Why are gear changes important?

If you’re like me and can’t say goodbye to a god ol’ clutch and run through gear changes, you probably drive a manual car. If that’s the case, then you know the saying :

“What goes up must come down”… except for the RPM needle.

This, of all things, belongs to the higher end of the spectrum.

Since a standard D14 cuts at around 7K rpm, it’s useless to me having a 8K rev limiter. I dont’ have the need ( as of yet ) for a high redline gauge cluster.

In fact, it’s distracting, and often misleading. I’ve hit the safe cut on the car more than I would like to when I changed the cluster, after 1 and 1/2 years not driving this thing, so as you can imagine, it wasn’t fun relearning all that again (ngl, it was a bit fun).

Honda EK4 Pre-facelift gauge cluster. Comes standard with 9K RPM. Hopefully I’ll be able to cross the 7K RPM limiter later on the build, once my faithful D14 gives way to a B-series.

After a while you get the hang of it, you know the car is asking for the next gear, not only sound but through your body too. It’s a slight change, but you can feel the torque numbers dropping as the RPM’s keep going up to 7K.

So, that means that knowing when to shift is obviously important. But, knowing when to downshift is even more important.

Can you be smooth with the clutch as you heel-toe?


Can you tell if the clutch and the engine are going to be synced perfectly when that left foot backs of the third pedal?


Are you calculating everything to stay in that perfect spot in the torque curve when the gear goes down?

EK9 OEM Shiftknob. Great weight, full titanium option if you’re looking for smoother gear changes.

The challenge is often the reward. When the spirits are high and you’re cruising normally, these things should click naturally to you.

Because in an actual scenario where you have to chase, or lead, it can be quite different.

You can try as much as you want to get every shift right, but you’re not going to get it if you’re not smooth.

So, remember:

Don’t blip the gas too much, don’t drop the clutch too fast.

That’s the only thing.

Keep practicing, stay safe!

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