How To Shift Gears on a Motorcycle
By Walter F. Kern
Shifting gears on a motorcycle is a complex operation. Shifting is done as only one part of operating a bike. All aspects are not covered here. This gives only the basics of motorcycle shifting.
Here's How to Shift Gears on a Motorcycle:
- Get on the motorcycle.
- Start the engine in neutral.
- Squeeze the clutch lever with your left hand all the way to the grip.
- Place your left foot on the gear shifter and kick straight down to first gear.
- Give a little throttle with your right hand. Don't race the engine.
- Slowly release the clutch with your left hand while maintaining engine speed with your right hand on the throttle.
- Balance the bike and move off slowly.
- After you are moving and balanced, put your left toe under the gear shifter.
- Squeeze the clutch and release tension on the throttle a little.
- Smartly kick upward with your toe on the bottom of the gear shifter. You are now in second gear.
- Release the clutch smoothly and simultaneously apply more throttle.
- As you gain more speed, repeat the above steps for third, fourth, and fifth gears.
- Downshifting is done similarly except you sharply kick down on the gear shifter to go to the next lower gear.
- As you come to a stop, squeeze the clutch and kick down on the gear shifter, one gear at a time, timing it so you are in first gear as you stop.
- Practice use of the clutch and throttle together so as not to stall the engine.
- If you should stall the engine, make sure you have the front wheel straight ahead. Otherwise, you will fall.
- Practice getting the gear shifter into neutral while stopped. Neutral is between first and second gear.