How cognizant of gear selection are you?

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8/10/2020 9:21 PM

.I have a friend who doesn't get out as often as he'd like to but whenever he does he will invariably ask me what gear I'm hitting various jumps or sections in.

But other than starts or a couple long jumps that I've tried up shifting for on approach when I didn't have any higher gears left I can only offer my best guess. I just ride and shift by feel, sound, amount of pull or what have you and don't really track it.

Meanwhile he seems to be able tell me exactly what gear he's in on each and every part of track even though hes a skilled enough rider that shifting and such is 2nd nature and not anything he has to still worry about.

Just wondering what others experiences are and if its something that just resonates with certain people regardless of their level of riding or if being aware of gearing is something that typically fades as it gets done more on autopilot and if it's anything the pros pay much attention to as will.




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8/10/2020 9:41 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/10/2020 9:42 PM

I have always TRIED to keep track in my mind. Usually on downshifting,... I find I’m one or two out lol.
But yeah, I still try.

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8/10/2020 9:42 PM

I'm a gear counter. I always know what gear I am in and I typically do all my upshifts and downshifts at the same spot on the track every lap. I can also go back in my head to every track I've ridden over the last 40 years and still remember which gear I was using on each part of the track and where I was shifting. This was much more important back in the 2-stroke days when the bikes just didn't have the broad spread of power to tolerate being in the wrong gear.

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Powerband in every gear !

8/10/2020 9:52 PM

I know exactly what gear I'm in at every part of the track, my brother on the other hand has no idea and just rides by feel. We cut pretty much exactly the same lap times

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8/10/2020 9:56 PM

Every old Vet rider on a 450: "Yes, I always know what gear I am in. 3rd."

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Powerband in every gear !

8/10/2020 11:50 PM

I try my best to be hyper aware of gear selection at all times. My red alert system starts to trigger if I happen to forget or can't tell. Sometimes I quickly click down to 1st or up to 5th, just so i can count forwards/backwards to the gear I think I should be in if I forget. I mostly have ridden 250 2 strokes and they don't jump too nice in a gear too high (loop out).

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8/11/2020 12:01 AM

Not really, whatever’s working best in the situation, usually working the clutch . After a while on the same bike you can guess pretty close.

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8/11/2020 3:23 AM

I can always feel what gear I'm in. Pay attention to it as well but I don't like it when people ask this question like its a measure of speed. It is not an apples for apples comparison from bike to bike. Going off jumps I get it for gauging speed to clear. 3rd is usually the best answer :D

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8/11/2020 3:39 AM

Um. The right gear. Ain’t be counting while holding on for dear life.

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8/11/2020 4:41 AM

Always know bugs me if I don’t. Outside of gauging speed for jumps I like to use gear counting for improvements on speed. I may start the day hitting a corner in second and finish the day wound out in third. Or start the day in third and end up in fourth. Or woods riding and carrying speed through the woods in 3rd instead of second. I know when I’m doing this I’m riding well.

I think there are more benefits than negatives to knowing what gear you’re in.

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8/11/2020 4:52 AM

I never have any idea no matter how hard I try

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8/11/2020 4:53 AM

Not at all.

I don’t know how people know what gear they are in. I’ve never kept track or know. Unless it is first because it does downshift any more. Or 5th/6th because it does not shift any higher. I guess I should start counting?

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8/11/2020 5:04 AM

2 strokes i hit the track in 2nd and go from there on feel.
4 strokes i hit the track in 3rd and go from there on feel.

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8/11/2020 5:14 AM

I ride a RM250, I always know what gear Im in.

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"We don't rent pigs."

8/11/2020 6:26 AM

90% of the time I know.

There is always that 10% where you come into a tight corner from a fast section and you click down to what you think is 2nd and its really 1st lol

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Race Bike: 2018 KTM 350SXF

Other Bikes: 1985 CR80R, 1990 CR250R, 1998 PW80, Specialized Fuse Comp 29.

Sold: 2016 YZ250F, 2012 CRF250R

8/11/2020 6:30 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/11/2020 6:42 AM

Never know what gear I'm in except when I take off (second gear). All feel. Most of the time i'm in 2nd or 3 gear on my local tracks or at least I think I'm in 2nd or 3rd, might be 1st or 2nd LOL.

What I can say that I do is use my clutch always. I wonder how the post with go if asking if you use your clutch when shifting.

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8/11/2020 6:47 AM

On a 250F. I always know what gear I am in, and I use the clutch a lot. For me, the bike handles way differently in 2nd and 3rd gear, particularly right at the apex when you're leaned over most, so I always know what gear I am in. If I go into a tight turn in 3rd (when I want second), and try to power out, the bike leans over too much, as I am anticipating the torque of the bike to make it stand up a bit, and 3rd just doesn't have it. If I go into a more wide open turn in 2nd (when I want 3rd), the opposite happens, the torque makes the bike stand up too much.

