Shifting Speeds - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-27-2010, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Shifting Speeds

I thought I had ordered an owners manual for my '86 454 LTD, but received a shop manual from Kawasaki.

Does anyone know what the shift speeds are for each of the six gears? The shop manual lists the gear ratios but not the shift speeds.

Thank you for you help.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-28-2010, 09:07 AM
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My bike is a five speed, so the rule I use (and it's only general) is every 10 mph I shift. In other words, at 20, I shift to 2nd; at 30, to 3rd, and so on, and I rarely if ever use 5th under 50 mph.

I wouldn't know about the 6th speed ratio, but if you listen to the bike, it will tell you when to shift. You'll hear it and feel it.

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-28-2010, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatC View Post
My bike is a five speed, so the rule I use (and it's only general) is every 10 mph I shift. In other words, at 20, I shift to 2nd; at 30, to 3rd, and so on, and I rarely if ever use 5th under 50 mph.

I wouldn't know about the 6th speed ratio, but if you listen to the bike, it will tell you when to shift. You'll hear it and feel it.
Thanks much, PatC. Your speeds seem reasonable, and I think you're right about listening to the engine.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-28-2010, 01:20 PM
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This is from the owners manual for the 2009 500. This is for the break-in period between 500 - 1000 miles The maximum recommended speed for is.
1st = 24mph
2nd = 34mph
3rd = 44mph
4th = 54mph
5th = 64mph
6th = 72mph

09 Vulcan 500 LTD
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-28-2010, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
This is from the owners manual for the 2009 500. This is for the break-in period between 500 - 1000 miles The maximum recommended speed for is.
1st = 24mph
2nd = 34mph
3rd = 44mph
4th = 54mph
5th = 64mph
6th = 72mph
Thank you, Red Rider. This was what I was interested in knowing. Since these are maximum speeds, I assume most of us would shift at lower speeds.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-28-2010, 08:36 PM
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Once you get use to the sound of the engine you'll be shifting without even thinking about it.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Shifting Speeds Update

I've found that shifting from 1st to 2nd at 10 m.p.h. and from 2nd to 3rd at 20 m.p.h. seems to result in the smoothest shifts.

However, I've found that I need to slow below those speeds when downshifting. If I don't get down to about 2-3 m.p.h. below these shifting points,engine braking always occurs. If I do slow down, it's a much smoother transition when the clutch is released. Have any of you found this difference to be true for you also?

As an aside, since posting my original query, my skills have improved to the point that I'm out riding the quieter city streets. I still only feel comfortable up 30 m.p.h.; and I'm in no hurry to get faster....faster. That will come in time as my comfort level and skills improve.

Still eager to get the the M.S.F. Basic rider course next week. Until then, I'll still practicing!
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 09:46 PM
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The 454 is an excellent bike to whet you appetite and hone your skills. My wife had been riding about 3 years and I bought her a 454, she loved the handling and cursed the seat. If I were going into town and knew I would be twisting around on the streets I would ride her bike, it is probably the most nimble cruiser type bike I ever rode.

Oh, and dang quick too.

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 10:14 PM
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I really enjoy the 454 also, it's so easy to ride I think I could actully get too cocky on it! I think the best shifting is between 5K and 6K RPM.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 10:38 PM
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The larger V-twins are different than the 1 or more cylinder in-line bikes. The large v-twins, like my 1600 Classic are made to run at lower rpm's. You can run at 25 mph in 5th gear if you want to. I don't, but I regularly run 35 mph in 5th gear. The lower rpm's help with the gas mileage. The in-line bikes tend to run at higher rpm's, and aren't meant to be lugged.
BTW, there's absolutely nothing wrong with engine braking. I have done it for years and years. I have never needed to replace a set of brakes on a bike. I don't brake at high rpm's, but always let the engine help when braking.

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