Chug-a-Chug Chug. Or, how low can you go? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-25-2016, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Chug-a-Chug Chug. Or, how low can you go?

I've developed a habit of trying to tractor up hills and through curves in tall gears where the RPM sometimes drops in the 2-3,000 range. This generally follows the owner's manual recommended shifting pattern. I downshift when it seems like the bike will stall. The engine rattles and thumps but generally manages to power out of it and start accelerating again.


The Kawasaki engineers should have done their homework when they wrote this section, but is there any concern about wear and tear or engine damage with this practice?
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-25-2016, 09:54 PM
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You're gonna get a lot of different answers. Certain people I ride with who shall remain namleess (ahem...Kevin) will definitely go that low (2K). I don't like lugging the engine. Will it hurt the bike? Not significantly.

You can definitely make an argument for both sides. Personally, I don't like the sound at low RPM. Like the bikes gonna break in half.

That said, 3K is totally safe. Me, I don't go below.



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Last edited by Lockjaw; 08-25-2016 at 09:56 PM. Reason: fatigue induced incoherence
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-25-2016, 10:02 PM
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Anything below 2k and my bike runs the risk of pinging. Klx needle is in the mail! I can crawl in the woods all day at 1800-2000, but I think that's about as low as it well tolerate. Recently put on a 14t front sprocket and it was a big help. 2200-2400 seems to be it's happy place as far as putting around, but forget snatching a front tire over a log at that rpm IMO. But, my bike has 40k miles on it and I'm new to KLRs. For all I know my bike could be sick/down on power.

On pavement....no clue. I gas it and roll. I hardly ever look at a tach when I'm beating pavement. lol
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Last edited by shinyribs; 08-25-2016 at 10:04 PM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-25-2016, 10:10 PM
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The engine shouldn't "lug".

Hard accel at low rpms produces more like a series of hammer bangs than
a series of smooth and closer together power strokes.
This banging is the enemy of crankshaft assemblies and bearings.
It can handle it here and there but repeated lugging will make some
very loose and loud clearances in the bottom end of the block. This begins
the slow chain reaction of cylinder wear due to crank to rod slop and will begin
to machine and consume the lower wear surfaces. It's a total no-no. A few thousandths
here and there will start the decline of the engine's service life way too soon and happen quicker.

I've done the slow cruise at 2800 rpms in lower gears around town,
but don't whack the throttle until the spin is well over 3,000.

Just did a lil' math.
At 4,200 rpms that's a quarter million revolutions per hour, and a million in only
4 hours of riding at 60 mph.
Countless millions of cycles with repeat even in a month. (let alone the lifetime of the bike)
I wouldn't want any slop down south during that process.
.
Offroading is different. We lug here and there to get out of a tight spot but this
is where the clutch comes in. Keep the revs up a bit unless necessary.

CheapAndRevving
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Last edited by CheapBassTurd; 08-25-2016 at 10:14 PM. Reason: I wanted to edit this message.
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-25-2016, 11:16 PM
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Much better just to tap down a gear and keep the revs higher, or slip the clutch to stop that awful lugging sound of the big piston trying to hammer it's way out of the block. Offroad I sometimes misjudge a corner and go through with too high a gear or low RPM and hearing that lugg-ugg-ugg-ugg makes me cringe!

The KLR may sound like a tractor, but there's no reason to ride it like one!
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-26-2016, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CheapBassTurd View Post
The engine shouldn't "lug".

Hard accel at low rpms produces more like a series of hammer bangs than
a series of smooth and closer together power strokes.
This banging is the enemy of crankshaft assemblies and bearings.
It can handle it here and there but repeated lugging will make some
very loose and loud clearances in the bottom end of the block. This begins
the slow chain reaction of cylinder wear due to crank to rod slop and will begin
to machine and consume the lower wear surfaces. It's a total no-no. A few thousandths
here and there will start the decline of the engine's service life way too soon and happen quicker.

I've done the slow cruise at 2800 rpms in lower gears around town,
but don't whack the throttle until the spin is well over 3,000.

Just did a lil' math.
At 4,200 rpms that's a quarter million revolutions per hour, and a million in only
4 hours of riding at 60 mph.
Countless millions of cycles with repeat even in a month. (let alone the lifetime of the bike)
I wouldn't want any slop down south during that process.
.
Offroading is different. We lug here and there to get out of a tight spot but this
is where the clutch comes in. Keep the revs up a bit unless necessary.

CheapAndRevving
Sounds like a reasonable explanation as to why low RPM riding is a bad idea.

So the million dollar question is why does Kawasaki recommend such low shift points?

Because of engine break in and me trying to get 300 mile fuel tanks, I've been guilty of riding in too tall of a gear. Thankfully I've not been hard on the throttle but it's still a habit that I should break post haste.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-26-2016, 10:28 AM
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Lugging any engine invites wear, tear, and damage, IMHO.

I think perhaps Kawasaki engineers assumed such a priori knowledge and common sense in customers reading the manual.

What advantage resides in lugging an engine?

Regardless, your bike--lug it if you want to!
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-26-2016, 12:26 PM
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The sound of an engine lugging is like nails on a chalkboard to me, I always try to keep engines in the rpm "sweet spot" so I'm able to accelerate smoothly away without banging and clunking... Applies to all manual transmission vehicles in my book.

Plus, you can't really put too much faith in the KLR owners manual... Doesn't it still say there's a 6th gear in there as well?
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