Smoother Shifting - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-18-2016, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Question Smoother Shifting

Any suggestions on how to make the feel of the gears as I shift feel smoother on our 919's?

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post #2 of 20 Old 02-18-2016, 01:08 AM
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Squeeze the clutch lever with your fingertips, not the joints of your fingers - it helps make sure you get the lever all the way into the bar.

Adjust the gear lever so it's close to your toe/shoe/boot - it takes out the delay as you lift for the next gear.

Adjust almost all the free play out of the throttle cables, so that there's no lag - no slack throttle cable to take up as you re-open the throttle.

Accept that some days it'll snick, and some days it'll clunk...

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post #3 of 20 Old 02-18-2016, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K1w1Boy View Post
Squeeze the clutch lever with your fingertips, not the joints of your fingers - it helps make sure you get the lever all the way into the bar.

Adjust the gear lever so it's close to your toe/shoe/boot - it takes out the delay as you lift for the next gear.

Adjust almost all the free play out of the throttle cables, so that there's no lag - no slack throttle cable to take up as you re-open the throttle.

Accept that some days it'll snick, and some days it'll clunk...
Some good suggestions here on smoother shifting. The engine revs drop quickly between shifts so I sometimes leave on a little throttle to keep revs up so clutching into the next gear isn't such a jolt.

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post #4 of 20 Old 02-18-2016, 10:03 AM
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Anyone else not really using the clutch after 1st/2nd gear? I find it's quite smooth without the clutch.

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post #5 of 20 Old 02-18-2016, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gibbonater View Post
Anyone else not really using the clutch after 1st/2nd gear? I find it's quite smooth without the clutch.
I've never been able to understand how people upshift without the clutch... I don't use it much, especially when I running hard, just tap the clutch, but completely not using it has never worked for me

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post #6 of 20 Old 02-18-2016, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K1w1Boy View Post
Squeeze the clutch lever with your fingertips, not the joints of your fingers - it helps make sure you get the lever all the way into the bar.

Adjust the gear lever so it's close to your toe/shoe/boot - it takes out the delay as you lift for the next gear.

Adjust almost all the free play out of the throttle cables, so that there's no lag - no slack throttle cable to take up as you re-open the throttle.

Accept that some days it'll snick, and some days it'll clunk...
To the above I'll also add the following copy and paste from an earlier thread:
Early on I found a few things about shifting 919s.
Let me rephrase, I found a few things, mostly related to rider, that resulted in duff shifts.
Slow lazy shifting results in more misses.
Crisp positive shifting gets better results.
A bit of lever preload helps huge, and some would say this is correct technique and not cheater technique.
Hard boots that provide no real lever feel at the toe can mess up things, especially if you have just transitioned from softer boots to hard boots.
Check linkage alignment, noting the fulcrum arms should have the centreline of their lengths parallel, one can too easily screw up the overall linkage geometry by poor adjustment and/or being off a spline or two by incorrect location of the splined fit.
It seems the harder the 919 tranny is worked, the better it shifts.
I found my poor technique most apparent on 5-6 shifts, for whatever reason I do not know.

In addition:
Keep in mind all the co-ordination that's needed.
Clutch, throttle and shifter movements AND timing, that rely on two hands and one foot being in harmony.
Rough shifts mean problematic movements and/or timing are involved, assuming that there are no throttle cables and/or clutch cable mechanical issues.
Keep in mind that throttle controls revs and power level, so for example, the right RPM level in association with inadequate throttle opening when the clutch engages the power to the rear wheel results in engine braking.

Break down the elements and work on them until you are happy with the results.
Smooth hands and feet timed right and moved just so, does it all.

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post #7 of 20 Old 02-18-2016, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gibbonater View Post
Anyone else not really using the clutch after 1st/2nd gear? I find it's quite smooth without the clutch.
I've only ever done that a couple times just as a curiosity. After 49 years it's hard to change habits and it just doesn't feel right
Can it cause any problems? Extra wear on any components in the transmission? Can I just do it until I need glasses?

