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I'm on a Honda Shadow VLX 600 4 speed. My buddy has a bigger bike and he locked his tire up shifting down while going too fast. Now I'm worrying MYSELF! I'm a very new rider and so is he and I have a big worry that if I down shift wrong I'll lock my tire and crash. What are the chances of this happening on this bike? I don't mean going 55 and then shifting down to 2nd without slowing down. I'm talking if I'm doing 40-45 and I shift to second and I don't slow down enough will I lock the tire, how forgiving is this bike for dumb newbie mistakes? I appreciate the input and the hopeful cure for this anxiety I've incurred!
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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Downshifting a gear at a time and letting out the clutch smoothly will not lock up the rear tire. It is just learning control. Engine braking is good but not necessary.
I do it a little but I would rather change brakes than clutches and drive train components from unneeded wear. Different tires can be a different feel also.
 
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2007 VT750DC Spirit “chopper”
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Yes, you can quite easily lock your rear tire on an aggressive downshift if you do it improperly. This happens by either not correctly matching road speed to engine revs or not letting the clutch out very slowly if unsure. Those are both different techniques, with well timed decisive rev-matched downshifts being quite on the advanced side while simply downshifting one gear and slowly letting the clutch out is going to be much more friendly to a beginning rider. You need experience for confidence, if you fancy practicing go run around in an empty parking lot for a few hours shifting 1-2-1-2-1-2 then if space allows 2-3-2-3-2-3 and start slowly on the low end of the gear low in the revs at first then work your way up.

Sounds like you may not have looked into an MSF rider course, some states are starting them back up since the shutdown, if you haven’t you should definitely check them out.
 
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Sounds like your friend doesn't know how to ride.
This pretty much sums it up.
You are in control of your bike.

I rode my VLX for many years and never locked up the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah he did say he just let the clutch out fast. Just had me nervous is all, didn't even know that could happen!
 

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2002, Shadow Spirit 1100
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My usual slow down is let off the gas, drop 1 gear, let the clutch out, slow down, stop and no problems. I see no need for rev matching because the engine is going at the correct speed at that point. The gearing is different on all bikes so just get to know the bike. I have another bike that when I first got it I was down shifting one gear at a time and found out no matter how slow you go don't downshift into 1st beccause it will slide the rear tire. That bike is really low geared. Good question to prevent an accident or incident.
 

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I'm on a Honda Shadow VLX 600 4 speed. My buddy has a bigger bike and he locked his tire up shifting down while going too fast. Now I'm worrying MYSELF! I'm a very new rider and so is he and I have a big worry that if I down shift wrong I'll lock my tire and crash. What are the chances of this happening on this bike? I don't mean going 55 and then shifting down to 2nd without slowing down. I'm talking if I'm doing 40-45 and I shift to second and I don't slow down enough will I lock the tire, how forgiving is this bike for dumb newbie mistakes? I appreciate the input and the hopeful cure for this anxiety I've incurred!
Locking up the back wheel while going straight, via downshifting, would create a tire chirp, nothing more (probably what you heard).
I can't imagine anyone, even a noob, improperly downshifting (locking up the rear wheel) while cornering, that would/could result in a crash.
Trail braking (rear wheel braking in a turn) can be mastered but very few use it today.
In fact most modern bikes (shadows?) have a an antilock feature for the rear wheel during deceleration.

I owned a 1991 VX800, Vtwin/Shaft drive that had a mechainical device built into the clucth that actaully relieved spring pressure on the clutch during decel, allowing it to slip, and not lock up the rear wheel.
Rear wheel lock up within a turn, whether from decel or improper braking/down shifting can and will cause a crash for sure, going straight not so much.

Ever hear the expression rear brakes are for the pits or parking lots and nowhere else...I have.
Today's modern bikes with traction control stuff take some/most of that control away from the rider...in the name of safety.

So there you have the bloviated version of what can happen, but it's not the answer to WTF just happened, the question of a noob laying in a heap on the side of the road.
jmo,
whew :rolleyes:
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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It seems he is referring to going about 50 and dropping into 2nd gear from 4th, and dropping the clutch. It is pretty safe to go down one gear normally, but no need to go down 2 gears. If the brakes are working well use them primarily.
 

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1995 VT1100C2
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40 - 45 you should be in 4th gear. Slow down to 30 and change to 3rd. Slow down to 20 and change to 2nd. I think you may be revving too high. Clutch release speed i not an issue. Your brakes slow you not your gears. Also dont go riding with another novice for a while... Very distracting and dangerous.
 

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40 - 45 you should be in 4th gear. Slow down to 30 and change to 3rd. Slow down to 20 and change to 2nd. I think you may be revving too high. Clutch release speed i not an issue. Your brakes slow you not your gears. Also dont go riding with another novice for a while... Very distracting and dangerous.
VLX600 is a wide ratio 4 spd, 40-45 is probably better off in 3rd.
 

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Look up rev matching; when done correctly, your gearbox will thank you and you will never experience the tire chirping. In simple terms, it means blipping the throttle just prior to letting out the clutch and stopping the throttle return at an engine rpm that is appropriate for the speed you are going and the gear you are going into. It sounds cool too....
 

