Shifting in Traffic - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Angry Shifting in Traffic

I'm kind of a new rider... one thing has been bugging me about traffic : Shifting.

The cages are very often running right between my gears. They will be going 50mph - and I am wondering if I should shift up to 5th and lug or rev high in 4th? I've heard that the mpg on the vulcans likes the higher rpms?

Then there is the slow roll at a green light. Once they actually start moving, they move really, really slow.

... then the other day, I saw an old Harley rider kill his bike at an intersection to avoid getting hit by a speeding car.

anyway... any input on the between gear cager speed issue?

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:19 AM
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in heavy traffic i will stay a gear down to keep my bike loud and ready for any evasive measures. as for the slow roll at the light, i will get tight and then park it. i dont mind a couple car lenghts in front of me, plus it gives me extra room to pull out if the jay hole coming up from behind isnt slowing down. stay safe and realize everyone in a car doesnt give a poo about bikers.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:26 AM
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in heavy traffic i will stay a gear down to keep my bike loud and ready for any evasive measures. as for the slow roll at the light, i will get tight and then park it. i dont mind a couple car lenghts in front of me, plus it gives me extra room to pull out if the jay hole coming up from behind isnt slowing down. stay safe and realize everyone in a car doesnt give a poo about bikers.
+1 on the lower gear. The more you play with the bike you will realize more and more how it will perform in situations like that. Get out somewhere safe and pretend a little. you will find that level in each gear where it is or is not beneficial to down shift and gun it. Sometimes it takes more time to click down and get on it than it does to just roll on the fuel.

But whenever I am in doubt I keep it in a lower gear for better response in acceleration and braking.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:30 AM
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Higher rpm in heavy traffic is the better choice. I don't make a lot of noise so that doesn't count for me, but higher rpm keeps you in your power range. You should be able to rapidly change your speed and torque, as well as rapidly change lanes if needed. Backed up traffic and traffic lights really require you to learn how to feather the clutch. Slow moving is one of the harder skills for the new rider to learn. Get in an empty parking lot and practice, practice, practice! And finally, when stopping at a light, leave comfortable room in front and slightly angle your bike to one side or the other of the car in front of you right before stopping. If the cager behind you isn't stopping (of course you have to be watching!) you are already prepared to shoot between the cars in front of you to safety. Keep your head on a swivel, always yield, stay safe!

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you

Thanks for the replies!

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 09:11 AM
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+1 to Old Bears comments. When you go to a safe place to practice slow maneuvers, as well as feathering the clutch, practice dragging the rear brake (and rear brake only) and you will see how much slower and steadier you will be.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 09:13 AM
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+1 to Old Bears comments. When you go to a safe place to practice slow maneuvers, as well as feathering the clutch, practice dragging the rear brake (and rear brake only) and you will see how much slower and steadier you will be.
yeah that will come in handy when you are in slow moving traffic. I know when I was first told about it and learned how to do it I was just amazed at how easy it was to crawl around.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Slow moving is one of the harder skills for the new rider to learn. Get in an empty parking lot and practice, practice, practice!
I am heading to Vicksburg (MS) to the military park this weekend. It has a Looooong winding 'tour' through the historical battlefield with lots of places to practice. It has hills, curves, curvy hills, parking areas, stops... It should be fun and lots of practice! ( depending on weather )

.... daily commute is practice, but not much fun. Then again, I am loving off-ramps... and on-ramps.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 10:26 AM
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I also stay in the lower gear but I feel your pain in the frustration department. I'd rather stay in the lower gear than to have to worry about maintaining a certain speed to keep my bike running. Plus I don't know If you've noticed but most cagers in my neck of the woods seem to get even slower as I approach them.


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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 10:40 AM
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I prefer to keep my bike in a lower gear when in traffic as that prevents lugging of the engine and I get more power to the rear wheel, so the bike is more responsive. The other thing I do is wait to proceed out into an intersection. I don't just hit it the moment the light turns green because there are too many idiot drivers that believe red lights are just a suggestion to stop. If I'm behind another vehicle, I normally wait until they've moved a couple car lengths before I move out. And then, I just don't get antsy and irritated when other traffic moves slower than I'd like to go. I just go with the flow and avoid the aggrevation.

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