Basic Skills: Changing gear smoothly

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MCN expert Chris Dabbs is here to answer any questions you have on anything bike related.

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Q. All the good riders I know can change gears really fast and really smoothly, but I seem to have trouble with this particularly when I need to get down the gearbox quickly when I’m approaching a corner.

How do you switch gears quickly without upsetting the bike?
Brian Mennor
e-mail

A. The best way of going up the gearbox is to back the throttle off very slightly and tap the gear lever. If you have your lever set in the correct position then you don't need to use the clutch.

Make use you can use the gearlever without having to move your whole foot off the peg; this is the definition of a good position.

On the way down the box you need to blip the throttle as you change so the engine revs match the rear wheel speed. You will need to use the clutch for this as it makes the transition smoother.

The key is timing and the ability to brake at the same time you blip the throttle.

This is why a lot of riders only use one or two fingers on the brake lever; it keeps the others free to blip the throttle and match the engine revs to the road speed of the gear you are going into.

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Chris Dabbs

By Chris Dabbs