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Discussion Starter #1
I'm not the most experienced rider by any means so I need some advice/knowledge on this. I bought my S2R a couple weeks ago and have put about 90 miles on it (been raining constantly here) Naturally, I still have a ways to go before I feel totally comfortable with this bike, but I do love it and know that I made the right choice for a motorcycle. The one thing that is frustrating me is my slow speed cornering while in traffic and in the neighborhood. I try staying in 2nd but always feel like I am lugging it down too much. Shifting to 1st is uncomfortable because it clunks when shifting down. Any helpful words would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Jon
 

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I don't have an S2R, but when I'm making a left and don't have to wait for traffic, I just go down to second and slip the clutch a little to keep the rpms in a good range.  When I'm making a 90 deg right, or if I'm stopped and waiting for opposing traffic so I can turn left, I go down to first.

It will feel more natural if you can be opening the throttle all the way through the turn, so get your braking done a little earlier, maybe. And don't resist the lean or you'll feel like you are (and will be) running wide.

If you can find a large emtpy lot to practice in, such as a mall lot after hours or early morning, you can practice the feel of the slow-look-press-roll without regard to obstacles.  Make sure you're pressing (countersteering) with your inside arm applying the pressure, and that it is a conscious movement before you roll on the throttle.

I'm sure others will chime in.

This could probably go in the new riding techniques section.
 

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As another (relatively) new S2R rider... (800 miles and counting), I feel your pain.  My solutions:

1.  In most street-scenario turns, second gear IS lugging.  This is bad, especially during break-in.  IMO, MUCH better to be doing 4000+rpm in first than 2500 in second - just gotta be smooth with her.  The power is up high.  I recently went down to a 14t front sprocket (from the stock 15).  Going down a tooth in front makes it a LOT friendlier at parking-lot or slow-turn speeds.  Also quicker in general, but that's a different thread... best $50 you can spend on the bike.

2.  Take the MSF basic couse, if you haven't already - they do a lot of low-speed practice.  Some MSF course guidelines I've found helpful in this respect...  brake early, keep throttle steady through the corner.  Lean, and use the REAR brake if necessary.  Don't even think about touching the front brake while cornering.  Not for a long time... for a few thousand miles, forget about trail-breaking.  You're not Rossi.  Neither am I.  Brake early, look where you want to go, and push in that direction.  If you're going wide, lean more.

Hope all this helps, but the best advice = PRACTICE.  It's going to be tough, but you're going to have to go riding... sorry.   8)
 
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DucTape said:
As another (relatively) new S2R rider... (800 miles and counting), I feel your pain.  My solutions:

1.  In most street-scenario turns, second gear IS lugging.  This is bad, especially during break-in.  IMO, MUCH better to be doing 4000+rpm in first than 2500 in second - just gotta be smooth with her.  The power is up high.  I recently went down to a 14t front sprocket (from the stock 15).  Going down a tooth in front makes it a LOT friendlier at parking-lot or slow-turn speeds.  Also quicker in general, but that's a different thread... best $50 you can spend on the bike.
In most street senario turns (90 degree) 2nd is the preferred gear. 1st is mainly (can't think of anywhere else you'd use it, maybe turning around in a parking lot?) for starting from a stop. Ducati's the power is down low, 3000 rpm's and up. Japanese bikes the power is up high like 8000 RPM's plus. If you are lugging 2nd gear in a turn you don't have the revs up enough and you are also probably going through the turn way too slow.
 

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Sometimes I'll drag my the back break a bit while still on the throttle so I can keep my rpms up without going to fast. I'm not sure it that's considered advanced technique or not (maybe even bad technique) but I don't consider myself an advanced rider and I think it works well for me, and I don't think it's very hard to do.
 

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If you pull the clutch in and roll through the turn while down shifting even if it does CLUNK it will not affect the rear wheel(the clutch is in). Its ok, or you can down shift before the turn with the clutch in and ease off of the clutch as you need to. I have noticed that when leaving a large road to enter a small back road I usualy need to down shift two gears. So I use that as my stating point. I then sift up or down as needed/if needed. You will get used to it. [thumbsup]
 

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de5m0mike said:
Sometimes I'll drag my the back break a bit while still on the throttle so I can keep my rpms up without going to fast. I'm not sure it that's considered advanced technique or not (maybe even bad technique) but I don't consider myself an advanced rider and I think it works well for me, and I don't think it's very hard to do.
That is what they call trail braking....