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post #8 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gibbonater View Post
Anyone else not really using the clutch after 1st/2nd gear? I find it's quite smooth without the clutch.
When I first started riding I usually used the clutch to shift, but felt there was a better way to do it. Once I started riding on twisty roads such as GMR I stopped using the clutch for upshifts and have been doing it ever since. I also rarely use the clutch to downshift: just preloading the shifter and a quick blip of the throttle and Bob's your uncle. Just be very sure to be positive with the shifter.

In the 55 years of riding hundreds of different motorcycles I have not had a trans failure due to wear or damage from clutchless shifting, and I tend to hang on to bikes for a very long time -- my '88 Honda Hawk GT, which I still have, has right at 150,000 miles on it and the notoriously weak trans was doing fine until a crash in a diesel fuel slick jammed the shifter hard enough to break a shift fork.

A quick overview of the internals of a typical motorcycle trans drafted on my CAD program:

Gears engaged. As long as there is a load from accelerating, decelerating, or steady riding the gears are locked together.


Disengaged. When the load is interrupted either by rolling off/on the throttle or pulling in the clutch the engagement dog faces lose contact and the sliding gear is free to move. It takes very little time for this to happen.


Blocking happens about 60% of the time when engaging the next gear regardless of whether you use the clutch or not -- the shoulders of the dogs meet and have to slide across each other to drop into engagement. This can be felt as a "step" in the travel of the shift lever.


This blocked condition is when most damage happens. If too much force is applied to the shift lever, the film of oil between the shoulders is pushed out, resulting in metal to metal contact. As the dogs slide across each other the contact area decreases and wear increases, reaching a maximum just before they clear enough to engage, rounding the corners. Once there is enough rounding the faces will become angled, eventually pushing them apart with sufficient force to overcome the tension of the detent, causing jumping out of gear usually under hard acceleration, but eventually all the time.

In order to prevent this, apply only enough pressure to the shift lever to move it (plus a little) and keep this pressure applied until the next gear is fully engaged -- the false engagement of the blocked condition can feel like full engagement, but if you let off the shift lever at that point the only force completing the shift will be from the detent roller, which is insufficient and will cause partial engagement or skipping/grinding.

Shifting without the clutch will not cause any more wear than with the clutch as long as you learn how to do it properly, and with experience can make shifts practically undetectable other than a change in exhaust sound.

Rob
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post #9 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 06:12 AM
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OK, I'm convinced. Would be nice to give my left hand a break from the fairly stiff pull of the lever which ain't doing my carpal tunnel any good. Thanks Rob.

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post #10 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robtharalson View Post
When I first started riding I usually used the clutch to shift, but felt there was a better way to do it. Once I started riding on twisty roads such as GMR I stopped using the clutch for upshifts and have been doing it ever since. I also rarely use the clutch to downshift: just preloading the shifter and a quick blip of the throttle and Bob's your uncle. Just be very sure to be positive with the shifter.

In the 55 years of riding hundreds of different motorcycles I have not had a trans failure due to wear or damage from clutchless shifting, and I tend to hang on to bikes for a very long time -- my '88 Honda Hawk GT, which I still have, has right at 150,000 miles on it and the notoriously weak trans was doing fine until a crash in a diesel fuel slick jammed the shifter hard enough to break a shift fork.

A quick overview of the internals of a typical motorcycle trans drafted on my CAD program:

Gears engaged. As long as there is a load from accelerating, decelerating, or steady riding the gears are locked together.


Disengaged. When the load is interrupted either by rolling off/on the throttle or pulling in the clutch the engagement dog faces lose contact and the sliding gear is free to move. It takes very little time for this to happen.


Blocking happens about 60% of the time when engaging the next gear regardless of whether you use the clutch or not -- the shoulders of the dogs meet and have to slide across each other to drop into engagement. This can be felt as a "step" in the travel of the shift lever.


