RPM & Speed Ranges - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 10-04-2011, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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RPM & Speed Ranges

Hi all.

Have had my KLR for not quite a week now and am still getting used to it. What are the proper operating ranges for both speed/RPM for different gears? I've been going mostly by feel and sound of the engine but am unsure if a motorcycle engine is different from a truck engine.

For example it seems that I tend to run @ 2500 rpm/45 mph in 5th. Does that seem too low and like I should be in 4th?
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post #2 of 23 Old 10-04-2011, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by imthedude View Post
Hi all.

Have had my KLR for not quite a week now and am still getting used to it. What are the proper operating ranges for both speed/RPM for different gears? I've been going mostly by feel and sound of the engine but am unsure if a motorcycle engine is different from a truck engine.

For example it seems that I tend to run @ 2500 rpm/45 mph in 5th. Does that seem too low and like I should be in 4th?
Yep too low. Generally you want to be at least 3500 rpm any lower and you risk lugging the engine. You can tell if you open up the throttle and it bogs vs. takes off. Also you'll hear/feel the engine knocking.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9

Last edited by Spec; 10-04-2011 at 05:05 PM.
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post #3 of 23 Old 10-05-2011, 01:58 PM
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What generation do you have? I run my gen II from 2000-5000rpm during any normal operating times. I usually shift around 3000-3250rpm and cruise speed (yes i know its not a boat but this is where i find my self when road limits are between 30 mph to 40 mph which is the majority of my riding) at 45 mph which is just around 3000 rpm. When running on the highway i get up to around 75 mph and that is right around 5000rpm. When making my way through a dense traffic area, ie city downtown, i ride around 2000 rpm and there is no "lugging" issue as long as you arent going up a steep hill or all of a sudden decide to open up the throttle.

Other than normal riding, when i am doing spirited riding i keep the rpms above 3000rpm. This includes canyon carving with the riding group and off-roading.
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post #4 of 23 Old 10-05-2011, 02:46 PM
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What generation do you have? I run my gen II from 2000-5000rpm during any normal operating times. I usually shift around 3000-3250rpm and cruise speed (yes i know its not a boat but this is where i find my self when road limits are between 30 mph to 40 mph which is the majority of my riding) at 45 mph which is just around 3000 rpm. When running on the highway i get up to around 75 mph and that is right around 5000rpm. When making my way through a dense traffic area, ie city downtown, i ride around 2000 rpm and there is no "lugging" issue as long as you arent going up a steep hill or all of a sudden decide to open up the throttle.

Other than normal riding, when i am doing spirited riding i keep the rpms above 3000rpm. This includes canyon carving with the riding group and off-roading.

You're in the wrong gear/rpm range if you can't open up the throttle without shifting down. 2k rpm is barely off idle. Shifting at 3K rpm puts you at about 17 horsepower.

Patman's KLR dyno page

To the OP keep the bike above 3k shift in the 5-6k range.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9
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post #5 of 23 Old 10-05-2011, 02:58 PM
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You're in the wrong gear/rpm range if you can't open up the throttle without shifting down. 2k rpm is barely off idle. Shifting at 3K rpm puts you at about 17 horsepower.

Patman's KLR dyno page

To the OP keep the bike above 3k shift in the 5-6k range.
I can open the throttle fine about 2500 rpm, just stating that riding around downtown i can maintain 2000 rpm without any lugging whatsoever, just gotta down shift when i am ready to go. the whole point of gears is so you can be at the desired rpm during a given situation. If you are driving for fuel economy it is perfectly ok to be in a gear that requires a down shift if you want to open the throttle, as long as you stay out of the lug load for any give rpm feel free to ride at that rpm, or if you like always having peak power keep her in the 5000-6500 range. If you arent lugging and you arent redlining, you are in the right gear.

What kind of car do you have spec? Automatic or manual?
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post #6 of 23 Old 10-05-2011, 03:44 PM
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I can open the throttle fine about 2500 rpm, just stating that riding around downtown i can maintain 2000 rpm without any lugging whatsoever, just gotta down shift when i am ready to go. the whole point of gears is so you can be at the desired rpm during a given situation. If you are driving for fuel economy it is perfectly ok to be in a gear that requires a down shift if you want to open the throttle, as long as you stay out of the lug load for any give rpm feel free to ride at that rpm, or if you like always having peak power keep her in the 5000-6500 range. If you arent lugging and you arent redlining, you are in the right gear.

What kind of car do you have spec? Automatic or manual?

Lugging shows up when you open the throttle. You're giving the bike more gas than it can process at the RPM and you get engine knocking (predetonation). It's bad for the engine. Lower gears have quicker engine response so yea you can ride around in 1st or 2nd @ 2.5K and not lug the engine. 3rd-5th no.

Same with a manual trans car, step on the gas in too high a gear and you get knocking.

You may get marginally better milage running your motor at very low RPM but it's not designed to operate that way. Notice that an auto trans won't let you do that?

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9
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post #7 of 23 Old 10-05-2011, 03:56 PM
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So, in conclusion. Keep riding at whatever rpm, gear, road grade, and throttle amount you want as long as there is no knocking, pinging, or lugging. For me, that would be between 2000-5000 rpm depending on the situation.

For example...

road grade = 0
rpm = 2000
gear = 5
throttle = just enough to keep rolling at 30 mph

knocking - no
pinging - no
lugging - no

Conclusion - safe operating conditions

What do I do if...

Speed reduces? if knocking, pinging, or lugging will result down shift

incline? if knocking, pinging, or lugging will result down shift

need to accelerate? if knocking, pinging, or lugging will result down shift
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post #8 of 23 Old 10-05-2011, 04:06 PM
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So, in conclusion. Keep riding at whatever rpm, gear, road grade, and throttle amount you want as long as there is no knocking, pinging, or lugging. For me, that would be between 2000-5000 rpm depending on the situation.

For example...

road grade = 0
rpm = 2000
gear = 5
throttle = just enough to keep rolling at 30 mph

knocking - no
pinging - no
lugging - no

Conclusion - safe operating conditions

What do I do if...

Speed reduces? if knocking, pinging, or lugging will result down shift

incline? if knocking, pinging, or lugging will result down shift

need to accelerate? if knocking, pinging, or lugging will result down shift


OK you ride your bike the way you want. 2k in 5th is severely lugging the motor but hey it's your's.

I'm done.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9
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post #9 of 23 Old 10-05-2011, 05:04 PM
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Since no one is backing Spec here, I will. I agree, do what you want with your bike, but 3500-4k is the range you want to be in.




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post #10 of 23 Old 10-05-2011, 05:11 PM
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I shift at about 5000-5500, cruise at 4500 in normal operation.

(Somewhat evil cackle emanates from background)...

Sometimes I shift at about 7000-7500....

T

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