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Hitting Neutral


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Last weekend I hit the neutral 3 times downshifting my new CBR600RR while thinking I was in 3rd gear when the bike was actually in 2nd. Was a bit unsettling the first time because I had no idea what happened, then I got aware but it can be dangerous.


I don't have a shift indicator on this bike and usually go with the rpms to know if I should downshift or stay, but at lower speed is not always obvious whether it's 3rd or 2nd. I could take the corner on 3rd or even 4th gear as far as the rpms are decently low, but the difference in horsepower out of the corner on 4 cylinders 600s is significant.


How do you deal with this? Buy a shift indicator? Always memorize each gear (this is not easy if you miss the reference shift at any time)? Get a power/quick shifter?


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Not sure if you are talking street or track, but what I do on the track is pick a few points on the track to use to reset or confirm my gear count. In other words I start in first and keep track of shifting up to second, third, etc. On a track with a big straight I can get up to top gear and that confirms (or resets) my mental count of which gear I am in.


On smaller tracks or in other parts of the track I sometimes note the gear and rpm at a certain point and use that to confirm my count - for example I know that at the end of the curbing coming out of turn 3, I upshift to 4th. If the bike is lugging at that point instead of being at a high rpm, I know I am a gear higher than I thought.


I personally try not to use first gear much on the track, if I can help it, and will use third instead of second if I can, because it is very easy on some bikes to get that false neutral - probably not an ideal solution but third gear pulls pretty hard on most bikes and as long as I start my roll on as quick as is appropriate for the corner, it doesn't seem to have much (if any) negative impact on my laptimes. Even on the S1000rr I don't use 2nd gear much... except when I just want the sheer thrill of the acceleration it can give you in a straight line!


I know you can buy a gear indicator that will work by sensing rpm, it is probably not too expensive to add that.

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honestly I've found I'm more likely to shift into neutral by mistake clutch-less than with the clutch


On a 600 and a tight track, 2nd is pretty much a necessity, and while I wont use 1st all that much I do occasionally use it coming out of the chicane at Streets, if I'm behind rather slow traffic, or trying to pass a student on one of the school's bikes that likes straight line speed

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Spaghetti, here is a tidbit of knowledge I learned from Laura (Hotfoot) and Mikey. Laura was my coach and I found a false neutral entering a twisty section of track right in front of Mikey.

Q Me : What do you do after hitting a false neutral?

A Them: Never downshift, always upshift, you may end up in a gear lower than you think!

If you are downshifting from 4th to 3rd and find a false neutral are you sure that when you engage a gear downshifting that you will be in 3rd gear? You could end up in 2nd or worse 1st.

I find false neutrals often enough that they do not bother me anymore. I'm just a little too light with the left foot and it doesn't matter if I'm clutch or clutchless shifting, brand of bike doesn't matter either.

I try to have all my downshifting complete well before entering a turn, therefore if I find a false neutral I have plenty of time to move my size 13 foot to the other side of the shifter and get the bike back up into gear.

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Last weekend I hit the neutral 3 times downshifting my new CBR600RR.........


How do you deal with this? Buy a shift indicator? Always memorize each gear (this is not easy if you miss the reference shift at any time)? Get a power/quick shifter?


It is just normal with a new bike.

Check the ergonomics of the shifting lever, as well as the fully free movement of the external mechanism.

Be assertive when pressing the lever, push firmly all the way after clutching in.


Take a look at this:



Never downshift while leaning the bike.

Practice throttle blipping in order to match the rpms of engaging gears.

IMHO, feeling the vibrations of the engine via tank-legs and the torque via seat-butt is better than any shift indicator or memorization.

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