Motorcycle Reverse Gear | Are There Any Bikes with this Function?

Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

There are many bikes with reverse gears like Yamaha Star Venture TC, BMW K1600, Piaggio MP3 500 trike, Honda Gold Wing, Can-Am Spyder, Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra, Kymco UXV 700, Suzuki Burgman 650, Gilera Fuoco 500, Aprilia SRV 850, etc.

Key Takeaways

  • The reverse gear system of a motorcycle allows the bike to move backward
  • Reverse gears on motorcycles have a lower top speed when driving reverse
  • Revers gear comes in very handy in tight spaces or when backing out of a parking spot
  • The reverse gear on a motorcycle uses a separate gear train or chain to power the rear wheel in the opposite direction

Main Features Of Motorcycle Reverse Gear

Large MotorcyclesOnly large, heavy motorcycles include a reverse gear 
Starter Motor
Motorcycle reverse is operated from the starter motor and not from the gearbox
Limited Speed
Unlike cars, motorcycle reverse offers a manned speed
Independent SwitchTo use the reverse gear, a separate switch is used from the gearshift lever
True UtilityThis feature is incorporated as large motorcycles have a tight turning range 

How Does The Reverse Gear Of A Motorcycle Work?

To be able to mention in a more detailed way the motorcycles that include this system, it is necessary to know what exactly this system is about. So, it’s about knowing the main basics when putting a motorcycle in reverse gear. Of course, the system is not the same when considering the reverse gear of a car. 

So, it is necessary to start by mentioning the main necessary controls used on a motorcycle. Mentioning these controls will make it much easier to understand how the motorcycle reverse works.

1. First, the clutch is used to disengage and engage the transmission of these vehicles.

2. Secondly, the throttle manages to introduce air to bring about internal combustion in the motorcycle engine.

3. The gear selector is simply used to choose the different gears of the motorcycle when accelerating or decelerating.

4. The gearing mode on motorcycles is not the same on all vehicles. So each gear mode requires specific functionality when considering all motorcycle models that exist.

5. The correct clutch disengagement requires the use of the left hand. The driver must use this hand to pull the clutch in the same direction.

6. To select the most appropriate gear according to the speed of the vehicle, the shift lever must be used. Most riders always use their left foot because of the similar design among all motorcycle models on the market. 

Additionally, there are some important techniques that motorcyclists are familiar with to properly use the vehicle’s gears. Of course, just as with a car, the clutch must be released gradually and not too abruptly. This simply prevents the smooth acceleration of the motorcycle at any time.

When the rider squeezes the throttle as the clutch is released, the motorcycle simply continues to accelerate. So, this excessive and harsh acceleration can produce a major imbalance for the rider. Therefore, it is necessary to wait until the clutch is fully released before pressing the throttle.

Using your right hand to turn the throttle is a good way to gain speed smoothly. In this way, the engine can be accelerated to a lesser degree than with other techniques. Overall, this can provide a much higher and more responsible driving quality.

Only when the engine is accelerating to a certain extent should another shift be achieved. The same thing happens when the engine is slowing down too much with the same gear. When the driver waits for the right moment to change gears, the engine provides better performance and speed.

1. Shifting Your Motorcycle

On the one hand, the instinct of an experienced driver is more than enough to know the exact moment and change gears. Of course, this instinct can fail and it is recommended to rely on basic gearing principles instead. A gear that is too high in normal situations is not recommended to be used.

When it comes to a certain acceleration, high gear should not be used too early. Each of the gears of a vehicle is designed to suit a certain speed. Therefore, if you choose a gear with the wrong acceleration you will not have a good engine performance. Sometimes the engine and the vehicle simply turn off. 

Additionally, other people may decide to jump into some gears at a high speed. Many people even wonder if this is beneficial to accelerate in a shorter distance or in less time. Beyond that, the experts here do not agree that you can get significant acceleration by skipping a gear.

