In my dirt biking experience, I have come across a debate, one you too will find yourself into is the use of the clutch during downshifting. There are two groups one vehemently behind the notion of using the clutch while the contrary is valid for the second group if you are wondering why are there two opposite opinions on such a “trivial” thing? The thing is a large number of riders have a manual-transmission car at some point, and they perceive the dirt bike clutch the same way as the would of their car.
But the above statements don’t answer the correct way of using the clutch. So, what’s the right answer?
Do You Need The Clutch For This Task?
No, You don’t have to use the clutch to downshift. It’s during shift up you need to use the clutch. But it isn’t going to be the end of the world if you use it for the downshift. Few bikers don’t even use it to gear up. I highly recommend using clutch while upshifting. This ensures a smooth shift and eliminates any unnecessary wear and tear.
If you are reading this article, you probably are new to the world of dirt bikes and looking for a safe way of downshifting. In this article, we will be looking at the proper method to downshift.
How To Properly Downshift A Dirt Bike?
If you own an automatic dirt bike, then you don’t have to worry about gears and clutches as they don’t need those. But if you have a manual dirt bike like me and many other dirt bikers, you will have to become familiar with using clutches and gears.
Downshifting Without The Clutch
So, let’s see both the methods and see what’s the difference and take a look at the proper way to lower the gear. First, we will learn to downshift without the clutch as the second method is quite similar, with an additional step. It is a very simple procedure you just have to push the shifter down to achieve this. The shifter is located on the left side of the dirt bike, you can find it adjacent to the footpad. Pushing it down with your foot will lower one gear.
Downshifting With The Clutch
As from the above video you have gotten the idea that this step is not necessary for downshifting, but if you still want to use it there is no adverse effect. For those who don’t know or have no knowledge of what a clutch is due to not having driven a car because of being underage or whatever reason below is a picture of it.
You can find it on the left side of the handlebar, while on the right side you will find the break, this can be confusing at the start but you will get familiarize it the very quickly. This process is not different from what we have discussed above. You will be only doing an extra step i.e. using the clutch, grasp the lever and pull it and then downshift, and yes that’s the only difference between both the processes.
How To Put The Dirt Bike In Neutral
This is a step you will be using once you are ready to stop riding. The neutral is somewhere between the middle of the first and second gear. To achieve this take your bike to first gear and then slightly lift the shifter up to enter the neutral.
The clutch isn’t required to gear down, but if you feel more comfortable using it to downshift, then there is no damage doing so. As we have seen above there is no positive or adverse effect of using it unless you are shifting in higher gears, and even then some riders are content with not using the clutch at all.
For more information on dirt bikes read this article.