Jump to content

What gear should I be in?


dave_jo

Recommended Posts

I just got a 1150RT and love it.

I am very comfortable on the bike and have started to explore the capabilities on some back roads and two lane highways.

My concern is in-town driving. 25-50mph constant speeds. What should I turn for RPMs at constant speed? Is it OK to cruise below 3K?

I have searched here and Google and can't find any real insights. The guy at the dealer said keep it closer to 4K which seems like overkill at low speeds.

Thanks for any help.

Link to comment
Silver Surfer/AKAButters

Congrats Dave and welcome. I'm going to get trounced for this, because I believe many disagree, but I do much of my riding in town and lug all day long at 3K and above, conditons permitting. I think most will suggest that the 1150 is happier at 3500 to 5K, but I have had no problems lugging mine around 3K on a regualr basis. I do make frequent excursions to redline to keep everything cleaned out, but prefer cruising near 3K or just above the point where it might ping or detonate. If I am in traffic or a situation that might require some performance, I'll drop her down a gear and hover above 4k or so. Of course YMMV nad I am sure like I said you are in for a number of recommendations.

Link to comment
I just got a 1150RT and love it.

I am very comfortable on the bike and have started to explore the capabilities on some back roads and two lane highways.

My concern is in-town driving. 25-50mph constant speeds. What should I turn for RPMs at constant speed? Is it OK to cruise below 3K?

I have searched here and Google and can't find any real insights. The guy at the dealer said keep it closer to 4K which seems like overkill at low speeds.

Thanks for any help.

 

Dave:

A real man would never get the rpms less than redline, however, don't you have a owners manual? The minimum rpms are in there. My bike's book says never ride below 1500 rpms. However, I feel most comfortable never dropping much below 2500. As long as you don't lug the engine, do what is comfortable. If I listened to the macho men (this site is loaded with them) I would ride in 3rd gear from here to bike week and back.

Tipover Bob

Link to comment
I just got a 1150RT and love it.

I am very comfortable on the bike and have started to explore the capabilities on some back roads and two lane highways.

My concern is in-town driving. 25-50mph constant speeds. What should I turn for RPMs at constant speed? Is it OK to cruise below 3K?

I have searched here and Google and can't find any real insights. The guy at the dealer said keep it closer to 4K which seems like overkill at low speeds.

Thanks for any help.

 

Dave, I see no reason that at light throttle you can’t cruise along at 2500-3000 RPM’s.. Probably wouldn’t want to pull any hills or ride 2 up under load at 2500 RPM’s but light load shouldn’t be a problem.. I see nothing in the BMW manual that says to keep it above 3000 RPM’s.. In fact the manual does show under elasticity & gives acceleration times of 50-70 mph in 4th, 5th, 6th gear so they apparently condone a 6th gear throttle roll on at 50 mph in 6th gear..

 

Now the above being said a lot will depend on how your engine responds in the 2000-3000 RPM range.. My 02 1150RT was pretty bad in that range from the factory as they run pretty lean in that range so some bikes will buck & surge along at steady 2500 RPM’s at light load..

 

I have a fuel controller on my bike & a good TBI balance so it will pull surge free, steady & clean from 1500 right to red line in 5th gear..

 

I don't lug my 1150 but sure don't go out of my way to keep it above 3500-4500 RPM's either..

 

Twisty

Link to comment
russell_bynum

As long as the motor isn't lugging, you're fine.

 

OTOH, don't hesitate to wring it out every now and then. My oilheads have always run better after a good "Italian Tuneup". I generally accelerate pretty briskly at large throttle openings, taking the bike to redline (or into the limiter if I'm not paying attention), but there's really not much reason to run along at high rpm just for the sake of it.

 

Just make sure you're in a gear that is appropriate for the conditions...if you need to accelerate to deal with a problem, you don't want to have to take the time to go down 3 gears before you can do anything.

Link to comment

As a aside I noted with interest a couple of threads a while back wherein a few hexhead owners noted that they actually got better mileage at low-ish freeway speeds in fifth gear rather than sixth. While it's certainly theoretically possible for an engine to get better mileage at a higher engine speed (if a lower rpm takes it too far out of the powerband) I'd never heard of an actual real-world example before that.

Link to comment

Thanks for the input.

I have read the manual and while 1500 works well in parking lots, it doesn't seem at all OK at 30mph. I have been riding pretty much as Twisty describes. Cruising at 2500-3000 then down shifting to accelerate rapidly or to climb a hill.

I do also "ring it out" occasionally (well maybe a little more that occasionally).

Link to comment

Top speed on my daily commute is 35 MPH. I rarely make it out of 2nd gear and rarely make it over 4,000 RPM.

