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Hi Guys, I don't get in very often but I need your advice. My nephew has been riding for a little over two years now. He wants to start doing track days. My main question is about his wanting to reverse his shift pattern. Would this be beneficial for him? As I wrote before, he is a low time rider.
He just purchased a 600 GSX-R Suzuki ( He wouldn't listen to me about 675 Daytona). He has been through the MSF course and is doing a lot of performance upgades.

What I want to know is have any of you done this and does it really help. All advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
 

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GP shift might be beneficial on the track, but not really on the street. It cuts down on false neutrals, and helps your foot be in a better position when exiting a turn...
 

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If he wants to change it, the question is, why shouldn't he? Afterall, I'm pretty sure it can be done by just turning the gear shift arm the other way in the shaft. Should be a 2 minute thing.

In my opinion it doesn't really matter on the street, but on the track a reverse pattern is better. Mind you, I know a lot of people who are a lot faster than me and ride with a normal pattern
 

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If he changes the shift pattern on one bike, he should change it on everything he rides. Downshifting by accident is a good way to blow up an engine and launch a nasty highside crash. For what its worth, I have thought about changing to GP shift a number of times, but it never got important enough to do it. Most of my trackday buddies ride with a street pattern, including some of the fastest guys I know. If he is going to go racing, and tenths matter, then maybe it is a good idea, but not always. There have been guys who raced in motoGP with a street pattern in the past, but I can't tell you who they were off the top of my head.

The best performance modification is a software upgrade in the rider's head. Before my TT600 blew up, it was "faster" than some liter bikes around the track. The 675 is a lot faster than some of the same bikes, even though it has a lot less horsepower. It is bone stock. There are other, smaller, less powerful bikes that are a lot faster than my bike. Their mental software upgrades are a little farther along than mine!
 

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On 2006-12-10 11:22, Will wrote:
If he changes the shift pattern on one bike, he should change it on everything he rides.
That's true. When I got my R6 I accidentally downshifted at 15K rpm a few times. It wasn't fun for me and I bet it wasn't too good for the bike either
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies, It means a lot to me. My nephew wants to go really fast a little to soon for his experience.
He does listen to me about bikes. I gave him his first ride and then was the one who taught him how to ride. So with your help here I can maybe get him to advance in stages according to his ability.

Again Thanks
 

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i did my first track day after less than 1 1/2 years of riding, and from my experience i think your nephew should worry more about butterflies in his stomach first, then shift patterns.
im assuming he will go in with the C group, which he should if hes a first timer, so he probably doesnt know jack about track riding. he should learn shifting his butt off the seat and braking points before shift patterns.
 

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On 2006-12-10 11:22, Will wrote:
... tenths matter, then maybe it is a good idea, ...
If you are on the track and a few tenths actually can be gained, why wouldn't it be a good thing to do? I mean, what reason is there for NOT changing the shift pattern around?

Just wondering.
 

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On 2006-12-17 09:18, SlowPocono wrote:
On 2006-12-10 11:22, Will wrote:
... tenths matter, then maybe it is a good idea, ...
If you are on the track and a few tenths actually can be gained, why wouldn't it be a good thing to do? I mean, what reason is there for NOT changing the shift pattern around?

Just wondering.
because IMHO he wil be Cr*ppig his pants out there on his first track day, it will be hard enough learning lines and breaking points as well as others in the group getting really close at speed, the last thing you want to be doing is coasting into corners cos your brain is having to remember which way to go to change down, its all about doing things in stages and not doing everythingat once. Course if you reverse the gear change and ride a few weeks, or if you dont ride much months then gearchanging will be second nature reversed but till then leave it well alone. Again thats in MHO.
 

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If you are thinking about shaving tenths at a trackday, and thinking about doing it with hardware upgrades rather than improving your riding, you have the wrong mindset. Trackday operators will tell you exactly the same thing.

I am about to get dogmatic here, so bear with me. A trackday is about having fun learning to ride your bike better. It isn't a race, and those people who think it is are a real PITA to deal with during trackdays. There is a guy who thinks he is Valentino Rossi and has a very trick Ducati 999 to go with his attitude. His tires are always fancy race tires. He rides like *****, and I can roast him on a stock 675 with street tires, trick bits or no trick bits. He tries to block people in corners and generally does all kinds of things that you would do in a competitive environment, but that are uncalled for during a track day. Another rider almost punched him out at the end of a track day last summer.

Don't let your nephew get like that. Tenths don't matter. He will pick up tens of seconds after a few trackdays without even touching his bike. The most important thing he can do is change the oil and make sure the plug is in tight and the fileter is spun on so it won't leak. And fresh enough tires. If he starts worrying about how fast he is, he WILL crash and he WILL destroy his bike and he might hurt himself in the process. A friend stuffed his bike into an embankment trying to go too fast too soon, and it cost hiim a whole lot of repairs. He was uninjured but his bike was a mess. Not to mention that he missed out on the rest of the trackday and several more while he was rebuilding the bike. That really puts a damper on how much fun you have.

As far as turning the shift pattern upside down, read what Keith Code has to say about how much you can pay attenion to, then think about changing the shift pattern so you have to actually remember which way the lever goes, then report back. Your comments (or his, more to the point) will be interesting.