Sure, clutch can make up for this a bit, and it's probably not as pronounced on a 450, but I can't imagine trying to rip through a tight rutted turn without knowing I am in second gear...

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8/11/2020 6:55 AM

I realized a few weeks ago at nhmx im kind of stuck between 3rd and 4th on my yz 250. I can hold 3rd in the turns but its awkward to shift up another gear and quickly back down for the next turn. I can see the fast A riders not having an issue when they pass me 😂
Kind of the same thing is happening at southwick too. Im on my 6th yz 250 maybe i should switch it up. Lol

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8/11/2020 6:56 AM

Never really give it much thought while riding. Always been seat of the pants feel so to speak, sometimes i shift in the air depending on what's ahead of me on the landing.

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8/11/2020 7:03 AM

I usually know, but don't really care. If there's a jump I havent done, I like to ask friend who does jump what gear, then I have a better approach.

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8/11/2020 7:04 AM

I go by feel and never use the clutch to shift.

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8/11/2020 7:35 AM

i always know, on my 450....second for inside lines, third when going outside and most jumps, fourth for “why the hell am i in fourth on a 450 at 47 years old!!!!”

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Never try to argue with idiots; they will only bring you down to their level.....and being more experienced, they will beat you at their own game!

2020.5 KTM 450 SXF FE
2006 KX250

8/11/2020 8:35 AM

I always, always, ALWAYS know what gear I'm in. I seriously can't even comprehend how any of you guys can even ride without knowing that. It's a massive part of my entire approach to speed; I'll even switch the gears around to see if I can do something faster in a different gear, and I always know which one it is. If I ever get lost, (once in a blue moon,) I seriously shift all the way down into first so I can count back up and be sure.

Here's how it works in my head:
Starts = 2nd
This corner = 2nd
That corner = 3rd
End of that straight = 5th
That tabletop = 4th
...etc.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/11/2020 8:36 AM

dedi684 wrote:

I realized a few weeks ago at nhmx im kind of stuck between 3rd and 4th on my yz 250. I can hold 3rd in the turns but its awkward to shift up another gear and quickly back down for the next turn. I can see the fast A riders not having an issue when they pass me 😂
Kind of the same thing is happening at southwick too. Im on my 6th yz 250 maybe i should switch it up. Lol

Try a 125. You'll be stuck between 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. grin
Sometimes 1st and 6th, too!

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/11/2020 9:11 AM

Only use 2nd and 3rd gear most of the time. 2nd for tight insides and 3rd on most outsides. You should be able to feel the bike and tell the difference

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8/11/2020 9:27 AM

I thought this was going to be about what to wear while riding. This makes much more sense.

I have a 250 and a 350. On my 350, I shift down to 2nd once or twice per lap for tight corners, otherwise 3rd. The 250f requires much more shifting and trying to keep track seems futile. I'll even use 5th on occasion on some straights. If it's not pulling hard enough, shift down. If it's screaming, shift up.

The irony is that the more powerful bikes - the 350 and 450 - make gear selection almost more important. The bike has the power to go as fast you want it to go, sometimes to your peril so you might say to yourself "don't shift to 4th and hold it wide open here or you might die". You don't have that problem on a 250f or a 125.

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Current rides: 2016 KTM 250SXF, 2017 KTM 350SXF

8/11/2020 9:35 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/11/2020 9:38 AM

I know I'm in first if I can't gear down anymore, and in 6th if I can't gear up anymore.

Anywhere in between that I have no idea.

One time a buddy asked me what gear I was in while hitting certain jumps. I had to go ride the track to figure it out and really think about it.

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8/11/2020 12:53 PM

I have no idea. "just keep the rpm up" was my game plan when I first started racing...stuck by it.

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8/11/2020 2:48 PM

By feel. Lugging a bit much.. down shift. Rev to the moon. Better shift up. Hit this jump and came up short. More pepper next time. Etc..

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2018 CRF250R

8/11/2020 3:32 PM

I'm in the 'always know what gear I'm in' camp. Possibly because I'm on a YZ250 so I don't have limitless power on tap.

Especially if learning a new jump I may ask my buddy what gear he does it in if he brought his two-stroke that day. Might even ask if he seat-bounced it or not. Not all that useful to ask anything if he brought the 450.

Also a good way to gauge progress around the track by being able to move up a gear in whatever section. Most of my riding buds are the opposite. They don't have a clue what gear they're in. People are wired differently. Just seems natural for me to analyze the track mentally, always looking for an edge. It's not like there's a whole lot of gears to keep track of ... pretty much 3rd and 4th with occasional drop down to 2nd.

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