This blocked condition is when most damage happens. If too much force is applied to the shift lever, the film of oil between the shoulders is pushed out, resulting in metal to metal contact. As the dogs slide across each other the contact area decreases and wear increases, reaching a maximum just before they clear enough to engage, rounding the corners. Once there is enough rounding the faces will become angled, eventually pushing them apart with sufficient force to overcome the tension of the detent, causing jumping out of gear usually under hard acceleration, but eventually all the time.

In order to prevent this, apply only enough pressure to the shift lever to move it (plus a little) and keep this pressure applied until the next gear is fully engaged -- the false engagement of the blocked condition can feel like full engagement, but if you let off the shift lever at that point the only force completing the shift will be from the detent roller, which is insufficient and will cause partial engagement or skipping/grinding.

Shifting without the clutch will not cause any more wear than with the clutch as long as you learn how to do it properly, and with experience can make shifts practically undetectable other than a change in exhaust sound.

Rob
Nicely done Rob, re both text and views.
I'm assuming from your explanation that wear and damage from Blocking would be primarily attributable to attempts to engage while there's excessive load flowing via the transmission.
Correct?

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post #11 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcromo44 View Post
Nicely done Rob, re both text and views.
I'm assuming from your explanation that wear and damage from Blocking would be primarily attributable to attempts to engage while there's excessive load flowing via the transmission.
Correct?
The loads imposed when in the blocked condition are primarily due to excessive force applied to the shifter. Stomping on the lever squeezes out any oil, causing the metal to metal wear not only to the dogs, but also the shift forks and the slots they operate in. Using the clutch will mitigate some of the wear -- but only if the dogs are fully engaged. If the dogs are still in the blocked condition dumping the clutch will forcefully drop the dogs into engagement, which over time will wear them down, or if you are incredibly ham fisted can cause fractures at the root of the dogs, eventually causing a catastrophic failure. This is why "speed shifting" by fanning the clutch while under full power is the last thing you want to do!!!

The point is to apply just enough force to the lever to accomplish the shift and keep that force applied until the shift is complete. If the dogs are blocked reapplying the throttle will bring them into engagement within a couple of miliseconds, long before enough power is applied to damage the trans.

Clutchless shifting, and that includes downshifting, is not going to cause excessive wear if done properly. As evidence of this my '02 has been shifted this way for over 70,000 miles, and I get no indication of any problems.

Rob
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post #12 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 12:13 PM
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Rob, thanks for the added insight.

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post #13 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 12:17 PM
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Interesting.

Way, way back in my motox days, the clutch only saw action at the starting gate. I never really transposed that to my street bikes.

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post #14 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 05:12 PM
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I actually got quite good at clutchless downshifting on my 919 (I do it on most bikes) but only from 6 down to 2. Honda transmissions are notoriously clunky from 1-2 and 2-1, and I believe that's due to the gears actually changing direction of engagement (helical vs. spur I believe?). I've not torn into a 919 transmission, but from what I've read on here, that's most likely the culprit. Clutch only for me between 1st and 2nd gear.

I think the 'sweet spot' on the 919 for clutchless downshifts was right around 3500 RPM's. Just a slight blip (i.e., 'more') of the throttle at that range with a preloaded shift lever and then a quick application of pressure would drop the gear perfectly.

If you have decel pops, it's fun ;-). You start playing with shifting in different RPM ranges just to see what kind of exhaust note you can get.

And I sincerely abused the transmission on my XR600 - up, down, all around, hardly ever used the clutch once moving. Thing never got tired of it.

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post #15 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 07:51 PM
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So how does this differ from a car? Why can't you do clutchless shifts in the slush box? I tried doing a clutchless shift from 2nd to 3rd in a Geo Metro (not on purpose) and got the shifter stuck in 3rd.

