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How Do You Shift Without Bar Inputs?


FieryRobot
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Here's an odd question for you... When I ride to work and back I focus a lot on laying off the bars, but whenever I shift, I have to slide my foot forward (which really involves lifting it a bit). When this happens, I feel myself use the bars to stabilize myself. I have not yet figured out a good way to avoid this. Moving my foot alone is *hard* and at least one time caused a nice cramp in my right leg due to the strain of trying to hold myself in position with one leg (which seems way easier when hanging off).

 

Any suggestions? Exercise more?

 

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Is your shift lever adjusted too high up for you to reach it easily? If you have to lift your while foot up to shift, that sounds too high. Ideally you should adjust the lever so that you can just slide your foot forward and click it up or down easily without having to make a change in your overall leg position. If the action required is more than just rotating the toe of your boot up and down using ankle flex, it may not be adjusted properly for you.

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FieryRobot,

 

A couple of questions...

1) Are you familiar with the calf-raise technique to help drive your knee into the tank (in this case, the right knee)?

2) Do you have Stomp Grip on your bike?

 

Benny

 

Yes, and yes.

 

Is your shift lever adjusted too high up for you to reach it easily? If you have to lift your while foot up to shift, that sounds too high. Ideally you should adjust the lever so that you can just slide your foot forward and click it up or down easily without having to make a change in your overall leg position. If the action required is more than just rotating the toe of your boot up and down using ankle flex, it may not be adjusted properly for you.

 

What I mean is I need to move my foot forward/down, as I ride on the ball of my foot normally, so when I do that, I need to slide my foot down to the shifter. This involves me having to lift my foot a bit to do this motion. Does that help?

 

EDIT: I would add that my boots are grippy and I'm running with AP rearsets, so just sliding my foot is out of the question. It's stuck there :-)

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Personally, I do find it easy to move my foot without losing my lock-on, but I know I use my abs/core strength to help with that, plus I have GP shift which probably makes it easier in general. For sure I have had trouble in the past if my shifter was too high, or if my footpegs were way too high or low, too far back, or too far forward. Specifically I remember coaching once on someone else's S1000rr (a much taller rider) and in only two sessions my legs were worn out from trying to shift in an awkward way, the pegs were too low and the shifter was too high, I had to rock my whole body back to lift the shift lever, push on the opposite peg, push on the bars, shift my hips, etc.

 

I think we need to get more info about when this problem is actually occurring and what exactly you are doing. So, here are a bunch of questions, maybe others can think of more, to try to pinpoint the problem - please be patient with all the questions:

1) Does this happen on upshifts, downshifts, or both? Do you have standard or GP shift?

2) Do you have trouble while braking, accelerating, or all the time, even when riding at an easy pace? Is the problem worse when upright versus leaned over?

3) What kind of bike are you riding, and are the rearsets stock or aftermarket? How flexed is your knee when your feet are on the pegs? Are your pegs directly underneath you, or farther back, behind the vertical line down from your hips?

4) How are you using the bars to stabilize yourself when you shift, are you pushing your upper body up and back to allow your foot to move? Or using one bar to twist around to move your leg?

5) What part of your right leg cramped, when you had that happen?

6) What are your normal grip points on the bike, and which ones do you have to release or change when you move your foot to shift?

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1) Does this happen on upshifts, downshifts, or both? Do you have standard or GP shift?


I have been paying more attention to upshifts, but I believe both are affected. I am using standard shift.



2) Do you have trouble while braking, accelerating, or all the time, even when riding at an easy pace? Is the problem worse when upright versus leaned over?


I'm commuting while I'm noticing this. I think it's accentuated because I am really making a concerted effort to stay off the bars and pay attention to all these things. So I think it probably happens all the time. I think it's probably more of an issue when leaned over. But on my bike I'm leaned over a fair amount.



3) What kind of bike are you riding, and are the rearsets stock or aftermarket? How flexed is your knee when your feet are on the pegs? Are your pegs directly underneath you, or farther back, behind the vertical line down from your hips?


