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Discussion Starter #1
Newbie question - is engine braking a bad thing? I recall from my 2-stroke motocross youth that I should avoid it and always engage the clutch, downshift and use the brakes instead, - but sometimes it seems so.... convenient to just ease off on the throttle and let the engine to the braking.

Are there any golden rules?
 

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Race bikes often have slipper clutches installed to reduce engine braking but for the street I don't see a problem.
With a nice exhaust the sound is almost as rewarding as what happens on the other side of the corner.
 

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i use engine braking all the time. for a new bike, it helps with break-in.

the slipper clutch is for rear wheel traction. imprecise matching of revs when engine braking for a downshift can cause sudden weight shifts (at best) or a break in traction at the rear (at worst). either of which can be bad when you're flirting with the absolute limit. it has nothing to do with damaging the engine.
 
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like most things too much can be a bad thing, but that's mostly on track, late/trail braking/wet, can bring the rear around on you for example.

On the other hand, on the street, especially for new riders, avoids over use of front brake (comfort braking) and the rear brake, which is the bigger problem IMO. You can regulate by slipping the clutch slightly if necessary (as even slipper clutch aren't perfect) .
 

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2 strokes are a little different than 4 strokes . The 2 strokes get their lubrication with the fuel oil mixture and a 4 stroke has a oil pump. When you engine brake you are taking lubrication away from a 2 stroke .
 

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Good discussion! I'm new as well. They told us in our MSF class that using the engine to slow the bike was an advisable thing to do. I've been doing it since I got the bike and am glad that is the consensus here as well.
 

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Engine braking is one of the most useful tools we have on out bikes. It allows us to use the engine to modulate speed and is particularly useful in downhill situations.

Also, if you own one of the approximately 2% of four wheel vehicles that have manual transmissions (I don't own an automatic transmission and have 5 vehicles), you can also take advantage of engine braking when you are actually "forced" to drive the cage instead of your bike. By all means, use it, enjoy it and be a safer rider.

Even if you think it might accelerate engine wear, so what? You replace brakes, so what if you have to rebuild the engine a little sooner? (not likely, by the way, and by doing it you'll make your brakes last longer! :clap:)

Once you add this technique to your riding repertoire, you'll find you enjoy riding even more.

V-Zee
 

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for the record, in case it's not clear... the proper way to do this involves blipping the throttle while downshifting. it can be tricky, but it's fun. done right, it minimizes the fore/aft pitching. you don't have to match revs perfectly, just get closer than idle speed.
 

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I always use the brakes, because i want the brake lights to light up. If you don't use the brakes cars behind you won't see the brake light and might not know that you are slowing down. If you use engine braking i think you should also use just a little brake so the light is on. You will be safer with your brake light on.
 

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Edith, you are absolutely right....in traffic situations.

However, when riding where this bike excels, you will probably be riding rapidly away from anyone else on the road. The least of your worries will be a hit from behind.

V-Zee
 

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Also affects miles per gallon

Using engine braking increases your fuel efficiency. As soon as you roll off the throttle and the engine begins to slow you down, you are not feeding fuel, but you are making milage. It's really helpful to the mpg when you are in the twisties and running throttle OFF a lot, into the turns.
 
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the two stroke clutch thing was from the days when they'd potentially and sometimes did, seize up on you for long periods on closed throttle; through lack of gas/oil lubrication. I use to run a 490 yam motor crosser on the road, and was a pain in the arse partly for that reason. but no relevance on a four stroke.
 

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Just to be clear on what everybody’s talking about here – especially so for the newer riders...

There’s two distinctly different types of “Engine Braking” and some of the folks in this thread appear to be talking about 1) Normal, gradual deceleration by simply backing off the throttle – While others are referring to 2) Throwing hard & possibly multiple downshifts for rapid deceleration.

