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how many revs before changing gears?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Raie, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. Hi all,

    I have recently bought a new Honda vtr250 (09 model) for my first bike and am wondering when do people normally change gears? In a car i normally change gears around 3-5k revs (usually 2nd gear at 20kmph, 3rd at 40, 4th if cruising at 60, otherwise around 70)

    As the bike is new, one of my friends told me to change gear on the bike around 5-6k revs, and then another friend who has a vtr250 said to change at 6-7k revs as apparently the battery does not charge below 6k and said not to develop a habit of early gear shifting...

    Can anyone shed some light on what I should be doing? Like take it easy whilst it is new, but once it gets to the break in stage 1000km mileage then change at higher revs?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Follow the run-in procedures until the VTR's past the run-in service.

    After that... Well, 250cc engines are built to rev - in fact, that's how they make their power, given the lack of torque.

    "How long is a piece of string?"

    If you're wanting to accelerate up a freeway onramp as quickly as possible, change gears at 10,500rpm to 11,000rpm or so. The VTR250 is most powerful at 10,500rpm, and so keeping the revs high will extract the most performance from the engine.

    But if you're just casually accelerating away from the lights or driving up a hill? I'd simply try to keep the engine revs above 5000-6000rpm, maybe change gears around 8000. The VTR250's engine is tuned to make peak torque at 8500rpm, while your car might only be tuned for 3500 or 4000rpm. 250s really are designed to rev!

    With experience you'll learn where the engine is at its happiest and when and where you should change gears. If you're demanding lots of acceleration from the bike, keep it between about 6000 and 10500. If you're simply cruising along a flat, smooth road the engine might be willing to pull you along at a bit below 6000.

    I suppose a simple rule of thumb is... Don't "labour" the engine by demanding too much from it at low revs, like using 4th gear at 30kph. The engine will chug-chug-chug-chug like a tractor, with lots of jerky vibration and very unwilling performance. Don't do this. :)

    Likewise, unless you're in a hurry, probably best to keep the engine revs below about 8500rpm.

    Somewhere in the middle ought to be 'just right'.
  3. I have a CB400 (although it has VTEC, so for fuel economy purposes - keeping it below 6500 is good for cruising). However it makes its most power at the same point as well.

    I generally change anywhere above 6 on it - although from lights, it is rare that I don't at least break 9k.

    Interestingly, lately I have probably been sitting in too low a gear at 60/70/80. At each 3 I will be in 4th/5th/6th and the engine sitting at 4-4500rpm. Although in reality, I can probably keep the engine at around 5k with just as good economy (while demanding less at lower revs).

    I'd be interested to see what others do on similar sized bikes as well.
  4. +1 to all Spots said and I would emphasise that as you get used to hearing your engine perform, you should develop a sense of mechanical sympathy, where it will be obvious if it is chugging along at too low revs, or screaming higher than it should. But some times people need to deliberately listen out for these noises until it becomes second nature.

    High revs (say above 9000rpm) are great for accelerating, and it feels and sounds right, but notice what it sounds like when you are at those revs and just cruising at 60? It sounds like it is screaming unnecessarily.

    Whereas lower (eg 3000-4000rpm) might sound about right when you are just pootling along, but if you twist the throttle on trying to accelerate you will feel the engine is struggling to increase speed and it sounds like it's saying "please increase my revs!".

    So keep an ear out and notice these things and you'll get used to it :)
  5. I'm not familiar with the CB400 myself, adprom. Like Morbo said, so long as it's not chugging or screaming, it should be fine.

    The engine speeds I gave above are based on what I remember from my own lil' VTR250 a few years ago, so naturally they'll be different for other types of 250cc bike and even more different for other displacements. :)
  6. If you're unsure, change before the red line on the tacho, usually pretty safe that way.

    Kidding slightly, but as has been said, you'll be able to feel the best time to change before too long.
  7. You'll learn to ride "by the seat of your pants". In other words you'll soon feel what's right.
    Different engines make power differently.

    There's nothing wrong with short shifting either if you're up to your cruising speed. Often I'll go from 3rd to 6th at 100km/h

