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I did a forum search before posting and didn’t see anything. If it’s been covered I apologize. Certainly not trying to start a war. Disclaimer, I also mount my ride from the kickstand side. Always have always will, haven’t died doing it yet.

Question: do you sit at traffic lights in neutral? Do you glide up to a stop in neutral?

I have always shifted down to a stop on every bike I’ve ridden, in every situation, racing, woods riding, CBR 600 or Magna Cruiser. I sit in gear with my hand on the clutch at the light. If it’s an intersection wth turn arrows and such and it’s gonna be a while I may click into neutral for a rest or to adjust my position. Basically no rhyme or reason or specific safety issue for me. That’s just the way I ride.
I see people on YouTube videos clicking into neutral before the stop and going into gear when it’s time to take off. Thoughts?
 

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Your method is the same as I have been taught in every motorcycle safety course I have ever taken. And to me, logically, it makes sense. You must always be ready to take quick evasive action including leaving a stop through the ditch if necessary.
 

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Some people think sitting with a manual transmission in gear holding the clutch in will wear out the throwout bearing on the clutch.

That was true before ~ 1965 when throwout bearings were a carbon/graphite ring that did wear down and did need to be replaced. But with roller throwout bearings its no longer an issue, esp on a motorcycle with a wet clutch immersed in oil.

If Im stopped and need to let go of the clutch lever, I leave the bike in 1st and hit the kill switch. I dont have to pick up my left foot and fiddle with the shifter, looking at the neutral light... just hit the kill switch and it stops in a second.

Whatever Im doing I probably need to let go of the brake and keep both feet down, so the bike remains stable in gear with the engine stopped. Im painfully aware of everything around and behind me when I do this.

Ditto the MSF training. Personally I prefer to creep up to a stop at about 1mph, and never actually stop or put my left foot down. The reason is simple, you cannot buy just the left boot when you wear a hole thru the sole.
 

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I down shift to a stop in traffic and stay in gear. The Houston traffic I commute in almost requires me to. At lights traffic will almost always inch up slightly thru out the light cycle. I leave adequate room between me and the car in front of me but am moving up a bit. Sometimes I will kick it into neutral if I'm one of the first few vehicles as you are not moving up much. I travel about an hour each day, each way to work in this:

 

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Ugh lesblank ! I’d leave sooner and find a back road. Nashville traffic sucks so if I ride to work I have a twisty route that adds a few miles/ minutes but at least I’m moving. I feel ya.

FYI to all other forum members, when replying to “lesblank”, do a spell check before hitting send. Auto correct is not kind to him. Funny, but not kind. 😂
 

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"Les" works all around
 

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Ugh lesblank ! I’d leave sooner and find a back road. Nashville traffic sucks so if I ride to work I have a twisty route that adds a few miles/ minutes but at least I’m moving. I feel ya.

FYI to all other forum members, when replying to “lesblank”, do a spell check before hitting send. Auto correct is not kind to him. Funny, but not kind. 😂
Unfortunately there is no back roads to speak of. There are very few twisty roads. My commute at 5am isn't too bad, it's the leaving at 5pm that's a bummer. Rush "hour" here is from about 5am to 8pm, yes I'm serious. One of these days I'll move but came to Houston in 1973 on two wheels. Except for about a 10 year hiatus in the 80's due to having children and needing a cage I've been on 2 wheels ever since. One thing I'll add about leaving bike in gear is one of the first things I do on all new bikes is to adjust clutch for very quickly engagement, very close to grip. I have small hands and it makes it easier in traffic as my clutch hand is unclinched earlier. Don't know if the right thing to do but works well for me. As far as spell check, I've got thick skin so leave it be, maybe put my name in parentheses after the spell check version. 😀😀
 

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Riding in downtown traffic is part of my commute to & from work. For a while, I was getting in a bad habit of going into neutral. And not thinking of an exit plan.
Since realized it. Each time, I make a conscious effort to leave in first & have 2 exit plans.

Ride Smart! Ride Often!
 

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the thing you need to watch for when stopped is not the cars behind you, you can see them coming

its the car infront of you shifting into reverse, Backup lights come on. When you see the white lights come on, dont think about it, dont wait to see if the car moves, dont blow your horn, GET OUT from behind the car NOW. You have just seconds to go around it.
 

