First time riders need to know how to change gears on a motorcycle. Almost all motorcycles are manual shift, scooters are all automatic. Selecting the right gear for the conditions is one of the first things a rider needs to know.
- The clutch lever is located on the left handlebar. The clutch must be squeezed in and held before gears are shifted into another speed.
- While starting to squeeze the clutch, let off on the gas some. Keeping the gas at the same flow while engaging the clutch results in high revs for the engine and harder for shifting.
- The gear selector is operated by the left foot. The gear lever is a ratchet system that allows the rider to step on the lever to go down a gear and lift on the lever to go up a gear. Some motorcycles have a dual lever on the gear shift, which enables stepping on the rear lever to go up a gear and stepping on the front lever to go down a gear.
- Select the gear you need. If you are slowing down, down shift a gear, if you are speeding up, up shift a gear. If you are coming to a stop and need to put it in neutral, down shift all the way and then half lift on the gear shift lever. The neutral light should come on verifying you are in neutral.
- While letting out slowly on the clutch add some gas. This becomes natural after some practice. If you are starting from a stop, if you either let the clutch out too fast, or don't give enough gas the motorcycle engine will stall. This also may result in dropping the motorcycle in some conditions, so be aware when you are first learning.
- Practice in an empty parking lot. Without the pressure from traffic, an empty parking lot is the best location to learn how to change gears on a motorcycle.
Take a motorcycle safety foundation class. The class will teach how to change gears on a motorcycle, in addition to many safety items.