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What is shifting to a lower gear also known as?

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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

What is shifting to a lower gear also known as?

  1. Clutch slowing. 
  2. Friction braking.
  3. Engine speeding.
  4. Engine braking.

Find the answer to this question and an explanation below. 


This topic may show up on your motorcycle permit test. 

The answer is: D. Engine braking.

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

Explanation: Downshifting and Slowing Down

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. 

There are a few ways to slow down while riding a motorcycle. Obviously, you can use the brakes, but you can also take advantage of your motorcycle’s gears to reduce your speed. 

When you shift to a lower gear, it has a similar effect to using the brakes. 

Shifting to a lower gear to slow down is also known as engine braking. 

In most cases, you’ll shift down one gear at a time and use the friction zone to stabilize the engine speed with the travel speed. 

However, you can shift down more than one gear if you keep the clutch lever engaged. 

The key to engine braking is to practice working the clutch and the throttle to match the engine speed and travel speed smoothly to avoid jerking movements, over revving, or lugging your engine. 

Practice on using a smooth, controlled release of the clutch. 

Engine braking is useful when approaching a curve or when you’re approaching a section of road that requires you to slow down. 

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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