What’s the point of downshifting on a motorcycle why not just pull the clutch in and shift all the way down to 1st?



Because that's not the way to enjoy driving a motorcycle. Down shifting improves control and it save on brake pad wear. If you're going to be a dork just use UBER

The Oracle of Omigod

Downshifting lessens wear on the brake, allows control of the bike and it's fun if done correctly.


1) My manual Sez to. It also says specifically Not to go thru gears while stopped. 2) It is a bad habit not to go thru all the gears--maybe skipping One if you have six speeds. Many gearboxes won't let you go down to 1st without engaging a few others on the way down Doing this requires full braking while doing it--another bad habit.No engine braking. You Can't do this going downhill--you lose control. Braking loses control. 3) Just like in a cage, you really want to be in gear until actual stop. For safety, to be able to pull out of a situation, and to match engine to drive wheel speed. I always downshift one before an intersection--so I can get away from Idiots who turn in front of me. Braking works better, too, in a lower gear, if I cant accelerate out of that situation in time.


Safety. Stay in gear in power band so you can accelerate. I have a control problem, I need to be in control. Which is why I never get drunk.

Candid Chris

Just a thought- I always stay in a 'power gear', upshifting and downshifting. You need to be in control of the power from 1st up and whatever gears down that you have. You are in control, control the power. You might NEED IT.


You may not NEED to shift all the way down to first gear if you're not coming to a full stop. If you're cruising in top gear and want to accelerate quickly, it's better to drop down just one or two gears to raise the engine's RPM for more power. You can also downshift to a lower gear to use engine braking to help slow the bike when on a downhill grade.

Tim D

So that you will be able to pull away cleanly in any situation. It all part of observation and anticipation. You can also use a downshift to engine brake – many worry about engine braking but if done properly it will not harm the engine.


If you're stopping, you can (if you want to) squeeze the clutch and hold it, and keep shifting down to first as you slow and stop, never letting out the clutch. You don't have to engage the clutch and decelerate your way through the gears if you don't want to. BUT, I would always be in a (disengaged) gear that was suitable for the speed, in case you need to suddenly power out of a situation. Also, you don't ever want to be in first gear (or any gear) when you are out of the range of that gear. Always having the clutch engaged and in a suitable gear would give the most control, but for stopping you don't need to decelerate with the engine by downshifting. Many people seem obligated to do it that way. If you're slowing to stop, best if you use a brake so the brake light is on. Decelerating by downshifting only, does NOT give those behind you a safe "notice" of your intentions. Motorcycle endorsement since 1973 (45 years)


When teaching safety foundation courses, we usually recommend slowly downshifting as a safety measure to keep gears in range in the event of an emergency situation where you may need to quickly accelerate or maneuver out of the way. We do also teach to downshift all the way before coming to a stop for the same reason.


I don't know anything about motorcycles but I learned to drive with my dad's Jeep which had a manual transmission. Downshifting means clutch-in, shift down one gear, and ease the clutch up, sometimes in combination with the brake. That uses the engine to slow the vehicle down instead of the brakes. If I'm in 5th gear going 50 miles an hour and downshift to first gear, that's the same as slamming on the brakes; head hits steering wheel! Maybe it's different for motorcycles?!?


because if you went from fourth to first, depending on how fast your going, without going through the gears you might blow up your engine or get thrown over your handlebars when the bike stops and your body keeps going.

Thunder Ninja

Because motorcycle transmissions are linear shifted meaning you must go down one gear at a time unlike a car with a neutral position between all the gears, or gates, that allows you to go from high gear to 1st gear without having to shift into each of the gears sequentially. Since you have to go through all of them, in order to maintain positive control of your machine you SHOULD go through them and match the gear to the speed as you decelerate. In commercial vehicles, you legally are required to do it to maintain control of the vehicle and speed. Coasting in neutral is a crime.