Shifting the gears of a dirt bike is integral as it allows you to determine your speed and prevents your engine from damaging itself when going at certain speeds.
The shifting of gears is usually achieved by utilizing the clutch lever, which is standard in every motorcycle and dirt bike.
It is the simplest and most effective way to shift the gears of a dirt bike; however, there is another way that people can use to shift their dirt bike, and it does not even involve the clutch.
While this method is a bit difficult to pull off, it can save you a lot of effort, and once you get the method down, it can easily become second nature.
This is why this method is only recommended for expert motorcycle riders who have a lot of experience on their dirt bikes and the know-how they operate.
However, for convenience, I will be explaining this method as I would to someone who has no idea how motorcycles work.
Here is how to shift a dirt bike without clutch:
- Familiarize Yourself With The Components Of The Bike
- Start Your Bike And Get Into Motion
- Apply Pressure To Shift Lever
- Roll Off Of The Throttle
- Upshift the gear
- Roll Back The Throttle
Once you figure the method out and practice it, you should be able to do it more consistently. For now, I will go into this method in detail below.
Shifting Without The Clutch
You normally wouldn’t think to shift gears of a dirt bike without activating it because people have made it very clear that if you try and shift gears without activating the clutch, you can cause a lot of damage to the dirt bike.
Still, there is a way for dedicated, skilled, and committed driver to change their gears without even touching them.
This method has a few benefits, but it is generally risky, and I would not recommend it to people who are just getting into bikes.
This method is also possible for dirt bikes due to the constant mesh transmission, which allows the rider to carry out upshifts and downshifts of the gears without actually activating the clutch.
Why You Should Shift Without The Clutch
Clutch-less shifting can retain the speed you are going at when shifting gears and prevents strain on the transmission of the dirt bike, which can increase its lifespan.
While shifting the dirt bike’s gears without the clutch isn’t beneficial to the average driver, it can do wonders for racers and track riders who prioritize speed and aggression.
For them, every second matters, and the amount of speed you can retain by shifting without the clutch can easily make the difference between a win and a loss.
Risks Of Clutch-Less Shifting
While it may seem appealing to go fast and save time, it should be known that this method of shifting will only save you small amounts of time, i.e., milliseconds.
This can add up over time, but on a short-term basis, it is not worth it considering that it can easily be messed up, and frequently doing this wrong can result in clunkiness, noises, transmission damage, and wearing of the gears.
This may be worth it for racers who can easily get a new dirt bike but for the average person. It may not be all that worth it.
How To Shift Gears On A Dirt Bike Without Clutch
This entire method is very much dependent on correct timing. This is why I would not recommend it to newer users, as messing up the timing can occur easily, and every time you do, it causes more damage and wear on the components of your bike.
Hence you should try and use the clutch if you are not ready to try this method and risk damaging your dirt bike; however, for those who are and want to learn a new skill, I’ll explain the entire method step by step.
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself With The Components Of The Bike
Shifting your dirt bike’s gears involves many moving parts, and you should know where all of them are and how they operate.
Since this method does not involve the clutch, I will refrain from talking about it. The main components involved in this method are the shifting lever and the throttle.
The shifting lever is the lever that is located at the left side of the bike near the foot. The throttle is located at the right handle of the dirt bike.
You should have a firm grasp of these two components and how they operate. The shifting lever works in the way that it starts in neutral. Once you apply pressure to it downwards, it goes into first gear.
For all subsequent gears, you must then raise the lever upwards to go to the second gear and further. The throttle is fairly simple in comparison. The more you pull it towards yourself, the more power the engine gets.
Step 2: Start Your Bike And Get Into Motion
Before you can start getting shifting gears, you have to activate the dirt bike. Firstly make sure that the kill switch of the dirt bike is off.
Once you have the kill switch off, you can turn on the dirt bike. You do this by putting the keys into the ignition and turning it. This should put the bike into neutral.
Once your display shows that the bike is neutral, you must start the bike’s engine. You can do this via the kick start lever of the dirt bike or by a button which you can usually find near the right handle of the dirt bike.
