It is normal that you expect to have the neutral at the bottom of the gear. When you try to put the gear at the bottom and release your clutch – it stops because the bike is not in the neutral but in the first gear, that is the reason why your bike stops.
You would have found that moving the bike when it is on gear is hard, the only way is to hold the clutch and move. If you have the gear in the neutral, you don’t have hold the clutch and you can freely move the bike.
Even though you don’t have to know about the clutch in the beginning of your dirt bike ride, it will definitely be helpful to have enough knowledge about shifting the gear into neutral.
Let’s look at how to find neutral on a dirt bike now. At first you need to have an idea about the order of the gear to find the neutral in your dirt bike.
Most bikes are 1 down and 4 or 5 up depending on the bike. Neutral is half way between 1st and 2nd gear.
Order of gears:
The gears on a manual dirt bike are almost always in this order (top to bottom).
6th gear (Top of the gear penal, if the model has 6 gears)
1st gear – (bottom of the gear pedal)
Exceptions to the above order:
Automatic transmission dirt bikes for kids (normally 50cc or 110cc dirt bikes).
Specialized racing bikes put neutral at the bottom, so it easier to turn up when cornering.
Some computer type bikes have neutral at the bottom.
Now your obvious question from the list above would be why the heck is the neutral gear not at the bottom, and why does it have to be in between the 1st and 2nd gear?
Everyone thinks like this during the initial days of having the bike, simply because they are frustrated in finding the neutral quickly and easily.
Why isn’t Neutral at the Bottom Gear?
In the beginning, it seemed so counter intuitive to have the neutral gear in between one and two on a dirt bike. It still seems a little annoying but there is actually a good reason for this.
Obviously it all comes from the necessity of the 1st gear. If you aren’t aware yet, the most important gear in the bike is the 1st gear for several reasons (both in terms of comfort and safety)
Let’s look how the 1st gear plays an important role and why it has grabbed the hot spot of the having it in the bottom position of the gear.
Reason 1: When you are driving the bike and come to a rapid stop, you often just stomp down multiple times on the gear shifter. Since you are doing it in the rapid pace, it will be very easy for you to land on the bottom gear. If you then needed to move forward immediately in stop and go traffic situation, you won’t be able to move if you are in the neutral gear, which could lead into a safety hazard.
Reason 2: As we know, getting into the bottom gear is very easy just by stomping down. When you are in front of the green signal, it will be effortless to just stomp to the bottom and move without delaying on your path. Assume if the bottom gear is neutral, you have click up and if you do it little hard you will be moving to 2nd gear instead of 1st, which will create undue acceleration or you will stall.
Reason 3: From the two points above, we are very clear that finding the first gear is more important than the neutral. We also know that we can reach the bottom of the gear easily just by stomping hard. Thus, it makes sense to make the 1st gear the lowest so it’s incredibly easy to find. If you can’t find neutral, you can always get its effect by just holding the clutch.
How to Get Into Neutral on a Dirt Bike
As we discussed above, neutral is between the first and second gear. Here’s the trick to get into neutral easily every time you try.
Go into first gear by stomping all the way down, which is easier (you would probably do this very well by now) and then just nudge the shift lever upward with your foot.
Do it slightly so it doesn’t feel like you changed the gear normally. If you nudge it hard it will directly go to second gear. You have to nudge slightly (something you push slowly not in the intention of change) it is also called a half click between 1st gear.
Finally, the trick is to nudge it less than you think you need to. Once you do this twice or thrice, you will get the hang of it and do it very easily next time.
Do You Really Need to Know Neutral to Ride a Dirt Bike in The Beginning?
For your first several rides you don’t need to stress about finding the neutral. In fact, you have no purpose to find the neutral for your first several rides to get accustomed to your dirt bike.
Let’s see how you ride your bike without neutral in the beginning.
Start your bike by pushing the gear to the bottom and hold your clutch and kick start. When your dirt bike starts, now let out the clutch slowly as you slightly rev up the gas and you will start moving forward.
Now keep your throttle hand in the same position without moving it and pull in the clutch and click up the gear shifter and let go of the clutch. Now you are in the second gear.
When you are ready to come to a stop, pull in the clutch and brake. Hold the clutch while you stop the bike.
That’s it! You actually don’t need the neutral at all to ride the dirt bike.
Eventually, you will still need to know the neutral position. The time where you will need the neutral is when you want to keep the bike idle for warming up or keep the bike idle for a small break instead of kick starting the bike again and again.
The tip above will help you find the neutral easily with little practice.
How Dirt Bike Manufacturers Can Help with This Problem:
Everyone who rides their dirt bike for the first time struggles with finding neutral on their bike. It stresses out a lot of people who don’t understand that the neutral is not really required predominantly to ride the bike except to keep the bike idle.
Bike manufacturers can help the bike rider by providing a small neutral indicator in the bike so that it is easy for the beginners to find the neutral. Nowadays, many bikes provide neutral light indicators, but some don’t.
It should be a common feature for the future dirt bike manufacturers, in spite of cheaper or costlier models. It is almost available in the commute ride on motorbikes nowadays.
This addon will be much helpful for dirt bike riders.