The only benefit sometimes is the saving of gasoline. However, for this to happen, this technique must be mastered and it must be done correctly. When it comes to a parking lot, normal motorcycles need the first gear on a steep slope.

Also, the motorcycle can be parked on flat terrain, even if the neutral gear is active. When dealing with a heavy motorcycle, it is recommended that you use reverse gear to prevent the vehicle from moving. This is where we should mention exactly what motorcycle reverse is all about. 

2. Reversal Operation On A Motorcycle

Of course, this is a very striking system since most motorcycles do not have a reverse gear included. Most motorcycles do not need reverse gear due to the total weight of each vehicle. The turning radius of a motorcycle is very small compared to four-wheeled vehicles.

Also, the main reason is that almost all motorcycles do not need to be reversed at some point in their life. So, the reduced turning radius allows a motorcycle to easily change direction. It’s more than enough to use either a standard or neutral gear and the front wheel to choose the driver’s preferred direction.

In this sense, using the neutral gear also serves to be able to move this vehicle without turning it on. Here, the wheels and the lightweight of the vehicle are more than sufficient for the driver to move the motorcycle in the desired direction. Also, the shape of this vehicle is another point against including the reverse gear.

As all drivers know, the balance of a motorcycle is lower compared to a four-wheeled vehicle. That’s why putting a motorcycle in reverse can be dangerous for most people. Novice riders may simply roll over when using the vehicle in reverse on many occasions.

That’s why reversing is usually only included when the motorcycles are really wide, heavy, and large. In these cases, it is insufficient to use the wheels in combination with a neutral gear to be able to move the vehicle. In turn, since it is a larger motorcycle, the turning radius is less reduced than other lighter models.

Thus, reverse gear is used to provide a greater ability to move in reverse. Also, a car is reversed by the operation of the engine gears. In contrast, the reverse of a motorcycle is done from the starter motor. Thus, the reverse of a motorcycle is more limited compared to that of a car.

This means that the speed of a motorcycle’s reverse is only limited by manpower. Therefore, this system is only designed to allow the driver to walk with the motorcycle in reverse. This operation can drain the motorcycle battery at too high a rate.

In contrast, the speed of the reverse in a car is similar to the speed of the first gear. In turn, backing up a car does not drain the battery excessively. That is why these are two very different shifting systems. 

Main Components Of The Reversing System 

Understanding the functionality of each of these components allows the driver to better utilize this system. At the same time, as we have mentioned, it is a very different system compared to the reverse gear of a car.

1. Main Axle Side Gear: This particular component is connected to the main axle. In turn, the location is set on the motorcycle’s gearbox.

2. Countershaft Side Gear: When considering the countershaft in the motorcycle’s gearbox, we can find this component.

3. Idler Gear: This is one of the components that work next to the counter-shaft side gear.

4. The Shifter: This is a component that supports the idle gear in two different ways. On the one hand, this component allows the spur gear to be located while it is in a separate position. On the other hand, it also allows the side gear to be disengaged from the main shaft. This process occurs when the gear lever is in a retracted position. 

5. The Standby Unit: While the gear lever is in a retracted position, this component allows the gear lever to be temporarily kept in the same state. Besides, it allows the shift lever to be held when it is placed in a forward position.

6. Bearing Openings: In particular, these openings are formed in the gearshift lever. The length is taken into account according to the direction in which the gearshift lever is moved. Besides, this length must be greater than the diameter of a shaft member. 

Do Motorcycle Tricycles Have A Reverse Gear?

As we have mentioned, this is not a system that is very common when incorporated into a motorcycle beyond being a tricycle. However, some motorcycles such as the Harley Davidson Tri Glide Ultra model have reverse gear for easier parking. 

Beyond that, in this case, it is also a system that provides very little acceleration. So, parking will be a lot easier. However, this system is not used for other purposes. In turn, using reverse gear on a tricycle is more convenient due to the higher level of stability compared to a motorcycle.