Personally I do “1” all the time (for reasons too obvious to explain) and I also do “2” a lot; mostly because it’s fun, i.e., I enjoy working the gearbox, timing the shifts (getting the RPMs where they’ll want to be when I come off the clutch) and finessing that clutch release. It’s also a skill worth honing for those times when it may be necessary to drop a gear in the middle of a corner... without dropping the bike too :)

That said, while it used to be necessary to use the engine to slow the bike because some of those old drum brakes needed all the help they could get (especially with repeated, back to back, heat fading stops) with modern disc brakes, if you’ve really got to stop the bike in a – deer in the middle of the road – hurry, I’d say forget about engine braking and just use the brakes!
 

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Using engine braking increases your fuel efficiency. As soon as you roll off the throttle and the engine begins to slow you down, you are not feeding fuel, but you are making milage. It's really helpful to the mpg when you are in the twisties and running throttle OFF a lot, into the turns.
Any braking, be it from engine, brakes, parachute, etc reduces your speed and momentum generated from the fuel powered engine. The best fuel mileage is achieved with the least possible braking or engine braking, by anticipating lower desired speed well in advance... Coasting with the clutch disengaged, or in neutral with engine idling or turned off helps fuel mileage, but is not recommended.

Engine braking is perfectly normal with any manual transmission, to adjust your speed by rolling off the throttle without shifting out of the gear you're in at normal cruising rpm's, and to deccelerate more by blipping the throttle while clutching in and downshifting, matching rpm to lower selected gear to avoid/reduce clutch drag and shock load when clutch lever is released. Just don't do it from redline or at a too high rpm without upshifting some, and don't rely on just or nearly just the engine to control your speed all the way down a steep mountain in low gear at sustained 6000-8000+ rpm, which could result in overheating damage... Also, the rev-limiter can't prevent the engine from over-revving if you downshift in a gear too low for the speed, inducing valve float and collision with pistons.
 

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... 1) Normal, gradual deceleration by simply backing off the throttle – While others are referring to 2) Throwing hard & possibly multiple downshifts for rapid deceleration.
Good explanation. The second seems analogous to heal-toe used in race cars, for the same reason. I'm pretty good at it in a car, but it's harder for me on a motorcycle. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks all for your great insights! I'm applying this now to my driving - I like it ;)
 

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That guy who runs through the twisties so smooth and fluid like and seems to always be "in the groove" is using engine braking. I think the best advise to a newb riding in the twisties is to find the gear that allows you to do throttle maintenance while in the corner and slows you down perfectly when setting up for the next corner. You should be able to do all this without ever touching your brakes. If you are following a guy in the twisties and notice his brake light coming on a lot take note of how herky and jerky he is.

Setting up and entering the corner you smoothly roll off the throttle, while entering start to roll on the throttle and when you exit roll on even more and climb out of the corner. Next corner coming up roll off and repeat all while never touching the brakes.

I can never understand threads about people wanting to get rid of engine braking or reducing it. Once you learn to use it like your supposed to you will love it. My SV has a bit more (maybe because of the V Twin?) and I love that engine in the twisties.

Edit to add downshifting aggressively to apply rapid braking is a bad idea on any bike. You can lock the rear tire and or overspeed the engine. If you really need to slow the bike down pull in the clutch and use both brakes.
 

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Don't no what they do in states but on a track day in NZ had to complete to 2 complete circuits not using brakes but just engine braking, it is a great skill to develop IMHO, it teaches you to be in correct gear and you control the bike not the bike control you! Agree totally with gti20vturbo that in the twistys developing this skill will put you in the groove so to speak
 

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kinda sad that american drivers have run away from the 'standard' gear box in favor of "slush" boxes".
But, it's kinda hard to txt/ dial a cell phone and eat that slice of pizza at 70 miles an hour
AND work a proper gear box all at the same time.

As I have always said....american drivers put more thought into opening a refrigerator than they do operating "the most deadliest of weapons"....the automobile!!!
 
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