Gear shifting techniques - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Gear shifting techniques

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When starting from stand-still situations like traffic lights, stop signs before driving up on faster roads. What are your gear shifting techniques to pick up the same speed as the rest of the traffic in a smooth controlled way, yet fast enough to not be perceived as "standing still" by other vehicles.

Shifting through all gears at the correct speed according to the manual sometimes seem to take too much time and also portions of concentration better spent on keeping track of the surrounding traffic.

Once I learned, acceleration on the 1st gear, up to ~50kmph, then holding the clutch in and quickly toggle up to the 6th gear. It worked fine on that bike. But it doesn't work as well on the Versys 650, the gearbox makes all kinds of clunking sounds when not geared at the correct speed on 1st, 2nd and possibly 3rd gear.

Tried to experiment and use 1st gear very briefly, just to get it rolling, then skipping 2nd gear and do all acceleration on 3rd gear up to ~50kmph. From there going directly to 6th gear. It seems to work a bit better. How do you people handle these situations?

Also I keep trying to find a 7th gear on ~80kmph roads.

Regards,
Hjortronet

Last edited by hjortronet; 09-21-2013 at 09:24 AM.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by hjortronet View Post
...When starting from stand-still situations like traffic lights, stop signs before driving up on faster roads. What are your gear shifting techniques to pick up the same speed as the rest of the traffic in a smooth controlled way, yet fast enough to not be perceived as "standing still" by other vehicles....Hjortronet
I never "scream away" from lights, but I'm ALWAYS way ahead of the cages - NEVER perceived as "standing still" by other vehicles.... Maybe up to 4 or 5,000 rpm in 1st, then 'up thru the gears' till I'm at whatever speed I want to maintain. Never a problem....

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 10:02 PM
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Maybe up to 4 or 5,000 rpm in 1st, then 'up thru the gears' till I'm at whatever speed I want to maintain.
+1


Since the V has relatively close gear ratios, I also find that I like double-shifting where I accelerate hardest in either 2nd or 3rd gear then skip a gear up to either 4th or 5th depending on the type of road I'm on. This eliminates an upshift or two and allows the engine to stretch its legs a bit.

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 11:08 PM
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I have no special system of shifting away from a stop...
I'm usually out and gone from the cages pretty early but I don't over accelerate.
As for gear choice? I'm just a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th kind of guy.
Nothing as complicated as described above.
I do use one special technique in my up shifts in that I only pull the clutch in a very little way while not closing the throttle hardly at all. I get butter-smooth shifts. Many of my upshifts and downshifts are with no clutch at all.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 11:18 PM
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I scream away from stops plenty because I like to hear my Leo Vince howl to redline. You really only need 1st-2nd in most city situations.


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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 11:38 PM
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Just take her up to 8500 each shift and you'll be flying by the time you hit 3rd.

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips, will try them.

It's not for screaming away, just to keep up with the traffic (which sometimes is a bit edgy here) without stressing the gear box.

Regards,
Hjortronet
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 09:25 AM
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If you're looking for a 7th gear at 80km/h, you're driving it like a car. Ride it like a bike; it shines with higher revs. To get used to the feel / sound of higher revs, don't take it past 3rd in the city for a while. That will take you to about 5000 rpm @ 70 km/h if you believe the speedo (which I don't). Your bike will be way more responsive than keeping it in a lower range. 5000 is still not high revving, but it sounds like it's more than you're using.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 09:28 AM
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I generally smoothly blast up through 1-3 than short shift up to 6th well ahead of the pack with a big smile. I've got a 44 tooth rear and lean forward so there's no wheelie.

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 09:34 AM
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In contrast to Gsus, I short-shift pretty significantly in traffic, catching the next gear at around 3500 RPM (sometimes less if traffic's slow). The Versys has enough low-end torque and is geared short enough that you can walk away from the vast majority of surface street traffic without ever exceeding 4500. Shifting like genehil describes does smooth things out considerably, and with some practice you can go clutchless from second gear on up. Clutchless upshifts make stoplight gauntlets much less frustrating, especially considering the Versys' heavy clutch pull.

