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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. New rider and wondering if it will damage the clutch holding it in at a stoplight? The reason I ask is that I'd rather be in 1st gear with an escape route should an emergency happen. Having to shift out of neutral to 1st in an emergency seems detrimental.
Thanks in advance.
 

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It will be fine. It's also good that you know that you should leave your clutch in, and in gear, when sitting at a stop light. I see so many people sitting at lights with both feet on the ground and both hands off the bars. They're screwed if a vehicle behind them doesn't stop.
 

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Did it every ride for 15+ years on my last bike with no issues.
It is safer when stopped in traffic to keep the bike in gear and pointed to an escape route when in traffic. Of you see a car coming up behind you and not slowing down you can get out of the way quicker than dropping it from N to 1 and then trying to get out of the way.
The other important part of that statement is to always leave yourself an escape route when stopped.
 

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from my limited knowledge, this is not so good for the clutch. i know someone who is in the habit of using clutch too much, and got into some clutch issues. there is no reason to hold the clutch in the traffic light. a very bad idea; for how long? I always go into neutral. being afraid that car will not stop behind you? and what are you going to do? ride forward on red light? makes no sense. and if there is much waiting, I put both legs on the ground. nothing wrong with that.
 

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My strategy:

Stopped at a light with no cars stopped behind me yet: in gear. Stopped at a long light with multiple stopped cars behind me: first gear. I do that because I get hand cramps holding the clutch lever for extended periods with arthritic hands. Otherwise, I would leave it in gear.
If stopped in a line of traffic, I leave about 10 feet between my bike and the car in front of me. Plus, I situate my bike to the left of the car in front so I have an escape route.

That's my strategy, do what you feel safest with. If that is staying in first gear, continue and don't worry about the clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
from my limited knowledge, this is not so good for the clutch. i know someone who is in the habit of using clutch too much, and got into some clutch issues. there is no reason to hold the clutch in the traffic light. a very bad idea; for how long? I always go into neutral. being afraid that car will not stop behind you? and what are you going to do? ride forward on red light? makes no sense. and if there is much waiting, I put both legs on the ground. nothing wrong with that.
I leave a good amount of space between the car in front of me and give myself an escape route. With the bike in first gear I can get away from trouble if need be.
 

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from my limited knowledge, this is not so good for the clutch. i know someone who is in the habit of using clutch too much, and got into some clutch issues. there is no reason to hold the clutch in the traffic light. a very bad idea; for how long? I always go into neutral. being afraid that car will not stop behind you? and what are you going to do? ride forward on red light? makes no sense. and if there is much waiting, I put both legs on the ground. nothing wrong with that.
You should probably take an MSF course. Your limited knowledge shows. And holding the clutch is NOT bad on the clutch. Riding the clutch can be, and will cause premature wear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You should probably take an MSF course. Your limited knowledge shows. And holding the clutch is NOT bad on the clutch. Riding the clutch can be, and will cause premature wear.
What do you mean by riding the clutch?
 

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What do you mean by riding the clutch?
Keeping your hand on the clutch while riding causing it to slip. Think of it like a stick shift car. Riding the clutch would be driving with your foot resting on the clutch pedal. Can also happen if your clutch is not adjusted properly. It would cause the clutch plates to rub together slightly causing more wear.
 

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ok, holding the clutch in is not as bad as running the clutch, but still, it creates some stress on clutch components...

one has to just use a common sense. you come to a stop and look around what is happening. there are many ways to get into accident; getting rear ended is the least of my worries. But you made me 'worried' so I will pay more attention, thank you.

I live in Asia, and especially in India there are almost no traffic rules, and everybody is so much in a rush; you need to always expect the worst, like a car coming out of corner, appearing suddenly on your line because it was passing another car at that very corner; happened to me many times. you guys in US live in that orderly, safe environment and still so insecure. come to India and see how much your safety courses will help you :) welcome to a jungle.

If you like to be safer there is nothing wrong with holding the clutch for a few seconds I suppose, until all the cars are stopped, but why to hold the clutch any longer? you will get wrist problems at your old age; i already have. Relax, go into neutral and even turn the engine off, as I was advised with air-cooled Harley. I usually do not stay behind the cars on the red light anyways, but pass between the cars and pull in the front line.

It is usually said to keep the right foot on the brake, etc. I keep right leg on the ground, and if the light is about to change, I put left foot on the peg ready to go into first gear and take off.
 

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...Riding the clutch can be, and will cause premature wear....
ANOTHER term for "riding the clutch" - would be SLIPPING it.
 

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I agree that there doesn't seem to be any talk around the motorcycle society about people's clutches having problems related to holding in the clutch at stop lights. In a car I would expect the thrust bearing to wear out. Since our clutches are bathed in oil perhaps that is the reason there doesn't seem to be a real-world problem with holding in the clutch.

I generally go to neutral at red lights. Depending on the situation I may stay in 1st, but usually it is not the entire time I am stopped. If nobody is yet behind me and traffic is approaching soon, I'll stay in 1st. Once someone is behind me I go to neutral. If there is a large gap behind me and traffic is approaching I will flash my brake light repeatedly and carefully watch to be sure they are going to stop.

There typically isn't a great escape route. Into the intersection will be bad. Onto the shoulder may work, assuming the distracted driver doesn't swerve there at the last moment to avoid the stopped car but then hits me.

Rear end collisions around here seem much more to do with unexpected slowdowns or stops not at intersections. Especially on main boulevards and highways.
 

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Almost 85,000 miles on my bike and I always sit at lights in 1st gear with the clutch lever in, my original clutch still works perfectly fine. All the way in or all the way out, the wear on the clutch is negligible. I always watch traffic behind me at stops, and leave myself room to escape. Call me paranoid, but I have a friend with a totalled Harley and a fused spine because he didn't leave his bike in gear or room to move. He said the worst thing about his crash was watching the guy come up behind him and not being able to go anywhere. He said if he would have left 10 feet in front of him, he could have shot to the side of the road and been ok. Some people don't pay attention behind them, and never see the car that hits them. I watched a U tube video of a guy on a sport bike revving his motor at a stop and the clutch cable broke, launched the bike into the back of a minivan.
 

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I have thought about how to handle when you are stopped and do not have a clear escape. I think if you have time to see it coming just ditching the bike and jumping out of the way might be the best option. Jump sideways and hope for the best.
Revving the engine at a light is just annoying to everyone around you.
 

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ok, you are all guys right. keep the clutch in when on the intersection and I hope that a car behind you won't hit you.
I am always open to learn, and I tried to keep my clutch in when on red light, but it kind of makes no sense in most situations, since I stop in front of the cars that have already stopped. Very rarely I am first one to stop before the light. anyway, thank you for feedback.
 
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