Can Driving in The Wrong Gear Destroy My Motorcycle?

All motorcycles come with gears, and these gears are there to keep you accelerated and put a load on your engine according to your speed. Can driving in the wrong gear destroy my motorcycle? This is a question that many riders think about when riding their bike. And this is what we are going to answer in today’s post.

The gears in the bike engage the engine and keep it connected with the clutch. When you pull the clutch, the engine disengages. It’s a way to keep the horsepower and mechanics of your engine in control.

As you accelerate, your engine begins to produce high sounds. And when it is pitching high, it’s time to shift the gear.

So, if you drive in the wrong gears, you will damage your engine slowly but surely. Unfortunately, this is one of the impaired driving habits that drivers and riders tend to develop as soon as those “L” plates are gone.

Here’s why you should keep your vehicle in the right gear at all times!

What Purpose Do Gears Serve?

To understand how can driving in the wrong gear destroy my motorcycle, we first need to know the gear’s function.

How Motorcycle gear works?

What are gears

Gears are important mechanisms that are kept together using teeth, and they are used to transmit rotary motion from a shaft to the next. They allow you to increase the speed of the working mechanics and increase their force.

These gears keep your engine at a rotational speed. As a result, the engine can create a desirable amount of power. As your engine turns faster, it will consume more fuel and produce more power. These gears are capable of rotating up to a maximum speed.

Gears are for a particular speed range. The first gear provides the engine with a lot of power to make it move at a low speed. As soon as you reach a reasonable speed, you need to select the higher gear.

When you shift the gear, you put the engine at its lower end speed. Then you accelerate again to reach the next higher portion and keep doing it until the maximum vehicle speed limit is attained.

What if these gears weren’t there?

So, what would have happened if these gears weren’t there? Can’t we make cars that don’t have gears? Well, gears are in every vehicle. But, the automatic ones don’t make you shift gears manually. It automatically shifts following the speed.

If these gears weren’t there, your engine wouldn’t have been able to generate the required force. Think about it as if your bike starts right from its peak engine speed as soon as you twist the throttle. That would be pretty cool, but that would create unnecessary force, resulting in engine damage.

It’s “0-60 mph” at a whole new level! You would lose control, and none of us would begin riding straight on the track. Your engine needs to be rotating with the right amount of torque, which is not possible without gears.

Can Driving in the Wrong Gears Damage My Motorcycle?

Can Driving in Wrong Gears Damage My Motorcycle

Whether you like it or not, being in the right gear is critical for your engine’s overall health. If you drive it in the wrong gears too much, your engine will experience unnecessary wear and tear.

An engine must rotate around 2000 to 4000 revolutions per minute for optimal performance. For keeping the RPM in this range, you have to alter the gear ratio right between the tires and engine depending upon the speed of the turning wheel.

Just think about starting pedaling in high gears when standing still on a bike. Getting to move the bike will become very difficult for you, and you will have to put in a lot of energy for that. It will be a lot easier to start in a lower gear. Your motorbike engine works the same way.

But as you start going faster and shift the gear, there will be less stress until the highest point in that portion reaches, and you have to shift the gear again.

You have to be in the right gear to match the torque and the engine’s rotation. Going at a higher speed with a lower gear is impossible because the engine’s machines don’t work that way. So, you will have to downshift, or the engine will bring the speed down after a lot of exertion. This results in too much load on the engine, and wear and tear are inevitable.

When you are riding in a higher gear, and the speed is low, you will notice your engine begins to struggle. It’s not getting enough torque for the revolutions. It’s working hard to match them. So, this is not the right position for the engine to be in as well. This is precisely why driving in the wrong gear is damaging for your engine.

How Can You Tell If You’re Driving in the Wrong Gear?

How Can You Tell If You're Driving in the Wrong Gear

The next thing up in answering the question of “can driving in the wrong gear destroy my motorcycle” is how to know that the bike is going in the wrong gear?

When you are driving in the wrong gears, your engine will begin to produce high pitch sounds. It would feel as if it is going to blow up.

And then there is a case where your engine begins to hum low, seems sputtering, or halts with a jerk. This is where you are riding at a very high gear for the speed that is too low.

Many modern-day motorcycles come with meters that show the revolutions of your engine. There is a green zone on this meter, and this is where your engine is happy.

This is the zone you need to keep your bike engine, and it’s the right gear to move for the speed you are going at. If you don’t have this kind of meter, you can always identify the right gear by listening to the engine sound.

How to Change Gears?

How to Change Gears

So, what’s the right way to change gears? In most cases, you end up in the wrong gears while hard accelerating or quick gear changes. On the other hand, you might end up in the wrong gear or missing a gear entirely.

You will notice your engine makes a pretty weird sound, which can be very embarrassing for you. Plus, you will also damage your bike this way.

The good thing is that your motorbike has linear gears, and you will only have to press your foot once to change the gears. It’s not the directional shifting of gears like in a car.

But there is a disadvantage here that you don’t know the current gear of your bike. So, you will only have to judge it with the engine noise. If the engine makes high pitch sounds, you are in too low gear for the speed.  

And when the engine is stuttering, you are in a gear that is too high for this speed. Some modern motorbikes come with gear indicator lights that tell you about the current gear.


Can I go from 4th to 2nd gear directly?

Yes, you can skip a gear when going up or down in most modern motorbikes. This is because the contemporary bike transmission has advanced, and you don’t have to use the gears in between. Still, you have to sift through them as bike gears are not directional like those in cars.

Is it bad to drive in 2nd gear for too long?

As long as you match the torque and engine revolutions, you can continue to ride in 2nd gear. But for fuel economy, you need to shift into third gear, which becomes much easier for your bike.

What is the right gear when driving uphill?

When you are going uphill, you need to downshift to a lower gear to prevent your engine from struggling and give it enough power. Likewise, when you drive downhill, you need to go slower and refrain your brakes from overheating.


Still wondering how can driving in the wrong gear destroy my motorcycle”? Driving in the wrong gears can significantly damage your engine both in the long and short run.

It would be best if you listen to what your engine is saying. The sounds it makes will tell you what gear you should be in. Most modern bikes come with gear indicators along with the revs meter.

Gear shifting is a thing of the past with automatic transmission. However, some modern bikes do come with manual transmission. Gears are there for a purpose, and you need to run to match the torque and the engine’s revolution to keep your bike going at an optimum speed with ideal fuel consumption. In addition, it will prevent your engine’s unnecessary wear and tear.