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post #16 of 20 Old 02-19-2016, 09:02 PM
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Hmm...still trying to wrap my head around the clutchless downshifting. Upshifting is easy enough, let off on the throttle slightly while the lever is preloaded to say 80% and it does the rest on it's own. Downshifting would seem like I'd be grinding something... let alone bleeping the gas without the clutch while usually being on the brakes. Will have to try it at some empty streets sometime

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post #17 of 20 Old 02-20-2016, 06:56 AM
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As far as clutch less shifting, once the speed of the engine matches the gear it's in, it'll move out of that gear and then you change the engine speed up or down to match the gear you want to go into. Many big rig drivers do this all the time.

For a down shift, as you leave one gear, raise the RPM to where the next gear would put it and it'll drop in.

Just in case anyone wants to see the transmission in action and wonder how it works, here's a video I did a while back:


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post #18 of 20 Old 02-20-2016, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crakerjac View Post
So how does this differ from a car? Why can't you do clutchless shifts in the slush box? I tried doing a clutchless shift from 2nd to 3rd in a Geo Metro (not on purpose) and got the shifter stuck in 3rd.
The bikes have constant mesh transmissions, cars don't.
With the bike, it's all about the dogs engaging and disengaging.
With cars it's the gears having to mesh and unmesh.
For low power clutchless up shifting in a car, when between gears if you can get the engine RPM to closely match the needed engine RPM for the same road speed in the next higher gear, you can get the tranny to slide into that gear.
Not that there's any point in doing so, do that all the time and it's simply begging to crash the 'box.
A track technique for car downshifting is as soon as you lift and the tranny unloads, pop the shifter into false neutral, then blip then clutch and do the gear change down.

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post #19 of 20 Old 02-20-2016, 12:14 PM
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With the exception of the reverse idler gear all modern automotive manual transmissions are constant mesh (I know this after rebuilding hundreds of them), and instead of three to five engagement dogs on the gears typical in a motorcycle trans auto transmissions have twenty to thirty much finer dogs. The problem with shifting them without using the clutch is the configuration of the tapered synchronizer rings which are designed to engage the shift dogs on their respective gears and slow down or speed up the input shaft and clutch friction disc(s) until their rotational speed matches the speed of the output shaft, and only then allowing the gear dogs to engage the selector ring. Unless you are very very good at matching revs trying to shift without the clutch prevents the synchronizer rings from doing their job, and trying to force the shifter into gear will grind the tips of the dogs down, sending considerable amounts of hardened steel shards into the mesh points, usually imbedding into both dog faces and locking them together.

If you are paying attention when shifting a car trans you will feel an initial resistance when moving the shift lever into gear -- that is the synchro ring blocking the movement of the selector ring until speeds match whereupon the resistance ceases and the selector ring engages the gear. Bypass that at your (and the car's) own risk.

Rob

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post #20 of 20 Old 02-20-2016, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robtharalson View Post
With the exception of the reverse idler gear all modern automotive manual transmissions are constant mesh (I know this after rebuilding hundreds of them), and instead of three to five engagement dogs on the gears typical in a motorcycle trans auto transmissions have twenty to thirty much finer dogs. The problem with shifting them without using the clutch is the configuration of the tapered synchronizer rings which are designed to engage the shift dogs on their respective gears and slow down or speed up the input shaft and clutch friction disc(s) until their rotational speed matches the speed of the output shaft, and only then allowing the gear dogs to engage the selector ring. Unless you are very very good at matching revs trying to shift without the clutch prevents the synchronizer rings from doing their job, and trying to force the shifter into gear will grind the tips of the dogs down, sending considerable amounts of hardened steel shards into the mesh points, usually imbedding into both dog faces and locking them together.

If you are paying attention when shifting a car trans you will feel an initial resistance when moving the shift lever into gear -- that is the synchro ring blocking the movement of the selector ring until speeds match whereupon the resistance ceases and the selector ring engages the gear. Bypass that at your (and the car's) own risk.

Rob
I stand corrected and I'm A OK with that!

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