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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #11
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.
Hi, Bob...and thanks for your input.

So far I really do enjoy this bike. I'm still doing mostly the parking lot practice; consequently, I don't have enough long distance riding time yet to judge the seat comfort.

I agree about it's being a nimble bike. The throttle is so responsive that I'm having a bit of trouble coordinating that, the rear brake, and the friction zone during u-turns. I'm hoping that will improve with more practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
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.
LOL @ getting to cocky on the 454! Maybe, some day my skills will get to the point where I can feel that way.

I'm interested in your comment about the best shifting at those RPM's. I don't think I've gotten anywhere near 5K before feeling the need to shift. Were you referring to your bike or to the 454?
 

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You just gotta get out and ride. You'll get into the flow of things the more you do it. Practice, practice, practice. Check out this video:
 

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Hehe. Not sure if you can do that with the larger Vulcans. I think they're raked more than the Harley's, and have a longer wheelbase. I'd like to give it a try, though. I can turn around on the narrower country roads without putting the feet down.

You can hear their floorboards scrape once in awhile, too.
 

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LOL @ getting to cocky on the 454! Maybe, some day my skills will get to the point where I can feel that way.

I'm interested in your comment about the best shifting at those RPM's. I don't think I've gotten anywhere near 5K before feeling the need to shift. Were you referring to your bike or to the 454?
The 900 doesn't have a tach, so I have no idea what RPM I am shifting at.
The 454 is a high reving engine, as you've noticed it doesn't even red line until 10K. You just continue to shift when comfortable though. The little bugger can buck you off if you push it. I came off the freeway back in 1987 of my first 454 and had to goose it to merge into traffic, if it wasn't for the camel seat I would have flew right off the back. It has alot more kick then you would think.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The little bugger can buck you off if you push it. I came off the freeway back in 1987 of my first 454 and had to goose it to merge into traffic, if it wasn't for the camel seat I would have flew right off the back. It has alot more kick then you would think.:D
Well, alrighty, then. I had to give up flying lessons about 6 years ago. I was wondering what could replace the thrill of rocketing a Cessna 152 down the runway for takeoff at 53 knots! :D
 

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Well, alrighty, then. I had to give up flying lessons about 6 years ago. I was wondering what could replace the thrill of rocketing a Cessna 152 down the runway for takeoff at 53 knots! :D
I took flying lessons in 1980, Piper Tomahawk, that was a blast, biking is a cheeper thrill.:) By the way. The brakes work really well on the 454 too. I almost T-Boned a big old white Suburban yesterday. Some young brat pulled right out in front of me. Part of the thrill I guess. Ride safe Dan.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I took flying lessons in 1980, Piper Tomahawk, that was a blast, biking is a cheeper thrill.:) By the way. The brakes work really well on the 454 too. I almost T-Boned a big old white Suburban yesterday. Some young brat pulled right out in front of me. Part of the thrill I guess. Ride safe Dan.
Whoa! Glad you are good at quick stops! Haven't had anything that close yet.

Yup, flying was a blast! But so far, I'm enjoying riding as much. Interestingly, both give different perspectives. I left flying because of the huge increase in fuel costs. My last flight was the 50-mile solo. At least I got that far.

Tonight, I start the classroom portion of the MSF course. Riding skills on Sat. and Sun. from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm. Looking forward to it.

Oh, and I took two digital pics of the 454. I'm still working on downloading those to my computer and then uploading to the forum! :D
 
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