Shifting gears is the primary activity involved in driving a motorcycle. We explain who can drive a motorcycle and how to do it properly
Riding a motorcycle is not only a great pastime, but also a useful skill that can make it easier for us to move around every day. What is the mechanism and basic principles of driving a motorcycle?
Riding a motorcycle – basic information for beginners
Motorcycles are popular motor vehicles that we can drive on the road. However, in order to do so legally, it is necessary to have the appropriate documents, which certify our skills and allow us to drive a motorcycle. Motorcycles are a very rich group of vehicles, as a result of which we distinguish several types of driving license categories, which authorize us to drive a particular type of motorcycle. These are:
- AM – the first category, which entitles you to drive mopeds and scooters with a power limited to 5.4 horsepower and a maximum speed of 45 km/h. It can be obtained after completing 14 years of age
- A1 – another category allows you to drive motorcycles with a cylinder capacity of up to 125m3, power up to 15 horsepower and power to weight ratio of 0.1 kW/kg. We can get it by completing 16 years.
- A2 – this category entitles you to drive motorcycles with power up to 47.59 horsepower and a power to weight ratio of 0.2 kW/kg. On the road with category A2 we can go after turning 18 years old
- A – is a category that includes all motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, and light quadricycles. Its acquisition is possible in two ways. The first does not require prior authorization, and the condition is to be at least 24 years old, while the second allows people who are at least 20 years old, but for 2 years have had category A2 to take the exam.
Gearshift mechanism in a motorcycle – basic information
Shifting gears is one of the basic activities associated with driving any motor vehicle, including motorcycles. We perform it very often, so it is worth learning how to do it correctly. Gear shifting is divided into upshifting and downshifting. The first of these occurs when we intend to accelerate our ride, while the reduction takes place when we slow down. The first one is when you want to accelerate, while downshifting takes place when you are slowing down. Incorrectly performing them can lead to dangerous situations on the road, including jerking the vehicle, and as a consequence even loss of control over it, or to locking the rear wheel, which can lead to a collision or fall
Proper gear shifting on a motorcycle
Basic information for those who are beginning their adventure with motorcycles is that the gearbox is a sequential gearbox, which means that you can only shift up or down one gear at a time. For example, when starting off, we change from the so-called “slack” to first gear, then accelerating, from first gear we change to second gear and so on. Similarly, when we reduce speed, we gradually shift from fourth to third gear and from third to second gear
Depending on the specific model, transmissions can be six-, five- or four-speed. The most important issue when changing gears is the use of the clutch, which should be pressed during each shift and then slowly released, which will contribute to a smooth and stable driving experience
Clutch – operation during gear changes
As already mentioned, the clutch is the basis of the gearshift mechanism. In order to learn how to use it properly and to shift gears smoothly, it’s important to remember that no matter what type of shift you’re making, the clutch must be released twice. The first movement should be until you feel the beginning of a change in the vehicle’s operation, then you should wait a moment and after a short pause, let the clutch out slowly to the end. The important point is that the lower the gear, the slower we let go of the clutch and similarly, the higher the gear, the faster we can make the change. This mechanism may seem complicated to beginners, but learning it comes with practice and experience
The basic principles of gearbox and clutch must be known before attempting to ride a motorcycle for the first time. However, these are things that can be learned, which means that after a short period of learning, these changes will be made automatically. Nevertheless, you should always stay focused and keep in mind your safety and the safety of other road users