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Old July 17th, 2012, 09:35 AM   #1
dcx4610
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Upshifting Speeds question

New rider here with a shifting question.

I took the MSF a month ago and I'm already comfortable enough to ride around on the main roads. One thing that feels a bit strange to me though is upshifting at the correct RPMs.

In the manual to the 250R, Kawasaki says the following:

1st > 2nd: 12mph
2nd > 3rd: 15mph
3rd > 4th: 19mph
4th > 5th: 21mph
5th > 6th: 28mph

With the speeds they mention here, it feels like you would immediately just starting shifting non-stop to get to the 6th gear. I'm just riding around on the roads and no interstate driving so I'm usually at around 40mph max.

The shifts they list seem excessive. I usually shift immediately into 2nd once I get some speed going, then 3rd and then sometimes 4th. At 4th gear, my RPMs are around 4-5k and it seems like I have plenty of speed and power navigating the roads. According to Kawasaki though I should be in 6th gear and basically changing gear almost every second.

Are they being conservative or do you guys usually ride around in 6th gear at lower speeds?
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Old July 17th, 2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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You are correct, Daniel; the manual shows some crazy numbers there.

For your type of riding, try keeping the engine between 6K and 8K, regardless of the speed of the bike.

You do achieve that manipulating the gears.

For more spirited riding, you can move the range up a couple of thousand rpm's; lets say keeping the engine spinning between 8K and 10K.

With time you will develop a sense for the proper rpm's via vibrations and engine noise.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 09:48 AM   #3
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I broke mine in by driving within the 6-9k range in any of the gears (depending on what was appropriate for the road). I think that's pretty reasonable. Just make sure you keep up with maintenance!
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Old July 17th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #4
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Those numbers are crazy low for when to shift. Just shift when it feels natural and isn't so high that's its obnoxious and attention grabbing.

For instance, around town or commuting I like to shift around 6-7k but on twisty roads I like to shift so the engine is in the 8-11k range. At the track, the tach needle never drops below 9k on entry and it lives up around 12-14k the rest of the time.

Don't be afraid to rev it a little. Once you discover how nice and responsive and quick the 7-12k range is, you won't go back to cruising at 4k
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Old July 17th, 2012, 10:54 AM   #5
dcx4610
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It's my first bike so it's still in the break-in period. I kinda get nervous when it hits around 6 or 7k because it sounds like the engine is working too hard and wants to be in a higher gear. I just have to get more comfortable with it I guess.

Let's say you are just riding through a neighborhood with a ton of stop signs. What gear are you usually in? 3 or 4 seems fine to me.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 11:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcx4610 View Post
Let's say you are just riding through a neighborhood with a ton of stop signs. What gear are you usually in? 3 or 4 seems fine to me.
Again, try not to learn the "what gear am I in" routine.
Focus on keeping the rpm's within the recommended range, either by looking at the tachometer and/or by ear.
Better learn the right way from the beginning than unlearn such a bad habit later on.
These engines are no cars' engines, they have been made to spin fast.
When you force then to work slowly, you are compromising the lubrication and over-loading the parts, which is bad for the break-in period.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 11:41 AM   #7
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that's the same issue many, myself included, had to get used to. Your ears will get accustomed to the sound it makes cruising around 6k.

Have you ripped it up to 11k or so yet? Not that I'm advocating a beginner rip it open before you're ready, but if you dl, you'll get a good feel for what the engine is capable of and that suddenly, a 13000 rpm engine doesn't feel so stressed when cruising at 6000
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Old July 19th, 2012, 09:45 AM   #8
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Shift at redline for first 3 gears. That's fun
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Old July 19th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #9
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For general cruising around town I usually try and keep it around 7k, and that seems like what I hear a lot of people say about the ninjette. Sometimes I'll shift up a gear or two more to keep the noise down or save gas for whatever reason.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #10
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4k and under is bogging the motor.

6k to 8k is good for cruising.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #11
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Normally, I shift as follows.

Run 1st just long enough to get away from the stop, click 2nd and hammer it accelerating all the way to 40mph, then shift in to third accelerating to 50.

Then it depends on if I intend to keep accelerating, or just maintain speed.
If I'm going to accelerate...once I hit 3rd gear, Ill run it up into the 10-11K range, clicking up gears, till Im going as fast as I want to go.
If I'm going to maintain speed, I'll find whatever gear puts the rpms in the 7500 range...that way it puts me right below the power band, so if I want to accelerate, Ive got power on tap pretty quickly.

Now obviously, the 7500 rpm won't work at interstate speeds, so I just keep it in 6th gear, unless Im passing, when Ill downshift and hammer it.

So in all reality, the chart would look something like this

1st > 2nd: 12mph
2nd > 3rd: 40mph
3rd > 4th: 50mph
4th > 5th: 65mph
5th > 6th: 70mph
at least that's pretty close what I would normally run on acceleration...
The chart would look something like this if I was just maintaining speed

1st > 2nd: 12mph
2nd > 3rd: 35mph
3rd > 4th: 40mph
4th > 5th: 50mph
5th > 6th: 60mph

Now if I'm cruising for long distance...I might run it all the way up to 6th gear even doing 50mph just so I don't have to listen to it wound up for a long time.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 11:53 AM   #12
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That chart looks like the minimum speed that you can upshift without the bike conking out.

The bike is more responsive over 6k RPM, in traffic you want to be able to accelerate & use engine braking if needs be.
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Old July 22nd, 2012, 03:00 PM   #13
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What everyone here is posting is pretty much spot on. The manual gives numbers way way way too low. It's my opinion Kawasaki probably uses these numbers for two reasons.

1) Lower rpm's will keep the wear on the engine down. This way in the event of vehicle malfunction they can always cite that the rider wasn't riding in the manner suggested by the manual...eg. ridiculously low rpm's all the time.

2) The lower the rpm's the better the fuel economy.

That's my take on it.
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Old July 22nd, 2012, 04:47 PM   #14
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The numbers they list is for maximizing MPG. I usually do shift like that and stay in 6th anytime I am over 30MPH. You can shift however you'd like but it will affect MPGs if you get into the 8K+ RPMs.
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