 

Of course ... at that RPM my bike tends to accelerate - so 35 MPH becomes a challenge. grin.gif

Link to comment

When commuting, or if I am in the mood for a gentle ride, I use a rule of thumb of 10x the gear for crusing speed. ie 2nd for 20mph, 3rd for 30mph etc. (in the UK the speed limits are all multiples of 10)

 

Andy

Link to comment

My new trick is to ride around with the rpm as high possible to practice my throttle control. I rarely shift before 6K rpm, and normally not before 7K. In my 'hood, I ride in first gear at 5-6K. It sounds a little funny, but I like it.

Link to comment

In town riding, ie 35mph or under, I'll probably be at 3000. But out of town my tach seldom falls under 4500. Learned to ride a beemer on a K75 and carried that thru to other beemers. RT engine is more responsive above 4000 - tends to lug at lower engine speeds. There are times when it's advantageous to have immediate acceleration rather than twisting the throttle to hear it lug then have to downshift a gear or two for quick acceleration. So I guess running above 4K is as much a safety issue as a pleasure issue.

Link to comment
As a aside I noted with interest a couple of threads a while back wherein a few hexhead owners noted that they actually got better mileage at low-ish freeway speeds in fifth gear rather than sixth. While it's certainly theoretically possible for an engine to get better mileage at a higher engine speed (if a lower rpm takes it too far out of the powerband) I'd never heard of an actual real-world example before that.

 

That would agree with what I have found on my 04 GS, riding on the freeway in 6th against a headwind I get 5-6 mpg less than in 5th under the same conditions.

 

I would bet that you have to maintain a larger throttle butterfly opening in 6th than you do in 5th to keep the speed constant. I have noted when driving a car with a vacuum economy guage installed that you maintain higher vacuum when in a lower gear with a small throttle opening than you do in higher gears at a given speed/load; and, as more vacuum means greater fuel efficiency, more throttle opening should equal less mileage.

Link to comment
As a aside I noted with interest a couple of threads a while back wherein a few hexhead owners noted that they actually got better mileage at low-ish freeway speeds in fifth gear rather than sixth. While it's certainly theoretically possible for an engine to get better mileage at a higher engine speed (if a lower rpm takes it too far out of the powerband) I'd never heard of an actual real-world example before that.

 

That would agree with what I have found on my 04 GS, riding on the freeway in 6th against a headwind I get 5-6 mpg less than in 5th under the same conditions.

 

I would bet that you have to maintain a larger throttle butterfly opening in 6th than you do in 5th to keep the speed constant. I have noted when driving a car with a vacuum economy guage installed that you maintain higher vacuum when in a lower gear with a small throttle opening than you do in higher gears at a given speed/load; and, as more vacuum means greater fuel efficiency, more throttle opening should equal less mileage.

 

Steve, actually more vacuum doesn’t equate to better fuel economy in & of itself.. The more engine vacuum you have the higher the pumping losses.. Spark ignition engines with throttle plates are big vacuum pumps at high vacuum.. Diesels have no throttle plate therefore very low manifold vacuum & low pumping losses..

 

Now if the manifold vacuum drops off too much you will go into fuel enrichment as the system thinks (probably rightfully so ) that the engine is under more load..

 

 

Lots of very smart people are working very hard every day to try & figure out a way to get gasoline engines to operate like a diesel & get the throttle plate out of the intake stream.. You find a way to get a gasoline engine to operate across a broad RPM & load range with low or no manifold vacuum & you will be a rich man..

 

Twisty

Link to comment

I have owned several BMW cars and 3 BMW 2 wheelers. I achieved over 400,000 mi on a 320i,100,000 on a r1100rs. All of My cars manuals said 5th gear should be able to go down to 30mph and back to highway speed with no problem. I applied this same mentality to My bikes. I can run My 04' R1150R down to 30mph in 6th gear and back to 70mph without any shifting. Of course I don't hammer on it from 30 to 70 but it will do it, 2-up or not with no problem.If You want throttle response then keep the R's up. If Your cruising through town and then back to highway speed downshift to 5th and up 6th when up to speed.Alright now go ahead and stab Me.

Link to comment

Not stabbing...shoot ya maybe lmao.gif

Well, I chastise you for your laziness young man eek.gif

I for one certainly wouldn't do that as it doesn't make sense, mechanically speaking.

Now....

I have a 5 speed BMW 525i and a 6 speed R1150RT and would NEVER run them down to 30mph in 5th (or 6th) and then lug them up. It is a bad habit to get into....

From memory, I believe the stock 2.5L M50tuB25 motor develops around 190 hp at 6k and 190 torque at 4k and the R1150RT published figures were 95 at around 7k and 72 torque around 5k.

So why strain the motor..... lurker.giflurker.gif???

