Average highway speed - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Here's my two cents. 43 tooth rear sprocket and stock front sprocket yielding 5000 rpm @ 70 mph. Average highway speed is so dependent on a slew of circumstances it wouldn't mean anything -except when taking those circumstances into account. On an Arizona or western New Mexico interstate, maintaining 80 to 85 is not difficult, and it's fairly comfortable unless there is a strong wind blowing.

I tend to ride in the 70 mph range because the faster I go the more concentration is required and I tend to miss the details of the ride. I prefer to ride for enjoyment rather than outright speed. It's more fun that way, and I crash a lot less too. That's a good thing.

I neglected to say (an after the fact edit) that with the 43 tooth rear sprocket my GPS and the speedo are within about 1/2 mph of each other. Good enough for me.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 10:35 AM
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On a stock front and 45T rear I get an indicated 6000 rpm at "80" indicated, more like 75 real mph, which is top end of speeds for comfortable cruising on busy interstates for me. Mostly due to the engine sounding 'stressed' over 6k and wake turbulences. I know its no big deal and have cruised higher for days, but its just bit more comfortable feeling with lower rpms.

On an empty highway, would hang at 80-85 with favorable winds

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 10:49 AM
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Out west here if you are under 80 you are roadkill.
I keep it at 6500-7000 RPM depending on specific highway, and that puts me at 85-90 indicated. Stock everything that matters. 2011 V650

At that speed I average 38-42 mpg
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 11:56 AM
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I usually go between 75 - 80 mph on the highways. These numbers are the stock speedometer numbers so these may not be accurate as I'm told the speedo can be off a few mph.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 12:33 PM
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16T front, stock rear. About 5000 @ 60mph in fifth. Use sixth gear when speed limit or traffic flow enables greater speeds. Speed accurate with 16T.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 12:39 PM
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85-90 out West
70-75 here
all day

The other day it was all kinds of hot & stuffy, and I had a brief freeway errand to run, so I left the brain bucket at home. I stuck my ear down by that tunnel that the forks go thru and listened real close at 75 mph. I can tell you that engine is completely relaxed and smooth at speed. No qualms.

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 12:46 PM
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What is your average, comfortable highway speed on your V650? Also please list if your bike is stock or if the sprocket gearing has been changed, and perhaps the average 6th gear rpm you are comfortable cruising at. Thanks! Steve
I TRY to avoid the "super-slab" when I'm riding, and TRY to be 'around' the speed limit.... [My Vs are stock gearing.]

BUT - when I check my GPS after a ride, SOMETIMES I see the "MAX SPEED" window at a [cough, cough] slightly higher number, such as 135 kph (84 mph). Must've passed someone....



But I DO get fuel mileage around 60+ mpgUS on my '15, 55 mpgUS on my '08.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 02:20 PM
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2015 V650, 16 tooth front sprocket, stock rear. As such I cruise (highway) between 70 @ just over 5000 rpm (indicated) and 80 @ just about 6000 rpm (indicated) in 6th gear. I do often leave it in 5th gear around 70 mph at just under 6000 rpm (I think). Truthfully, I try to avoid 6th gear (when I can) as it sometimes feels like it's struggling to maintain speed. I have been strongly considering an exhaust system from Leo Vince or Akropovic to reduce weight, get a little more exhaust note, and maybe rev a little freer?

Of course, I'm waiting for that re-flash you're working on before I commit to the system...no rush, no pressure...��

Last edited by mentolio; 08-11-2018 at 02:24 PM.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve in Sunny Fl View Post
What is your average, comfortable highway speed on your V650? Also please list if your bike is stock or if the sprocket gearing has been changed, and perhaps the average 6th gear rpm you are comfortable cruising at. Thanks! Steve
Don't forget the engine, like most motorcycle engines, is designed to operate at 6000-9000 rpm. It's not a low rpm car or HD engine. It needs to those extra RPMs to work as designed. It was never designed to lug all day at 4500 rpm like a HD engine.

I prefer stock gearing as it works well across a wide range of speed ranges if you vary your speed with different riding conditions - city, traffic, divided highway, back road, etc..

Last edited by twowheels; 08-11-2018 at 07:54 PM.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 07:51 PM
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i do 70-80 mph every day on the way to and from work on my mostly stock first gen 650, i have a 43or42 tooth rear sprocket (forgot to lazy to go look) , lowered and a givi windshield

yes im a guy.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 09:02 PM
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During the 30,000 miles I owned my Versys I never felt uncomfortable at any speed. Stock gearing.

Other bikes have had their sweet spots like the KLR at 65 mph or the Voyager at 2800 RPMs in 4th, 5th, and 6th.

My Versys Travels:


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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 03:38 PM
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...Other bikes have had their sweet spots like the KLR at 65 mph....
IF the KLR has a "sweet-spot", it's PROBABLY parked, at ZERO mph....


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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 04:12 PM
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on my 2008 V, no specific place but when i hit approx 80 mph/6000 rpm, the engine does start sounding "harsh" (breathing) with somewhat more vibration from that point on. it's like something always turns on at that predictable point. however, it still has significant power and can easily blow past 18 wheelers @ greater than 90-95 mph, fully loaded for touring/camping. below 80 mph, it's easy going, smooth sailing at any speed.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 04:14 PM
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on my 2008 V, no specific place but when i hit approx 80 mph/6000 rpm, the engine does start sounding "harsh" (breathing) with somewhat more vibration from that point on. it's like something always turns on at that predictable point. however, it still has significant power and can easily blow past 18 wheelers @ greater than 90-95 mph, fully loaded for touring/camping. below 80 mph, it's easy going, smooth sailing at any speed.
btw, stock front sprocket, 44t rear.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 04:40 PM
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IF the KLR has a "sweet-spot", it's PROBABLY parked, at ZERO mph....

My '08 KLR 650 was a nice bike once everything was sorted. Of course the previous owner did all the sorting. I could take that bike places i would never consider taking the Versys.

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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 09:44 PM
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75 to 80 here. That's with stock gearing.

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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 07:58 AM
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I ride a 2015 V 650 all stock. Road speeds vary from 55-75 mph around here. Anything above 55, sixth gear is fine. Anything below that, drop a gear or two. At 75 actual or 79 speedometer indicated, rpm's between 6-7k, no issues. Engine seems to like the higher revs on the highway; mine at least SEEMS to get even smoother. I'm interested in this flash being discussed. If I could get a bit more tug below say 4k like my Ninja would do but still keep close to the current fuel efficiency and performance, I'd say that's an improvement.
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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 10:27 AM
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I like to average between 75-80 on all highways, even when speed limit is only 55. My mpg starts to really drop over 75 MPH to upper 40's for mpg.
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 10:49 AM
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I've gone with a 16 tooth front sprocket on my 2016 LT and am happy with the results. I try to avoid freeways as much as possible, since I love the curvy mountain roads.

When on the freeway, I find myself running at 75+ most of the time, any slower in California and you are a target. Since I try to stay away from the cagers, I don't seem to stay at steady speeds for long as I'm always speeding up, or slowing down to stay away from the idiots out there on their cell phones.
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 11:23 AM
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...Since I try to stay away from the cagers, I don't seem to stay at steady speeds for long as I'm always speeding up, or slowing down to stay away from the idiots out there on their cell phones.
Me TOO!
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