Downshift or Just throw out the clutch? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 4:26 pm Thread Starter
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Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Since there are a lot of riders on here with a lot of miles under their belt, I want to ask- When coming to a routine stop (stop sign, traffic light, etc.), do you downshift or disengage the clutch and coast to a stop? Why?
Thanks.

Tom
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post #2 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 4:47 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I don't shift and let the engine help me slow down. This also allows me to be in a lower gear if I need to give it gas for some reason. I would guess that holding the clutch in will burn the plate out quicker.

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post #3 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 4:48 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I downshift so I have power available to me for evasive maneuvers. Whilst at a stop light, I am in 1st gear with clutch in, again so I am prepared for the enexpected.

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post #4 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 5:29 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I don't do much town riding, but OMG, I live in BFE,...........that said,.... approaching a stop, I generally pull in the clutch, and shift down through the pattern, with out letting the clutch out.......I only am using the engine decompression when I feel like I really need it..........(coming down long mountain passes, etc)...........remember that the LT has a dry clutch....But, I do like to be in the proper gear to get out of a situation as quick if not quicker than I got into it.........some times you need to be able to escape a bad situation at an intersection...........Using the decompression to slow down is probably a good thing, but in BFE, clutch replacement is sort of on the 'major hasel'........List........If you keep the K engine in revs, (I like 4000 or so), your in the pwr and also able to slow down if you have to.......j..



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post #5 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 5:50 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I downshift and then hold clutch in at the light. I have 166K miles on the clock and no clutch problems. Jim
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post #6 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 6:22 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I downshift without engine braking unless it's a quick stop and then it's just pull the clutch in and shift it down after I'm stopped.


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post #7 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 6:30 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I down shift and use engine breaking, then hold the clutch in while at the stop for all the same reasons listed in the above posts.

Bill
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post #8 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 6:36 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

It depends on the situation. If I am out in the middle of nowhere I will just pull the clutch and shift down with speed. If I am in an area with traffic and red lights I might downshift. It is hard to say one way or the other for me, it is just what the situation calls for.
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post #9 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 6:42 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Down shift, use compression braking and use the brakes, all the same time, all the time.

B D R
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post #10 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 7:22 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gunny
Down shift, use compression braking and use the brakes, all the same time, all the time.
Same here.
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post #11 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 7:25 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gunny
Down shift, use compression braking and use the brakes, all the same time, all the time.
Same here, have done with all bike and cars.

John Baker

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post #12 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 7:26 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMartin
Same here.
Same here.

Hey, PaleRider, you do live in BFE. Big Piney is small town in the middle of nowhere.
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post #13 of 35 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 7:44 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeTee
Since there are a lot of riders on here with a lot of miles under their belt, I want to ask- When coming to a routine stop (stop sign, traffic light, etc.), do you downshift or disengage the clutch and coast to a stop? Why?
Thanks.
I downshift. For a few reasons:

1. It helps to slow down with less wear on the brakes.
2. Should I see someone coming up fast behind me, I am in a gear that will allow decent acceleration should the need arise.
3. Most motorcycles are "return shift" and thus you have to go through all of the gears to get to neutral or first anyway and it isn't always easy to downshif 4 times while stopped.

You will often hear the "brakes are a lot cheaper than clutches" used as an excuse to not use engine braking while slowing. While this is a true statement, in 36 years of driving everything from motorcycles to 18 wheelers, I have NEVER worn out a single clutch. My current pickup is a 94 Chevy with 130,000 miles and 17 winters of plowing snow and its clutch works like new. I ran a Jeep Comanche to 150K on the original clutch. Likewise, ran two VW Beetles past 100K and a Chevette to 115K and never wore out a clutch and I always use engine braking.

I have, however, worn out MANY sets of brake shoes and pads, so while a clutch costs more than brakes, if clutches never wear out the argument does not hold. :-)

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post #14 of 35 Old Sep 2nd, 2011, 5:31 am
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
I downshift. For a few reasons:

1. It helps to slow down with less wear on the brakes.
2. Should I see someone coming up fast behind me, I am in a gear that will allow decent acceleration should the need arise.
3. Most motorcycles are "return shift" and thus you have to go through all of the gears to get to neutral or first anyway and it isn't always easy to downshif 4 times while stopped.

You will often hear the "brakes are a lot cheaper than clutches" used as an excuse to not use engine braking while slowing. While this is a true statement, in 36 years of driving everything from motorcycles to 18 wheelers, I have NEVER worn out a single clutch. My current pickup is a 94 Chevy with 130,000 miles and 17 winters of plowing snow and its clutch works like new. I ran a Jeep Comanche to 150K on the original clutch. Likewise, ran two VW Beetles past 100K and a Chevette to 115K and never wore out a clutch and I always use engine braking.

I have, however, worn out MANY sets of brake shoes and pads, so while a clutch costs more than brakes, if clutches never wear out the argument does not hold. :-)
Gotta go with this. I've always used engine braking to my advantage, assuming the stop was planned. It seems to make for less frenzied decelerations, and always communicates 'seasoned' to those around. Even though I've only been riding for a couple weeks, I've had decent stoplight convos because i haven't looked like a hard-braking newbie. I would say, use the clutch and gears as you can, unless you need the stopping power.
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post #15 of 35 Old Sep 2nd, 2011, 7:12 am
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I agree completely with using engine braking to assist the hydraulic brakes. Dropping down a gear or 2 as appropriate will drastically decrease the stopping distance.

Loren

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post #16 of 35 Old Sep 2nd, 2011, 9:59 am
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I always use engine breaking for planned stops to supplement the breaks, in fact this technique is on the Indiana MC Operators test. There are times when Engine breaking could be a hindrance to an emergency stop though I found this article that explains how breaking works, it's really concentrating on the breaks themselves in relation to tires and load so doesn't mention engine breaking except in passing, but it appears to highlight the instances where engine breaking would want to be avoided.

http://www.lazymotorbike.eu/tips/braking/

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post #17 of 35 Old Sep 2nd, 2011, 10:01 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by palarimer
I always use engine breaking for planned stops to supplement the breaks, in fact this technique is on the Indiana MC Operators test. There are times when Engine breaking could be a hindrance to an emergency stop though I found this article that explains how breaking works, it's really concentrating on the breaks themselves in relation to tires and load so doesn't mention engine breaking except in passing, but it appears to highlight the instances where engine breaking would want to be avoided.

http://www.lazymotorbike.eu/tips/braking/

-Preston
Why do you want to break your engine? I prefer to keep my engine unbroken!

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post #18 of 35 Old Sep 3rd, 2011, 8:58 am
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I downshift through all of the gears, always. Those who don't likely always hog the left lane, too.

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post #19 of 35 Old Sep 3rd, 2011, 9:36 am
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gunny
Down shift, use compression braking and use the brakes, all the same time, all the time.
Me too, always
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post #20 of 35 Old Sep 7th, 2011, 10:27 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Down shifting and using your engine as a brake is the most effective means of stopping any manual shift vehicle. Some of the early motorcycles actually specified this technique in the owners manual since using the brakes only would not stop you. Whether you use this technique or not you do need to ensure you are in first gear before you stop. This is taught by MSF. The reason is two fold; if you are in first when you stop and the clutch is disengaged you are ready to take off in the event you need to make an evasive maneuver. Secondly it is easier to down shift your transmission while the output shaft of the transmission is still spinning.

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post #21 of 35 Old Dec 27th, 2011, 12:56 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by K12smitty
Down shifting and using your engine as a brake is the most effective means of stopping any manual shift vehicle. Some of the early motorcycles actually specified this technique in the owners manual since using the brakes only would not stop you. Whether you use this technique or not you do need to ensure you are in first gear before you stop. This is taught by MSF. The reason is two fold; if you are in first when you stop and the clutch is disengaged you are ready to take off in the event you need to make an evasive maneuver. Secondly it is easier to down shift your transmission while the output shaft of the transmission is still spinning.
This is a little confusing to me. I have found myself in situations where I had to down shift from 5 to 3 while in motion to accelerate. Every time I do this, in my head I and the feeling that I am hurting the clutch. Please educate me here someone. Is it okay to do that? What effect does this have on the clutch vis-a-vis the engine at this sudden down shifting and the high revving engine.

