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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie question...

Never tracked a bike before, but will be taking the 959 this summer. I have been watching some videos of people tracking their Panigales, and noticed that some of them blip on the downshift while others let the clutch out and have the slipper clutch do the work.

Is there a right or wrong way? Or does it come down to the lateness of the braking? I imagine you could let the slipper clutch do the work, but would need to give it more time.

I know this a more general question about tracking a bike, but wasn’t sure how the 959’s slipper clutch compared.
 

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@nickname89 good question, I am curious about that too, I know in a car you would want to blip ie heel and toe as part of braking and down shifting to maintain the weight balance of the car so you would think that would apply on the bike as well but like you I have not tried a bike on track yet...
 

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For me, installing a slipper clutch in my 899 was solely for safety and it is not an alternative to good throttle control and practicing precise braking into corners. In fact, I keep my engine braking at the highest setting and on the RR it is almost eliminated altogether thanks to the pronounced engine run on. I would find it hard for me to rely on downshifting and having the engine slow me consistently and predictably when approaching a corner.

Not being an instructor or hard core track addict, I can only say that 'I think' you will be far better off establishing good braking habits and learning to rev match in the correct gear to maximize your exit speed and improve your feel of smoothly rolling on the throttle and precision timing.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For me, installing a slipper clutch in my 899 was solely for safety and it is not an alternative to good throttle control and practicing precise braking into corners. In fact, I keep my engine braking at the highest setting and on the RR it is almost eliminated altogether thanks to the pronounced engine run on. I would find it hard for me to rely on downshifting and having the engine slow me consistently and predictably when approaching a corner.

Not being an instructor or hard core track addict, I can only say that 'I think' you will be far better off establishing good braking habits and learning to rev match in the correct gear to maximize your exit speed and improve your feel of smoothly rolling on the throttle and precision timing.
Yeah, the idea of using only the slipper clutch terrifies me. I was going into it expecting to downshift, but asked because I saw the videos of people not blipping.
 

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Yeah, the idea of using only the slipper clutch terrifies me. I was going into it expecting to downshift, but asked because I saw the videos of people not blipping.
I can tell you that I have dumped the clutch on more than one occasion and the slipper is quite effective at mitigating the risk of destabilizing the rear. Once you gain some confidence in its functionality, you will likely learn to trust it as you ride more aggressively.
 

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For me, installing a slipper clutch in my 899 was solely for safety and it is not an alternative to good throttle control and practicing precise braking into corners. In fact, I keep my engine braking at the highest setting and on the RR it is almost eliminated altogether thanks to the pronounced engine run on. I would find it hard for me to rely on downshifting and having the engine slow me consistently and predictably when approaching a corner.

Not being an instructor or hard core track addict, I can only say that 'I think' you will be far better off establishing good braking habits and learning to rev match in the correct gear to maximize your exit speed and improve your feel of smoothly rolling on the throttle and precision timing.
Good advice and when I am instructing I always emphasis brakes for slowing down, gears for maintaining or increasing speed and when coming into a corner if you think you are too hot focus on the braking not the down shifting, better safe then upside down...
 

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Last summer (2nd track season on the 959) I started ignoring rev matching and just relied on the slipper. Man did it take a while to get used to keeping the throttle completely closed.

I found that I had more control/focus over the initial bite leaving the downshifts later in the brake zone than I would when rev matching, which moved my brake markers deeper. I trail brake quite a bit and I'm getting used to downshifting while leaned over pretty far. The back end will get loose but I can easily gather it up before the apex and keep a smooth throttle until track out.

Please note this is running EBC 1, the more aggressive engine brake settings may give a completely different experience!!!

Rev matching will make it butter smooth but for me that is not a necessity. So much in motorcycles is personal preference. I came from MotoX so a loose bike doesn't bother me at all, rear wheel lift is a non-issue too, while that will really freak some people out.
 

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I rev-match just because I like it, but I've heard many instructors and pro riders say it's not necessary, even without a slipper. If you don't have a slipper, just downshift and let the clutch out slowly. The basic idea is that it's one less thing to think about, which free's up mental bandwidth to focus on other tasks such as braking points, line, or BP.

It's very common for fast riders on track to downshift without rev-matching at all. Some of the guys with a slipper will even drop 2-3 gears at time and just dump the clutch. Seems crazy but it works.
 

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I've become accustomed to twisting the throttle before I downshift - whenever I ride. @nickname89 - there's no right or wrong way, per-se, however doing it tends to upset the bike less because the engine doesn't have to work as hard to catch up to the wheelspeed in gearing - if that makes any sense! Like previously mentioned the slipper clutch does its job extremely well on the 959 - banging the clutch is never a good idea whether slowing down or getting off to a start... that's my opinion.
 

