Wed. Jul 15th, 2020


6 min read

How to use the gearbox of the bike, how to use it and how to understand if you are using it correctly, in short how to use the gearbox correctly and avoid problems and bad habits.

After writing the article on “How to ride a motorcycle with gears” I decided to go deeper into the topic of using the gearbox.

  • The basic technique to use the gearbox
  • Release the accelerator
  • Pull the clutch
  • Select the desired gear with your foot

Release the clutch and give gas (if you are climbing, it is not necessary to give gas).
When we learn to use the gearbox of the bike we can make small mistakes such as scratching gear, shifting, stopping in a high gear, etc…

It must be said that at the beginning it is easy to make mistakes, especially when you are in difficult situations or on roads with a lot of traffic or if there are technical driving difficulties (such as mountain roads).

You might be interested in: Starting from a standstill on a motorbikeThe general rule of thumb for using the gearbox and selecting gears is that if the laps are too high you have to shift up gear if the laps are too low you have to shift down gears. Trying to keep the engine at a suitable speed, both for the road and the situation.

Climbing from a standstill

It has to be said that this operation is completely wrong and should always be avoided, unless the situation requires braking to prevent climbing.

In fact, the gearing of motorcycles is different from that of cars, in which you can shift into neutral from any gear. The one of the motorbikes is a sequential gearbox, or to be precise a cascade of gears, in fact the gears are in sequence and no gear can be skipped, that is to say, to pass from the 5th to the 3rd you have to insert the 4th and then the 3rd.

Then the gears are arranged in sequence and you can only enter the gear adjacent to the one you are in. If you stop with a high gear, it may happen that the gearbox has difficulty in digesting the fact of shifting gears and for each gear we will have to make a movement of the gear lever.

The gearbox is noisy

The change of motorcycles by nature has its own noise especially in low gears. For example, changing from first to second gear and vice versa, in some models or brands of motorcycles you can hear a totally different noise.
This noise is used to warn the driver that the gear is engaged and can be caused by the fact that the gear shifting procedure is not carried out correctly.

First let’s start by saying that the clutch lever, usually has to be pulled with two fingers the index and middle finger, someone uses only the middle or only the index finger. The most important thing is that at least two fingers tighten the handlebars to get as much control as possible.

Some shrewdness to reduce the noise of the gearbox:

  • You have to pull the clutch all the way to the end; check the lever adjustment, it may be misadjusted and therefore don’t let the gears detach correctly and completely, as they are not free to move during shifting, they create noise.
  • Make sure not to release the clutch during gear shifting.
  • Operating the gear lever firmly and at high speed contributes to a reduction in noise levels.

Climbing in first gear

We can say that if the situation requires it then you are allowed to shift up to the first gear. Let me explain better, in the case of a decisive braking because you have found an obstacle in front of you, it is good to downshift to first gear. But you have to know well the technique of shifting on a bike, because you risk to displace, i.e. accidentally insert the neutral and then totally frustrate the engine brake.

We can say that climbing up to the first gear is an action that can be done without problems, even if in common use it is advisable to stop at the second gear that still allows you to manage the bike in the best way, this is also because the first gear by its nature is very nervous.

You can’t give an absolute rule on when and how to use the first gear, in fact it depends on the type of bike, the displacement and the gear ratio. In short, you have to try to understand when it is best to use it.

Using the one-two

A problem of those who drive a motorcycle, especially those who drive on the track and, much less, those who drive on the road, is that of the rear wheel jumping when braking due to excessive use of the engine brake in 4t (4-stroke) engines is greater than in 2t (2-stroke) engines.

The entry into corners must be made very smoothly and as cleanly as possible, and if the bike breaks down when entering corners this will be inaccurate and you risk compromising the ideal trajectory.
To avoid this wheel jumping, the anti-slip clutch has been invented which allows the clutch discs to slip in a controlled way and limits the excess braking torque during

The entry into corners must be as smooth and as clean as possible, and if the bike breaks down when entering corners this will be inaccurate and you risk compromising the ideal trajectory.
In order to avoid this wheel jumping, an anti-slip clutch has been invented that allows the clutch discs to slip in a controlled manner, controlling and limiting excess braking torque during the clutch re-attachment phase.

This system is relatively new generation and therefore not very present on production bikes. To make up for the lack of this device, a technique called “Doublet” can be used.

The doublet was used on old generation cars (today it is used on vintage cars) that did not have a synchronized gearbox. To do the one-two in the car you have to: pull the clutch, put it in neutral, release the clutch, give a stroke of gas to raise the rpm, press the clutch, before the engine reaches idle speed engage the gear and release the clutch.

In the world of motorcycles, the Doppietta is used to decrease the engine brake and the consequent rear wheel jumping.

To do the Doublet on motorcycles the procedure is the following:

  • Pull the clutch
  • Give a quick gas blast as you scale
  • Release the clutch quickly but not suddenly.
  • Doing so raises the engine revs and then decreases the engine brake.

On the road, but above all on the track, it is very useful allowing a cleaner and more precise entry into corners, without breaking the bike. To learn this technique you have to do a little practice, in fact the main problem is to separate the movement of the fingers (which, being under braking are pressing the front brake lever) with that of the wrist which must give the throttle tap. It is necessary to keep the braking power constant during the operation of the Doublet.

For this it is essential to use two fingers (or even just one) on the brake lever and the other fingers on the throttle grip.


In conclusion, in order to gain confidence and know how to use the gearbox correctly and precisely, you need to practice. These operations must become mechanical. Try not to pick up bad habits and learn the different procedures.

If you want to add something about the shifting technique, make a comment.

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