I am VERY fond of this as a means of gaining momentum or just to rocket myself out of situations on the highways. Is it bad.
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post #22 of 35 Old Dec 27th, 2011, 1:45 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Most of the clutch wear comes from slipping the clutch. With proper clutch and trottle, this can be at an absolute minimum. Don't shift down from gear 5 to gear 3 and not be reving the engine at an apropriate speed--where the speed of the motor and the spinning of the drive train are far apart. Once clutch is engaged, you can lay off the trottle and use normal engine slowing and brakes. Practice makes perfect and you can extend the life of your clutch to almost indefinite--I said almost. Many here have well over a 100 miles without any clutch plate problems.
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post #23 of 35 Old Dec 27th, 2011, 2:29 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I've always used engine braking and down shifting when coming to a stop till I did some training with the late Larry Grodsky (Stay'n Safe - RIDER Magazine). He said he used brakes rather than engine braking when coming to a stop. His reasoning was that brakes were a lot cheaper and easier to replace than clutches.

That said, of course, when at a stop sign keep the bike in gear with the clutch pulled in so that you can move quickly in case of a problem. Sitting there in neutral leaves you VERY vulnerable, especially if you're about to be rear ended.

JD

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post #24 of 35 Old Dec 27th, 2011, 6:22 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Humm, BMW Performance School says that you have maximum traction for stopping with the clutch disengaged?? I disengage the clutch and slowly downshift to be in 1st when stopped, 200K+ no clutch problems

Bill Jennings, fhp
Denison, TX

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post #25 of 35 Old Dec 27th, 2011, 6:39 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by omoige
This is a little confusing to me. I have found myself in situations where I had to down shift from 5 to 3 while in motion to accelerate. Every time I do this, in my head I and the feeling that I am hurting the clutch. Please educate me here someone. Is it okay to do that? What effect does this have on the clutch vis-a-vis the engine at this sudden down shifting and the high revving engine.

I am VERY fond of this as a means of gaining momentum or just to rocket myself out of situations on the highways. Is it bad.
No harm to the clutch will happen if you are quick on the lever and don't let the clutch "slip" between gears. I often don't even use the clutch between gears if you time the rev's correctly.

I have driven my MGB at least 70 miles over the years without a releasable clutch (crappy throw out bearings x3). Just slip it into neutral and shut off the engine as I roll to a stop - slip it in first. When the light turns green start the engine and up shift through the gears and down shift as necessary.

I would not try this on the LT as the MG has real gear engagements with syncros, the LT has gears fully meshed all the time and selects the ratio with four crude shift dogs. This requires a great deal more finess to shift with out releasing the clutch.

Did I say I always down shift through several gears even in panic stops? Never know when that panic stop will turn into an "oh crap I gotta get out of the way now" situation.

John
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post #26 of 35 Old Dec 27th, 2011, 9:17 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

I downshift through all the gears and try to gauge myself so I'm just about stopped at the end of the shifts. I always just pull in the clutch then. I see some that then shift up into neutral to sit at a light. I don't as I stay in first gear and looking in my mirrors to see if I need to make any sudden adjustments to my position to keep from becoming a hood ornament. I've had to do that one time since owning the LT.

My only accident since back riding is a minor rear-ender on the GL1800 while completely stopped. I didn't fall over, somehow managed to keep it up right, but the bike suffered about $2,000 damage to the trunk and bags and mounts.

Be safe and Happy New Year to all.

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post #27 of 35 Old Dec 27th, 2011, 10:00 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bulletbill
Humm, BMW Performance School says that you have maximum traction for stopping with the clutch disengaged??
A couple of years ago I believe the Quebec Motorcycle Federation tested stopping distances and came to the conclusion that the best pannick stop practice was to pull in the clutch when braking hard as it seems the motor inertia may add braking distance in a situation where you are trying to slow down faster than the motor does on its own.
However, in normal braking, the motor revs down faster than you brake and can therefore enhance braking and is recommended.
Although it may seem self evident, they also proved that reaction time was greatly improved by covering the brakes (hand & foot on levers) in any uncertain situations (cross roads, cars backing out of driveways, etc), which is now mentionned in the provincial montorcycling manuals.