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I've become accustomed to twisting the throttle before I downshift - whenever I ride. @nickname89 - there's no right or wrong way, per-se, however doing it tends to upset the bike less because the engine doesn't have to work as hard to catch up to the wheelspeed in gearing - if that makes any sense! Like previously mentioned the slipper clutch does its job extremely well on the 959 - banging the clutch is never a good idea whether slowing down or getting off to a start... that's my opinion.
Key point IMHO. If you are at the limits of traction, pushing the contact patch for maximum braking, or combining the demands on the tire with lean angle and braking, the last thing you want to do is demand more from your tires by upsetting the front/rear weigh distribution or side loads with a sudden lurch.

If you are not smooth, the traction limits at the upper margins can easily be exceeded, hence the need for rev matching to keep the bike as settled as possible.

Good read from a real pro and great instructor:
https://www.cycleworld.com/2013/10/18/motorcycle-riding-skills-how-to-downshift-like-a-pro
 

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@Pard I absolutely agree with you and there is a huge amount of wiggle room of when and where I would be doing this. Mainly I was referring to hard braking zones (end of straights etc.) where the rear end is just about to lift off the ground.

I'm usually <7k RPM, in this area there is almost no feeling that the rear is dragging to catch up in the RPMs. I have a track day video posted in the Track Day forum going from @140-50MPH with two downshifts and you can hear that the engine isn't stressed.

There is one corner (slow down hill right hander) that I will trail brake into and downshift where the rear gets really squirrely because there is more weight on the rear, but I use that similar to trailing the rear brake, just a hint to add weight transfer to the rear as I throttle out.

I do miss the fun blip before swapping gears, sounds awesome and I will still do it on the street and when I want to be smooth on certain transitions, but for me it gives me too much to think about if I am trying to maximize the braking.
 

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Dropping the clutch even with a slipper will upset the bike. Same with over-engine braking which also decreases rear tire and engine life. Both of which I constantly strive to avoid as a life-long learning endeavor. For me, rev-matching does involve simultaneously blimping the throttle while down-shifting in the lower gear range. In the higher gear range however, simply being steady on the throttle is sufficient to blimp into a lower gear. Being smooth is the operative word and that too for me, is a life-long learning endeavor.
 
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@nickname89 good question, I am curious about that too, I know in a car you would want to blip ie heel and toe as part of braking and down shifting to maintain the weight balance of the car so you would think that would apply on the bike as well but like you I have not tried a bike on track yet...
On that note, FYI, I'm registered for ART at Cali on May 28, 2018.
https://www.bmwmcottawa.ca/art/
 
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I do all my downshifts at once under braking, so no rev matching because I'm on the brakes, even without a slipper clutch. So I'm not sure what you mean by rev matching or letting the slipper do its job.
 

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Here is a random video (not of me) of what it typically sounds like. Blipping the throttle is corner specific and depends on your riding style. Don't dump the clutch, just let it out smoothly...quickly and smooth I should say. But keep your fingers on the lever until the corner apex in case the rear steps out too far under braking.
 

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I do all my downshifts at once under braking, so no rev matching because I'm on the brakes, even without a slipper clutch. So I'm not sure what you mean by rev matching or letting the slipper do its job.
Here is an excellent video of the controls being used for rev matching and braking. Watch carefully at the end of the high speed straight before turn 1, doing 150 mph, at around 1:45 on the video.





 

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I do all my downshifts at once under braking, so no rev matching because I'm on the brakes, even without a slipper clutch. So I'm not sure what you mean by rev matching or letting the slipper do its job.
In your case, you're letting the slipper account for the rev match and/or using the clutch lever to act as the slipper.


There's a reason why auto-blippers exist (to rev match) and slipper clutches ultimately just help smoothen everything out.
 
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I did my first track day in 2004. The 1199 is the first bike I've tracked that has had any rider aids whatsoever. I installed a mechanical slipper on my previous bike (848) and it did wonders. I prefer a lot of free-wheeling so on the 1199 & 959 I run my EBC on the lowest (least intrusive) setting. The 959 has the mechanical slipper as well, which I wish the 1199 had. Even with the the EBC on low, the 1199 still has too much engine brake for my liking. There are a few tracks I ride with 2nd gear corners and the rear will almost always break loose even when blipping. Perhaps it's more of a habit, but I always blip between downshifts to match engine revs. I can ride the fastest / smoothest that way.
 

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There are a few tracks I ride with 2nd gear corners and the rear will almost always break loose even when blipping. Perhaps it's more of a habit, but I always blip between downshifts to match engine revs. I can ride the fastest / smoothest that way.
Because the delta from 3rd to 2nd (1.25) is greater than the delta from 5th to 4th (1.145) it requires more blimping to achieve the same rev-matching as you would from down-shifting from the higher gears.
 
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