The obsession with low revs on the highway

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by iamcanjim, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    Spot on. Had a '02 Softail with a 109 hp gear drive cam setup. Driving around town it was louder than other similar V-Twins and I didn't think much about it. On a trip wore tight fitting ear plugs and could't hear the engine. At a gas stop took the plugs out and swore the motor was coming apart and on pins and needles for the next 200 miles until I got used to the "normal" engine sounds at 3.5k rpm.

    The XR1200 is geared so running 75-80 in 5th (top gear) is just over 4k rpm (1k less than redline on other Sportsters) and without ear plugs I constantly feel the need to shift up to the non existent 6th gear. With ear plugs in I don't have that feeling of needing to up shift.
    #41
  2. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    There's no more fatigue at any RPM if you can't feel it.

    If your bike vibrates fix it. Or buy a better one. If you don't like the sound listen to a formula one or Moto GP race before you ride. I can't stand lugging any engine, especially a short stroke pisswinder like I usually ride.

    Almost all motorcycle engines are designed for near max power from a given displacement, because that's what makes the moto magazine writers happy. To do this the cams, compression ratios, intake tracts, exhausts, valves and a hundred other perameters are all engineered to work together at this higher RPM. The more high performance the engine is the more this is true. To run them around like a John Deere does them no good. The bikes are designed to have the engines spun at a high RPM, they are most efficient at the RPMs they were designed to run. They last longer spinning at an appropriate RPM, they burn less fuel, they stay cooler, it's all good. I have never seen a bike which actually benefitted from taller that original gearing. Usually they become dogs, slow off the line, too far between gears, and you end up spending more time in the lower gears because the top gears no longer pull the load.
    Now you don't like it anymore, so you go buy a bigger motorcycle, and the story repeats itself.

    If you guys don't like the sound of your engines buy an econobox or a minivan or something.
    #42
  3. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

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    Take a look at the mirrors. It's the other way around. The ones complaining about vibrations (and bad sight in the mirrors) are always the low rpm ones.
    #43
  4. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    Vibes tend to be worse at high RPM, too - BMW f800 motors come to mind.

    OTOH my old wee was fine at 6k for hours at a time.
    #44
  5. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    Hmmm, not my experience with several HDs, a DR650, Triumph 1050, and Honda CB 650.
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  6. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    :huh

    Almost all engines are designed for near max power for a given displacement? Quit drinking the bong water. A DL650 makes nowhere near the power that a CBR600RR does.

    You've never seen a bike that benefitted from taller-than-stock gearing? A DR-Z E being dualsported comes to mind. So does a TW200. DR650 comes with 15/42 in the USA. Overseas it comes with the taller 15/41. Maybe you should contact Suzuki Australia and tell them that they're screwing up the bikes by sending them out that way.
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  7. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    DRZ, DR 650, TW 200, all about as low performance engines as can be. You just keep chugging that poor motor. Chug chug chug chug chug.
    #47
  8. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

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    Honda Varadero 125, CBF 600, NC 700, VFR 800 46/2, VFR 1200 and Kawasaki ZZR 1400 here - and I want to count the 686ccm single of my Grizzly as well. In my experience the I4 engines are quite smooth at every rpm, the V4 ones are quite rough at low rpms expecially when you try to accelerate.
    The 2 cylinder engines don't have that huge difference between high and low rpms but aren't as smooth as the I4s in general. Well and the single... it shakes and shakes and shakes but shakes a bit less in the high rpms.

    The BMW R1200 boxer maybe is the most extreme one - I thought it would fall over from the vibrations when I started one for a test ride and let her idle. Got a bit better on the move, but not much.
    #48
  9. SaltyCaptain

    SaltyCaptain Lucifer is love

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    Back in 2009-2010 the 125 V-twin Varadero I had spent 95% of the time between 8000 and 10000 rpm - that's 80 km/h and 100 km/h. Great bike for a 125 and everybody thought it was at least a 600 until they saw it accelerate :lol3
    #49
  10. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Funny, two of those bikes you mentioned I've geared LOWER then stock. :lol3
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  11. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    I added a tooth to my W650 front sprocket to correct the speedometer/odometer. The instrument's sensor is in the front sprocket area.
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  12. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    I don't doubt it, but I wonder why the OP or others would care what others want to do with their own bikes. Some people run more slab for longer distances than others. Some prefer having more crawling ability. Some have no trouble modulating a clutch or shifting between 1st and 2nd all day long. When in a hurry, why would somebody want to scream a motor on 70MPH slab when they can gear it to amble along comfortably?
    #52
  13. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    If you think the R1200 motors vibrate, try an F800 some time! Worse than my old ex500, and that thing shook the turn signals out of their sockets when I started it.
    #53
  14. BikeMan

    BikeMan smoke, drink, screw, ride

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    its usually a sign of a lack of power.
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  15. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I think SOME bikes are not set up for high speed limits the US has, or geared low for other reasons.
    There is quite a range, the Harley's and Buels I have had were geared very tall in 1st gear, bikes like the TW 200 were geared very low (in my book) for dirt or street. My TU250 is geared like a trials bike, 1st gear is stupid low, low enough to be useless.
    Even if Suzuki thought the bike was only good for learning on, or city use, the stock gearing is way too low.

    The new Bonneville seemed spot on, most dual sports seem about right for dual sport use, the old Triumphs (750) seemd spot on.
    #55
  16. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    I have an F800, it's a real smoothy. Probably the best motorcycle engine I've ever had.
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  17. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    I have ridden about 7 different f800 bikes, and owned one for around a month. Each of them buzzed like the dickens above 5k, in some cases even the seat would vibrate. Maybe you are just luckier than me :D

    I rather like the motor, but for long term highway duty.
    #57
  18. Flo_Evans

    Flo_Evans Been here awhile

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    eh I don't even have a tach on my bike. I geared it down for off road, spend as little time on the highway as possible.

    No idea the RPM's at highways speeds. It can hit 100mph without bouncing off the rev limiter so thats good enough for me. At that point aerodynamics take over and I can't really go much faster.
    #58
  19. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

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    With most bikes if the motor is reving its nuts off at motorway speed then take a smaller road.

    my r100gs i fitted a taller 5th so the motor sounds happy at 70,80mph then the motor will last long
    #59
  20. 390beretta

    390beretta Long timer

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    I ride a 26 year old K75. Its happy spot starts at 4000-4500 rpm. Its "happiest" spot on the highway seems to be 5500-6000 rpm. It's redlined at 8500 rpm. (I'm told the engine would actually rev a lot higher, if not for the rev-limiter. While I've not done it, I'm told that the bike will run all day long at 7000-8000 rpm and be happier after the experience. I've never done that....and if I did, I'd probably be in considerable legal trouble. There are quite a few of these bikes with 200,000+ and more miles without the engine ever having been touched, but undoubtedly well maintained. The K75 especially is very smooth. Vibration.....just is not an issue.
    #60