Motorcycling is one of the most fun things people can do, so everyone who rides a motorcycle should try to get better at it. Rev-matching is a skill that you can’t forget about.
“Rev-matching” is the term for the technique in which the rider briefly blips the throttle to speed up the engine to match the speed of the road while downshifting.
People who blip the throttle as they come to a stoplight are often made fun of. Most of them, though, are rev-matched to reduce engine braking and keep the chassis from shaking or the back tyre from locking up.
How new riders keep their wheels from locking up when downshifting: Most new riders keep their rear wheels from locking up by slowly letting go of the clutch after downshifting. This method is fine for someone who is just learning to ride, but eventually they should try to switch to the rev-matching method.
Slowly letting go of the clutch to keep the wheels from locking up wears out the clutch and makes it harder for the rider to shift down quickly when braking hard for a turn.
What to do? For the rev-matching technique, you quickly open the throttle and then close it while pressing down on the clutch, shifting down, and then letting go of the clutch.
For a smooth downshift, it’s important to time all of these steps just right. Of course, it will take some practise to get the timing right. Repeat this process every time you shift down, and rev-matching will become second nature over time. Read some great motorcycle quotes.
What kind of motorcycles do better when the engine speeds are matched? V-twin and single-cylinder engines, for sure, because they produce a lot of engine braking that can easily lock up the rear tyre, even at low engine speeds. On the other hand, at normal cruising speeds, there is less engine braking with an inline-four engine.
But an Inline-four engine revs a lot higher than other kinds of engines. This means that at higher rpm, the engine braking on an Inline-four engine can be very strong.
Most sportbikes these days have a slipper clutch that lets the rider not worry about matching the revs. Still, you shouldn’t depend on the slipper clutch alone; it should only be used as an extra help or safety net.
Is rev-matching bad for clutch?
No. Rev-matching is good for both the clutch and the gearbox if it is done right. If you don’t match the engine speed before shifting down, you must be slipping the clutch after shifting down. This causes the clutch to wear out faster because it uses friction to make the downshift smooth.
If you do rev-matching right, you can almost immediately let go of the clutch after shifting into the lower gear. So, the clutch can connect to the drivetrain quickly and without much stress. It’s the same with the gearbox.