Shifting Without Clutch


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Uncle Mike
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Shifting Without Clutch

Postby Uncle Mike » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:28 pm



A friend of mine says it's okay to upshift his Goldwing without using the clutch. Is this acceptable, or is he just too lazy to use his left hand?



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roadwanderer2
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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby roadwanderer2 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:44 pm

its called being lazy or trying to "show off" or trying to light a cigarette with your left hand like i do. i do it sometimes with my 83 1100 aspy. its kinda easy, but you have to time it "just right" by listening to the motor and using the throttle or else you'll either miss the gear or the bike will jerk and you could wind up tearing the u-joints or the trans or the final drive apart.

stuart.

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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:23 pm

Uncle Mike wrote:A friend of mine says it's okay to upshift his Goldwing without using the clutch. Is this acceptable, or is he just too lazy to use his left hand?


It depends. How much does he care about his transmission? Is he independently wealthy, or owns a bike shop?

When you shift gears, there are metal tabs on each gear, called "dogs" that slide up against other dogs that are machined onto other gears. These dogs are what link one gear to another:

GL1500 Gear Cluster
GL1500 Gear Cluster


Unlike cars with manual transmissions, there is no syncromesh. As such, you don't want to slowly engage gears - these "dog box" type transmissions are meant to be shifted quickly, with the gears banged together. You want the dogs to mesh together quickly, without grinding away. If you ever gently press the shifter instead of a firm kick, you'll hear grinding - this is these dogs grinding against one another instead of meshing together.

Inside the transmission, the output portion of the transmission is turning at the same speed as the rear wheel. The input portion of the engine is turning at the same speed of the engine. This is fine when you are in gear, they are both hooked together, and power is transferred from the engine out to the rear wheel.

Let's say we are in second gear and want to shift up into third. We first pull the clutch in. This disconnects the rear wheel from the output portion of the transmission. Now the output portion of the transmission is being spun only by the engine, as it is connected to the input portion through second gear.

Next we lift the shifter up. This slides a shifter fork, which pulls the two gears apart that connect the input portion of the transmission to second gear. As it pulls them apart, their dogs disengage. The fork continues to slide the gear, which then engages the dogs on its other side into third gear.

Now here's the rub: The gear for third gear is turning slower than the gear for second gear, because it has a different gear ratio. So we have the spinning input gear that is still being spun by the engine, being shoved into the spinning gear for third gear, which is spinning from momentum, because up until a moment ago, it was being spun by the fact that the transmission was still in second gear.

The difference in speeds isn't huge however, and because we are firmly pushing the shifter, the dogs latch together, and the output portion of the transmission instantly adjusts its momentum to match.

Now we let the clutch back out, which connects the output portion of the transmission to the rear wheel once more, and the shift is complete.

Ever had a partial shift? Where you didn't hit the shifter hard enough, and ended up in a pseudo-neutral? This is because you hit it hard enough to pull it out of the first gear, but not hard enough to shove the dogs together on the second gear, so now it's not connected to EITHER gear, which means the transmission is acting as if it were in neutral. When this happens, the momentum of the output portion is quickly lost, and now the output portion is spinning much slower than the input portion - in some cases it can even stop!

So we now try the shift again, except now the difference in speed (between the input portion and the output portion) is tremendous - too much for the dogs to get through, and instead of shifting into gear, we get a grinding noise. This is the dogs grinding together as you try to force them. Eventually this grinding will speed up the output portion enough that they mesh. It's definitely not good for the dogs however! It will wear down and round the corners of the dogs, to the point that when you suddenly get on or off the power when in gear, the dogs will hop apart (disengage themselves from one another), and the result is the bike "pops out of gear."

Incidentally, this is also why your bike jerks when you shift from neutral into first gear: the output portion of the transmission is stopped, but the input is spinning with the engine. When you shift into first gear, it jams together those two gears - one spinning, one stopped, and the dogs instantly engage. The output portion of the transmission is instantly spun up to the same speed as the engine. This is the "jerk" you feel and the "bang" you hear when shifting into first.

Now what does all this have to do with clutchless shifting?

Let's go through the same process as above, only this time we won't use the clutch.

Let's say we are again in second gear and want to shift up into third. We don't pull the clutch in, so the rear wheel is still connected to the output portion of the transmission.

Next we lift the shifter up. This slides a shifter fork, which pulls the two gears apart that connect the input portion of the transmission to second gear. As it pulls them apart, their dogs disengage - however, because there is still tremendous force between the dogs, due to the fact that the engine is still driving the rear wheel, when the dogs do disengage, they wear their corners. It is also hard (because of this force) for the shifter fork to actually slide the gears apart, which means the shifter fork is subject to abnormal wear, and in extreme cases, they can even bend. After the dogs have disengaged, the shifter fork continues to slide the gear, to try to engage the dogs on its other side into third gear.

As before, the gear for third gear is turning slower than the gear for second gear, because it has a different gear ratio. So we have the spinning input gear that is still being spun by the engine, being shoved into the spinning gear for third gear, which unlike before, is still spinning because it is still connected to the rear wheel.

