Recommended shifting speed/rpms - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Recommended shifting speed/rpms

I'm just curious about the recommended shifting speeds. In the manual, the recommendations are

1st -> 2nd 9mph
2nd -> 3rd 15mph
3rd -> 4th 21mph
4th -> 5th 27mph
5th -> 6th 34mph

These speeds seem ridiculously low -- basically at the point of slugging. Why does the manual recommend shifting at such low speeds?

What are the speeds / rpms at which people typically shift?

Last edited by mbclark222; 02-11-2017 at 10:14 AM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mbclark222 View Post
I'm just curious about the recommended shifting speeds. In the manual, the recommendations are


These speeds seem ridiculously low -- basically at the point of chugging. Why does the manual recommend shifting at such low speeds?

What are the speeds / rpms at which people typically shift?
Well it depends very much on the rider, I love performance and acceleration so I shift late in the early gears. If I'm in a certain kind of mood I'll shift all the way near the rev limiter but when I'm in a super calm mood or just around town where there's lots of traffic and hazards I shift pretty early or sometimes I may even double shift from 2nd-4th. I also like to use my transmission for engine breaking so I don't like being in too high of a gear most times.

My exhaust forces me to shift late

Here's a video of me riding my V so you can see the differences depending on location. Can't see the rpm's but you can hear. I only shift off of sound.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 07:08 AM
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Usually 3500-4500.
If I need power, 5000-6000, rarely 7000.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 10:27 AM
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I do about the same as dddd............unless I'm feeling perky, then it's about 9K for one or two gears. Just to get the blood pumping.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 11:01 AM
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I found my '11 Versys was happiest when I shifted at 6000 RPMs. Of course once I reached cruising speed, I would continue to upshift until I reached minimum RPM necessary for the situation.

The recommended shift points in the manual are part lawyer speak, part taking a casual and safe approach to getting familiar with your bike, part "if you live in the city" approach to riding.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 06:03 PM
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I'd say those numbers are for minimum ideal smooth running. Anything less and the engine will "chug-a-lug" like a cruiser.
Keeping it simple, just stay above 2800 rpm for a comfy ride.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 08:06 PM
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Good God, man, that's why your bike has a tach! I never even looked at those speed recommendations, nor would I. After the break-in period (do these have a break-in period? I bought mine used), anything below the redline is fine, that is, if you don't ride right below the redline for hours on end. And make sure you change the oil a lot if you're gonna ride it at high rpms. Plus, don't lug it (ride at low speed in a high gear). I know too many Harley riders who for some odd reason upshift at ridiculously low rates of speed. You gotta wind out the bike a little every now and then :-) And isn't that why you bought it in the first place?

I ride by ear and (if I have one) by the tach. If the motorcycle sounds like it's hollerin' in pain, it's time to upshift. This is not rocket science. Have fun!!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Believe me, after about a day of trying to adhere to the recommendation in the owner's manual, I gave up on those speeds. After the break-in period, I've found that somewhere between 3500 to 4500 rpms seems pretty comfortable.

Still, I was just curious why the Kawasaki recommendations are so low. Surely they must have some reason for the recommendations. I suppose it must be lawyer speak, though, and not really a technical reason.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mbclark222 View Post
Thanks. Believe me, after about a day of trying to adhere to the recommendation in the owner's manual, I gave up on those speeds. After the break-in period, I've found that somewhere between 3500 to 4500 rpms seems pretty comfortable.

Still, I was just curious why the Kawasaki recommendations are so low. Surely they must have some reason for the recommendations. I suppose it must be lawyer speak, though, and not really a technical reason.
If you have a modern automatic car you will notice the same thing. Barely push on the gas pedal for slow acceleration like you would do between city blocks in traffic and notice where the transmission up shifts. It is really low. Now accelerate to merge onto a freeway and watch the tach to see where it shifts. Noticeably higher RPMs before shifting.

I would say those in the manual are the minimum speeds you should be at before shifting if you are on a flat road.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 11:23 AM
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...I would say those in the manual are the minimum speeds you should be at before shifting if you are on a flat road.
AND IF you ride a Gen 3 V650 you'll find it does NOT like being much below about 4,000rpm in the higher gears, while my Gen 1's will 'pull' cleanly from 2,500 in 6th.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 01:42 PM
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2015 MK-3 /Compared To/ MK-1

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AND IF you ride a Gen 3 V650 you'll find it does NOT like being much below about 4,000rpm in the higher gears, while my Gen 1's will 'pull' cleanly from 2,500 in 6th.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 03:00 PM
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AND IF you ride a Gen 3 V650 you'll find it does NOT like being much below about 4,000rpm in the higher gears, while my Gen 1's will 'pull' cleanly from 2,500 in 6th.

Gen 2 the same as Gen 3.

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