What RPM Should I Be driving in for Each Gear? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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What RPM Should I Be driving in for Each Gear?

OK, I need some help with RPM and switching gears.

Example: Should I be in 4th gear at 3800 RPM cruising at whatever speed that would be or should I gear up to 5th so my RPMs are around 2500?

Basically I don't know if a motorcycle is like a car (lower RPMs) or, like I've read other web pages, that you should drive the motorcycle at higher RPMs (switch gears at 5000 RPM and drive, in any particular gear, at up to 4000 RPM).

Any help much appreciated - Thank you.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 11:05 PM
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Your Owner's Manual has a recommendation on when to shift in each gear both when you're accelerating and coming to a stop. This is usually based on least stress to the motor/transmission components and mileage considerations. However, you can adjust how you ride based on many different variables, including performance, comfort, road conditions, etc. Just go ride, and ride some more and you will figure it out.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 07:13 AM
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Good question. I marked on my tach where the peak horsepower / torque appears using white tape, not a huge piece of tape, but something I can easily see. That being said, I keep my head and shoulders up, eyes up, and focus on the road, not on the tach. The Versys 650 motor is pretty bullet proof, it gets beat up all the time by various riders. Seems to take it ok. I ride pretty conservatively, and have changed to higher gearing. I keep it above 4K and red line, and shift around 6K or so. Worst of all is to lug your engine. Don't freak out over it, keep the motor happy, keep your eyes on the road.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 08:39 AM
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Motorcycles originally did not have tachometers or even speedometers. OMG how on earth could someone actually ride such an unruly beast?

The same way the pilots flew the first airplanes....by the seat of their pants. Unlike a car, motorcycles are very much a seat of the pants kind of machine. Kinda like the old "Little Honda" song: "First gear, it's all right Second gear, I'll lean right Third gear, hang on tight Faster, it's all right."

So to answer the question "What RPM Should I Be driving in for Each Gear?" the short answer is whatever feels right. There is enough potential for disaster while riding a bike without staring at the tach waiting for the magic time to shift number to appear.

Learn a lesson form Goldie Lox and the 3 bears. This one is too hot, this one is too cold, this one is just right. Listen to and feel your bike cuz it will tell you when you are in the RPM (just right) happy zone.

Both ends of the RPM range (Lugging and rev limiter) should be avoided as they can be detrimental to the health of your engine. You can easily identify both of these by the seat of your pants, hands, and ears. In the lugging zone the engine will feel slow to accelerate, rough (low frequency vibration) and not sound right.

On the high end of the RPM range the torque and acceleration will begin to drop off until you hit the rev limiter and your engine will sound like a bunch of angry bee's.

In the happy zone your little Versys will respond quickly with smooth acceleration, plus feel and sound like a sewing machine.

I grew up riding and racing dirt bikes. These bikes did not have a tach or speedo so everything was seat of the pants. Today when I ride I rarely look at the tach or speedo, unless there are Poe in the area...Lol.

The best way to learn when to shift is PRACTICE. Find an empty stretch of road and explore the low and high ends of the RPM range in each gear, so you can readily identify those RPM areas to avoid. Now when you hop on the bike you will know where the RPM happy zone is without having to look at the tach and before long it will become second nature.

Hope this helps. Have fun and ride safe.

Cookin Wid Gas

2015 V-650 of course it's green...it's a Kazawalski.

Last edited by hawkerjet; 09-09-2019 at 10:02 AM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 12:29 PM
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It depends on what you want to do

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Originally Posted by FlameThrower View Post
OK, I need some help with RPM and switching gears.
If you want to drag race, wind it out so that you are in the power band. If you shift too soon it will slow you down. It takes a few trials to see where the best shift spot would be. I would guess around 8000.

On the other hand, I like cruising through curvy roads. I don't jump on it and don't really vary my speed much since the road I usually take has a speed limit of 50mph, the Versys will take any corner on my path at that speed so I can just keep it in 6th at 4000 RPM and life is good. I usually shift when I'm just cruising along between 2500 and 3000 RPM, but I'm not jumping on the throttle so it doesn't bog down. On the road I usually take I keep it between 3000 and 4000 RPM (4000 is about 50 mph) and get between 60 and 65 mpg. You can drive the little Versys like a sport bike (using the power band) or cruiser (keeping the RPM around 4000). The only thing I do is to listen and feel (seat of the pants) that it isn't bogging down.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 01:32 PM
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Maybe more important is to know when not to shift. Like downshifting in the middle of a corner when you have approached too fast.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 01:48 PM
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What RPMs to run in, or WHICH to shift gears in?

Somewhere between idle and red-line.

Basically try not to LUG your engine, or to have it SCREAMING near red-line as a continuous thing.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jaaklucas View Post
Maybe more important is to know when not to shift. Like downshifting in the middle of a corner when you have approached too fast.
That's pretty important to know as well.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 09:26 PM
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What Hawker Jet says.
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ANDY

"ALWAYS IN QUESTION, NEVER IN DOUBT".
Visit me at andyversystheworld on Facebook for Pictures and Updates.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 09:53 PM
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There is no mathematical equation for optimum shift points. Revving high is not required for most road riding conditions, and should generally be avoided, as should shifting so early that the engine can't produce enough power for adequate acceleration. Typically, the sweet spot of the engine's powerband (where it produces enough torque to provide the most efficient acceleration) is the point at which most engines "want" to be shifted. Because engines deliver their most effective power at considerably different RPMs, you'll have to develop and use your instinct to decide when it's time to shift.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 12:15 PM
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id say,What ever is the most comfortable for you. if you feel good at 5,5k RPM go for 5,5k rpm over 3k rpm...
just not recommended to run at 10k rpm...engine life will be super short that way...
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