Gear Change and Topic Change

It’s just a clunky gear change.

You just need to “double de-clutch” :laughing:


Huw, bach, surely Nicky is too young to know what that means? Cars nowadays are more likely to be automatic than need double de-clutching to change gear! :wink: :blue_car:

I fully realised, of course, that double de-clutching is a lost art. I have no idea how old Nicky is, but my remark was not aimed at him, it was a light-hearted response to robbruce’s post. It was aimed at the significant number of us who do remember the joy of achieving a “clunk-free” gear change by double de-clutching.

Perhaps I ought to give an explanation of the term for the others (sorry for this unintended diversion).
Cars, manual and automatic, cope with varying loads, hills etc by altering the relationship between the engine speed and road wheel speed (the so-called velocity ratio). This is achieved by a range of gears which can be chosen and engaged by means of a clutch which connects or disconnects the drive from the engine. This has for some decades been carried out by a cone-shaped device (synchromesh) which smoothly and noiselessly matches the engine speed to the rotating shaft which is connected to the road wheels. For a smaller number of decades the whole process is carried out by various types of automatic transmission which obviate the need for a clutch entirely.

Before syncromesh and automatic transmission, the challenge to the driver was to match the speed of the engine to the drive by the following method.

  1. Depress the clutch pedal and select neutral.
  2. Give the engine a quick burst of throttle to raise its speed.
  3. Quickly depress the clutch pedal and slide the gear selector into the desired gear.
    This is called double de-clutching and, if you could carry it off without grinding or clunking the gears, it was tremendously staisfying.

My aim is to be able to provide this explanation entirely in Welsh within one year. :wink: Now, back to the topic, please, with my sincere apologies for the diversion.


Yes, I always double-de-clutch, even with modern cars. I’m convinced it lengthens the life of the gear-box.

OK, so the modern equivalent is “constant speed gear change” or something, but I’ve never mastered that.

I think I achieved either that or its precise opposite, when I was learning to drive – I have a distinct memory of being so distracted by making sure not to hit either side of the Monnow Bridge that I forgot to use the clutch at all – but as I just happened to lose revs whilst gaining speed (or vice-versa) it somehow just worked anyway!


I learned to drive in 1962 in a mini which didn’t have synchromesh between bottom and second gear. It was a nightmare - I failed my test. It was only later that i became slick at double de-clutching. :smile:

BTW @JohnYoung, I’ve heard that double de-clutching where you have synchromesh can be harmful. You might like to take expert advice. :slight_smile:

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Safe to say I often fail to do this when going into reverse…:flushed:

You learnt to drive in Monmouth?! So did I!
And now when I go back I feel ridiculously nervous while stood under the now-pedestrianised Monnow Bridge as I can’t help expecting a vehicle to come through at any moment!

I took my test in Monmouth too (epic waits for Worcester, and warned off Gloucester and Cheltenham for their quirks).

Didn’t get to drive over Monnow Bridge (pedestrianised by 2005), but more than 12 years later I still don’t like driving through the tunnel on the A40 towards Abergavenny, as it was drilled into me that was an automatic fail!

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Inspired by Scandiniavian rally drivers, we went into the world of clutch less gear changes.
(strangely , when i showed my boss it was possible in his land rover, he was not impressed)!

Cheers J.P.


Do, es i i’r Ysgol Trefynwy – the Boys’ School – so I’ve pretty much never been back for fear of bumping into too many past members of old first 15s!

Someone showed me in the 70’s how to change gear without the clutch. It came in handy when my (real) Citroen D’s clutch disintegrated in Yorkshire on the way back to Abertillery. :slight_smile:

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We had the patented ‘Variomatic’ rubber band in our family DAF…
No clutch or nothing needed.


I remember driving my auntie’s DAF very well (Dutch make wasn’t it?). The problem was that she rarely drove over 20 mph / 30 kph so that I think there was a groove worn into the sliding cone device. :smile: (a)
I also had a Raleigh moped which operated on the same sliding belt principle.
(Is it just me, or is this much more interesting than talking about Welsh? :laughing:)

(a) - some good Physics involved - centripetal / centrifugal forces :smile:


You’d notice some big changes in the town now - not that I manage to get back too often, but I get updates from friends on FB and my dad. I went to the Comp but went rowing a lot, so knew a lot of the Boys’ School crews.

It is just you… :wink:

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Back in the previous topic, I tried a light hearted comment to @hewrop to the effect that he was showing his age by mentioning double-declutching. I never expected this:exclamation:
After all, I only knew about it because my Dad drove a 1936 Morris 8 until the early 60’s!! (Lovely car, we had it all over England and Wales, took it on amateur car rallies and Treasure Hunts… I was navigator from age 11!!!) :wink: :smile: Dad did the maintenance - replaced virtually everything except the chassis!! :grinning:

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Did you ever get flooded, Siaron?

My firm is working at the Comp. The ground on the hill behind and to the left of the original school has been strengthened to take new buildings.

The pupils have been in temporary portacabin class rooms on stilts to avoid the flooding problem.

I mentioned elsewhere that the Aldi/Lidl? automatic checkouts are bilingual and there are plenty of large Welsh signs.

Not in the house, luckily, but I certainly had to wade into town on occasions. The rowing club (understandably given it’s location!) and Old Dixton Road into the Comp were often flooded, and still do flood, but I’m from the Overmonnow part of town, so I remember big floods along Watery Lane (not called that for nothing!), Rockfield Road, Drybridge Street and Wonastow Road, although new drainage systems built since then have cured some of these roads completely and lessened others (although Wonastow Road still gets a fair bit).

I’ve seen various photos of the work on the Comp but not been back to see for myself since the work started - I think it’ll really weird me out when I do!

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Just to be clear, I spilt this topic off firstly because my introduction of the double de-clutch issue was clearly way off the original thread and secondly because there was a significant interest in it which has been borne out by the fact that the post count in this spin-off currently stands at 20. :slight_smile:
I hope you’re enjoying this petrolhead side discussion as much as I am. :smile: