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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First off, I do realize shifting up is supposed to be based on RPMs and not speed. But obviously there is no tachometer.

I just got the bike last Saturday and the only bike I've rode before was a Honda Rebel in the MSF class. We only went up to 2nd gear and max speeds of like 18-20 mph in the class.

I was shocked at the super low speeds given in the Yamaha manual for shifting.

I think it says 3rd gear at 15 mph, 4th at 20 mph, and 5th at 25 mph.

Are these supposed to be minimums? I'm wondering if this advice is just for a highway on-ramp. Or should I really be in 5th gear on a 35 mph road?

I saw that the manual also says to try not to open the throttle wide for long periods of time for the first 1,000 miles. Is shifting at such low speeds part of a strategy for keeping RPMs down?
 

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I don't recall when I tend to shift, but I have two comments that might help. First gear on these bikes is really low. I find I'm shifting to 2nd pretty quit (when i'm turning left from a stop I'm looking at 2nd before I complete the turn). I find when I'm in a 25 mph zone if I stay in 3rd I don't speed. I think I shift to 5th somewhere around 40 mph ( depending on if I'm accelerating or just crusing anong. (I start looking for 6th at about 50 (;-{)>

I don't know if these are good habits or not and maybe someone with more knowledge will comment. Have fun!
 

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I don't recall when I tend to shift, but I have two comments that might help. First gear on these bikes is really low. I find I'm shifting to 2nd pretty quit (when i'm turning left from a stop I'm looking at 2nd before I complete the turn). I find when I'm in a 25 mph zone if I stay in 3rd I don't speed. I think I shift to 5th somewhere around 40 mph ( depending on if I'm accelerating or just crusing anong. (I start looking for 6th at about 50 (;-{)>

I don't know if these are good habits or not and maybe someone with more knowledge will comment. Have fun!
I'm new myself, but I find your shifting speeds to be pretty spot on!
 

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I'm with Blue, at least pull over first.
Everything has a recommended shift point. (that's so the morons don't drive 55 in 1st gear) Cars have shift indicator lights but I never paid any attention to them. If you have ever driven anything with a manual transmission you know what I mean. You can tell by both available power and engine speed if you are in the correct gear. Shift when it feels right. That's what I have always done. If the manual says shift at 35 and you shift at 38 you ain't gonna break anything.
 

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Most, if not all, manufactures tell you to shift at these ridiculous speeds because the government puts ridiculous restraints on fuel economy and such. Going strictly off the numbers will be the optimal fuel economy ON PAPER, then they can meet the ridiculous requirements. But in the real world, we all know this is absolutely absurd. I have never gone by these numbers because the engine is lugging too much, and I still exceed the advertised fuel economy numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I do shift to 2nd as fast as possible. I actually wondered if it was common for people to shift to 2nd as they are turning left from a stop sign or red light.

I don't recall when I tend to shift, but I have two comments that might help. First gear on these bikes is really low. I find I'm shifting to 2nd pretty quit (when i'm turning left from a stop I'm looking at 2nd before I complete the turn). I find when I'm in a 25 mph zone if I stay in 3rd I don't speed. I think I shift to 5th somewhere around 40 mph ( depending on if I'm accelerating or just crusing anong. (I start looking for 6th at about 50 (;-{)>

I don't know if these are good habits or not and maybe someone with more knowledge will comment. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Most, if not all, manufactures tell you to shift at these ridiculous speeds because the government puts ridiculous restraints on fuel economy and such. Going strictly off the numbers will be the optimal fuel economy ON PAPER, then they can meet the ridiculous requirements. But in the real world, we all know this is absolutely absurd. I have never gone by these numbers because the engine is lugging too much, and I still exceed the advertised fuel economy numbers.
That explanation actually makes a lot of sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The manual also basically says downshifting is dangerous and to do all your downshifting at 16 mph. I assume this is just a liability thing.
 

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That will ruin a pair of pants for the entire trip.

A little experience will help you get the feel for the sweet spot for shiFting. The MOM tends to be low for shIFt speeds. The worst thing you can do is lug the engine. A little over reving won't hurt occasionally.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That will ruin a pair of pants for the entire trip.

A little experience will help you get the feel for the sweet spot for shiFting. The MOM tends to be low for shIFt speeds. The worst thing you can do is lug the engine. A little over reving won't hurt occasionally.
What do you mean "lug the engine." I know the manual says to shift to second at 10 mph, but it actually sounds and feels smoother if I shift around 14 or so. Maybe because I'm still slow and if I shift at 10 it's slowed back down some by the time I'm releasing the clutch.
 

