Clutchless Shifting

Recently while reading a motorcycle message board, I read something about clutchless shifting. Not from N to 1st or 1st to 2nd, but from 2nd to 3rd+. Does anyone do this regularly? Will it damage your bike? Any tips on the best way?

I also hear people do this while up shifting, not down shifting.

I know how to do it in a car and it doesn’t cause any problems, so I’d guess it’d be the same for a bike.

Oh, should have said. In a car, you need to be within a certain range of RPM. My old car could do it between 4500 and 5000. It’s different for different cars (technically different engine/gearbox combos). And yeah, it only ever worked up shifting.

None of you bikers have anything to say on this?

very easy to do with a bit of practice. very easy to fuck it up if you do it with the wrong revs, in the wrong direction, find the wrong gear, etc… can mash a gear box or a single gear combo, or polish your clutch plates a bit. think for a moment about the forces involved and what is happening inside your gear box when you change gears…

don’t do it if you are not an experieneced rider or used to your particular machine as you’re less likely to be instinctively aware of the correct sounds from the gear box and the engine.

works best on the upshift, when you are at high revs in, say, third gear, and are about to change to lower revs in fourth gear.
try changing the same way you normally do but squeeze the clutch lever less, and pull the gear lever upwards at the right time with your foot. use an upwards pressure for some time on the gear lever with your foot, and as you drop the revs by snapping the throttle closed, the gears will at some point be at exactly the right revs for the gears to pop from third to fourth. a little bit of clutch pressure initially will help the gears mesh more easily, but as you get better, you will need it less. actually, you probably do this a bit anyway without realising.

eventually, you can try this on the downshift too, but then you have to snap the throttle wide open and push down on the gear lever (and then back off the throttle again normally). the first few times you do this you must be prepared for the back wheel to lock, especially if you have the brakes on hard. can also be a handy way to initiate a back wheel slide, rather than using the foot brake… counter steer!

some gear boxes apparently do not like it, but racers do it all the time (with assistance from an ignition cutout switch). old sloppy gear boxes probably handle it better than a crisp new one, and there is a problem of chipped gear teeth from not getting it right all the time. the key is definitely getting the revs at the right match quickly and using the foot pressure at the right time. prolly only worth it when you’re pushing: don’t try it at slow speeds and low revs when there is not much engine braking and a lot of difference in revs between the two desired gearings.

any better comments?

Clutchless upshifts don’t require any special skill, keep a little pressure on the lever and roll off the throttle, any gear any revs. Unlikely to add any considerable wear to the gearbox for a road rider, though not much point really unless you’re feeling especially lazy or at a high enough skill level that it will make a difference in a drag race. Can see no point whatsoever in a clutchless downshift and the potential gearbox/chain/cushdrive damage not to mention locking up the rear make it expensive and down right dangerous on the road.

there’s a thread mostly about clutchless upshifting right here

We used to do it as standard practice, but those engines were getting rebuilt before every race. I’ve never been in the habit of doing it on bikes I paid for myself.