Running Higher gears at slower speeds


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BENJEE2112
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Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by BENJEE2112 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:30 pm



I know this is a stupid question, considering I've been riding for 40 + years. Is it better to wind the gears around 2800 to 3000 rpms or shift to keep them around 2400 rpms. Like...Is it okay to run overdrive at 47mph? (like (2200 rpms) I know theres no accelerating power when I do that. But it just feels calmer to ride that way. I was thinking that might be why Wings last so long. Because, if you run like that. It doesn't overwork the system. I know that I Downshift to grab some power when I need it. Is it bad to run the higher gears at slower speeds?



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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by Viking » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:38 pm

I guess your riding style and how quick you are to grab another gear would decide this. Lower RPMs in higher gears run the risk of lugging the engine. You never want to lug any engine, because this is when the worst wear occurs. Piston slap in some engines can cause damage in a very short period of time. These are pretty smooth engines, so I don't know how much abuse they will accept, but for myself, as a millwright, I tend to give it a bit more RPM rather than less.

This statement is from "Motor Authority's" Engineering Explained:

To start, let's talk about what it means to lug your engine. This is the term used to describe when you're puttering along in a higher gear than you need to be in and the engine is turning low RPMs. When you're cruising along in 6th but you should've downshifted into 4th about a half mile back, you are lugging your engine. Why is this bad? Engineering Explained is here to lay it out for you.

When you lug your engine, you are forcing it to work far harder than it should. Low RPMs are fine if you're just cruising or slowing down, but when you accelerate, low revs leave your engine with a gearing disadvantage.

To get your car up to speed, the engine has to work a lot harder. Engine temperature will rise, and cylinder temperature will rise. This is where things can start to go screwy.

Picture yourself on your old 10-speed road bike. You're cruising along, having shifted up into the higher gears. Suddenly you need to accelerate and when you try to turn those pedals, you find it takes a lot more effort than it would if you were in a lower gear. You are working far harder than necessary just to get that bike moving again.

In this example, you've lugged your body because you're the engine of the bike. It's not fun to do that, so why do it to your car?

They have a video on it here:



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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by AZgl1800 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:04 pm

Sweet and short...

if I am just lightly cruising and not pulling steep hills, I let it down to 30 mph in 5th gear and just ease on the throttle when I want to go.

the flat six is a torque monster, it simply just don't care.

If, on the other hand, you have a need to "get out of here fast", you need to down shift.
~John

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CrystalPistol
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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by CrystalPistol » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:17 am

When ridden, our 1500 trike is almost always ridden two up. I don't hesitate to let RPMs drop to under 2500 or even 2100 in 5th in a coasting or slow level put-put loafing along mode …. but if I see a need to go or hill, I start getting her into a lower gear like 2nd or 3rd. At 2,750 RPM it's already half way to it's 5,500 RPM redline, it's just tuned for lower end.

My 1200, it has 4 carbs, only 4cylinders, and a 7,500 rpm redline … it loves some Rs … so I keep it up near/over 3,000. It don't even like low speed coasting at real low RPMs.
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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by DenverWinger » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:47 am

I go along with John, just cruising the city streets will see me in 5th gear at 30-35 MPH (even on the 1100). The 1500 as stated, plenty of torque, downshift if needed. The 1100 is perfectly happy to cruise along at 2K RPM (30 MPH/5th gear = 2K), but that's the trigger speed for the centrifugal timing advance, under light acceleration UNDER 2K RPM it accelerates fine, but with noticeable vibration that suddenly goes away as you pass 2K RPM, This is the timing advance kicking in.

So while the 1500 is perfectly happy to putt around town at 1200 RPM, the 1100 isn't really that happy under 2000 RPM.

I don't lug the girls, if anything more than light acceleration needed I downshift as appropriate.

The company I worked for back in the '80s had a '81 Ford F150 5.7l with automatic overdrive tranny. Overdrive was a serious 0.64 ratio. At 40 MPH it would shift to overdrive and the tach would drop to 900 RPM!
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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by RockportDave » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:27 am

If I am in traffic, pulling out onto a highway or have the need to accelerate quickly, I will go beyond 3000 rpm to get to speed. If I’m putting around in town or side streets at 25-35 mph, I usually have it in 4th or OD keeping the rpms around 1000 to 1500. I usually try to shift below or around 3000 rpm.
My owners manual recommends shifting to OD at 31 mph, which to me suggests using the engine torque instead of rpms to gain speed.


Dave
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ekvh
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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by ekvh » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:46 am

Would pulling a spark plug give an indication of what you’re doing to the combustion chamber?