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post #28 of 35 Old Dec 28th, 2011, 6:56 am
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

With the LT, if I was anticipating a stop ahead and depending on traffic, I normally just let up on the throttle and let the transmission slow me down. I generally tap on the brake to let anyone behind me know that I'm slowing down. At the point before the engine lugs, I'll pull in the clutch and then gear it down and use the front brake.

With the GTL, that won't work. right before it's time to start slowing down, I'll pull in the clutch real quick and then release it, using the transmission to slow me down. Before the engine starts to lug, I'll brake and gear it down. I try to always be aware of what is around me and let the drivers behind me know I'm slowing down with light taps on the brake.

SIDE NOTE: I've always been concerned about slowing down with just the engine / transmission and no indication of the rear brake light to vehicles behind me.

I've recently ordered and just received from PWC Industries, Inc., their SafetyALERT System ( SafetyAlertSystem.com ) to install. It is a license plate holder with a flashing red light bar that is activated with inertia. Any speeding up or slowing down causes it to flash. It seems like a good idea. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is behind me.

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Tampa, Fl.

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post #29 of 35 Old Dec 28th, 2011, 3:14 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roamrider
I've always used engine braking and down shifting when coming to a stop till I did some training with the late Larry Grodsky (Stay'n Safe - RIDER Magazine). He said he used brakes rather than engine braking when coming to a stop. His reasoning was that brakes were a lot cheaper and easier to replace than clutches.

That said, of course, when at a stop sign keep the bike in gear with the clutch pulled in so that you can move quickly in case of a problem. Sitting there in neutral leaves you VERY vulnerable, especially if you're about to be rear ended.

JD
I have a lot of respect for Larry and always enjoyed his column, but he is wrong on this one. Yes, brakes are easier and cheaper to replace than are clutches, but using engine braking causes almost no wear to the clutch as the energy is being dissipated by the engine, not the clutch. That is why it is called ENGINE braking. The clutch is only used to change gears and you have to downshift when stopping anyway so why not use engine braking on the way down through the gears?

I have driven standard shift vehicles of all sizes (minibikes to 18 weelers) for 40 years now and have NEVER worn out a clutch. My current pickup is a 94 Chevy with 132,000 miles, many of which are plowing snow (yes, I plow snow with a manual transmission - Oh, the horror!) and the clutch is original and doing well.

Obviously, this pertains to "normal" stops, not emergency braking. In an emergency, you want to pull in the clutch and hammer the brakes. Leaving the clutch engaged in this situation will likely lengthen the stopping distance as you have to overcome the inertia of the engine and eventually stall it if you leave the clutch engaged. But for normal stops, using engine braking will save your brakes and will only wear the clutch if your technique is really poor.

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post #30 of 35 Old Dec 28th, 2011, 3:15 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bulletbill
Humm, BMW Performance School says that you have maximum traction for stopping with the clutch disengaged?? I disengage the clutch and slowly downshift to be in 1st when stopped, 200K+ no clutch problems
Sure, for an emergency stop pulling in the clutch is way to go. For normal stops, there is no good reason to do so.

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post #31 of 35 Old Dec 28th, 2011, 3:20 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDiver
With the LT, if I was anticipating a stop ahead and depending on traffic, I normally just let up on the throttle and let the transmission slow me down. I generally tap on the brake to let anyone behind me know that I'm slowing down. At the point before the engine lugs, I'll pull in the clutch and then gear it down and use the front brake.

With the GTL, that won't work. right before it's time to start slowing down, I'll pull in the clutch real quick and then release it, using the transmission to slow me down. Before the engine starts to lug, I'll brake and gear it down. I try to always be aware of what is around me and let the drivers behind me know I'm slowing down with light taps on the brake.

SIDE NOTE: I've always been concerned about slowing down with just the engine / transmission and no indication of the rear brake light to vehicles behind me.

