Author Topic: Neutral Between 1st & 2nd Gear  (Read 1196 times)

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tooseevee

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on: January 21, 2024, 12:09:17 pm
Does anyone out there know the history & evolution of how it came to be that Neutral was placed between 1st & 2nd gear instead of just all the way at the bottom?

Just curious....
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Richard230

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Reply #1 on: January 21, 2024, 02:34:28 pm
I know that some early Japanese motorcycles had neutral at the bottom of the transmission gears. And some even had a "rotary" gear box, where you could shift directly from top gear to neutral and then into first gear. Apparently, this arrangement made sense in city stop and go riding like you would see in a dense city like Tokyo, where everyone was traveling slowly. But I suspect that the system of having neutral between first and second gears mostly had to do with the fact that most riders would not be in first gear when coming to a stop, but would most likely be in second gear. Plus, shifting into first while moving quickly would make more of a crunch if you had to shift into that gear than into second first before reaching neutral. The manufacturers found that it just made more sense to design gearboxes that way and no doubt the riders over the years preferred it that way, too.
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tooseevee

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Reply #2 on: January 21, 2024, 03:09:50 pm
But I suspect that the system of having neutral between first and second gears mostly had to do with the fact that most riders would not be in first gear when coming to a stop, but would most likely be in second gear.

          That makes perfect sense. Good show  :) Thanks.
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Richard230

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Reply #3 on: January 21, 2024, 04:08:08 pm
BTW, I think Bridgestone was one of the motorcycle manufacturers who used a "rotary" gear change system and might have been the last ones to do that when they stopped making motorcycles (and stuck to manufacturing tires) during the late 1960's.
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Leofric

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Reply #4 on: January 22, 2024, 02:40:34 am
          That makes perfect sense. Good show  :) Thanks.
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #5 on: January 23, 2024, 06:52:29 pm
My thought on tucking Neutral between 1st & 2nd is more pragmatic. If you are banging down thru the gears looking for more power to blast along or more compression braking, it's unsettling to end up in neutral, engine shrieking or suddenly coasting along or accelerating downhill, engine politely idling... :o ;D
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tooseevee

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Reply #6 on: January 24, 2024, 11:34:06 am
My thought on tucking Neutral between 1st & 2nd is more pragmatic. If you are banging down thru the gears looking for more power to blast along or more compression braking, it's unsettling to end up in neutral, engine shrieking or suddenly coasting along or accelerating downhill, engine politely idling... :o ;D

     It's also equally as bad as going all the way to 1st by accident when you're still moving at a 2nd gear road speed  :o  that can Reeely be a waker-upper  :)
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REpozer

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Reply #7 on: January 24, 2024, 05:21:13 pm
In my dirt bike days if you were going up hill and needed to down shift , you might have disastrous consequences if you accidentally down shifted into neutral instead of 1st gear. T his is the reason to have neutral between 1st and 2nd to avoid this .
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tooseevee

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Reply #8 on: January 24, 2024, 06:34:53 pm
In my dirt bike days if you were going up hill and needed to down shift , you might have disastrous consequences if you accidentally down shifted into neutral instead of 1st gear. T his is the reason to have neutral between 1st and 2nd to avoid this .

       Sorry. That makes no sense to me. Please explain.

       If you were blasting up a hill and had to downshift to 1st, you would BE in 2nd. So your chances of hitting Neutral & letting the clutch out, thereby instantly losing forward motion & falling down, would INcrease with Neutral being between 1st & 2nd.

        Or maybe I'm misreading you, but I read it a dozen times  :)
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axman88

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Reply #9 on: January 24, 2024, 10:45:17 pm
This source says, the "one down, then up" neutral location was mandated for USA street use as part of federal regulation in 1975, and that safety was the motivation.

https://www.crazyengineers.com/threads/1-down-and-4-up-shifting-pattern-in-motorbikes.59199

Generally one starts from neutral, and it's very quick and easy to hit 1rst by stomping down.  Similarly, very easy to bypass N on the way to 2nd shifting up.  With some deliberate, and practiced "selection" one can select N from 2nd on the way down, and this is generally preferred at road speeds, because 1rst ratio is not appropriate when coasting to a stop, only when accelerating from a standstill.

Because the midway N position requires a "half throw" movement, nobody expects to be in neutral after a "FULL throw" foot motion.  Neutral is only accessible via the more careful and precise "half" motion, and this is what makes it a safer arrangement.  Not because it's easier to get into, but because one is less likely to assume they are in N, when they are not.

According to the linked post, off road machines are not bound to the "mid position" N standard, and can still use alternate configurations.


him a layin

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Reply #10 on: January 31, 2024, 02:00:51 pm
my kawasaki h1 was "all up", neutral at the bottom, and i prefer that pattern. this "halfway up" (from first), or halfway down" (from second) to find neutral foolishness never made sense, likely some antiquated relic left over from primitive pre-70s technology. i guess it's a matter of what you learn on, but still...


REpozer

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Reply #11 on: February 01, 2024, 10:01:07 pm
       Sorry. That makes no sense to me. Please explain.

       If you were blasting up a hill and had to downshift to 1st, you would BE in 2nd. So your chances of hitting Neutral & letting the clutch out, thereby instantly losing forward motion & falling down, would INcrease with Neutral being between 1st & 2nd.

        Or maybe I'm misreading you, but I read it a dozen times  :)
Set up that way to down shift into 1st, while  missing neutral.
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tooseevee

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Reply #12 on: February 02, 2024, 11:53:48 am
Set up that way to down shift into 1st, while  missing neutral.

      Well, of course you mean to skip Neutral & hit 1st, but you missed my point which is if you DO hit Neutral climbing a steep incline very slowly in 2nd & let the clutch out you have completely lost all forward motion & you come a stop or fall down unless you can then try for 1st really really fast & keep going & that's just luck. 

        Anyway. I couldn't care less. Neutral is  fine where it is.
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #13 on: February 02, 2024, 10:42:20 pm
Isn't neutral supposed to be between every gear in the 4-speed? (1-N-2-N-3-N-4) ;D ;D ;D
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Richard230

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Reply #14 on: February 03, 2024, 12:51:19 am
Isn't neutral supposed to be between every gear in the 4-speed? (1-N-2-N-3-N-4) ;D ;D ;D

Not if you own a 1950's and early 1960's Japanese motorcycle.
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