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What do you mean "lug the engine." I know the manual says to shift to second at 10 mph, but it actually sounds and feels smoother if I shift around 14 or so. Maybe because I'm still slow and if I shift at 10 it's slowed back down some by the time I'm releasing the clutch.
Lugging the engine means shifting to the next higher gear without enough rpms. The engine will chug and vibrate and strain.

I think you have the idea if you are shifting from 1st to 2nd and getting a smooth speed curve. If you shift from 1st to 2nd and your speed drops and the engine feels like it will stall and is jerky you have shifted too soon and are lugging the engine.

When you are at speed, lugging can be using too high a gear for your speed and road conditions. An example might be riding along at 40 mph in 5th gear. The engine might sort of chug along and feel sluggish. If you down shift to 4th the engine rpms go up and the bike feels like it has more power.

Like you mentioned, the MOM says 10 mph but you are feeling 14 is a bit better for the 1st to 2nd shift. I think you have the idea.
 

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My 650 likes to shift on the 10's -- 20mph = go to second.. 30mph = go to third.. 40mph = go to 4th.. then somewhere after 45 I move to 5th - this gets me GOING! If I'm just taking a slow ride I tend to shift about 5mph sooner 15,25,35... etc. I think my bike would stall out if I tried to shift at the speeds suggested in the manual.
 

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My view is that the published shift points in the manual are suggestions at which the potential for engine damage from lugging is reduced. That said, it would be hard on the engine to apply much throttle, for example, at 25 mph in 5th gear. I'd suggest that you simply make a mental note of both the dangers inherent in lugging the engine, and in over-revving it. Then adopt the practice of shifting at any point between those extremes. A tach wouldn't do you much good beyond a seat-of-the pants feeling that you get while riding without precise knowledge of your engines torque curve. Hope this helps.
 

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I don't recall when I tend to shift, but I have two comments that might help. First gear on these bikes is really low. I find I'm shifting to 2nd pretty quit (when i'm turning left from a stop I'm looking at 2nd before I complete the turn). I find when I'm in a 25 mph zone if I stay in 3rd I don't speed. I think I shift to 5th somewhere around 40 mph ( depending on if I'm accelerating or just crusing anong. (I start looking for 6th at about 50 (;-{)>

I don't know if these are good habits or not and maybe someone with more knowledge will comment. Have fun!
1st to 2nd gear is spot on! The rest of the gears is a feeling between yourself and the motor, and where is that confounded 6th gear.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
1st to 2nd gear is spot on! The rest of the gears is a feeling between yourself and the motor, and where is that confounded 6th gear.:D
Shifting to 2nd at lower speeds is sounding smoother and smoother. Maybe cause I'm doing it faster, giving it more throttle, or working the clutch more smoothly, or a combination of all three. But i can shift up at 10 mph now without the engine sounding like it's straining.

But after 2nd I'm just shifting up if the it sounds like the RPMs is going up.

I figured out how to downshift without the bike jerking to a slower speed (engine breaking). It's a beautiful thing when it downshifts seamlessly.
 

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My 650 likes to shift on the 10's -- 20mph = go to second.. 30mph = go to third.. 40mph = go to 4th.. then somewhere after 45 I move to 5th - this gets me GOING! If I'm just taking a slow ride I tend to shift about 5mph sooner 15,25,35... etc. I think my bike would stall out if I tried to shift at the speeds suggested in the manual.
This is a good guide to shifting points. Also, since I believe the 650 speedo is mounted on the tank and out if the normal sight line, just learn to shift by feeling when the engine torque has peaked and revving the engine more just wastes gas. These are cruisers....not sport bikes.

Enjoy!
 

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1100

I'm on an 1100, but your thread got me to thinking and trying something. I took it real easy going up through the gears throughout the last tank--but no engine lugging--and got just at 50MPG. Riding a bit more aggressively I was getting 44-45MPG. Didn't realize I could get that much more out of it. Good inquiry.
 

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I figured out how to downshift without the bike jerking to a slower speed (engine breaking). It's a beautiful thing when it downshifts seamlessly.

Might have already been said, but if you'll give the throttle a slight blip when you down shift it will keep the bike from jerking by allowing the engine speed to match your current ground speed at the lower gear. Works like a charm.


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