I have pretty strong opinions about this. Can you tell? :)

[ This message was edited by: Will on 2006-12-17 15:19 ]
 

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Okay, that's all valid.

But consider this. If he gets really into it, starts racing etc. where a reverse pattern is beneficial, why not learn to use it right away? All the riding I had done before getting a trackday bike was on a standard pattern, and believe me, it's not an easy thing to un-learn when it comes from your spine. And when things go wrong, they usually tend to go more wrong if you are faster.

I know, there's a lot of other stuff to learn on track days too. The point I'm trying to get through is, a reverse pattern isn't worse than a normal pattern in any kind of use, so I kinda miss the point why he (or anyone for that matter) shouldn't reverse it, if he's new to track days. IMO it's better to get used to it straight away, if there's the slightest possibility he'll want to use it later.

Anyway, the problem with new track riders often in my experience lies not within gearchange, the problems are the brakings (too snappy in and out, too small margins, locking the rear wheel) and speeds regarding situations (straights they go flat out and corners at a speed so slow they almost tip over). When I went to the track for the 1st time, someone told me "Just think about your lines. You don't necessarily need to shift and don't brake at all. Always take the straights at a speed you know you're capable of taking the next corner in. Do this and eventually when you get faster you'll know when it's time to start shifting and braking." ***** that was a good piece of advice.
 

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As an outsider with no experience at all of track riding and less than 12 months on the road (and making a number of assumptions), I thought I'd throw in my 2p.

I think it's too much too soon. A Gixxer, even a 600, isn't exactly a slow bit of kit. If he's just got it, I think he should be getting used to it and its power before making performance upgrades. Then, once he's used to it and can throw it around confidently, it's time to think about it.

He'd probably benefit more from taking a slower bike around the course and exploiting it - finding its limits, than a fast bike that is probably better than he is, when he won't find them. And when he does, it'll be messy.

I think the shift pattern is largely irrelevant at this time. Getting on a normal bike afterwards is bound to be a little strange and unsettling.

Clearly he's his own man and will do as he wants. If he's serious about racing, maybe it's the right thing to do. If he wants to do trackdays occasionally, it's probably overkill.

Did I rant then? Sorry. It was with the best of intentions.
 

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Unless he is already exceptionally gifted and showing and stunning talent then don't worry about the flash upgrades and shift pattern.
To mirror what Will said and IMHO buy Keith Codes "Twist of the wrist II" (ISBN 0-9650450-2-1) and invest time and energy into learning the craft and being smooth.
If he is obsessed with using a race shift pattern then ride with it all the time so it becomes second nature otherwise he will be wasting precious reaction time on working out which way to shift.
 

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I understand the potential problems top level racers might have with street shift patterns. Anyone know why streetbikes don't use the 'race' shift pattern? I can't see a disadvantage -- except breaking years of precedent.

BTW -- last I checked Matt Mladin uses a standard shift pattern in AMA superbike, and he seems to get around the track at a pretty good pace! :-D
 

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I was scraping the pegs and shift lever on the S4 at the track so I put on rearsets. Initially I intended to use regular shift pattern but the rearsets bolted on easier (fit better) in the reverse pattern so that's how I mounted them. I can tell you my next time out on the track (it was probably my 4th or 5th track day ever) I definately was spending a lot of concentration just on shifting correctly, and a couple times I accidentally downshifted instead of upshifting while going WOT at the rev-limiter, not good.

If he wants to reverse the shift pattern have him do it well before his next track event and let him get enough practice in so that the new shift pattern becomes second nature well before he hits the track.
 

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There are a few reasons that the reversed pattern is typical on race bikes. As I understand it, upshifting during cornering is easier that way, and shifting in a crouch is easier when you just have to stomp on the lever. It keeps your toes more out of the way. Downshifting is a bit trickier but you generally do that under braking and you are getting ready to turn, so your toes don't end up as close to the asphalt. I didn't know Mladin uses a standard pattern. I wish I could remember who it was that used it in MotoGP. I know that there was a Suzuki rider who used it- Schwantz maybe.

Just to reinforce- the shift pattern isn't important. It is being consistent. If you use a race pattern on the track, use a race pattern on the street. I can't tell you how screwed up I get on old Brit bikes with the right side shift. You really have to pay attention, and that isn't what you want to pay attention to on the track.

I got a lot out of both Twist of the Wrist books, for what that is worth.
 

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I figured since the thread has gotten this long, why not throw in my opinion. I have never been to the track, but I am thinking about getting into that eventually. IMHO, a 600 GSXR can go a hell of a lot faster and brake a hell of a lot quicker than the rider could ever hang on; same with most newer bikes. All the time I hear people talking about small upgrades--like a reverse shift pattern--that give you a small advantage over stock, but the majority of the people talking about the upgrades probably would never go fast enough to realize the difference. Sure, if you are a professional racer you will obviously need ever bit of advantage, but jp99tbirdnm's nephew is far from pro and has a lot more things to worry about than a ***** shifter. In my experiences, it's the guys who go out and buy ever bolt on performance part they can before they have experience who end up flipping their d*cks off. Anyways, that's my opinion; take it slow and get to know yourself, the bike, and the track. I don't even understand why so many people are worried about jumping into having the top of the line equipment and being "the best"? Do they not plan on being alive the next weekend to advance a little more? :???:
 

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It was Schwantz Will... worked pretty well for him!

Zane
 
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