the right gear to accelerate if needed. I can't see where it could do any damage to the transmission. It keeps you in the proper gear at all times...............

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post #15 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 8:29 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
I beg to differ as you have immensely more control over the the bike while downshifting that you don't have by slamming on the brakes. It does no harm to the engine or transmission as they are turning already anyway. I don't do it to save brake pads I do it to maintain better control of the machine. Yes I am one of those guys that run the twisties in 2nd gear @6-7,000 RPM.

No don't get me wrong this is for normal driving and I always grab a handful of these wonderful brakes when some one pulls out in front of me, but I usuall am not surprized enough to hit it hard and usually just down shift so I am ready to scoot again if the need arises.
I am in this camp, 100%, can't imagine not downshifting to the appropriate gear!

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post #16 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 8:36 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

All kinds of responses, for all kinds of riding and situations, yes, as I approach a turn, downshift to the proper gear for the turn, approach a light or a stop, I generally down shift to keep bike in proper gear so I can go if light changes, if it looks like it will be a stop, clutch in, down shift slowly as speed bleeds away so I will be in proper gear, but generally brakes are getting me stopped. Now for controlling spead through the hills, yup, use the gears for bulk speed, use the brakes to fine tune it. Style, its all style. Use what works for ya.
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post #17 of 31 Old May 24th, 2010, 8:38 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by lesn
How do you riders feel about using lower gears to slow bike to a creep ? I have been told that it does more harm to the engine than what it's worth in saving the brake pads. Of course it is needless to say that you shouldn't over-rev the engine.
Your input is apreciated
I have done this with every standard shift vehicle I've ever owned (34 years worth now) or driven from 18 wheelers to motorcycles. I've never had a problem with either an engine or a clutch. Providing the proper technique used, this is a good way to drive, ensures that you are always in the right gear to accelerate quickly should you suddenly need to move out rather than stop, and saves wear and tear on the brakes with little additional wear to the clutch and nothing measurable to the engine.

I have take several standard shift vehicles to well over 100K miles include 150,000 on a Jeep Comanche and 121,000 on my current K1500 Chevy and I have never yet worn out a clutch. My brakes tend to last 60,000 or so miles. They would last longer, but I have to use them enough to keep the disks from rusting out! :-)

Having said this, if you don't use proper technique, then you certainly can wear out your clutch and risk damaging the engine.

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post #18 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 1:33 am
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
They would last longer, but I have to use them enough to keep the disks from rusting out! :-)
We discuss a lot about economical driving in europe when you use engine braking when possible, downshifting while waiting green light etc. The other side of this issue is that brakes needs to be used to maintain the functionality..

Jukka

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post #19 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 7:06 am
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I always downshifted when reducing speed. It does not hurt the engine or clutch at all, as this puts FAR less strain on either than accelerating.

In the twisties downshifting gives you far better control than braking only.

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post #20 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 10:32 am
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokinJoe
I am in this camp, 100%, can't imagine not downshifting to the appropriate gear!
+1 never give it a thought, surprised other do?

Of course I admit it, I have missed a few gears in my day and if you go down 1 too many, your really get woke up

Of course on the LT you really got to blow it to do any damage with the rev limit it has, and the clutch is your friend.

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post #21 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 5:13 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by LAF
Of course on the LT you really got to blow it to do any damage with the rev limit it has, and the clutch is your friend.
Actually I find that the gear spacing in the LT is sub-optimal, there's way too much gap between 3rd and 4th gear.

This is bad when you shift up (engine dies a little bit unless you stretch the 3rd gear) and even worse as you downshift... if you forget to brake more than usual when you're in 4th, you will hear it as you release the clutch in 3rd!!

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post #22 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 5:25 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I agree. Staying in the proper gear and use bothbraking and downshifting. I downshift when slowing only to be in the proper gear for needed acceleration. Good common sense is definitely needed when riding!
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post #23 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 7:01 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

It all depends on the mood I'm in. Just be careful when downshifting on corners & wet pavement.

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post #24 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 7:44 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Take pride in being able to run the twisties up or down hill with seldom needing the brakes at all. Gear shifts and compression braking make the exercise of going fast smoothly near effortless

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post #25 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 8:16 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kra961
Never had a bike with any brakes to speak of the LT will put you over the handle bars if you're not careful I don't have a problem with it I try not to jump down to quickly and over rev her or Lock the rear up I can't see where it hurts anything.
I agree! The brakes are very sensitive on the LT. Down shifting gives you much more control for normal deceleration and cornering. I learned to drive on a 63 Chevy Biscayne wagon with no power anything and 3 on the tree (younger guys will have to look that one up). You could go from 3rd to 2nd but not 2nd to 1st unless you were at a complete stop due to the non syncro trans of the day. Still pop made a point to tell me to always slow the car with the engine.

