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I would ride very differently if I did not rely on engine braking.

To be dramatic: for me, not hearing the popping and cracklings of a speed-breaking ST litre-bike would be like the day that music died for Don McLean.


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What nobody has mentioned (and what was emphasized in my advanced riding class) is that you have much better control while under engine power, even in the friction zone. It is much easier to stop smoothly if you use the friction zone (clutch partially engaged) until just before final stop. This does not have to be first gear but that is the MSF preference. Never or seldom should you coast a motorcycle because you lose critical control when you do so. Just my 2 cents.
The way I see it as well: coasting is a no go in my riding.
 

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I'm a new rider and I have a question about shifting and whether or not I am doing something correctly.

When I approach a traffic signal and need to stop, I understand that I need to downshift into first, but I'm not sure whteher or not I need to release the clutch prior to me wanting to accelerate again.

What I'm doing is this...

Say I'm going 35mph and in second gear when a traffic signals turns red in front of me. I continue in second gear until I'm relatively close to the light, and then I pull the clutch in and coast until I get under 5 or 10 mph, and then click down on the shifter and continue braking until I'm stopped. I've never release the clutch. I keep holding the clutch in until the light changes to green and then I release it while throttling to resume.

My question is if what I am doing above is correct or if I should be releasing the clutch prior to coming to a stop and then pulling it in again to keep the bike from stalling at a standstill.

If I downshift into first from second at two high of a speed, I've locked the rear tire. If I wait until I'm going 10mph or so to downshift from second to first and need to pull in, downshift, let it out, and then pull it again, it's a lot for me to fit into two seconds or so.

Thanks for helping!

What you are doing here is not wrong, especially since you qualify all this by saying you are a new rider. What I hear as the most important part of this post is when you say "It's a lot for me to fit in..." and that when you do try and fit it in, you have had issues with locking up the rear tire. I would continue with what you are are doing for a while until you get extremely comfortable with performing these actions without it taking up too much brainpower. When you can do these actions comfortably and without thought, then you may want to work on shifting to first, letting out the clutch and then coming to a full stop as coasting is generally not the best technique and you do want to have the bike in gear and ready in case you need to move quickly or take action. Progress comes in small increments. Take your time and work up to it safely as I'd hate for you to get the impression that what you are doing it WRONG but get into trouble locking up the rear or getting flustered trying to correct too early in your riding. I hope that made sense :)

Safe riding!
 
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