Link to comment
I believe the stock 2.5L M50tuB25 motor develops around 190 hp at 6k and 190 torque at 4k and the R1150RT published figures were 95 at around 7k and 72 torque around 5k.

So why strain the motor..... lurker.giflurker.gif???

 

Phil:

One Subaru driver to another, let me get his straight, are you implying there is less strain on a motor by running it near the redline rather than at low rpms, both being within the mfg's recommended limits?

Tipover Bob

Link to comment

Anything under 3000 rpm is lugging it unless you are just drifting along at 20mph, 4000rpm is better. Guess I'm a macho man, there's a first! Anyway, the one thing that most people here agree on is that you should be in all the gears all the time.

Link to comment
russell_bynum
I believe the stock 2.5L M50tuB25 motor develops around 190 hp at 6k and 190 torque at 4k and the R1150RT published figures were 95 at around 7k and 72 torque around 5k.

So why strain the motor..... lurker.giflurker.gif???

 

Phil:

One Subaru driver to another, let me get his straight, are you implying there is less strain on a motor by running it near the redline rather than at low rpms, both being within the mfg's recommended limits?

Tipover Bob

 

Either extreme is bad.

 

Guys like Mitch will be able to give you the details (and probably make you bleed from the ears trying to internalize it all grin.gif ) but basically...

 

Normally, the metal bits in the engine (bearings, etc) hydroplane on a cushion of oil. At lower speeds, if you put too much load on there, you can push the bits down through the oil and get metal on metal contact. At higher speed, that's not really a problem. (Think about hydroplaning in a car...slow down enough and you don't hydroplane. The faster you go, the more likely you are to hydroplane.)

 

So...low RPM and high load, at the extreme end of the scale, is a bad thing.

 

Of course, you don't want to go around spinning it into oblivion all the time either. But the general feeling is tha the oilhead's redline is pretty conservative, so there really isn't much worry about bumping into it from time to time.

Link to comment
But the general feeling is tha the oilhead's redline is pretty conservative, so there really isn't much worry about bumping into it from time to time.

 

Russ:

I can dig it, but at 2500 rpms, I just don't see a problem with opening up the throttle. I believe the engine is acting like an air pump at this speed (all speeds) and drawing in less air volume than at high rpms, so, opening the throttle at lower rpms does not overload the engine with any larger amounts of fuel than it can handle. My theory is, just ride it, but don't abuse it.

Tipover Bob

Link to comment

Bob,

Apples and Oranges I'm afraid mate eek.gif

Our Subie is an automatic but I do notice it changes around 4k if i don't floor it and about 250 rpm under redline if I do grin.gifgrin.gif

Link to comment
Thanks for the input.

I have read the manual and while 1500 works well in parking lots, it doesn't seem at all OK at 30mph. I have been riding pretty much as Twisty describes. Cruising at 2500-3000 then down shifting to accelerate rapidly or to climb a hill.

I do also "ring it out" occasionally (well maybe a little more that occasionally).

 

When I first got my RT I rode in the lower RPM's 2500-4000max. After reading several articles on here and speaking with some mechanics and tech heads I have started keeping the RPM up higher. I have noticed several things. The bike runs much smoother in general, better throttle response, and I've been getting about 50 miles more per tank. Around town- 3500 to 4000. Twisty's- 4k plus Highway- 4k Plus. that's what works for mine. It seems like each of these bikes has a sweet spot. So I'd say experiment with it and see what your's likes! thumbsup.gif

Link to comment

I had a feeling my post would generate a wide range of responses.

Thanks everyone for your riding styles.

I don't think I'll ever ride at 30mph in 5th gear.

Nor will I cruise at 30 mph in first.

Never lug.

When conditions warrant, keep the rpms near 4K or more so the bike is ready to respond to what is needed.

And last and very important, kiss the redline occasionally to keep the bike and me happy.

 

By the way, will the bike really do 124mph?

Link to comment

 

By the way, will the bike really do 124mph?

 

I had my '02 at a GPS verified 130 MPH on level(ish) ground whilst visiting the Isle of Man, whose lack of speed limits made this legal clap.gif

 

I did not however, hold it there for long - the narrow road and stone walls made it just too frightening a proposition for me.

 

Andy

Link to comment
russell_bynum

 

By the way, will the bike really do 124mph?

 

I saw 131 (GPS) a few times on my 1100 (including while riding 2-up). I did manage to hit the rev limiter in top gear once on a long gradual downhill while solo and tucked in as tight as I could. I didn't have GPS, but the speedo was up around 142 or something like that. I suspect reality was more like 135 or so.

Link to comment

My '96 1100RT is clearly happy as a clam at 2200 to 2500 rpm in 5th gear. Never feels or sounds like it is lugging, has never pinged & will accelerate easily and freely from that point. Around town in light traffic, that's the way I ride it.

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...