Either way, you will need the clutch to get the dirt bike into motion once the engine is running.
Simply pull the clutch lever towards you and shift the dirt bike into first gear. Once in first gear, give a small amount of throttle. This should get your dirt bike moving.
Then as the bike moves, slowly increase the throttle and then let go of the clutch. You should now be mobile and ready to move towards shifting to higher gears.
Step 3: Apply Pressure To Shift Lever
Now that your dirt bike is moving, once you feel like it is time to shift to a different gear, start applying a little pressure to the shift lever.
This pressure should not be such that the gear changes. The pressure should just be enough that it takes the slack out.
Remember that if you plan to upshift the gear, the pressure should be coming from your toe and going upwards with your toes positioned below the shift lever.
Since you are not using a clutch, accidental gear shifts like this can damage the internal components of the dirt bike.
Step 4: Roll Off Of The Throttle
Once you apply the pressure to the shift lever, you must now swiftly roll off the throttle. This step is very integral to the whole method as once you let go of the throttle.
You are, in actuality, taking the pressure off the gear sprockets, which allow you to shit the gears without activating the clutch.
Once you stop engaging the throttle, you must then make sure that the throttle is off. This should set you up for the next step of the method.
Step 5: Upshift The Gear
Once the throttle is fully off, you can engage the shifting mechanism. Apply the proper amount of pressure such that the lever is pulled upwards.
You can easily do this by tilting your foot upwards from the toes such that the shift gear goes up as well. This will change the gears of the dirt bike to the next gear in sequence.
You would think that your job is now done and that you have successfully shifted the gears of your dirt bike; however, this is still one step left, which you have to do to make this work.
Step6: Roll Back The Throttle
Once you click the shift lever into the gear, you must now reset the lever back to its original position.
You can easily do this by tilting your foot back to its original position. Once this happens, you must then apply a throttle to the dirt bike.
The throttle should not be so much that the bike revs too much or goes out of control with a sudden burst of speed and not too little that the dirt bike’s engine stops dead in its tracks.
It should be enough that the dirt bike keeps moving at a slightly faster speed. Once you do this, you will have successfully have shifted the dirt bike without using the clutch lever.
You can now repeat these steps until you reach the highest gears you want. This method also works for downshifts; however, you will need to quickly pull the throttle and shift gears.
This is more difficult than up-shifting.
3 Tips For Shifting Without The Clutch
1. Practice The Timing
As mentioned above, the method described requires a lot of precise timing and fast movements.
Most of the steps required by the method have to be carried out in less than a second, making it very difficult for people who are new to the method to get into it.
The best way is to keep trying, not getting disheartened, and practicing until you can nail the timing every time you try and shift without the clutch.
2. Use The Clutch If You Are Still New
Shifting without using the clutch may have its positives, but it does have its fair share of difficulties and negatives, which is why if you are not willing to practice and take in the risks, then it is sometimes better to not use the method at all.
Using the clutch does not mean that you are a bad rider, nor does it have any negatives. It was designed to shift the gears of the dirt bike and just as effective, so don’t feel obligated to use this method just because it exists.
3. Do It Depending On Your Motorcycle
While the method is great and has a lot of risk and reward, it, unfortunately, cannot work with any motorcycle.
This method is usually done best with dirt bikes and other sports motorcycles. They run at a very high RPM and have much shorter gearboxes.
This allows for a much smaller distance between the transmission and the gearbox, which results in the method happening much more consistently for people with dirt bikes and sports bikes.
If you do not have either of the two, then it may not be worth the hassle of learning this trick.
Shifting the gears of the motorcycle without the clutch is a very high skill and difficult thing to do. However, motorcycle owners can do it if they put in the practice required.
Now that you know how to shift a dirt bike without clutch, you can easily shave off your journey a few seconds and maintain your speed. You are not putting your motorcycle at risk by incorrectly shifting without using the clutch.
Remember that you don’t have to use this trick, and if you do not own a dirt bike, then this trick will all the harder and require a lot more practice.