How to Change Motorcycle Gears
If you’ve just gotten your first motorcycle, you might be wondering how to shift gears. You may be intimidated by this new experience, but don’t worry- it’s actually not too difficult to learn. Here are the steps to help you shift gears with ease and confidence:
1. Understand the Basics
Before you can learn how to shift gears, it’s important to understand the basics. Motorcycles typically have five or six gears, designated with numbers. By pressing down on the gear shifter (located on the left side of the bike), you can shift up a gear, and by pulling up on the gear shifter, you can shift down a gear. To ensure a smooth transition, make sure you are applying light and steady pressure on the shifter while you shift.
2. Clutch Lever
The clutch lever is one of the most important aspects of shifting. Located on the left handlebar grip, the clutch lever controls the power transfer from the engine to the gearbox. You must press the clutch lever in order to shift gears. Make sure you are pressing it all the way in before shifting, otherwise you may experience a “grinding” noise or difficultly shifting.
3. Let the Engine Speed Match the Gear
Before you shift into a gear, you must make sure the speed of your engine is matching the speed of the gear. If you shift when the engine speed is too low, the gear will slip out of place and you won’t be able to shift it until the engine speed is matched. To match the engine speed to the gear, you must use the throttle. Turn the throttle while shifting gears and let the engine speed slowly increase.
4. Common Shift Pattern
The “standard shift pattern” on a motorcycle is the following:
- 1st Gear: Pull the clutch lever in and shift down the gear shifter (pull up on the shifter)
- 2nd Gear: Let the clutch lever out and wait for the engine to match the gear
- 3rd Gear: Pull the clutch lever in and shift up the gear shifter (push down on the shifter)
- 4th Gear: Let the clutch lever out and wait for the engine to match the gear
- 5th Gear: Pull the clutch lever in and shift up the gear shifter (push down on the shifter)
- 6th Gear: Let the clutch lever out and wait for the engine to match the gear
The best way to get comfortable with shifting gears is to practice. Start in a low gear and get a feel for how the clutch, throttle, and shift lever work together. Gradually increase the speed and gear while also applying light and steady pressure to the shift lever. As you get comfortable, you can slowly increase the speed and shift into higher gears. Practice makes perfect!
With these steps in mind, you’re now ready to start shifting gears on your motorcycle. Remember to take it slow and practice shifting in a low gear until you get more comfortable with the process. Good luck!