Because the output portion can't instantly adjust its momentum like it can when it is disconnected from the rear wheel via the clutch, the dogs on the input gear and the dogs on third gear are not going to match up. If you push it hard enough, it will jam them together, and the sudden jerk of torque as they do mesh (suddenly connecting the engine to the rear wheel) causes a huge spike in stress everywhere in the drivetrain from the rear wheel along into the engine.

In a perfect world, you could adjust your engine speed with the throttle perfectly in sync with the gear sliding from one gear to the other, so that there is no stress or wear on the dogs. But this is something that is out of the capability of humans. Honda's new computerized double-clutch motorcycle transmissions do this for you, but then it's a computer that is making thousands of adjustments a second, not a human who is twisting a throttle and kicking a shifter in hopes he can get it somewhere near correct.

So...your friend may think that he can shift his motorcycle without a clutch, and may be quite proud that it seems to him that it works just fine. However each time he is doing it, he is wearing shift forks, wearing those dogs just a little bit more, and eventually he's going to have his bike start to jump out of gear - a sure sign of worn dogs. At that point it's thousands of dollars to pull the engine, split the case and rebuild the transmission.

I sure wouldn't want to buy a bike owned by someone who didn't think the clutch was necessary for shifting. It's there for a reason!

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roadwanderer2
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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby roadwanderer2 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:16 pm

wait a second, is your friend putting his bike in first gear without using the clutch with the motor running from a standing start?????????? that's a DEFINITE NO NO. i NEVER put my bike into first gear with the motor running without using the clutch. i was under the impression he was already IN gear and shifting up and down without the clutch. my bad.

once my bike is moving, i listen to the motor, look at the tach to see what the rpm's are, THEN sometimes i shift without using my clutch from out of first up into 2nd and up thru the gears to OD, then i can go back down thru the gears the same way until i get down to 2nd then i use my clutch to put it into first. i ALWAYS use my clutch to put it into first gear when i have my motor running.

stuart.

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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby maintainer » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:00 pm

It can definitely be done without causing any damage, you just have to closely sync the engines rpm's by blipping the throttle with the rest of the drivetrain speed. When done properly it will click in without so much as a grind. I rode sportbikes for years and rarely used the clutch other than taking off or coming to a stop and it never caused any issues at all. Wings are a little different animal inside and you probably should use the clutch but old habits die hard.
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roadwanderer2
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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby roadwanderer2 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:13 pm

yeah, tell me about it lol.

stuart.

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OldZX11Rider
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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby OldZX11Rider » Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:24 pm

I have done it on occasion, but never on a Goldwing. Parts cost too much. :D

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Fatboy46
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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby Fatboy46 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:42 pm

Can you do it? yes. Should you do it all the time? NO. If you do, just be saving your $$ for repairs. I broke a clutch lever one night on a Yam 650. Managed to start it, shift it ride it home- A little spooky at a traffic light when I had to make a left turn with cars behind me that were READY to go.. Learned that you can turn by shifting your weight when you are doing a wheelie...

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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby bstig60 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:43 pm

Good write up, Wing Admin! I had to ride my Virago 70 miles with a broken clutch cable once. It wasn't fun as I had to go thru a small town with a number of traffic lights. This was an emergency, no choice but to shift without the clutch.
If I lose the clutch on my Goldwing, I will call AMA or AAA and have it towed home... I am not interested in having to pull the engine to replace the clutch or rebuild the transmission. IMHO, if you want to shift without the clutch, you are just showing off and you are putting yourself and others around you in unnecessary danger, not to mention possibly screwing up your transmission.
Bill

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wheeljam
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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby wheeljam » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:04 pm

Most Tractor Trailer transmissions don't have the syncromesh either. I learned how to "float" the gears a long time ago. I was even able to do it with my 89 Ford Ranger. You get a feel for it. You can tell just by the sound, engine vibrations when to shift.

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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby keithg64 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:10 pm

I could do it on my 1100 but am not able on the 1500. Parts are expensive and time consuming.
It's not what you buy, it's what you build.

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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby bstig60 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:15 pm

I can do it too, but Why?
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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby FM-USA » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:43 pm

I feel elated when I can do a smooth and absolutely silent shift.
Means I am
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Re: Shifting Without Clutch

Postby Lathan » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:25 am

I just got my 2000 GL-1500 Goldwing that has a Trike kit on it. I bought it from a friend who has a handicap. He could not use the clutch lever so he a Auto clutch installed on it and the clutch lever removed. I`m thinking of having the Lever reinstalled. Is there anyone out there that is familiar with this. If so I would like to hear the pros and cons on this. When I am decelerating and downshifting it seems to be a little rough and then putting into 1st gear is hard sometimes. Going up is not bad if you watch your speeds. Also I found the right rear shock is leaking and when I look them up they say not available other than that I love the bike. Any input would be appreciated. Thank`s
Lathan




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