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 12:49 PM
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In contrast to Gsus, I short-shift pretty significantly in traffic, catching the next gear at around 3500 RPM (sometimes less if traffic's slow)....
Agreed - I'll be in 5th gear in town traffic at 30 mph (6th if I'm doing 40).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 80-watt Hamster View Post
...Clutchless upshifts make stoplight gauntlets much less frustrating, especially considering the Versys' heavy clutch pull.
HEAVY clutch pull...? I'd suggest IF you have that - lube your cable (I use WD40), and check that your cable is NOT pinched (holding it) under that wire piece just behind where the top frame rail joins the steering head on the right side. LOT of guys have had that problem.

Ed
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 02:47 PM
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If I'm in conservative riding mode (which, in town, you pretty much have to be), I'll short shift most of the time, never getting much above 5k rpm. If I'm in fast riding mode and people need to be passed, I'll take her up to 8 or 9k before I shift. If I bounce off of red line, it's an accident. As I understand it, most all engines power curve drops off before red line anyway, so there's really no point in pushing the engine that hard.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 04:26 PM
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Just start in 2nd and roll off.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by hjortronet View Post
Thanks for the tips, will try them.

It's not for screaming away, just to keep up with the traffic (which sometimes is a bit edgy here) without stressing the gear box.

Regards,
Hjortronet
It takes a good car to do 0 -60 in 4.7 seconds. Do you all drag race from the lights in your area. I have fitted a 16 tooth sprocket and i can easily keep up or get ahead of traffic from stop lights, and i don't go past 6000 rpm. I just change 1-2-3-4-5-6. Why complicate things. If you need to slow down its one gear at a time, not a whole bunch of gears.

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 06:15 PM
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Just to clarify, my recommendation was to get op more familiar with the way the bike feels above 3000rpm. Toggling through the gears and riding around the city in 6th as well as looking for a 7th gear in an 80 zone tells me that he is not comfortable with it. Once he feels like he has more options, he can form his on shifting habits.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 06:40 PM
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I scream away from stops plenty because I like to hear my Leo Vince howl to redline. You really only need 1st-2nd in most city situations.


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Just be careful of red light runners. I pull off quick at stops but i'm ready to hit the brakes at any moment.

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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-24-2013, 10:02 AM
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As a general rule, when on my bike or driving my minivan I look both ways to make sure traffic is stopped or stopping before I pull away on a green.
It's especially a must here in San Antonio where people seem to run red lights as a rule.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-30-2013, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thank u for all tips, the 1-2-3-4-5-6 sequence in 0-55kmph seem to be easiest on the machinery. If I do too much pull on 1st gear, shifting to 2nd will not be smooth. If the shift to 2nd is made in lets say 40-50kmph...there will be a nasty clunk and sometimes it even refuses to shift until after a few attempts, doesnt seem right. About the 0-100 at 4.7 seconds measurement...there was no mentioning what it did to that poor versys gearbox

Will try to use a little higher revs, think there is some truth in that I shift it like a car.
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-30-2013, 04:12 PM
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Honestly I feel like the Versys is geared so that it can be ridden in almost anyway.
I generally short shift like a few others and 1-2-3-4-5-6 it through the gears in city traffic.
Keep the mpg down and less stress on the engine in the long haul.
That being said, you can easily cruise around town in 3rd up to 6-7k comfortably and have a little more fun with it. The bike is way more responsive up high like that, which can either a positive or negative depending on your skill set and your level of alertness at that particular moment.


It's also pretty easy to run through all the gears without the use of the clutch at all, given you're not in stop and go traffic.


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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-01-2013, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by hjortronet View Post
Thank u for all tips, the 1-2-3-4-5-6 sequence in 0-55kmph seem to be easiest on the machinery. If I do too much pull on 1st gear, shifting to 2nd will not be smooth. If the shift to 2nd is made in lets say 40-50kmph...there will be a nasty clunk and sometimes it even refuses to shift until after a few attempts, doesnt seem right. About the 0-100 at 4.7 seconds measurement...there was no mentioning what it did to that poor versys gearbox

Will try to use a little higher revs, think there is some truth in that I shift it like a car.
The engine oil has something to do with the wet clutches. Try MOBIL-1 (bike graqde) for a change and see if the clunking stops.
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