Engine braking question - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Engine braking question

So I've been riding for about a year now, and I just got a "like new" 2012 Glee. LOVING it so far, but I have a question regarding engine braking. I have always utilized engine braking when coming to a stop on my old bike, in combination with light pressure on the front and rear brakes. I like to activate the brakes slightly so that my brake lights come on, and then start down shifting and letting the engine do about 80% of the "slowing down" work until it's time to stop.

I have always heard that when you are down shifting, you should rev match with the throttle in order to avoid unnecessary wear on the transmission and rear tire. I do this while riding... but does this same rule apply when engine braking? I guess I wonder if I'm doing it wrong because I don't really use the throttle when down shifting during engine braking... do I need to adjust my technique?

2012 V-Strom 650 Adventure
1982 Suzuki GS650L
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post #2 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 09:54 AM
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Just avoid banging the transmission when down shifting. You can double clutch, match rpm or what ever to do it. Being smooth is what you're looking for.
My trans is a bit notchy on down shifts especially from 3rd down. I had an issue with the oxford grips rotating on the bars and preventing me from fully disengaging the clutch on a trip. i had a few crunchy down shifts and at hasn't been smooth since. Something I can live with. It isn't getting worser so I don't worry. No metal filing in the oil either.
Nothing wrong with screaming along and down shifting to keep the engine excited while riding.
Then there are those who never go over 6K rpm!
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post #3 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notacop View Post
Just avoid banging the transmission when down shifting. You can double clutch, match rpm or what ever to do it. Being smooth is what you're looking for.
My trans is a bit notchy on down shifts especially from 3rd down. I had an issue with the oxford grips rotating on the bars and preventing me from fully disengaging the clutch on a trip. i had a few crunchy down shifts and at hasn't been smooth since. Something I can live with. It isn't getting worser so I don't worry. No metal filing in the oil either.
Nothing wrong with screaming along and down shifting to keep the engine excited while riding.
Then there are those who never go over 6K rpm!
Cool - I generally don't go much over 5 or 6k RPM when I downshift anyways, so I try to keep the engine braking "light duty." If I have to make a harder stop then I pretty much just use the brakes.

When you say "banging the transmission" do you just mean don't let the RPMs go too high? Or do you just mean (as you kind of indicated) to make sure the clutch is fully disengaged before shifting?

2012 V-Strom 650 Adventure
1982 Suzuki GS650L

Last edited by exzachtly1; 10-03-2013 at 10:13 AM.
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post #4 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 10:25 AM
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Why engine brake except on long downhills?

Remember that your antilock brake system is no help when engine braking. If your rear tire runs over a greasy spot on the pavement when you're engine braking it might skid.

To match rpms when you downshift you can learn to hold the front brake as much as you need and simultaneously roll-on a blip of throttle while the clutch is in and you're downshifting the transmission. When you let the clutch out the engine is turning over fast for a good match. Takes some practice, but it works well when you get the feel for it. Adjusting the throttle cables for close to zero slack is a help.

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post #5 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PTRider View Post
Why engine brake except on long downhills?

Remember that your antilock brake system is no help when engine braking. If your rear tire runs over a greasy spot on the pavement when you're engine braking it might skid.
This is a good point. I've always read conflicting opinions on how often to engine brake, and the more I read the more I think I may end up leaning toward this philosophy. Interesting conversation here that is helping me with some of this:

What is the better way to stop on my motorcycle? - Yahoo! Answers

Maybe I just need to start using it more coming down from freeway speeds and long hills, etc, and LESS when in city traffic and lower speeds (< 45mph or so). I just want to make sure that I'm not too rough on the transmission on this new bike

It just seems like there are two schools of thought -
1) Use engine braking as often as possible, it's not hard on the bike and increases lifespan of the brakes
2) Use engine braking sparingly, use brakes most of the time. It's easier on the transmission, brake pads are cheap, etc. etc.

Maybe it doesn't matter so much and I'm over thinking it

2012 V-Strom 650 Adventure
1982 Suzuki GS650L

Last edited by exzachtly1; 10-03-2013 at 10:45 AM.
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post #6 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 10:56 AM
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I'm solidly in the brakes are cheaper and easier to replace than clutches or transmissions camp.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
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post #7 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 12:02 PM
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I engine brake often, especially on long downgrades or right before entering at turn when riding aggressively. Do the same thing in my Subaru and every manual car I have ever owned......the original clutch in all of them when I sold or traded them in. I find being in the proper gear for the situation at hand is the best option, many ride in too high of a gear.

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post #8 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 12:19 PM
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Good stuff, I'm a newbie with a new DL650 and was thinking about this as I rode to the office this morning. Right now I am downshifting as I come to a stop, using brakes under 25 mph.

But that's not how I drive a manual transmission car coming to a stop, so I think I'll try more brakes for awhile.
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post #9 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 12:28 PM
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Engine braking seems to be a fairly controversial topic!

I read someplace one claim that it could even effect wrist pin and crank bearings.

Here is one take I found interesting.

I agree with one thing for sure in this article. I mostly use the engine for going and the brakes for stopping. I DO downshift to get in the gear I want to exit a corner in but I don't "slam" the bike to a rapid slowdown using just the engine.

Braking for Motorcyclists

IF I had a lot of money (like I was riding a racing bike and had the money to replace and rebuild things often) I am sure I would use more engine braking but I still think the actual brakes are very useful. I had the ass end of my bike come around on me more than once from using engine braking when I was a lot younger and less experienced (read that STUPID). I learned how to manage and use that after a while but it can be somewhat unpredictable unless you are riding on controlled surfaces with fairly consistent traction properties...(racetrack). I actually low-sided my KZ 650 more than once - not much more - but I repeated it just to make sure using engine braking...that was in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Bikes are much safer now but you still can't ride like an idiot and expect to not eventually be brought to justice by the laws of physics.

Last edited by jdfog2; 10-03-2013 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Added / clarified
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post #10 of 44 Old 10-03-2013, 01:30 PM
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Selecting a lower gear for downgrades that would cause too much speed otherwise is a great use of the engine to limit speed. It's using engine braking before full stops on level ground while gear changing where I don't see much point.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
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