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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, I just got my Kawasaki Ninja 650R 2009. I am in the process of breaking it in (currently have 80 miles on it). I am trying to stay between 4k and 5k RPM before shifting to next gear. My question is about down shifting or engine braking:

Right now when I am riding and I need to slow down because of traffic in front of me I let go of the throttle slowly, I wait for the RPM's to go down to like 3-3.5K, I pull in the clutch and I down shift, after that I slowly release the clutch. At that point my RPM's go up to like 5k and I feel the bike slowing down.

I then read on a lot of forums that when I pull in the clutch and when I down shift, I should apply some throttle to match the RPM's to the speed I am going. Since then I am practicing that and I am getting better at it and it does feel at a lot smoother.

My questions is for the first 70 miles, did I hurt my bike in any way when I was NOT giving it some throttle in order to match the RPM's? I just hope I didn't do anything to the bike by just releasing the clutch while engine braking.

Thanks for all of your help, I love these forums and I have learned a lot :)
 

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You'll be fine. That whole break procedure stuff is just insurance for the dealership. Go through 2-3 tanks then ride it how you want.
 

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Took my tuner 20 min to "break in" my race motor on my old civic.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thats what the guy told me at the place that I bought my bike. I asked him about break in period and he told me fill up your tank couple times and your good.

The only thing I worry about is damaging something during my engine braking when I didn't match the RPM's before releasing the clutch.
 

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I worry but you really worry lol. It says max 4k rpm for the first 500 miles and 6k max from 500-1000 miles. I can tell that the first 250 miles that the bike has really smoothed out and im at about 250 right not. I have been learning to throttle match when taking off but not downshifting. I would think unless your climbing over 6 or 7k with your downshifts throttle matching probably isnt that big of a deal. Maybe just let your clutch out slow. Hey im a newbie what do i know.
 

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On the engine breaking subject I don't throttle match. Most f the time there isn't enough time to. I just downshift while breaking. Rpms never really get too high.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, I worry about stuff like that a lot, probably too much haha. I am pretty good on take off and stuff, and I am getting better when down shifting. But as you can see, I did 70 miles not matching the RPM's while down shifting and I am freaking out here haha.
 

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I doubt any harm is done to the engine for the few times you did it. When you have the down shifting done right you should not feel your body lurching forward, drastic engine breaking or gains in RPM. It'll take a bit of practice but eventually you should be able to downshift from any gear like 6th gear going 65MPH to 5th gear for passing power without feeling the engine breaking effect. Much like your experience, when I first started practicing downshift and engine breaking the effect was some what like this: Going 30MPH, engage clutch, downshift and slowly disengage clutch, then felt a sudden decrease in speed, body lurched forward a bit due to the engine breaking effect, and then roll on throttle. I knew this can't be the proper effect so more practice time was put in.

For safety purpose practice this going 25MPH, brake lightly with the front brake while keeping the engine rev slightly up, engage clutch, downshift, disengage clutch slowly, roll on throttle and feels almost no engine breaking effect. The speed transition is neither a harsh sudden drop of speed or increase of speed. It should be a smooth transition.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I doubt any harm is done to the engine for the few times you did it. When you have the down shifting done right you should not feel your body lurching forward, drastic engine breaking or gains in RPM. It'll take a bit of practice but eventually you should be able to downshift from any gear like 6th gear going 65MPH to 5th gear for passing power without feeling the engine breaking effect. Much like your experience, when I first started practicing downshift and engine breaking the effect was some what like this: Going 30MPH, engage clutch, downshift and slowly disengage clutch, then felt a sudden decrease in speed, body lurched forward a bit due to the engine breaking effect, and then roll on throttle. I knew this can't be the proper effect so more practice time was put in.

For safety purpose practice this going 25MPH, brake lightly with the front brake while keeping the engine rev slightly up, engage clutch, downshift, disengage clutch slowly, roll on throttle and feels almost no engine breaking effect. The speed transition is neither a harsh sudden drop of speed or increase of speed. It should be a smooth transition.
What you described is exactly what I feel if I do not match the RPM's. I am getting better at it and it does come out smooth like I don't even feel the transition between the gears. But like you said, it takes practice, the more I do it the better I get.
 

