Use of gears

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Use of gears

Post by brettchallenger » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:33 pm

I have been following a YouTube channel -

Basically the channel is about a (very nice) man who has returned to motorcycling after a 40 year absence and is re-learning his skills. Recently, there has been an argument over gear selection and usage. There seems to be a body of thought that a motorcycle should spend most of its time in a gear which allows flexibility in case a fast response is needed “to get out of trouble”, and that the highest gear ratios should be the preserve of motorways (highways/freeways). Consequently, the gears used on ordinary single carriage roads (up to 60mph) should be the intermediate gears ie 2, 3, and 4

Now the motorcycle concerned in the YouTube channel features a 6 speed BMW r1200RT which I realise is a very different beast to (in my case) 5 speed 1500 Goldwing. For me, I tend to get the ‘Wing into overdrive at anything over 30mph and stay there. This is mainly due to idleness, the wonderful torque my ‘Wing produces, and not least, to try and get the maximum use out of a gallon of petrol, especially with prices now pushing £1.30 a litre, equivalent to $7 per US gallon.

So what gearing do people on this site use and why?

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Re: Use of gears

Post by Fiberthree » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:24 pm

Since I know how and when to down-shift... I, like you, do tend to spend the majority of my time with the OD light happily shining on my instrument panel. Most of the streets and roads around here do not have stop signs at every intersection and the highways are, well , just that. No need to have my engine screaming at me to shift to a higher gear.

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Re: Use of gears

Post by TwoTone Trike » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:29 pm

For me it depends on the roads. Unless I'm on the freeway I'm usually in 3rd or 4th.

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Re: Use of gears

Post by Viking » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:31 am

Above 50 MPH I put the bike in OD. Below 50 MPH, drop to 4th and lower depending on how far below 50 MPH. The single most important thing to me is that I do not lug the engine.
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Re: Use of gears

Post by DenverWinger » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:24 am

I find myself looking at the OD light a lot, even in city driving. Easy and quick enough to downshift 2 or 3 gears if needed and the 1500 has plenty of torque, even at 1000 RPM. The 1100 protests a little if you put the gas to her under 2000 RPM, still good torque at low revs, but a lot of vibration that suddenly goes away once you reach 2000 RPM. I think that's the speed the centrifugal advance kicks in.
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Re: Use of gears

Post by Stew » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:05 am

I also shift up pretty quickly. As others have already mentioned there's so much torque available down low that acceleration at low rpms is never a problem. Plus you get better mileage, smoother throttle action and lower amounts of engine noise to boot!
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Re: Use of gears

Post by mterraci » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:44 am

I'm typically in 5th gear at 45 mph or above, as long as I'm not climbing a hill. I avoid lugging the engine. Otherwise the Goldwing has more than enough horsepower and low end torque to move along with ease.

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