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Discussion Starter #1
Just bought a 2005 Ninja 500R and I took the MSF course awhile back. I'm having trouble getting the timing right in terms of shifting gears. I notice that it bucks a little when upshifting and engine brakes a little much when downshifting. Remember, I'm in my break-in period of 4k rpm max. I'm just wondering if anyone can offer suggestions on proper shifting and tell me please if a little bucking of the bike will hurt the engine or transmission? I paid cash for this thing and I'm afraid I may be damaging it by not shifting it perfectly. Thanks for your help!
 

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Another rider from MA, welcome to the board! Some nice riding out there in western MA. As far as the bucking while upshifting, it sounds like you may be letting out the clutch too quickly. You want to be smoooth with it while upshifting. Also bikes are known for a lot of engine braking, and if it feels too much try either shifting at a lower RPM (where do you usually shift?) or blipping the throttle before you downshift (before you re-engage the clutch).
 

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are you giving it gas when you shift? if you arent giving it enough gas it'll buck on you a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think that's probably where my problem lays. I'm not giving it enough gas when upshifting and am probably not giving it gas when downshifting so the engine is just racing to catch up with the speed of the bike. I guess the only question now is: Have I done any damage by not shifting it 100% properly the last 2 days? Btw, thanks for your replies. I'll try your advice first thing tomorrow! :)
 

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Nah... I'm sure the bike is fine... just ask any MSF instructor what their classroom bikes go through and how they've held up :) I'm sure yours is fine!
 

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No real damage done. Motorcycle clutches are very different from cars and can take a beating. One of your goals on your next ride should be to smoothen out everything that is going on. You may be trying to shift too fast even, so slow it down a bit and take each step at a time. I know when I was first learning, I would engage a gear and get a big jerk because I wasn't giving the bike any gas. You could even try some clutchless upshifts to see how easy it is to get into gear. Depending on how hard I am accelerating, determines how much I blip the throttle when changing gears too. Try to keep the throttle in the same position when shifting gears during a slow acceleration. Ultimately, your goal should be to shift gears in one smooth combined motion. It does take alot of practicing and experimenting with your particular bike.
 

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Well, I got my bike and was shifting at 7-9k in the first couple gears, but realized I was going way to fast, even on straight roads to stay comfortable. I shift between 4-6k now, and if I'm above 45mph, I'm in 6th gear, no reason not too. It keeps my newb ass out of the powerband (still pulls harder then a car in 6th, lol). I noticed my shifts were like yours, the upshifts are simply you're letting the clutch out too fast. The downshifts, are you slowing down or simply downshifting while at speed, like to pass? I noticed on my bike, it was smoother to downshift while slowing down without throttling up, I'd engine break till 3k or so, and click down, and ease the clutch out gently. Was real smooth and worked well.

Good luck!
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks a lot guys for your advice. I'll try easing the clutch out and holding the throttle constant for upshifting. As far as downshifting goes, I usually am downshifting when approaching a traffic light or to climb a hill. Perhaps just smoother clutch operation will help to smooth things out a bit?

I thought about how people rode the bikes in my MSF course. Then I thought about the fact that those bikes are still riding around. So, my bike MUST be fine. HAHA!
 

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As others have said, your issue is one of throttle control. But rather than the advice given, I'd suggest you first understand the steps. Strive for fluidity as you do this:

For upshift:
1. Pull in the clutch while rolling off the throttle
2. shift up
3. Let out the clutch smoothly while rolling on the throttle

For downshift
1. Pull in the clutch while rolling off the throttle
2. shift down
3. quickly roll on (blip) throttle. People often make the mistake of blipping while engaging the clutch or not blipping enough.
4. Then release clutch smoothly matching your release to the declining revs.

Don't overlap the steps until you can do each one smoothly and precisely. When you have practiced these steps enough to make them a single smooth and fluid motion, then you can experiment with speed-shifting and clutchless upshifts.
 
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