S1000RR. I have Attack rear sets. I've tried to set them back a bit as I am taller (6'1") so my legs are always pretty flexed. That was one of the reasons I got the rear sets. If I moved back on the seat to 'fit' better on the bike—without them my feet feel too far forward. It does make the overall feel of the bike much better, but then there's this issue. I believe that when I am sitting back enough they are under me, but now I am starting to wonder if they are just plain placed wrong still. Maybe I should try to see if I can get some pics with my bike on the stand.



4) How are you using the bars to stabilize yourself when you shift, are you pushing your upper body up and back to allow your foot to move? Or using one bar to twist around to move your leg?


I think on the way home I noticed myself pushing on the left side more to stabilize myself.



5) What part of your right leg cramped, when you had that happen?


Hmm. I can't remember. Damn.



6) What are your normal grip points on the bike, and which ones do you have to release or change when you move your foot to shift?


usually both legs right on the tank or frame. I have the extended stomp grips. I have to release the left a bit to move my foot to shift. Today I have been trying to use the right to grip more while doing this, as per the above advice.

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OK, good info, now I have more questions. :)

 

How long is your commute? Do you have trouble right from the beginning or only later in the ride? Is your commute on streets, stop and go, or mostly high speed highway riding?

 

If your commute is more than about 15-20 minutes, how do you hold yourself up off the bars? What parts of your body get tired as you ride for longer periods?

 

Once your foot is set forward enough on the peg to reach the shift lever, can you upshift just by lifting the toe of your boot? Or do you have to move your whole leg? Are your knee and ankle already flexed too far for you to easily lift your toe any higher? If so, there may be an issue with your rearset position, it is definitely possible to get your hip/knee/ankle flexed so much that you cannot lift up your toe enough to shift (or lift your foot up enough to move it forward) without having to move your whole leg.

 

(If this idea is not clear, try sitting in a chair and extending your leg straight out, and observe how much you can rotate your foot from the ankle in an up and down motion, then tuck your leg under you with the ball of your foot on the ground and your knee fully flexed, and try lifting your foot upward by rotating the ankle - it is much more difficult and you get much less available motion.)

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OK, good info, now I have more questions. :)

 

How long is your commute? Do you have trouble right from the beginning or only later in the ride? Is your commute on streets, stop and go, or mostly high speed highway riding?

 

If your commute is more than about 15-20 minutes, how do you hold yourself up off the bars? What parts of your body get tired as you ride for longer periods?

 

Once your foot is set forward enough on the peg to reach the shift lever, can you upshift just by lifting the toe of your boot? Or do you have to move your whole leg? Are your knee and ankle already flexed too far for you to easily lift your toe any higher? If so, there may be an issue with your rearset position, it is definitely possible to get your hip/knee/ankle flexed so much that you cannot lift up your toe enough to shift (or lift your foot up enough to move it forward) without having to move your whole leg.

 

(If this idea is not clear, try sitting in a chair and extending your leg straight out, and observe how much you can rotate your foot from the ankle in an up and down motion, then tuck your leg under you with the ball of your foot on the ground and your knee fully flexed, and try lifting your foot upward by rotating the ankle - it is much more difficult and you get much less available motion.)

 

You people and your questions! :-)

 

My commute is about 15 mins. And I feel this from the get go. Some street, some highway.

 

When foot is ready to shift, yes, it's just a flick up with the toes. The actual shift action doesn't seem to be an issue, it's only the movement to get my foot into position to shift. I may play in the garage later to really see if I'm lying here or not, but I don't think I am.

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Sorry for all the questions, it is much easier to help with this sort of thing in person when one can actually SEE what is happening! :)

 

If you are observing a problem, there's a problem! It's just a matter of identifying it and finding ways to fix it or work around it. Hopefully your experiments in the garage will help. I guess another thing to look at would be the soles of your boots, do they have a big arch or ridge that requires you to raise your foot up a LOT to move your foot?

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OK. I played around in the garage and I think my pegs are too far back. I'm going to try moving them forward and down. But here's an exercise for everyone. Try this: sit on your bike on your rear stand and get into a 3/4 position. Put your arms forward but do not put them on the bars. Now lift your left foot. Is that easy? If I am fully upright, sure, but while forward, not so much.

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