Purplehayes - I would not advise attempting this style. I think you may want to look at the 14T front sprocket first and then practice practice practice.
 

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purplehayes said:
Shifting to 1st is uncomfortable because it clunks when shifting down.
Is that normal?  Mine has more of a "clunk" too when I'm going down to 1st from 2nd as well.  It's not a clunk like when you are not matching the RPMs with the throttle when the clutch is let out, but the actual downshift with the shifter lever while the clutch is pulled in.  Is this because you are shifting past neutral?  I haven't really worried about it but I'm just curious.
 

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I think it is pretty normal. I have ridden a couple of other bikes and the 2 -> 1 shift is normally "different". Obviously going through neutral has a lot to do with this. I don't ever feel uncomfortable switching down to first on my S2r, just seemed pretty normal to me. Sorry, I'm not much help here.

Dan
 

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DucTape said:
I recently went down to a 14t front sprocket (from the stock 15). Going down a tooth in front makes it a LOT friendlier at parking-lot or slow-turn speeds.
I also recommend this highly. I just went to a 14T front on mine over the weekend and the difference is incredible. The bike really comes alive and is easier to keep in the meat of the RPM range where the bike wants to be.

DesmoDEZL said:
Is that normal?  Mine has more of a "clunk" too when I'm going down to 1st from 2nd as well.  It's not a clunk like when you are not matching the RPMs with the throttle when the clutch is let out, but the actual downshift with the shifter lever while the clutch is pulled in.  Is this because you are shifting past neutral?  I haven't really worried about it but I'm just curious.
Mine's the same way. From reading through the DML, its sounds normal to me. I chalked it up to a little more Ducati soul.
 

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sahasralah said:
This could probably go in the new riding techniques section.
This definitely seems like something that should go in the new Riding Techniques forum, which has the potential to be a great resource if and only if people actually go there and post questions and responses.  Since that section is new and people are used to frequenting it yet, it prolly makes sense for this post to stay in General for a day or so for feedback before it gets moved. Please, continue the discussion.  Some really good stuff here.

* * * *

I get the clunk too from 2d to 1st on my 1000.  It seems normal and I wouldn't let bother you.  And another vote for the 14T front for slow speed handling.  Since you are new to the bike, why don't you take the corners in first for now and even it feels slow, get used completing your braking and shifting before the turn so that you can crack the throttle through the turn and concentrate on looking through the turn and on countersteering?  Just a thought.  You'll definitely get smoother and faster with time and practice.  G'luck.
 

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The first gear clunk is very familiar to me. Ever bike I've had or ridden has clunked when going into first gear -- from second or neutral. Some have even jumped forward a bit during the clunk.

4000 RPMs is much better for the bike than 2500 -- especially during break in. Don't lug the engine with too low RPMs.
 

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I use first gear a lot in street riding, I think 2nd is too tall 90deg slow turns. I still have a 15tooth sproket. Yes there is a clunk, but if you can get into first while still rolling, and like was said before, match your engine speed with a throttle blip, it either doesn't clunk, or I can't hear it ;D

mitt
 

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All four of the Ducatis that I've owned have clunked into first gear at any speed over about 10 mph. It's part of the character of the bike.

And switching to a 14-tooth front will make a bigger difference than you would think. The bike will feel much, much better at low speeds.

Now go practice in a parking lot. Do left and right U-turns using the parking space lines as guides. Start by going in on one line and coming out three lines over. Do it both left and right. Then do two and a half lines. If you're still not at full lock try just too lines over to see if you can do a real tight U-turn. After the practice, you will feel much better on the street.
 

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You should get into 1st gear by gently massaging the lever into gear at only a 1-2 miles an hour with the engine idling or when moving 5-10 miles an hour (or faster if really getting on it) and blipping the throttle to match the revs. Once in a while I still force a good clunk during a gearshift, but mostly I can avoid it and I can't imagine slipping the clutch to ride in 2nd more often. I will modulate the clutch in 1st gear during slow corners to avoid any lurching I might feel creeping in, but other than that, I try to avoid excess clutch wear.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I actually got to get the bike out for a good ride yesterday and I honestly believe it is just unfamiliarity with the machine. Riding has gotten much smoother at low speeds and finessing the clutch and throttle has made the biggest difference. I may go down a tooth on the sprocket but I think I will make do in the meantime. What a great bike though! Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

Jon
 
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