    What car are you driving to shift at 5,000rpm? lol
  8. I think others have covered the mechanical aspects of it adequately, but I'd just add that if a VTR battery (or that of any other modern, alternator equipped bike for that matter) isn't getting full charging voltage from 2,000rpm and up, the charging system is goosed.
  9. *cough* 14,000rpm *cough*
  10. Just do what the bloke with the Ducati says on the Shannans Insurance add
  11. +1 to Spots
  12. Have you got a license ??? Or who did you get it through.
    It's just comen sense. Get on your bike and find the sweet spot. This is where it will keep making power. It's where the torque factor is. Without getting to technical and going into the whole Torque/Hp thing. Up to 5,500rpm you are using torque. Torque is the effort. HP is the rate of work.
    Lost you yet ????
    Find this sweet spot anyway. if you are going up a hill and need to change then you will need to go about 2,000rpm over the sweet spot, depending on your gearing, so when you change it falls back into the sweet spot. On a level road about as much as the gearing change. Down hill. Who cares short shift till your hearts content.
    You cant really answer questions like these on the net. You might not have the same gearing as someone else. Or tire diameter. Or sadistic nature to anything mechanical lol like me.
    Just get out there and have fun and let the bike and seat of your pant tell you what's right. If you change to early it will bog down in the higher gear. So next change go a little further into the upper rev range. Untill you get it right. It should change up and keep accelerating and want another gear. Please dont look down at your tacho. Hear it, feel it. Never drop your eyes.
  13. Thanks all for the advice. I know my question might be one of those "how long is a piece of string" questions but I have learnt a bit from the answers already. I was changing at 3-4k so clearly too low. I guess I made this thread as an assurance thing that higher revs is ok as to me 3-4k sounds very loud already.

    Should I treat my new bike the same as I would a fully broken into bike? Or would I have to take it easy on the revving?
  14. Running in a new engine is a whole nother can of worms. Regardless of whether you would like to do it the way the engine manufacturers recommend, or the 'other' way, it is important to note that chugging along at very low revs is likely to labour the engine and cause the most damage.

    Still accelerate at full throttle at times, but most importantly vary your revs (don't sit at the same revs for ages) and don't get stuck chugging along. I think that's the most I can say without opening up the 'how do you run an engine in' box too much!
  15. On that bike it's probably not unusual to go to 9k or 10k in gears 1, 2 and 3. I had an 06 VTR250 as my first bike and I had to really flog it to move at a reasonable pace.
  16. So many ways and answers on running in bikes. An F1 engine takes 3 minutes. I have the vid of one being run in.
    A car takes more apparently haha. Who cares it's a car. Flogged my XR6T from the first time I turned the key. How can you not in a T.
    For mine I take it easy for the first 500km. Usually done in one run. Varing revs and trying not to load up the bottom end. No low rev riding.
    Then I dump the oil and change it and the filters. All done, for the motor.
    The brakes I take a little longer. Especially if they are Brembo's. Great caliper blocks but their rotors suck. Way too soft. So yeh brakes take about 1000k's but I don't brake much.
    The suspension will take the the longest to bed in. more so on a sports bike.
    I do my rider/static sag soon as I get it but leave the clickers alone. Usually I will set up the suspension at about 1000 to 1500k's
    Main thing is to check your tire pressure and chain tension daily for the first month. The do stretch and you dont want it coming off.
    Also the oil and water. As soon as you see moisture or fog in your oil sight glass dump it strait away. Don't put it off. That will do more damage than almost anything.
  17. Yeah I have to agree with a few of the comments..

    There is no 'when should I change' you will FEEL the bike ask for a change! If it starts to labour, or you simply require more .. power? drop it back a gear!

    Eventually youll learn exactly when to change, so well it becomes second nature, you feel the revs pick up, and youll just click it up a gear!

    Best way to learn this is just do it. 8-[
  18. When the valves start bouncing...
  19. Hey mate,
    I've got the exact same vtr 250 model as you, and I'm curious how you can shift up at 3-4 thousand rpms?
    It seems that you really need to practise your gear selection.
    They hardly move, no wait, don't move at anything under 2, 2500, so you are literally just shifting up as you move? (remember that when you shift up the engine drops over 1000rpm)
    Even when i'm taking it realllly easy and short shifting every shift, just to actually ride you have to take the engine up to 5-6k between shifts, to keep that forward momentum and stop it from chugging like a fat man running up a hill.

    Around the city just cruising my bike and my senses seem most comfortable keeping the revs around 5500-9000, and its got a nice little sweet spot around 6,6500, anything above that seems a little cruel to me.
    Practise and enjoy but definitely get those revs much higher, the first time you actually accelerate and use the whole rev range like the bike was designed to do you will be blown away by all this blistering and grin inducing acceleration you weren't utilising.

    I ride mine in two 'modes' if you will. Commute/touring mode, which is as described above but once I reach the desired cruising speed I let the engine chill at 4-5000, and sport mode, where I take the revs up to about 9-10000 before I shift up and I accelerate hard, taking corners with the bike in really high revs, to utilise and extract the power thats hidden away in that little engine.

    My 2cents, experiment and enjoy, there is no real wrong way, everyone has a different riding style, just keep the revs above 4000 and below the red line and your fine.
    Have fun ;)
  20. I had one. 6-7 cruising, 7-8 moderate, redline for actually wanting to get somewhere quick.

    it's a bike engine. It loves to rev.