I've recently ordered and just received from PWC Industries, Inc., their SafetyALERT System ( SafetyAlertSystem.com ) to install. It is a license plate holder with a flashing red light bar that is activated with inertia. Any speeding up or slowing down causes it to flash. It seems like a good idea. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is behind me.
I don't understand your comment about the GTL. What does pulling in the clutch and releasing it real quick do? Why can't you just roll off the throttle as with the LT (and ever other bike known to mankind)? You can't use the transmission to slow you down as there simply isn't enough friction in a transmission to cause any appreciate braking.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #32 of 35 Old Dec 28th, 2011, 4:02 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

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I don't understand your comment about the GTL. What does pulling in the clutch and releasing it real quick do? Why can't you just roll off the throttle as with the LT (and ever other bike known to mankind)? You can't use the transmission to slow you down as there simply isn't enough friction in a transmission to cause any appreciate braking.
The throttle of the K1600GTL is electronic and almost instantaneous. One advantage is the cruse control. It is exact and there is no hesitation. Almost scary it is so exact.

In my opinion, a disadvantage is slowing down by just releasing the throttle. If you do it real slow and watch your RPMS, the bike won't jerk. If you are not careful and release the throttle at to slow of a speed, it will jerk and complain. It was hard for me at first till I learned to quickly engage the clutch and then just as quickly release it but a little slower.

I apologize if if I'm not explaining it correctly. Maybe someone who has a better understanding of it can do a better job on the explanation, but it is quite different from the K1200LT. It was a new experience for me too.

Dano
Tampa, Fl.

12 K1600 GTL
02 K1200 LT (gone but not forgotten)
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post #33 of 35 Old Dec 28th, 2011, 4:16 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

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The throttle of the K1600GTL is electronic and almost instantaneous. One advantage is the cruse control. It is exact and there is no hesitation. Almost scary it is so exact.

In my opinion, a disadvantage is slowing down by just releasing the throttle. If you do it real slow and watch your RPMS, the bike won't jerk. If you are not careful and release the throttle at to slow of a speed, it will jerk and complain. It was hard for me at first till I learned to quickly engage the clutch and then just as quickly release it but a little slower.

I apologize if if I'm not explaining it correctly. Maybe someone who has a better understanding of it can do a better job on the explanation, but it is quite different from the K1200LT. It was a new experience for me too.
OK, I understand what you are saying. I find even the LT to be jerky in the transition from throttle on to throttle idle, but it isn't that bad in 3rd gear or above. Much more noticeable in 2nd and downright annoying in 1st.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #34 of 35 Old Dec 28th, 2011, 5:39 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

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OK, I understand what you are saying. I find even the LT to be jerky in the transition from throttle on to throttle idle, but it isn't that bad in 3rd gear or above. Much more noticeable in 2nd and downright annoying in 1st.
It made me initially question the purchase and I thought that I had made a big mistake. I gradually figured it out and now I'm quite pleased. There is a definite technique to slowing down on the K1600GTL smoothly and without jerking.

Take one out for a test ride and you'll see what I'm talking about. Once you get it though, there is nothing like it. Power all the way up.

Dano
Tampa, Fl.

12 K1600 GTL
02 K1200 LT (gone but not forgotten)
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post #35 of 35 Old Dec 28th, 2011, 6:13 pm
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Re: Downshift or Just throw out the clutch?

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Originally Posted by DanDiver
It made me initially question the purchase and I thought that I had made a big mistake. I gradually figured it out and now I'm quite pleased. There is a definite technique to slowing down on the K1600GTL smoothly and without jerking.

Take one out for a test ride and you'll see what I'm talking about. Once you get it though, there is nothing like it. Power all the way up.
I am sure I would love the power and smoothness and probably will take a test ride if I get a chance. Since my nearest dealer is 110 miles away, it isn't terribly convenient to take a test ride, particulalry since I really won't be in the market for another 5 years at least. My LT is not even 5 years old yet and, hopefully, has many miles left. My kids' college bills preclude buying a new bike now and I would rather get another airplane than trade in the LT.

A test ride would still be fun and I'd like to see what my wife thinks of the GTL. I suspect she will like it less than the LT and she already likes the LT less than the Wing, but I really am not a Wing fan so that wasn't going to happen. The good thing was that after test riding an Ultra Classic Electra Glide, she liked the LT pretty well! :-)

Yes, BMW seems well behind the times on its fuel injection systems. Judging from the many road tests and my own experience with the LT, BMW is several years behind the state of the fuel injection art. Hopefully, they will catch up before I need to trade in my LT.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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