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Discussion Starter #1
since this 2005 vn750 is my first motorcycle, i'm pretty new to riding and it doesn't help that i've never driven a car that wasn't an automatic. I've looked around the forum and couldn't really find anywhere that says what the top speed of each gear is. so I'm just wondering at what speeds and rpms should I be shifting gears. sorry if this sounds like a dumb question.
 

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Jesus-Family-Coffee-Bike
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hmmm... a great question in my opinion.

I'm in the same boat... just got my bike a couple months ago and have never consistently driven a manual either! When I'm cruisin I usually shift between 3 and 4,000 RPMs... when I'm trying to accelerate hard, I usually push it as high as 5. Any advice from you non-newbies out there would be very helpful!
 

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First their are no dumb questions. A few dumb answers and some dumb looks, but those are free. Most shifting speeds are preferencial. Hot doggers will run their rpms up to the 5K - 7K range. Others, like me prefer to make shifts in the 3K - 4K range. Also if you have the owners manual it will be in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
well, I definitely don't have the owners manual for it, haha. I've been shifting around 4500 to 5000 rpms. is this bad for the engine? or does it reduce my mpg? what rpm is normal cruising speed? i'd really like to get the best mpg I can and put as little strain on my engine as possible. thanks for the help guys.
 

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Old Truck Junkie
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If you don't get into the red all the time you will not hurt this engine. I have run into the red every once in a while. But it is not some thing that you want to do often. So 6, 7, or even 8k's is okay, again I would not do that all the time.
 

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I have my gas mileage does better if I keep my shifting habit in the 3k - 4k range. At 5k you should be doing roughly 70mph. If your doing that while still in 4th gear, it will definitley affect gas mileage and eventually the bike will get hot. On another note, our bikes were designed to run a little higher in the rpms than the standard cruisers. When I have run against other bikes, bigger bikes (not crotch rockets) they seem to have to get into the higher gears faster. Such as they will be in 3rd or 4th while I'm still winding up in 2nd. I know a lot of them will be in 5th long before I get there.
 

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Love My Baby
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If you want to maximize gas mileage, shift at lower RPMs (about 3000) and when you hit non-highway cruising speed, upshift until your RPMs are about 3000 - 3500. Cruising at RPMs lower than about 3000 might actually hurt your transmission. At highway speeds you should always cruise in 5th gear, about 4500 RPM.

It won't hurt the bike to shift at higher RPMs if you stay out of the red line on the tach. But starting up and taking off before letting the bike idle for a minute so the oil can circulate can hurt the bike, especially if the engine's cold because the oil is thicker and doesn't get to circulate as easily.

I usually shift at about 3000 RPMs when I'm riding leisurely and at 4-5000 RPMs when I'm heading on the highway.
 

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Premium Member
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My best gas mileage seems to occur at or below 4,000 rpm (55 mph). If I keep it near there, she'll get 50 mpg. If I get into the 80 mph range, it will drop to 35 or so. Speed has its price.
 

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Columbus, Ohio
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As an aside, when you are in a cruising gear and you mistrust the car or truck beside you, drop down one gear so you can instantly accelerate out of his way if he tries to enter your lane.
I learned on a Honda, and one thing I miss is when you have lost count of which gear you are in, lifting on the shifter in fifth on a Honda you will find a little play, showing you there are no more higher gears. On the Kawasaki the only way to know is to try to shift and see if there's a gear there.

Jim
 

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Old Truck Junkie
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In 5 th gear there are 2k between the rpms and the speed. 5k = 70 mph. 4th 6k = 70mph, that's close.
 

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Ditto on the gas mileage. I just did a longish trip. When in 5th gear at 3.5-4 I was getting very good gas mileage, but when cruising at 5 it dropped down to about 30mpg. Anything over about 5.1 seemed to eat gas a lot faster. Also, cracking open the throttle (instead of downshifting) to pass seemed to eat gas as well.

I usually shift around 4, but then I like to get out in front of traffic and stay there.
 

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Straight roads are evil
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The bike will run at 7-8k rpm all day long, so spiking the rpm to 8 definitely won't hurt it. Shift when it feels right.

Just be sure to maintain at least 3500 rpm, any less and the stator won't be charging the battery.

Downshifting is another story. The manual says to be at 12 mph before downshifting to 2nd. Total BS. I usually downshift to 2nd at 50 mph.

The nice thing about our bikes, they were built to MOVE.
 

