Sunday, April 29, 2007

Riding a Gear Lower

One of the recent posts over at Musings of An Intrepid Commuter discusses the need to keep one's bike in it's powerband while riding in traffic. Most of us ride at least a gear higher than we really should because, hey, it can't be good keeping the bike at those high revs. And it's noisy!

When a rider needs power, however, he or she needs it now.

It made sense to me, so I tried it out on Thursday. Instead of shifting up a gear when I hit cruising speed, I left the bike in it's current gear. That usually meant I was riding at about 8000 RPM.

Wow! I couldn't believe the difference it made in my ride. I could probably go a gear lower and kick the revs up to 9000 or so, though by that point the bike makes so much noise I get self-conscious anywhere but the freeway.

Anyway, having that power right there when I needed to speed up was quite an eye-opener.

It was also a horrible, horrible temptation. I mean, there I was on a high-powered, extremely nimble machine surrounded by slow moving obstacles. Do you have any idea how hard it is to behave in that situation?

Let's just say, "next to impossible."


Biker Betty said...

I don't do that everytime, but I have done it. When I get in the twisties up in the mountains, I always gear down. The extra friction gives me better control on the corners.

irondad said...

Biker Betty's right. When riding the twisties I keep the bike in a lower gear like 3rd. That's presuming the corners are close together. With longer straightaways a rider would obviously want to shift accordingly.

When the corners are closer together, I can literally lean and lift the bike just by rolling on and off the throttle. It is such a smooth dance that way!

I'm honored you tried what I wrote about and then mentioned it here.

Biker Betty said...

I am glad Irondad mentioned using it in the tight twisties. Because if the straightaways are long enough, I do shift up again.

I agree with Irondad, the control you feel in the lower gears in the tight twisties in unbelieveable. I definitely have more control of the bike.

Gary said...

I used to do the entire infield section at Brainerd Int'l Raceway in 3rd gear, on my Ducati. I'd kick it down into 2nd just before turn 9 so I could get on it HARD down the short straight into 10.

My CBR1000 had a Yosh racing exhaust, and I would keep that in second or third in heavy traffic around town. Yeah, it annoyed the cagers, but they knew I was there.

Then suddenly, a loud ripping sound, and I was gone...

But my favorite was the Triumph 955i triple I tested for the mag, which I rode around town (30mph limit) in first gear, just to make people think there was a V-12 Ferarri on the loose. THAT was Fun!

Ride well,