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Respect Physics
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Dear seasoned riders,

I want to develop mature throttle control. I have owned my 2003 R1 for about 2 weeks now and am seeking the sage advice of those of you that have the most controlled wrists and fingers on the forum. This is my second Yamaha (my first bike was an FZR 600) and I want to become a really smooth gear-shifter so I can provide a really pleasant riding experience for my wife sitting on that little back seat.

Now I know that time will help a great deal but what I’m looking for are some tips and perhaps exercises that will help me to go through the gears with little to no notice of changes between gears. I’m not looking to ride hard or fast (especially when I have a passenger) because, frankly, I’m not experienced enough to push any limits yet. I’m going to keep those RPMs below 7,000 for now as I get to know my new friend. Any suggestions will be welcome and I thank you for your time in reading this post.
 

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Always getting faster...
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1,205 Posts
I hope your expectations for passenger comfort aren't too high -- after all it's a sport bike not a cruiser. My wife doesn't really like riding with me even though I try to keep it as smooth as possible.

If you want smooth shifting, just use the clutch and throttle together to try to match rpm's as you're letting out the clutch. Down shifts are harder than up shifts. It takes a little practice, but you should be able to handle it. It will also be smoother at lower rpm because there's less engine braking effect.
 

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Will stoppie for coyotes
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495 Posts
Ok, here's my $.02:

1) Relax. Keep your arms loose and your grip on the throttle light. You should be supporting your weight with your abdomen, not your arms. Flap your elbows (like you're doing the chicken dance) if you need to relax your arms. For the throttle, imagine you're holding a baby chicken in your grip, you want a controlling grip, but don't squeeze it.

2) Make small, smooth motions on the throttle, always.

3) Learn to use throttle and front brake together. ie: index and middle finger on the brake lever, as you release the brake, roll on the throttle, as you engage the brake, roll off the throttle. Using the front brake should be one combined motion with the throttle. This keeps the out driveline slack and makes the suspension changes smooth when transitioning from acceleration to braking and vice-versa.

4) Don't use too much clutch. When shifting, both up and down, you'll find that you don't need to fully disengage the clutch. Preload the shifter lever, then just blip the clutch, maybe 1/4" to 1/2".

5) Match RPMs as you blip the clutch. Practice by clutchless shifting, then add a little clutch back in. ie: under acceleration, preload the shifter, then blip the throttle closed. Should shift right up and smoothly, if it wasn't smooth, you moved the throttle too far or not far enough. When you get comfortable, try clutchless downshifting too (blip the throttle up). Don't do 1st to 2nd or 2nd to 1st clutchless until you master this.

6) Take all the slack out of your throttle cable. WIth the bike in neutral standing still, make sure that you can turn the bars lock to lock without adding any throttle, if the RPMs change with steering, the cable is too tight, get it as tight as you can without any effect from steering.

7) Take most of the slack out of your clutch cable. You want a little slack to be sure that the clutch is fully engaged with the lever released (also check for steering input), but no more that is necessary. This keeps the clutch action out near the end of lever travel and makes #4 easier.

8) Use synthetic oil if you aren't already. It'll make shifting easier and smoother.

There's no reason why you can't shift smoother on an R1 than on a cruiser. It's all you, not the bike. Take a ride on the back of the bike of a master, you will not be able to tell when he shifts without listening to the motor.

Also remember, when riding with a passenger, if their helmet bonks you on the back of the head, it's YOUR FAULT. Think of is as a reminder to be smoother on throttle and brake...
 

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Nice tips plinss. :thumbup

One_Man, ive recently started blipping the throttle on down shifts and it has really helped with being smoother, it takes alittle getting used to but is really effective when you do it right, but as you have already said it takes time. And you seem in the right state of mind of getting used to it rather than jumping on it and going as fast as you can.

The only other thing that has helped me with smooth throttle control is doing wheelies, i know thats no help to you what so ever, but thought i would mention it. :crash

Also check this site out for other tips on riding. I found it on this forum somewhere and has helped.


http://www.foreven.com/trackdod/NoviceGuide/
 

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One_Man said:
Well I'm not seeking cruiser-like comfort but I just want to make it as easy on her as I can. Thanks for the post and keep them coming folks.
My biggest problem is the transfer of weight when slowing down... This is what I do in order to minimize weight shift...
1. Blip the gas when down shifting to match engine rpms...
2. When breaking, apply rear break first then apply front breaks.
 
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