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Columbus, Ohio
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The first time I downshifted my Vulcan I accidently passed right through second gear to first. The rear tire did a little wiggle. Had I been a new rider I might have dumped it. Downshift cautiously until you are comfortable with it, then do it any way you want.

Jim
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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If you want to maximize gas mileage, shift at lower RPMs (about 3000) and when you hit non-highway cruising speed, upshift until your RPMs are about 3000 - 3500. Cruising at RPMs lower than about 3000 might actually hurt your transmission. At highway speeds you should always cruise in 5th gear, about 4500 RPM.

It won't hurt the bike to shift at higher RPMs if you stay out of the red line on the tach. But starting up and taking off before letting the bike idle for a minute so the oil can circulate can hurt the bike, especially if the engine's cold because the oil is thicker and doesn't get to circulate as easily.

I usually shift at about 3000 RPMs when I'm riding leisurely and at 4-5000 RPMs when I'm heading on the highway.
X2 to rubyrick`s advice about warming up the bike for two reasons.
First as rick mentions is to get the oil circulating and cut down on premature engine wear.
Second is to be sure it is running well without any choke, so you don`t have the bike stall in traffic as you are moving off.

I think someone here had a sig line that went something like, "Don`t make her scream until her throat is warmed up". Good advice.

I also agree with all who suggest you will get your best compromise between fuel economy and safety by driving on the highway at the speed limit, where engine speed will be 4-5K RPM. BTW, as a newbie you may not know yet that the speedo and odometer read 5%-10% high on the vn750 with the stock 100/90-19 front tire.

There are several threads discussing the pros and cons of changing out to a larger 110/90-19 when it is time for new tires. One of the pros, is that it almost corrects the speedo/odo readings.

Changing out the rear tire from a 150/90-15 to a 170/80-15 will drop your engine speed by about 500 rpm on the highway, and thus improve fuel economy too.
 

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Downshifting is another story. The manual says to be at 12 mph before downshifting to 2nd. Total BS. I usually downshift to 2nd at 50 mph.
Kawasaki writes their manuals for the least common denominator and to reduce their liability. Completely flub a shift in a car or truck and you can usually chalk it up to experience and try to do better next time. Completely flub a shift on a bike and it can put you on the ground pretty easily.

Certainly, with some throttle in to match the revs and a little finesse with the clutch, your options open up wide, but Kawasaki writes the book assuming someone will leave the throttle closed and pop the clutch.

There are people who will tell you it's impossible to downshift a car into first while traveling any kind of speed, too.
 

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Old Twistie Sticks Rider
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If you want to maximize gas mileage, shift at lower RPMs (about 3000) and when you hit non-highway cruising speed, upshift until your RPMs are about 3000 - 3500. Cruising at RPMs lower than about 3000 might actually hurt your transmission. At highway speeds you should always cruise in 5th gear, about 4500 RPM.

It won't hurt the bike to shift at higher RPMs if you stay out of the red line on the tach. But starting up and taking off before letting the bike idle for a minute so the oil can circulate can hurt the bike, especially if the engine's cold because the oil is thicker and doesn't get to circulate as easily.

I usually shift at about 3000 RPMs when I'm riding leisurely and at 4-5000 RPMs when I'm heading on the highway.
I agree with rubyrick, as you are not used to a streight shift and especially as a new rider, keep things mild till you get to where shifting and other things become more automatic and you don't have to put a lot of thought into them... Don't rush the RPM thing, it will come soon enough...lol...
But also don't lug it too much either...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
 

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Another thing you can try once you're comfortable with shifting is keeping the rpms from getting too low while climbing a hill. If I'm going up a steep hill in any gear, I'll run the rpms way up to around 7k before shifting. That way, once I pull clutch in to shift and lose all that speed (cause of the uphill incline), I'm not up shifting and starting the rpms in the next gear at 2k or lower. This way you can take a hill and never let the rpms get low enough to potentially cause you trouble.

After you're very VERY comfortable shifting, you shouldn't need this trick. You'll probably be able to go up and down through the gears fast enough with your 'natural shift' that you won't have to worry about shifting on a hill.

I remember one time I was at a light next to a guy in a Pontiac Crossfire. He was messing with me all the way up to the light, like trying to be discrete about racing me. I decided I didn't want to ride next to him anymore. As soon as the light turned green I jumped off the line and cleared first gear, clutch in out, second gear lasted about 2 seconds, clutch in out, third up and spent, then I dragged out fourth a little to check my rear view. The Crossfire was very small in my mirror and I had open highway in front of me. I love our bikes...
 
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