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VLX600 is a wide ratio 4 spd, 40-45 is probably better off in 3rd.
I have no idea why riders think the motorcycles Honda produces are all sport bikes but Honda also built "cruisers" that have a very low recommended shift point. Almost all the Honda cruiser recommended shift point for top gear is 31 mph. Typically I would be a shifting at a slightly higher speed but here's recommended shift points for the 750s and 1100s (under normal conditions ie flat surface)

From 1st to 2nd: 12 mph
From 2nd to 3rd: 19 mph
From 3rd to 4th: 25 mph
From 4th to 5th: 31 mph

and downshifting from 5th at 25 mph. That's why I indicated that 40-45 mph the OP should be in 4th and why shifting to 2nd at 40-45 mph is not good and unnecessary. We can discuss and speculate why the recommended shift points are so low but, again, not my recommendation: Honda's.
 

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I have no idea why riders think the motorcycles Honda produces are all sport bikes but Honda also built "cruisers" that have a very low recommended shift point. Almost all the Honda cruiser recommended shift point for top gear is 31 mph. Typically I would be a shifting at a slightly higher speed but here's recommended shift points for the 750s and 1100s (under normal conditions ie flat surface)

From 1st to 2nd: 12 mph
From 2nd to 3rd: 19 mph
From 3rd to 4th: 25 mph
From 4th to 5th: 31 mph

and downshifting from 5th at 25 mph. That's why I indicated that 40-45 mph the OP should be in 4th and why shifting to 2nd at 40-45 mph is not good and unnecessary. We can discuss and speculate why the recommended shift points are so low but, again, not my recommendation: Honda's.
Honda is ultra conservative on their numbers, shifting outside of these numbers can actually gain efficiency depending on mods, I routinely return far more than what Honda says should be possible for MPG, throttle percentage matters as much as gear selection, if it takes more throttle to maintain speed in 5th than 4th you may lose efficiency, my entire mod list is targeting efficient operation and the last tank filled with my 750 was 57.1mpg.

Shifting to 5th on my ride at 31mph is laughable, I shift 4-5 only above 55mph. Efficiency is key, lugging these engines destroys MPG.
 

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I have no idea why riders think the motorcycles Honda produces are all sport bikes but Honda also built "cruisers" that have a very low recommended shift point. Almost all the Honda cruiser recommended shift point for top gear is 31 mph. Typically I would be a shifting at a slightly higher speed but here's recommended shift points for the 750s and 1100s (under normal conditions ie flat surface)

From 1st to 2nd: 12 mph
From 2nd to 3rd: 19 mph
From 3rd to 4th: 25 mph
From 4th to 5th: 31 mph

and downshifting from 5th at 25 mph. That's why I indicated that 40-45 mph the OP should be in 4th and why shifting to 2nd at 40-45 mph is not good and unnecessary. We can discuss and speculate why the recommended shift points are so low but, again, not my recommendation: Honda's.
Obiviously Honda was being overcautious for reliability again. My spirit 1100 shifts up much higher than that. Mine are usually more around 20, 40, 55 and 70. that is into 2nd on up. The rpm doesn't feel high at all and the best mpg is in 5th gear at the highest rpm. I never drop more than one gear downshifting and doing that will never lockup the rear tire. I can't speak for anything over 100 mph, though, I would never drop a gear that high anyway.
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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The RPM speeds in the user manuals are quite something, this one is for my 750 ACE.
One would be a sitting duck in traffic and not just to aggressively driven pedal assist electric scooters, but pretty much everything out there from a safety point of view.
The same cr*p is repeated over and over in the Shadow user manuals, it is as if it has been written by somebody from another planet that never actually rode on a motorcycle.
I would lover to know the reasoning behind it and where somebody thinks it would be applicable.
Don't forget to shift down to first for acceleration!
288346


This is actually pretty good for giving one an idea of how things are actually spinning on many bikes:
Just punch in the brand, model and year and click load gearing, many common bikes gearing are already in the database.
 

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Continuing the speculation on shift points, I actually am using quite close to the recommended shift point, however I am not racing red light to red light and I am rarely WOT on this cruiser. I am out of 1st about halfway across an intersection and looking at speedo that's actually a little under 12 mph. 2nd to 3rd is just a little throttle and click again. Yep at about 20. In the city my decision is to stay in 3rd or go to 4th, based on traffic and traffic lights. If not much traffic I am opting for 4th gear. Onto a highway, its just click, click, click to 5th.

PS the manual does not mention rpms or rate of acceleration to get to the shift points so if electric scooters are passing you may be having a different issue.
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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Hey some of those scooters are fast I tell you. (-;

The stuff the manual doesn't tell you.
FWIW the upshift points correspond to 2000 rpm.
The stock VT750 engine on the dyno makes peak torque from 2100 to 3200 rpm, the torque curve starts and climbs almost straight up at 2000 rpm.
At 2000 rpm the rather torquey engine is making 8 horsepower.

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So in this case you have a 550lb bike plus the rider weight that just manages to make 8 horsepower and then the darn thing get shifted dropping the power down off the curve.
IMO that is the recipe for quite some leisurely acceleration.
 
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