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Do people count gears

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by tongnk, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. So was riding and I think I was in 4th today, slowed down and I think I forgot to downshift into a suitable lower gear and the bike conked like crazy and stalled.

    Wondering if people currently count gears and make sure they are in the right ones as I don't have an indicator on my VTR250? And if not, do you go by revs instead? No idea what a "normal" rpm range would be (given for a car it would be around the 2k mark for normal driving?)
  2. After a while you'll just 'feel' when the bike needs to change up/down a gear.
    • Agree Agree x 5
  3. Bikes generally rev much higher than cars do and seem much happier to be closer to the limiter than a car. Get used to using the whole rev range as needed. Go up gears when it's time to cruise and drop down one or two in advance before you may need some power on tap.

    The following is taken straight out of the VTR250 User Manual and gives you a good idea on the speeds to be in each gear. Generally, I would be in a lower gear than it states there - if you listen to the motor you'll hear it struggling with any throttle if you try to go 40km/h in 5th.
  4. constantly. And keep checking even when I know I'm in top.
  5. Small bikes will teach you to be in the right gear. Larger bikes you do not have to be as fussy.
  6. If I've been waiting at the lights for a while, especially if I've split lanes to get to the front, even though I know I tapped it into first a few times to be sure, I'll still find myself changing from my left foot down to my right foot down to casually double triple check that I am actually in first. When cruising though I generally go by feel and I try to get used to what revs it should be doing at what speed in what gear especially 4, 5 and 6.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Always trying, trying, trying for 6th. But it just never happens ;) one day I might get there...

    I go by revs 80 kmh in top gear (5th) is 3500 rpm. So if that is happening I can stop trying for my non existent 6th.

    Have tapped down one too many at roundabouts a few times and ended up jn a jerky first. So try to count down in those situations.
  8. It's all about keeping the revs in the suitable range. If you feel the bike is struggling at your current speed or you need more torque, go down a gear. If you're getting closer to the red line or just revving higher than you want to, go up a gear. And when slowing down, don't wait till the last moment to downshift all the way to 1st. Instead gradually downshift while you break to try and keep the revs in the range, suitable for acceleration. That way you will keep yourself from stalling because of being several gears too high and will be able to accelerate quickly if needs be.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. At first you will be wondering if you are in first when you stop. But after a while you get a good feel and revs. If you go past me as I'm riding along, and ask what gear I'm in, I may or may not know. But that doesn't matter, all that matters is that you are in the right gear at the time. And you also stop trying trying to change into a 7th gear (6th for those 5 speeders).
    • Like Like x 1
  10. I never had a problem with 5 - all but the first bike or two had 5 gears. You just get to know after a while. I recall consciously counting when I got the first 5 speed bike, but later would rarely count.

    The Bandit has 6 and at first, I was thankful for the gear indicator, but soon got annoyed that I'd look.

    As time went by, I built in the habit of always going down a gear coming into an 80kph zone from the open road, then two more on entering a 60 and another for a school zone or business district. I like to be one notch away from 1st if I might have to give way or stop.

    Yes I count, but don't often look for the number any more. Most of the conscious counting I'd do would be going down gears off a highway into a servo, but not often going up gears. All a part of the mental exercise associated with riding.

    Which gear? The one that allows the engine to spin freely, without giving the impression of revving it hard, which will allow for brisk acceleration without the need for a gear change. Too slow in a gear will give you "boggy" acceleration and if way too low, you will get a roughness in what is called "chain snatch" as the engine lugs and struggles to actually run smoothly at that speed. There is a gear which is best for any given speed, and as has been said before larger bikes with their greater torque are less fussy.

    For example, the Bandit (1250) will pull away cleanly from under 2000 revs, but the SRX (600) is into Chugga chugga mode. at that engine speed. It isn't good for engines to be lugged. Keep the engine spinning, so you always have power available without changing down to accelerate. Lack of power when you want it can become a safety issue.

    Knowledge of what revs your engine needs to make good power and knowing what it sounds like when you have clearly not got enough revs up or when you are getting up near where the red starts (don't go there) is more important than a table full of numbers
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  11. For sure mate,to easy to roll on to 10 ks over the limit in the lower speed zones if in to high a gear.
    Might sound odd but I try to hear my speed rather than constantly look at it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. I don't count, but sometimes I try to change into 7th.
    Especially if I'm on a 250 or something, they just sound like they wanna go up another.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. My bike's not fussy.
    I'm lazy and not so much up with paying attention on the gear number. More focused on my visual inputs.

    Whatever feels ok is grand with the both of us.
  14. Nope never. What gear should I be in for any given situation? The right one.

    I go by speed and associated revs/ engine brake.

    This doesn't mean I don't double check I'm in 1st before taking off though.
  15. ...and, back in the old days, 5th on a four speed box.

    Dunno about everyone else, but I still look for an extra gear every now and again, that after 50 years of riding.

    It won't do any harm, as far as I can see. I've had a few bikes with gear indicator thingies on the dash, and they made no difference to my occasional search for the "extra" gear.

    What the gear indicator business was good for, was warning me when I was rushing up to a tight bend on a race track and I had, mistakenly gone down one too many gears.
  16. Hopefully they count them at the factory. I'd be a bit shitty if they forgot some of them. Especially the ones in the middle.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  17. When I started, also on a VTR 250, I'd go roughly by whatever speed I was doing to suss out if I was in the right gear. That, and just getting used to the sound of the bike.
    Doesn't take long to suss out when you're in too high/low a gear once you know what 'normal' revs sound like.

    Having said that, I sometimes find myself thinking I'm in 2nd and I'm actually in 3rd, but my bike is so damn forgiving that it's mostly worked out any way. :)
  18. As a very rough rule of thumb, most bikes work happily in the mid range of their rev band so from 25% to 75% of their red line revs. In general they are probably happier towards the top end of that range. It won't hurt the bike to take it up towards the red line and making lug at low revs will probably do more harm.

    But the gear you choose should also be dependent on what you are doing. If the road is clear I may keep my bike in a higher gear for a given speed but if there is traffic about I would probably drop a gear or two which allows met accelerate quickly if I need to.

    Similarly when slowing down or coming to a stop I will drop down through the gears progressively, so that at any time if I need to go, I am in the best gear to do so.

    I don't count gears. The bike does have an indicator, but I rarely look at it. You just get used to what each gear sounds like at a given speed. Might make the occasional mistake but it's rare.

    As with most things, you will get better with practice.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. I generally know what gear i'm in based on the revs and speed..
    I do pay attention to gears when slowing down, and try to go down gear by gear, as in the early days id change into 1st or 2nd and almost lock the back end up because i was coming in too hot at corners etc.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Used to, now just glance at the gear indicator on the display...