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Just go down one gear at a time when slowing down to engine brake while blipping the throttle slightly and you should be fine... I don't know why you would want to break your engine :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just go down one gear at a time when slowing down to engine brake while blipping the throttle slightly and you should be fine... I don't know why you would want to break your engine :)
haha sorry for the spelling, I am typing on my phone at work at it automatically puts in a word when I start typing. I am trying to get some answers before I get home so I can just go riding :) I don't know what I would do without you guys :)
 

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You wherent going fast enough for it to matter that you down shifted a gear without blipping the throttle. If your cruising at 4k rpms and down shift whats the highest rpm it even got to 7k?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
You wherent going fast enough for it to matter that you down shifted a gear without blipping the throttle. If your cruising at 4k rpms and down shift whats the highest rpm it even got to 7k?
Probably the highest that it gets is between 5-6k when I down shift. I usually down shift when I get to 3k RPM, so it never gets above 6 if even that.

What RPM would it have to get to for it to even be a problem when I down shift without blipping?
 

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What RPM would it have to get to for it to even be a problem when I down shift without blipping?
I think anything over 5K without blipping the throttle is going to cause some trouble in one shape or form. You'll either be launched from the bike due to the hard engine braking or the rear wheel will skid and you may lose control. I think what you need to do is get to know your road speed to RPM by feel of your thigh/knees against the tank vibration. If I remember correctly 4th gear at 3.8K -4K RPM produces a 40-45MPH speedometer readout. The same road speed of 40-45MPH on 3rd gear is more along the line of 4.5K to 5K rpm. To shift as smooth as possible from 4th at 40-45MPH down to 3rd, you blip the throttle or slightly rev engine to around 4k-4.3K then make the downshift.
 

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You should be fine. A good break in involves a good accelerating and decelerating. Even if you hit the 6-7k rpm while breaking in nothing will be damaged.
Make sure you change engine oil early (before 150 miles or so) to ensure the early metal debris are cleaned up.
Then do another change at the first service. My 2 cents....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I think anything over 5K without blipping the throttle is going to cause some trouble in one shape or form. You'll either be launched from the bike due to the hard engine braking or the rear wheel will skid and you may lose control. I think what you need to do is get to know your road speed to RPM by feel of your thigh/knees against the tank vibration. If I remember correctly 4th gear at 3.8K -4K RPM produces a 40-45MPH speedometer readout. The same road speed of 40-45MPH on 3rd gear is more along the line of 4.5K to 5K rpm. To shift as smooth as possible from 4th at 40-45MPH down to 3rd, you blip the throttle or slightly rev engine to around 4k-4.3K then make the downshift.

I was doing that today. I think i did close to 40 miles of driving today and I was able to practice switching up and down at different RPM's. My riding is getting smoother but still needs work. Like you said, I need to get to know my bike and at the speeds are at what RPM's so I know where my RPM's need to be when i am shifting. Thanks for all the great advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You should be fine. A good break in involves a good accelerating and decelerating. Even if you hit the 6-7k rpm while breaking in nothing will be damaged.
Make sure you change engine oil early (before 150 miles or so) to ensure the early metal debris are cleaned up.
Then do another change at the first service. My 2 cents....
I was actually thinking of changing the oil at 200 and then at 600. I guess I can change it a little earlier. Should I get the oil and filter at the dealership where I got the bike? I am planning on changing the oil myself. Any recommendation on the oil type and filter?

Maybe tomorrow when I get a chance I will try to get my bike to higher RPM's. Should I get up to 6-7K on all gears 2-6? Thanks for all the advice.
 

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I would recommend changing the oil and filter at the Kawa dealer or at a good mechanic. You'll have plenty of time to play around and change them yourself later on, but as it is a new bike better let the professionals do it the first time.

You don't have to go as high as 6-7k rpm but if you do it won't do any harm. Yes, make sure you run through all the gears. Try not to stay too long in the highway as you would tend to stay at a constant rpm for too long there.

Some people actually recommend to change the oil and filter as early as the first 50 miles, but I changed mine around 100-150 miles.
 
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