DOWNSHIFTING There are two reasons to downshift—to slow your bike, or to adjust the engine's rpm to make more power. The first, slowing, is inefficient—that's why you have brakes, and brake pads are less expensive to replace than rings, bearings, and pistons. The proper technique? For an upcoming curve, use your brakes to slow in advance of the turn, anticipating what gear you'll need to use to exit the turn. As you're slowing, downshift the bike, releasing the clutch as you finish braking.