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Is it ''ok'' to take off in 2nd gear?

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hi, its a 5 speed dual sport yamaha xt250, (im still very new to motorcycles in general), just wondering if i am at a dead stop, instead of taking off in 1st gear is it ok to take off in 2nd gear?

Reason i ask, is cause just for whatever reason i tried it today, i figured the bike would just stall and that would be it, but if i gave it enough gas it took off just fine and i skipped that whole 1st to 2nd gear short shift.

So is it ok to do this? can this hurt 2nd gear? or is it just fine and people sometimes take off in 2nd gear?

thanks.

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Your clutch will wear out a bit faster if you need to slip it for a longer time while taking off, but otherwise it's not a problem. In racing, we start in 2nd gear all the time, sometimes in 3rd in special conditions.

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It would only hurt if you had to slip the clutch excessively to keep from stalling. If you've got low (off-road) gearing, then you need even less slipping to get going. I used to do it all the time in traffic when you really didn't come to a DEAD stop... or like maybe a STOP sign. Sorry officer....

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What does ''clutch slip'' mean? im assuming holding in the clutch and slowly releasing it?

and yeah, i mainly want to do this in traffic, like red lights and stuff, it just saves that 1st gear shift that needs to happen right away, so i start off in 2nd, then shift to 3rd and im allready doing 35 so its comfortable.

Did not think about the clutch tho, if its gonna wear it down, i might stop doing this.

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You can start in just about any gear if you work the throttle and clutch right... That said, if you are slipping the clutch a lot you'll wear it out faster. Slipping the clutch is when it is partially engaged.

Starting like this is not bad for the transmission. I would say it is actually better that if say you use a lower gear to get away with dumping the clutch and suddenly "shocking" the transmission with load. What potentially could damage the transmission and other parts of the engine is grenading a clutch plate and chewing on it for a while, so make sure you check it every once in a while for excessive wear.

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and yeah, i mainly want to do this in traffic, like red lights and stuff, it just saves that 1st gear shift that needs to happen right away, so i start off in 2nd, then shift to 3rd and im allready doing 35 so its comfortable.

spin the wheel not the clutch. If you cant spin the wheel then you need to be in first.

Yeah, cause that's how you want to ride on the street side of the dual sport equation :smirk:

To the OP, it's a non issue. Motorcycle clutches are different than car clutches. MC clutches are designed with the knowledge that they will be slipped frequently/often. Even if you do wear it out, it's a very simple and relatively cheap fix. Actually, clutches are considered wear items. The service interval is about the highest of any wear item on a bike, but it's still a wear item nonetheless. Unless you're really bad about it, I bet you can get several 100s of hours before you wear your clutch out. Hell, I skip 1st in my stick shift cars and trucks a lot too. My truck had 160k on the odo when I sold it and still was on the original clutch.

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Thanks for the info guys, and thanks CBus660R, i originally posted this thread in the general dirt bike section, and for some reason it was moved to the off road riding technique section??

i do not do or want to do this off road, only on road, in traffic, but now that i hear its ok to do this, thats cool, i thought that it might be putting too much stress on 2nd gear to start in it, but since its ok, i will keep doing this in traffic, makes street riding a lot easier and faster to start in 2nd at times.

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I launch my cbr600 at full throttle in second gear when racing. Now this is obviously not every stop light, but just illustrates how strong motorcycle transmissions are and how the clutches are made to take a beating.

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I'm sure you are fine. My bike only sees first gear in very gnarly, technical single track. I always start out in 2nd. Try this test, start out in third. I bet you will have to slip the clutch a lot and use a lot of throttle to get rolling. Then you will understand excessive clutch slipping. Motorcycle clutches in general though take slipping much better than a car clutch.

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Great, thanks for all the info, glad its doable and others do it as well.

if i start in 1st gear, i have to upshift to 2nd at about 12-15mph, if i start in 2nd gear, i then need to upshift at around 28-30 to 3rd, so that will make it much more comfortable for on road riding.

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Maybe I missed it but I'm surprised no one mentioned that your motorcycle clutch is bathe in oil. Not like a dry clutch in a car.

It may wear a little faster due to a longer slip to get moving but it's not going to burn up.

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Maybe I missed it but I'm surprised no one mentioned that your motorcycle clutch is bathe in oil. Not like a dry clutch in a car.

It may wear a little faster due to a longer slip to get moving but it's not going to burn up.

That's a good point, and I'll also add if you slip the clutch a lot, you'll probably want to change your oil and filter (if you got one!) more often than if you don't.

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If you slip the clutch, obviously there is more friction and wear to the clutch plates. Not too big a deal on bikes because they are meant to slip easily and are cooled by the oil, don't need to worry about hotspots/glazing/warping as you would with a dry clutch.

You may also be able to take off in a higher gear without slipping the clutch very much or stalling, but that does put a higher load on the engine which will increase engine wear to a degree. The more gear reduction you have, the less work the engine has to do to get you moving.

It really just depends on the vehicle though, they all have different torque curves and gear ratios. Throttle and clutch transitions should be smooth and quick, the engine will generally let you know if you are doing something wrong.

I go through 6 gears to casually reach 55mph in my car though, so it's never bothered me doing the same on a bike.

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Even though a mc clutch is a wet clutch, you can still fry it, it's just harder to do than a dry clutch. I have seen mc clutches used in offroad race bikes (ridden by pro-level riders) that are absolutely destroyed. The steel plates will turn blue they get so hot. The Honda CRF450R is notorious for eating clutches, and it has a wet clutch.

Use your clutch as it is intended, and it will last a very, very long time. Starting a normal takeoff in second gear falls within normal use and it will last a long time. Abuse it, and oil or no oil, you will burn it up. Just because a clutch is wet does not mean that it is unbreakable.

TheIncident88, 762SPR, 2PLY hate to disagree with yall on an internet board, but I don't want the OP to get the wrong idea that just because his bike is a wet clutch, that it won't burn up. It can, it just takes some serious abuse.

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well, what im going to try is to change my front sprocket from a 15 to a 16, that way 1st gear might be a bit better and i wont have to start off by going from 2nd gear.

Thanks for all the knowledge on here, i truly appreciate it, and will change my oil around 600 miles or so, so the clutch and all have nice fresh oil, ill be using MOBIL 1 full synthetic 20w-50, since its a air cooled bike.

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Even though a mc clutch is a wet clutch, you can still fry it, it's just harder to do than a dry clutch. I have seen mc clutches used in offroad race bikes (ridden by pro-level riders) that are absolutely destroyed. The steel plates will turn blue they get so hot. The Honda CRF450R is notorious for eating clutches, and it has a wet clutch.

Use your clutch as it is intended, and it will last a very, very long time. Starting a normal takeoff in second gear falls within normal use and it will last a long time. Abuse it, and oil or no oil, you will burn it up. Just because a clutch is wet does not mean that it is unbreakable.

TheIncident88, 762SPR, 2PLY hate to disagree with yall on an internet board, but I don't want the OP to get the wrong idea that just because his bike is a wet clutch, that it won't burn up. It can, it just takes some serious abuse.

Don't sweat it, I'm no expert here!

Just for discussion sake, aren't Hondas wet sump? I would imagine a dry sump system with more oil, like on a Yamaha would run a little cooler.

Big heavy powerful 450s slipping clutches... All that energy needs to go somewhere! It's a little easier on a 150 pound trials bike with a full sized clutch, and you need to work the clutch a LOT on those little things!

I don't think the OP needs to worry about burning his clutch doing 2nd gear takeoffs on the road though:thumbsup:

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