I used engine braking on every car and bike I ever had with a manual shift. Upshifting and starting out from a stop will cause more wear on a clutch and drive line than all the downshifting you could possibly do. Just be in the proper RPM/Speed range when you downshift. If the tire is chirping or your being jolted you aint doing it right!
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post #26 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 8:56 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by rattler50
After 20 years of driving trucks, I downshift to slow my bike. It helps slow the bike and I'm in the right gear to accelerate if needed. I can't see where it could do any damage to the transmission. It keeps you in the proper gear at all times...............
x2 ................carried a class A CDL for 34 years.........the revs are not going to hurt the engine or the trans.......Use what ever it takes but I think you'll find the higher rev's in the twisties keeps you in the power and controls deceleration as well..........decelerate before you start into a curve, and 'slowly' accelerate as you transcend through the appex............(I use the word 'Slowly' with tongue in cheek.) .............Like I said, what ever works............
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post #27 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 9:05 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrado68
Actually I find that the gear spacing in the LT is sub-optimal, there's way too much gap between 3rd and 4th gear.

This is bad when you shift up (engine dies a little bit unless you stretch the 3rd gear) and even worse as you downshift... if you forget to brake more than usual when you're in 4th, you will hear it as you release the clutch in 3rd!!
I assume that the gear ratios on my 07 are the same as your 06, but I don't know that for sure. I agree the gears are suboptimal, but I hadn't noticed the 3-4 shift, but rather find the gears too closely spaced. I would prefer a lower first and a higher 5th. Actually, the ideal would be to have a 6th gear and lower the existing 5. First on the LT is simply too tall for riding two-up and loaded and needing to start out on anything other than level pavement. And I am constantly wanting to shift one more time when in 5th gear and accelerating.

Let's hope the new LT has an extra cog.

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post #28 of 31 Old May 25th, 2010, 9:10 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygret
I agree! The brakes are very sensitive on the LT. Down shifting gives you much more control for normal deceleration and cornering. I learned to drive on a 63 Chevy Biscayne wagon with no power anything and 3 on the tree (younger guys will have to look that one up). You could go from 3rd to 2nd but not 2nd to 1st unless you were at a complete stop due to the non syncro trans of the day. Still pop made a point to tell me to always slow the car with the engine.

I used engine braking on every car and bike I ever had with a manual shift. Upshifting and starting out from a stop will cause more wear on a clutch and drive line than all the downshifting you could possibly do. Just be in the proper RPM/Speed range when you downshift. If the tire is chirping or your being jolted you aint doing it right!
I've driven several three on the tree vehicles, the first being a 1968 Chevy pickup my dad owned. I then later had a 1976 Dodge pickup with the same. The biggest problem with the Chevy is that if you weren't careful you could get the shifting pawl stuck between the plates that moved the 1-2 gear change and the 3-R gear change. I'm sure this was a function of the shifter being well worn. You then had to open the hood and use a hammer and drift to get the shifter out of this "neutral" position that it was stuck in!

And you could shift into 1st while moving, you just need to double-clutch and give the throttle a hard blip and then shift briskly into 1st! Worked nearly every time, but you had to not be timid about moving into 1st as you had only a few milliseconds to catch it at the synch speed before the input shaft spun down.

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post #29 of 31 Old May 26th, 2010, 4:55 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

+1 on the need for a 6th gear for the new LT. That would solve all the spacing & ratio issues.

I also started driving on a car without synchronized gears, where you had to double-clutch at every downshift... It was a good school for learning how to control your engine revs.

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post #30 of 31 Old May 26th, 2010, 8:08 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I have used downshift braking on every car and bike
I've owned for over 50 years, including a very aggressively
driven Porsche 911 I owned for 13 years. I have never
replaced a clutch on any of them. That's what manual
transmissions are for. Use all the gears going up or down....
properly, that is........
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post #31 of 31 Old May 26th, 2010, 8:22 pm
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Re: Downshifting for braking

I use the clutch for engine breaking. I had to get the clutch replaced at 65K miles due to slipping, but the clutch had little wear on it. The failure was due to seal failure and contamination not due to the way I was using it.

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