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Discussion Starter #1
So ive only had my bike a few days, doing really well all things considered. Im a NEW rider.

Question:

I have found it so easy to downshift without using the clutch simply by pressing pedal downwards. Is that bad or normal? If rpms are not to high or slowing it just seems too easy. Is that how its done or are you supposed to use the clutch ALWAYS?

Keep in mind im new, so take it easy on me lol.
 

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I don't use the clutch much at all on my dirt bike but I tend to use the clutch on my KLR almost always. Just seems smoother for me. The KLR has a lot of torque, it's probably easier on the tranny gears if you use the clutch to smooth out the shift.
 

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The clutch/no clutch debate ranks up there with which oil is best and should I use chain lube or just keep my chain clean.

I find upshifting smoother when I don't clutch.
 

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On the street, I would suggest using the clutch. If you downshift too fast, the rear wheel can lock up and skid and you could possibly lose control. Being a new riding, I would suggest pulling in the clutch, downshifting a couple gears, and let the clutch out to slow you down. It will become second nature in time.
 

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Since you are a NEW rider I'd suggest you don't start off taking short cuts. Learn to ride properly and like it was mentioned before - it will all become second nature to use clutch every time.

The only time i don't use the clutch is when my clutch cable is broken.
 

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Since you are a NEW rider I'd suggest you don't start off taking short cuts. Learn to ride properly and like it was mentioned before - it will all become second nature to use clutch every time.

The only time i don't use the clutch is when my clutch cable is broken.
I agree!
 

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I agree with Cabrito, too. I have been riding a while and literally NEVER shift without my clutch. Not because I can't or anything, but I was taught to always use it and now it is like breathing. On or offroad. The only reason I would ever shift without clutch is if the clutch cable snapped or something and I had to get home.

MCing is just like anything else. Learn the rules, then you break them if you want.
 

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Hi Anthony, welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of the KLR! Coming from a stick shift I just found myself out of habit using the clutch all the time. The one thing I am starting to find that works for me is downshifting without pulling the clutch in sandy and steep dirt situations. Those are not fun times to pull the clutch and when going up or down a hill with sand wash all around and needing to down or upshift 1st and 2nd all the time I just hit it. Never thought about if it was good or bad for the clutch, just figured it was better to do that then end up eating dirt. But for street riding there is no reason to not treat her right and use the clutch. Just my two cents.
 

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I don't use the clutch much at all on my dirt bike but I tend to use the clutch on my KLR almost always. Just seems smoother for me. The KLR has a lot of torque, it's probably easier on the tranny gears if you use the clutch to smooth out the shift.
This +1
Shifting clutchless is tough on the shift drum. Shifting clutchless is most often used in race conditions where the eight of a second can make the difference in winning a race, but those bikes are rebuilt after each race.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok I get it! Its not a good idea lol.. Its just so easy to do. Similar to a car with a clutch. Anyways, putting that aside ive had a great couple of days driving it around. I am considering tightining the back suspension up to 5 and damping up to 5 because of my weight.
 

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Ok I get it! Its not a good idea lol.. Its just so easy to do. Similar to a car with a clutch. Anyways, putting that aside ive had a great couple of days driving it around. I am considering tightining the back suspension up to 5 and damping up to 5 because of my weight.
As far as suspension, try it, and see how it feels.. Then try 3 and 4.. Experimenting is a good thing..

And as far as the cluch, I've been riding for 30 years and over 300,000 motorcycle miles, and I use the clutch 99% of the time on anything that has one..

When down shifting, when you press downward on the shifter, give your throttle a quick blip to raise the RPM to where it would be if you were in that gear at that speed.. You'll find it smooths out your downshifts..

And remember.. A clutch is a wear item that will need replacement at some time. Clutch plate replacement is pretty easy and pretty cheap.. The biggest thing is to keep your clutch properly adjusted at both the lever and at the engine.. With plate wear and cable stretching, both change engagement location..

I like my clutch to engage at about center of lever movement, and I like to have 1 or 1.5mm of freeplay at the lever, measured at the pivot.

The measurement location is as you see in this photo..



I'd rather have a dime, but it's showing the point of measurement.. Just push on the lever with one finger and it should move freely this much before feeling any resistance, whatsoever.. This is cable freeplay.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I did alot of practice today (about 70 miles worth) and learned alot about shifting. Had a good day session.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
To Paper:

Thanks for your suggestion on the down shifting, the uptick in throttle has really helped my downshifting become MUCH smoother so that the bike doesnt "jolt". It seemed intimidating but is actually very easy. I also watched a few you tube videos on "shifting" that helped me.


To everyone:

My Downshifting is now semi-smooth and will probably get better over time. I need to work on my upshifting too. I have a tendency to turn the throttle all the way down, upshift and then give it gas. I need to find a happy medium.


I just need practice but any/all suggestions are helpful.. A week ago I didint even own a bike so ive come along way :35a:
 

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To Paper:

Thanks for your suggestion on the down shifting, the uptick in throttle has really helped my downshifting become MUCH smoother so that the bike doesnt "jolt". It seemed intimidating but is actually very easy. I also watched a few you tube videos on "shifting" that helped me.


To everyone:

My Downshifting is now semi-smooth and will probably get better over time. I need to work on my upshifting too. I have a tendency to turn the throttle all the way down, upshift and then give it gas. I need to find a happy medium.


I just need practice but any/all suggestions are helpful.. A week ago I didint even own a bike so ive come along way :35a:
Good man, keep practicing. Don't overthink it. Soon it will be second nature. :)
 

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Thats some really good advice......Don't overthink it. Pretty soon you'll be shifting like a pro without thinking about it at all. That will leave your brain time for more important matters like avoiding the Prius thats about to change lanes into you.
 

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I did this day before yesterday. Boy was it embarassing taking off from the stoplights. Of course I had to hit 3 out of 4 of them. :ashamed0001:
So, how do you take off without a clutch? Once when I felt my clutch cable was about to break I only used the clutch for taking off. While actually moving, I shifted without it. Good thing too, because when i pulled into the garage tried to take a look at the cable it snapped on the first pull.
 

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If you don't have the clutch safety switch you just shut off the bike at lights and then hit the starter when your good to go. Don't ask me how I know. :)

Anthony,
Something my dad taught me was to drive by the seat of your a$$. I shift by sound and feel. A good shift doesn't have to be ultra fast and burning up the throttle won't make it any easier on you or the bike. You might consider asking a friend with a full dirt bike to take you out for a day. Without the tach you really learn to be one with the bike and feel the peak power and best shift zone. The KLR is a very forgiving bike which can allow for bad habits to form. Either way the key is practice, practice, practice.
 

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To Paper:

Thanks for your suggestion on the down shifting, the uptick in throttle has really helped my downshifting become MUCH smoother so that the bike doesnt "jolt". It seemed intimidating but is actually very easy. I also watched a few you tube videos on "shifting" that helped me.


To everyone:

My Downshifting is now semi-smooth and will probably get better over time. I need to work on my upshifting too. I have a tendency to turn the throttle all the way down, upshift and then give it gas. I need to find a happy medium.


I just need practice but any/all suggestions are helpful.. A week ago I didint even own a bike so ive come along way :35a:

I would recommend that you take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Class. The class will help you learn in a safe environment on their bikes. Really it's the best way to get into riding. My state's DMV will wave the on bike skills test (for a motorcycle license) with completion of the class, and some insurance companies will discount your rates.
 
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