Home » How to Apply for a Motorcycle License » Motorcycle Permit Test Questions & Answers » If you need to downshift while riding downhill or shift into first gear, you may need to:
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If you need to downshift while riding downhill or shift into first gear, you may need to:

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Use this motorcycle practice test question to prepare for the real written exam at the DMV or during your motorcycle safety course

If you need to downshift while riding downhill or shift into first gear, you may need to:

  1. Squeeze the clutch to coast before downshifting.
  2. Use the throttle to speed up before downshifting. 
  3. Use the brakes to slow down before downshifting. 
  4. Upshift before downshifting. 

Find the answer to this question and an explanation below. 


This topic may show up on your motorcycle permit test. 

The answer is: C. Use the brakes to slow down before downshifting. 

How’d you do? Learn more about this motorcycle topic below. 

Explanation: Downshifting on a Motorcycle

In order to pass your motorcycle permit exams and to become a safe rider, it’s important to know why a particular answer on the motorcycle written test is correct. 

When you downshift, you need to be riding slowly enough so that the motorcycle doesn’t lurch forward and the rear wheel doesn’t skid. 

If you are riding downhill or shifting into first gear, you may need to use the brakes to slow down to an appropriate speed before you complete the downshift. 

Remember to use both brakes at once to slow down enough, and then complete the downshift by:

  • Rolling off the throttle.
  • Squeezing the clutch lever. 
  • Pressing down on the shift lever. 
  • Easing out the clutch lever. 
  • Rolling on the throttle. 

Use a smooth, even clutch release when downshifting to avoiding any lurching or skids. 

You can find more information about this topic in the motorcycle rider’s handbook.

Check out more motorcycle permit test questions and answers here.

Find in-depth articles for new riders in our section dedicated to learning how to ride a motorcycle.

Plus, check out an overview of the requirements to get a motorcycle endorsement in each state.

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Content Editor: Ethan Orenstein

Ethan is not just any motorcycle enthusiast. With a decade of experience riding, maintaining, and restoring a range of motorcycles, Ethan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Many of the tips and tricks shared on this site are born from hours spent wrenching on personal bikes. Paired with his experience as a journalist covering DMV & insurance topics, MotorcycleZombies.com is a must-visit site for any home-mechanic. Every article has been carefully reviewed and edited to ensure accuracy, authenticity, and simplicity - all to help bring your bike back from the dead and onto the road.

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