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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

Just got my first bike a couple days ago, a 2021 Ninja 400 ABS, and I've been enjoying it a lot! I've been riding locally and practicing around my neighborhood for the last few days but I've been getting confused with how I should be slowing down/downshifting. What I was taught at the MSF course was to engage the clutch and slow down with the brakes, which is what I've been doing. Basically, when I'm in 2nd/3rd gear and coming to a red light, I fully engage the clutch, use both brakes, and downshift through the gears as I cruise till I reach 1st gear before stopping. Is this a good way to be slowing down?

I've heard about rev-matching and engine braking so I get confused if my current way is the wrong way to be slowing down. The closest thing to me slowing down in a different way is letting off the throttle a bit and using some rear brake at the same time but I would usually speed back up again. I viewed some videos/articles about rev-matching/engine braking but I'm still a little bit lost and I'm hoping if someone could assist me or guide me to the correct forum posts for more help.

Sorry if I'm asking something basic, I just want to make sure if what I'm doing is right or wrong and thought joining this community was the best place for help! 馃榾
 

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Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new Ninja, you'll love it! :D

Engine-braking with rev-matching is something you'll figure out soon enough...for now as a freshly minted rider with a couple of days experience under your belt, I'd recommend concentrating on your basic riding craft, lane positioning, head-checks, body and head positioning, and slow-speed riding (whether that be in a straight line simulating following slow traffic, or maneuvers like tight turns in a carpark). Gradually add to your collection of skills, these things take time, so no need to overwhelm yourself by trying to learn too much all at once. Get the basics right, then you can build from there. ;)
 

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Engine braking is when you release the throttle and the engine slows you down. Then you downshift to slow down even more. What you'll find with the Ninja is that the engine brake is really strong and will slow you down quite quickly. But to echo mbikeboy, keep practicing and riding. You will quickly figure out how it all comes together. I engine brake when slowing down and it is a good way to coast to a stop without using the brakes but it is something you will figure out the more you ride.

Congratulations on the new toy. Keep riding and you will learn as you go. I still am.
 

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As Emonkie said, engine braking is releasing the throttle to slow the engine down and then it dropping down a gear to repeat. In basic-bitch terms, rev-matching is blipping the throttle before doing that and matches the gearbox and engine speed when changing down a gear, which increases that effect and synchronises them. This will take time to understand and do by feel/sound, and is NOT necessary for you to worry about for now as a freshly minted rider. Focus on the basics for now, and it will all start to "click" in a few months time, then you can focus on engine braking to add to your arsenal of skills. :)
 

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Rev-matching is something which I've only just got my head around on this bike (only done 214klm's in since new), and I have still not quite figured out the sweet-spots just yet. Did it all the time on my Mito 125, SV650S, Street Triple, BMW X-Challenge, BMW G310GS without thinking, and they're all a little bit different in behaviours. Give it time to focus on your riding craft for now, then you can add this string to your bow ok mate. :)
 

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Welcome to the forum, and the life of 2wheels.
I'm no riding instructor, butt I believe rev matching pertains to up or down shifting, 'n matching the engine revs to whatever speed yer going, to whatever gear yer in.
When up shifting through the gears, you want the shifts to be smooth; pull in the clutch, as yer letting off the gas, snick it into the next gear, and as yer letting out the clutch, you want the engine speed to match wheel speed. Too much RPMs, 'n yer bobble head leans, back, not enough revs, when you let out the clutch, 'n yer bobble head tilts forward. You always want the bobble head to remain centered.
Beginning riding is hard cuz there's always so much to thing about, the main thing is to relax, 'n be smooth shifting, braking, and turning.
Sounds like you got the right idea, practicing where you don't have to worry about taxi cabs running over you. :LOL:
Just remember to words of the great prophet Sade while riding....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you mbikeboy,Emonkie,Banjoboy! You guys definitely cleared up my confusion with engine braking/rev-matching. I will continue to practice my basics for now before learning more! 馃榾馃榾 Thank you again!
 

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Just focus on the basics, and get them right in the comfort of a quiet carpark. There's an older Indian guy around the corner on a Honda CB250 from me who practices every Sunday afternoon who was new, and I see him there each weekend. I helped adjust his levers and gave him some feedback about head and body position, and he's improved so much! Heck, I've even joined in with my bike a few times just to refresh my skills, and it's actually fun just sloooooowing things down to concentrate on basic skills. ;)
 
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