Downshift w/o Clutch?

As a real newbie, I bought a book on motocross/offroad riding techniques. One of the suggestions is to downshift without using the clutch. It does say to use the clutch when upshifting though. I don't have the book with me right now but as I remember it, the procedure is simply to close the throttle and kick it down a gear. Is this common and safe (safe for the tranny I mean)? Thanks,


I think eventually you would damage your tranny.

What would you achieve by doing it anyway? :)

You can upshift and downshift all you want on dirt without damage to the tranny.

No racer I know uses the clutch to shift ...UNLESS they want a smooth downshift so as not to lose traction, especially on downhills.

This is a common thread on many sites and you will hear 2 answers. Figure out from the responders their riding background and experience and go from there.

I've ridden and raced the following bikes and have NEVER had any transmission problems with ANY of them.... EVER.

-1972 TM250

-1978 PE175

-1980 PE175

-1990 XR600

-1994 KDX200

-1996 XR400

-1998 KX250

-2000 DR-Z400

BUT, if you are riding on the ROAD, use the clutch.

I'm with the good doctor, I've ridden all kinds of dirt bikes since the early 70s and have never used the clutch lever to shift. A quick flick on the gas is all you need.

I raced my bike once and did a lot of clutchless down shifting. I just didn't have time to pull the lever in and shift. I did always manage to chop the throttle though.

I do it when trail riding aggressively too.

I don't think its good for your tranny, but doubt it does much damage either. My tranny isn't under much of a load since I'm not on the throttle and slowing down.

I run full synthetic oil and change it often for peace of mind.

Nowadays, I rarely use the clutch to upshift. And, more and more often, I'm not using it to downshift either. I just stab it into whatever gear I need and don't expect to have any problems.

Guilty as charged for about 41 years worth. OUCH I'm a bad boy! Benz

I ride a brisk pace on trail but its not a race so i use the clutch always but maybe without thinking on hard acceleration i might up-shift without it, but if i get left behind on trail its usually not because of the mille-seconds i take to fan the clutch on downshifts unfortunately.

I lost time when i rode in Enduros more to taking the wrong options over obstacles or bog-holes :D

I rode my old Norton Commando home once 60 miles with a broken clutch cable with two stop-starts from red lights so maybe thats why i appreciate a perfectly good working clutch cable :)

I use the clutch only when I have to. This saves my arm pump for later on, and when I need the clutch I can actually pull it in. Like they say above, just don't do it on pavement, and don't do it on the gas.

If it was hurting the transmission to shift it without the clutch you would be able to hear/feel the resistance when you shift. Everything I've ever ridden just slipped right into gear, like it was designed to work that way. :)

im too worried about when my training wheels are coming off to learn how and when to use the clutch. :)

I'm no expert but here's a datapoint for you. I kept burning the plates on my Suz TC 125 (many years ago), got so torked off that I disabled the clutch altogether. Rode it that way for a year......thank G.d for low range....

I never use the clutch offroad except for rare occasions such as drBillz outlined.

Wear and tear on tranny you ask? Well the clutch is part of tranny and it wears out whenever you use it, so dont use it.. except onroad.

I try to use the clutch while shifting down but when shifting up I can rarely resist to do it without the clutch. It´s just so much easier and quicker...

Is that what the lever is called?

In the early to mid `70s I only used the clutch in racing for the starts and to (slip) rev the engine for power.

Now with the DRZ-S (not racing anymore) I shift clutchless for safety reasons. I.E. when on a bumpy section and need to get to the next gear , either up or down, so I can hang on better.

I feel that if you are racing, then go for it and forget the clutch if you want. If you break something, then you've broken are racing!!

For the old guys like me (41) and riding from trail to trail on our S models, I feel that the civility comes out of us and we indeed use that funny lever on the right, I mean left. But an occassional clutchless shift won't leave you stranded.

Hey, if you're only 41, you are a young guy. I use my clutch on road sections (connecting the trails, ride an "S"). I do use it some in the woods when I'm not really pushing it, but have no hesitation in NOT using it when I don't wanna let go for whatever reason. You just let off on the gas a bit when upshifting; noi problems on downshifts.


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