Do a long low rpm jaunt, accelerate without downshifting, then kill the motor and pull the plug. If it’s sooty, it’s probably going to carbon up the chamber.

As long as it’s followed by a long proper rpm run, it should clean back up.

I have a 1200, 1500 final drive, 16” rim in a 77 frame. It’s pretty light and seems content to idle along in traffic at 1400 rpm. It does have a programmable ignition which advances by rpm, not vacuum. From 1400-2200 it goes from about 27 degrees to over thirty degrees. It can be adjusted lower with the flip of a switch also.

When an increase is needed it takes little throttle to stay with inner city traffic. It accelerates remarkably well at lower rpm. It does get a little sooty at those rpm. I don’t hear any pre-igntion but my ears are highly suspect.

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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by Rednaxs60 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:10 am

I initially had an issue with my 1200 in keeping the RPM in the 3000 range when I first got it, especially after riding my ex-1800 that would run around town in 4th all day. Thought it was revving too high, but I have since come to realize that under about 2500 RPM the engine does not perform well, and it is being punished at the lower RPM. You need to be in or somewhere close to the start of the power band if you need to accelerate.

My 1500 relies more on torque than RPM for power. I try to keep it above 2000 RPM at all times. Performs better and not as much chance to lug the engine.

I have a 2011 KIA Soul 2 litre standard. High revving as well. Have gotten used to hearing engines rev and realizing it's better for the engine.

Read an article a while back, and it mentioned that even though we do not think we are lugging an engine, or feel that we are, we are and are actually contributing to engine damage. May not be a short term effect, but in the long term things tend to accumulate and happen. Thankfully the engineers/designers are aware of this and try to design cars/bikes to protect us from ourselves.

My KIA has a vibration in the 2000/2500 RPM range in lower gear(s) and the exhaust vibrates. Tells me that something is not liking how I am driving. I use this sound to influence my driving.

Just a thought or two.

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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by BENJEE2112 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:43 pm

Great info from everyone. It appears I've have been doing it rite. I don't lug it down when I'm lollygagging at 35 mph even 45 in OD. I almost always downshift to get it when I need it. Thanks.
Since so many of you are on this subject. I might get a faster reply to this question. I just soaked my gas cap overnight in seafoam. Do I need to rinse it off with something or just blow it with the compressor and run it? It looks brand new now.

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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by BENJEE2112 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:47 pm

RockportDave wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:27 am
If I am in traffic, pulling out onto a highway or have the need to accelerate quickly, I will go beyond 3000 rpm to get to speed. If I’m putting around in town or side streets at 25-35 mph, I usually have it in 4th or OD keeping the rpms around 1000 to 1500. I usually try to shift below or around 3000 rpm.
My owners manual recommends shifting to OD at 31 mph, which to me suggests using the engine torque instead of rpms to gain speed.
54303ED9-D054-43B1-9CFC-859B14C4AA03.jpeg
Dave
Dave. Is that a 1500 manual? I couldn't find that in mine.

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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by MikeB » Sun Feb 24, 2019 4:25 pm

BENJEE2112 wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:47 pm
RockportDave wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:27 am
If I am in traffic, pulling out onto a highway or have the need to accelerate quickly, I will go beyond 3000 rpm to get to speed. If I’m putting around in town or side streets at 25-35 mph, I usually have it in 4th or OD keeping the rpms around 1000 to 1500. I usually try to shift below or around 3000 rpm.
My owners manual recommends shifting to OD at 31 mph, which to me suggests using the engine torque instead of rpms to gain speed.
54303ED9-D054-43B1-9CFC-859B14C4AA03.jpeg
Dave
Dave. Is that a 1500 manual? I couldn't find that in mine.
It is on page 60 of the 2000 GL1500 Owners Manual under Shifting Gears


Keeping that all in mind, shifting anywhere at any RPM is okay and it is personal preference as long as you do not lug or over-speed the engine. Shift where it sounds and feels good to you.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by RockportDave » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:33 pm

Dave. Is that a 1500 manual? I couldn't find that in mine.
It’s a 1999 owners manual that came with the bike, same as MikeB’s.
Dave
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Re: Running Higher gears at slower speeds

Post by Stew » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:56 pm

Like mentioned in the video, low speed/high load is not ideal but if I'm just loafing along on flat ground only needing enough power to overcome wind resistance and the tires rolling on the ground, I'll be in 5th by 35 mph easy, that is not high load - it's practically no load at all. You don't need to be making peak torque or HP when you're leisurely cruising along, why spin your engine along faster and waste the gas?

This subject is probably like "which oil is best" though, endless debate.


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