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Another thing I'll do sometimes when light turns red and need to stop a little quicker than normal is not down shift all the way. I try to remember to always kick it into first, but I'll blame old age and don't always. Taking off in second isn't too bad but third or fourth make me look a rookie taking off. The torque of the Harley is a little more forgiving than the 1100 but it's still a rough start.
 

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Your method is the same as I have been taught in every motorcycle safety course I have ever taken. And to me, logically, it makes sense. You must always be ready to take quick evasive action including leaving a stop through the ditch if necessary.

You need to be in gear and checking your mirrors for SUV driving distracted soccer mom IMO.
 

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In my humble opinion, the only reason to go into neutral is to open your face shield to scratch your nose or face :)

Les, I have empathy for your traffic situation. I'm not sure about TX but in CA we can split lanes and go into the commute lanes by our selves. It's a God sent ruling...
Yes, you have to be hyper alert and ready for anything.
 

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I always keep mine in first gear. Unless I need to relax my left hand for a mine I'm always looking around and just waiting. The wife on the other hand...she always puts hers in neutral. Even over my bike and through my helmet I can always hear the clunk her Roadie makes when it goes into first when the light turns green. I asked her why and it's because she has a hard time reaching the clutch lever so she would rather relax her hand when she can. To each his own I guess...
 

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...she has a hard time reaching the clutch lever so she would rather relax her hand when she can. ...
pull her handlebars back a few inches
or rotate the clutch lever up higher on the grip
 

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pull her handlebars back a few inches
or rotate the clutch lever up higher on the grip
It's the distance between the handle bar and the lever that is the issue. The Roadliners aren't designed for people with small hands. I haven't found a way to be able to move the lever in without it affecting the clutch action. It's bent at a very big angle to fit around the controls when it is pulled in. I am certainly open to ideas and suggestions on how to move it in closer for her though.
 

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In the past I've heated up the lever (off bike in vise) and bent closer to grip. Works great on non chrome levers. In my earlier days of dumping dirt bikes I got pretty good at this. ������. I've got small hands and once I found out how to do this it was a must on all new to me bikes to make it more comfortable. Never had issue of weakening the lever.
 

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Les.... I stared at that photo for a while trying to think of a solution.

its an aluminum lever... cant heat forge aluminum, cant bend it, it just weakens and snaps

her clutch is hydraulic and self adjusting, if you bent the lever back it would hit the grip before it was pulled in all the way... and so you cant move the engagement point on a hydraulic clutch unless.... maybe... if there is a threaded shaft on the master cylinder with a lock nut. Some cars have this and you can bring the clutch pedal a bit higher off the floor... just fractions of an inch.

All the cable clutch modification that change the friction zone characteristics wont work with a hydraulic clutch...

Im sure there is some way to make it better, but most likely it would be a new lever/master cylinder assembly.... or getting longer fingers from a finger-donor.
 

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Les.... I stared at that photo for a while trying to think of a solution.

its an aluminum lever... cant heat forge aluminum, cant bend it, it just weakens and snaps

her clutch is hydraulic and self adjusting, if you bent the lever back it would hit the grip before it was pulled in all the way... and so you cant move the engagement point on a hydraulic clutch unless.... maybe... if there is a threaded shaft on the master cylinder with a lock nut. Some cars have this and you can bring the clutch pedal a bit higher off the floor... just fractions of an inch.

All the cable clutch modification that change the friction zone characteristics wont work with a hydraulic clutch...

Im sure there is some way to make it better, but most likely it would be a new lever/master cylinder assembly.... or getting longer fingers from a finger-donor.
You are right, I missed the clutch master cylinder. But I have heated and bent aluminum before, just can't heat too much. Maybe I'm just lucky.
 

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Hello Everyone!
When I come up to a RED light I will usually always downshift going to it. I will always leave about a car to a car & half in front of me keeping my bike i 1st gear. I always watch the car behind me while having an escape plan set in my mind already. I have done this since the 70's because one day riding home from work I realized that the car behind me was approaching way to fast! Without hesitation I shot onto the shoulder to the right (4 lane road) and forward. It was a good thing I did because the car that was coming behind me shortened the car I was behind by about 2 or 3 feet!!!! If I wasn't watching I probably wouldn't be writing on this forum today!
I do, sometimes, put the bike in neutral for the reasons previously posted (ie. scratching nose, re-positioning, etc) but only after I feel that the vehicles behind, in front or on the sides of me are not going to move (hopefully!).
 
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