Proficient Shifting - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 18 Old 07-27-2006, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 177
Proficient Shifting

All of my previous two-wheel experience has been on a ‘shiftless’ Burgman 400 scooter – now, with 3,000 miles under my belt on my DL650, I have some questions about this whole ‘shifting thing’.

Forgive me if the questions seem stupid or unimportant – I’m just curious…

The owner’s manual gives the following ‘shifting up’ schedule:

Shift to 2nd gear at 12 mph
Shift to 3rd at 19
Shift to 4th at 25
Shift to 5th at 31
Shift to 6th at 37

My thought – this seems like a really ‘narrow’ shifting schedule. I mean, following it, I’d pull out of my driveway and have to be in sixth gear before the first stop sign two blocks down the street? If you’re riding down the road at 40 mph, should you really be in 6th gear like the owner’s manual says?

Misc. questions…

You’re on a two lane highway going between 55 mph and 65 mph. Which gear should you be in?

You pull onto the Interstate and want to keep a steady 65 mph. 5th gear or 6th? How about at 75 mph?

I pull off the highway into the shopping center parking lot and have to slowly zigzag my way through the lot. First gear all the way feathering the clutch? Second gear?

Finally, in 3,000 miles on my Wee-Strom, I’ve never seen the tach go over 6,500. Is that ‘cause I’m just a wimpy rider? Under what circumstances would you ever get the tachometer up over 7,000 rpm’s?

Just curious… your shifting advice appreciated.

- Tom
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post #2 of 18 Old 07-27-2006, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SE PA
Posts: 73
shifting, shifting, just keep shifting...


Shift when you feel comfortable, and the bike sounds "right".

FWIW: When I ride 55-65, on a twisty road, I'd be in 5th so that the motor has more snap/power available. Putting around in 6th is OK too.

Steady interstate 65mph: Try to avoid interstates myself, but 6th gear would be appropriate and fewer vibes.

Parking lot zigzag: 1st if it's really slow- you do NOT want to stall this tall bike!

Under 6500 on tach: There's no "need" to run the bike harder than that, but it sure can be fun!!!!!

2006 V-Strom 650 (red)
2006 WR250F
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post #3 of 18 Old 07-27-2006, 08:01 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 751
I for one run mine up to red line at least once a day. I commute on a 50mph six lane road with lots of stop lights and if I manage to get in the front of the line at a red light. I open it up to see how fast I can get up to the speed limit then roll off and cruise between groups all alone. Life is good.

Peace carries a big gun!
'04 1k Blue
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post #4 of 18 Old 07-27-2006, 09:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Squamish B.C Canada
Posts: 4,451
Drummer is very correct. " You do not want to stall this tall bike ". Just pick any gear that feels good. I too tried to follow the manual for break in and mostly did but I got over it. Just ride it, don't be afraid to rev it up a bit, it is most rewarding .

05 / 650 in blue
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81/82 DT 175 Yamahussies
79/SP 370 Suzuki-bad bike-no keep
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post #5 of 18 Old 07-27-2006, 09:49 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Wheeling, WV
Posts: 37
i ride on twisty up/down country hills. seems like i shift alot but that's because i like to have the power to pull thru a turn and want the deceleration of releasing the right hand. i'd say 80% of the time i keep it between 4500-5000. lower than that and it feels sluggish rounding a turn into an uphill. i dont' watch the mph that close because i'm paying more attention to the road ahead and simply feel the revs, but i'd say at about 50 indicated i'm usually in 4-5. by 60 its usually 5. i really don't even use 6 very often unless i come to a long stretch that's going to be excess of 65 indicated for a bit. i don't redline, but i have no problem running it up to 7500-8000 just to wind it out before shifting.

'04 Wee (blue)
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-28-2006, 03:08 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Kamloops BC
Posts: 8
If you wanna putt..then shift it early..if you wanna gooo, then let it scream, its a bike..thats what its made for.

.But dont ever worry what gear its in ..just shift it when it quits pulling if you are in a hurry. or when it gets noisy if you arnt...and when you twist the throttle and nothing happens just gear down and let it.

It likes it at redline, actually starts to sound decent and thats where it goooooeeessss!! I cant ththink of many days mine doesnt see 10+

..thats why they make gears.. And dont wait for it to hit the rev looses too much time that way..

Nobody in the world would ever drive a bike and shift it at those retarded suggestiions in the book...You would crash watching the tach..!!!besides If you did it might run forever and no excuse for a new bike....


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post #7 of 18 Old 07-28-2006, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 79
Don't pay attention to the tach.

Select the gear that gives you the best accelleration. develop a feel for this.

You'll know if it's the right gear or not.

Personally I like to stay above 5500 RPM and red line is visited daily, the bike loves it. This is on a DL650.
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post #8 of 18 Old 07-28-2006, 09:45 AM
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Location: San Diego
Posts: 573
My V sees red-line at least once a day. This motor will run better and last longer if you don't lug them. They love to be above 4k, and that's where I run mine. In downtown SD second gear satisfies most of the driving. On the freeway I will only use 6th when its open and above 75. If there is traffic 4-5 depending on how much power and deceleration I want at the moment.
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post #9 of 18 Old 07-28-2006, 04:51 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Monroe, Washington
Posts: 221
I'm usually only sure which gear I'm in when I'm in 1st ("N" light flashes getting there and it won't downshift any more) and 6th (won't upshift any more and I'm doing at least 65 or 70 mph).

When I'm on the highway, I usually end up with the tach around 5200-5500, and it usually seems like I'm about here:

70mph - 6th gear
60mph - 5th gear
50mph - 4th gear

Life begins at 5,000 rpm. 8)


[COLOR=Blue][B][FONT=Comic Sans MS]2005 Blue DL650[/FONT][/B][/COLOR]
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-28-2006, 06:15 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Houston
Posts: 264
I laughed at the manuals suggestions. Might 650 was not happy at all with what it said. Just do what feels right.

2006 DL650 Silver Blue
2004 Triumph Thruxton
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