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Why do bigger bikes have such insanely tall 1st gears?

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Lachlan56, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Like any other L/P plater I spend my non riding hours oogling over youtube videos of non LAMS bikes tearing up highways and doing huge 4km wheelies and such, dreaming of the day I can buy my own 'real' bike.

    One thing that I have noticed though, is that all the supersports seem to be able to do like 120+km/h in 1st gear.

    Given that the fastest you can legaly go in Aus is 110km/h, this seems almost......dissapointing. I mean part of the fun of riding is taking the bike to redline through the gears.

    But when these bikes are into 3 points terrioty before your even out of 1st gear........well, I fear for my licence.

    Is it just the jap 4 cylinder sport bikes that are like this? Or do pretty much all the big capacity bikes never see redline in any gear if owned by someone with a desire to keep their licence?

  2. what u do is get a shonky 90/80 's bike that feel like its going to explode when u reach 80km per hour and handles like crap.

    so when u do wring it u feel like your flying even thou its 90ks
  3. so every cashed up ham-fisted muppet with a licence dosent end up on his arse.
  4. imagine the torque coming out of the rear if you changed the sprockets so first redlined at 50 clicks :shock: power loops galore...
  5. You could say it's because they're so frickin' powerful and light that they'd flip at a 20% throttle in first gear if first only went to 80 instead of 150-160.

    You could say it's because you've already got to have a bloody hairy chest to hang onto any 900cc+ sportsbike made in the last ten years if you open the throttle fully in first gear and run it to redline (assuming you don't flip it).

    More likely it's because the motorcycle buying public has made it very clear to the manufacturers that they don't give much of a stuff about practical street usage and will doggedly buy the raciest bikes available even if they're less comfortable, overgeared and so flighty that most riders would be quicker on a more street-focused bike.

    Many people would agree with your viewpoint that slower bikes can be more fun to ride fast than fun bikes. They're also probably *easier* to ride fast than fast bikes in many cases.

    So I guess when you go to upgrade, you'll be faced with a choice. Do you get yourself a gino-friendly litre-class racebike or something like the street triple 675 that is geared and tuned for maximal throttle-maxing road-riding lunacy and giggle factor?
  6. when does your contract with Triumph begin, Loz? :p
  7. Heh - I also say great things about the VTR250, Hornet 900, ER-6n and CBR600f4i...
  8. and zx-9r....dont think you can sneak these ones in without me noticing ;)
  9. Having worked in the ADR testing arena previously, it is not a 'tall first gear' but a tall overall final drive (meaning all of the gears are overly tall), this done for ride-by noise testing that is done in top gear, with overly tall gearing, all bikes will more easily pass the ride-by noise test because the rpm will be much lower.

    My GSXR1000K6 with stock sprockets could indicate 170kph in first gear. I now run 1 tooth smaller on the front sprocket and 3 teeth larger on the rear sprocket; much better on the street. In fact, at the Island I still run the 1 down on the front, the gearing so tall. Will power wheelie in the first 4 gears now though :)
  10. FWIW, that certainly seems to be biased toward the race-replicas targetted towards teararsing around tracks with cornering speeds >100kph.

    Most of the big sports-tourers and adventure-tourers seem to have relatively short first gears. (Tiger 1050 tops out around 85 in 1st, 130 in 2nd) Good for urban riding. Good for pillions, luggage and so on. Good for riding on dirt trails.

    Definitely can't deploy full power in 1st gear though - power wheelies are just a twist of the wrist away. Even easier with a pillion. ;)
  11. Huge amount of truth in that Loz!

    To the OP, you've hit the nail on the head without even being in that situation. I've recently gone to a big bike and you suddenly have to deal with not being able to full throttle ever without doing way over the speed limit. As Loz says, they are geared that way due to the power. I think my bike did 140 or so in first gear stock, its -1 on the front to get more street useable power.

    The reality is, on the street a smaller more agile bike will always win, usually a motard of sorts. Sportsbikes are much better for most tracks and for perfectly surfaced, long sweepers on sunday rides.

    That said though, comparing taking my sv650s (sports touring) for a blast on my very tight, bumpy and technical road is very interesting. At first it was hard to manouver the chunkier blade around the corners, but after getting used to it a bit (and getting steering head bearings replaced!), then getting used to it again, I'm now much more confident at going fast there.

    Sportsbikes suspension is really the kicker there, not the power since I never get past 7000rpm. Handles the bumps better and somehow more confidence inspiring, it just does it easily.

    The SV was fun in the way that you can reddline it through the gears and thrash around, I'm not good enough to do that in corners and most aren't. But I think what you lose in terms of practicality of sportsbikes on the street, you can gain back by riding them extra aggressively :D

    Despite all that and despite knowing I'd be faster on a 600 for sure, I don't care :) The big huggable 929 has chunky torque low down which is a key part of why its so plain easy to ride everywhere... as long as its above 80kmh! :rofl: I'm just having to get used to having fun with the throttle, sure ok I'm using not much % of its capacity but it still pulls reallllly hard :)

    Oh and no doubt I'll be getting another SV650S at some point in the future when I can afford a few bikes :LOL:
  12. bingo.

    We buy quite ridiculous bikes really. I've been above 7000 rpm only a few times on my bike.

    It's not just first gear and overall gearing either, it's pandering to our gadget centric tendencies too. 6 gears must be better than 5 right?

    the truth is 6th gear on my bike is pretty much useless. I'd rather have 5 gears over the same gear range myself.

    My next bike probably will be smaller in capacity.
  13. Interesting comments, glad to hear everyone seems to think along the same lines.

    I mean don't get me wrong, I have my heart set on a 4 cylinder, 600 jap sport bike when I am allowed to upgrade, It just seems that they are almost, dare I say it, too fast.

    Maybe It will be a nice change, I won't have to rev the tits off every gear to get anywhere like with the ZZR :p
  14. i can highly recommend getting any 600s.. at least the zx6r. it's on a different level compared to zzr. and it runs perfectly fine in town @ 6th gear.
  15. What Johnny said.

    A lot of bikes even come with a larger rear sprocket with your owners manual and tool kit... the sprocket that would've been on the bike from the factory were it not for ADR noise testing.
  16. I think a lot of it also has to do with the fact that the higher you make first gear, the closer you can space all the rest of the gears and still retain a decent top speed. Because how often do you drop below 80-100km/hr at the track? Once you're off the start line anyway.
  17. This is why I didnt bother with anything higher than a 600 (R6), still faster than any other car, as quick as a litre bike till around 150. Anyways as I've said before each to their own, I love this bike and dont really desire anything more powerful anytime soon.