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Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

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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!:yikes:
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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!:yikes:
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?
 

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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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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
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 :thumbup:

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 :)
 

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I'm solidly in the brakes are cheaper and easier to replace than clutches or transmissions camp.
 

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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. :fineprint: 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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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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
I really like that article. Great explanation and some good pointers. I do most of that already, but the engine braking bit offers some good perspective on the topic.
 

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I'll agree that braking with my brake is a lot easier to me. I find that it's more plausible to just replace my pads rather than clutch wear and what not. I do sometimes use engine braking at very very low RPMs though.
 

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I recently read somewhere that one of the leading causes of bikes getting rear ended is because of engine breaking. We don't apply the breaks in normal driving conditions and the tailgaters don't know were slowing down. :headbang:
 

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I recently read somewhere that one of the leading causes of bikes getting rear ended is because of engine breaking. We don't apply the breaks in normal driving conditions and the tailgaters don't know were slowing down. :headbang:
That's a valid point that few take into consideration. It's always a good idea to apply some brakes if there is any traffic behind.
It's also important to note that weather engine braking or not, one should be in the appropiate gear for ones speed durring deceleration in case emergency acceleration is needed
 

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I'll agree that braking with my brake is a lot easier to me. I find that it's more plausible to just replace my pads rather than clutch wear and what not. I do sometimes use engine braking at very very low RPMs though.
Makes zero sense to do that "does very little", and I cannot believe how some are actually concerned that they are gonna damage their clutch or tranny by doing so. You do not slam down into a lower gear and rev the piss out of the engine, it is to scrub off speed and to utilize that along with the brakes. That is what a slipper clutch is for, ever watch many MotoGP races or similar? They use the piss out of engine braking, and that is in the most extreme of conditions, we are not gonna hurt a thing in day to day riding.
 

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You can go at a speed in first or third depending on rpm. If you aren't afraid of 8-11K rpm you can make the engine sing and make the most of the Horsepower. Look at the graphs and you'll see that things happen mostly at higher rpm. A lot of folks don't go there or don't realize that's where it happens.
I'm lazy and going for mpg's so I don't often work the meat of action. But I have on occasion used the bike as it was designed to do. It's really entertaining to whip the tail.
When I went to a Keith Code super bike school, some one asked, "when to shift?" and Keith said ...at red line!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Makes zero sense to do that "does very little", and I cannot believe how some are actually concerned that they are gonna damage their clutch or tranny by doing so. You do not slam down into a lower gear and rev the piss out of the engine, it is to scrub off speed and to utilize that along with the brakes. That is what a slipper clutch is for, ever watch many MotoGP races or similar? They use the piss out of engine breaking, and that is in the most extreme of conditions, we are not gonna hurt a thing in day to day riding.
So this is kind of what I was originally getting at with my post... in my case, I have only been riding for a year. I read as much as I can about this stuff because I want to a) be as safe as possible and b) be as good to my bike as possible (I want it to last!), but don't have the experience to make a judgement call as to what will damage the bike long term or not.

Reading so many varying opinions on the topic can be misleading to a noob like me. The key thing I wanted to get to was does engine braking at low speeds, in city driving scenarios, actually put any excess wear on the transmission (and to a lesser extent, the rear tire)??

From what I'm reading, it sounds like "probably not" and the key thing to consider is that if you ARE engine braking, make sure to do it in combination with regular braking so that other drivers are aware that you are making a stop. And make sure to match revs whether engine braking or not.

I already do this and will probably continue to do this, though I may slightly adjust how often I am utilizing engine braking in low speed scenarios.

It really seems like it boils down to personal preference at this point! So I'll just keep doing what I'm comfortable with :)
 

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As long as you are showing a brake light when decelerating and are comfortable with your process, you're fine.

As long as the subject is braking, do practice emergency braking from about 20mph enough to make it a reflex action. So many riders use too much rear and not enough front. At least you don't have to worry about locking the rear and sliding out with ABS.
 

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So this is kind of what I was originally getting at with my post... in my case, I have only been riding for a year. I read as much as I can about this stuff because I want to a) be as safe as possible and b) be as good to my bike as possible (I want it to last!), but don't have the experience to make a judgement call as to what will damage the bike long term or not.

Reading so many varying opinions on the topic can be misleading to a noob like me. The key thing I wanted to get to was does engine braking at low speeds, in city driving scenarios, actually put any excess wear on the transmission (and to a lesser extent, the rear tire)??

From what I'm reading, it sounds like "probably not" and the key thing to consider is that if you ARE engine braking, make sure to do it in combination with regular braking so that other drivers are aware that you are making a stop. And make sure to match revs whether engine braking or not.

I already do this and will probably continue to do this, though I may slightly adjust how often I am utilizing engine braking in low speed scenarios.

It really seems like it boils down to personal preference at this point! So I'll just keep doing what I'm comfortable with :)
Riding around in the proper gear means everything to me, and using the engine to allow adjusting your speeds accordingly is just good sense. Ride in the mountains or hills much around cars and you will smell nothing but brake pads, that is because they are basically coasting and burning up their brakes. Instead they should gear down and allow the engine to slow them and or keep them at consistent speeds, it is also much much easier on your brakes. Not uncommon for somebody behind me to think my brake lights are out, my engine is doing most of the braking for me "in my 5 speed car too". These engines are not fragile, they want to rev not putter around.
 

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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.
I agree 100 percent on this :)
 
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