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Sportster Motorcycle General Discussion and Problems For discussing problems about your Sportster motorcycle that don't fit anywhere else.

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4th gear, 5th gear

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  #11  
Old 2nd April 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyber View Post
I don’t know what gear is best for sustained cruising between 45 & 50 mph (especially 50). It seems like 4th gear is too low for sustained 50 mph cruising,
4th gear is definitely not too low. 3rd is just right for 45 mph. On your bike, 45mph in 3rd is 2,995 rpm. At 50mph you could use 3rd or 4th. 3rd would be 3,328 rpm, while 4th is 2,742 rpm. The revs in 4th are a bit low, but OK if you're just cruising along, under minimal load.
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  #12  
Old 2nd April 2019
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At 45MPH up to 50MPH I am in 3rd gear. These motors like high RPMS. There are some charts around this forum for different bikes and the RPMs at certain speeds and gears.

I mostly keep my RPMs between 2500 and 4000 most of the time when cruising along.
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  #13  
Old 2nd April 2019
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Speed / RPM charts are here:
Gearing Charts: Speed vs RPM In Each Gear
Here's the chart for your bike:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie View Post
ХL1200 2004-5 US:

Code:
ХL1200 2004-5 US

 Gear   Ratio  ←                          Engine Revs                         →
              1000  1500  2000  2500  3000  3500  4000  4500  5000  5500  6000

 1      9.454   8.0  12.0  16.0  20.0  24.0  28.0  32.0  36.0  40.0  44.0  48.1
 2      6.500  11.6  17.5  23.3  29.1  34.9  40.8  46.6  52.4  58.2  64.1  69.9
 3      5.040  15.0  22.5  30.0  37.6  45.1  52.6  60.1  67.6  75.1  82.6  90.1
 4      4.153  18.2  27.3  36.5  45.6  54.7  63.8  72.9  82.0  91.2 100.3 109.4
 5      3.517  21.5  32.3  43.1  53.8  64.6  75.3  86.1  96.9 107.6 118.4 129.2
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  #14  
Old 4th April 2019
denguy denguy is offline
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I like my tach. It tells me to downshift when the rpms drop to 2k and removes the guess work.
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  #15  
Old 4th April 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denguy View Post
I like my tach. It tells me to downshift when the rpms drop to 2k and removes the guess work.
I had thought about a tach but other than for setting idle, I would rarely ever look at it.
It's more of a feel/sound thing.
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  #16  
Old 4th April 2019
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  #17  
Old 21st April 2019
boomerguy boomerguy is offline
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My favorite rides are on 55 mph secondary roads. I only ride the interstate when I have to. While I was shopping for my first Sportster, I rode both the 883 and the 1200 on both roads. Since I'm retired and don't have to ride the interstate very much, I bought the 883 and love it.

My riding buddy has a 1200 and commutes to work on the interstate, so his bigger engine and taller gears are perfect for him. We do 90% of our recreational rides on the secondary roads with no problem. He has to stay in one gear lower than I do to keep his rpm's in the engine's comfort zone but he doesn't mind. When we do get on the interstate occasionally and I have to ride at higher rpm's in 5th gear, I don't mind. For us, neither situation is an issue. Just like our foot positions, he likes forward controls and I like mid-controls, neither is an issue. Bottom line, go ride and get more smiles per mile.

Just remember that higher rpm's will keep any engine cooler with the valves moving faster to dissipate the heat and the oil circulating faster. The vibrating 45-degree single-crank engine feels smoother at higher rpm's and I personally think it sounds better. Either way, I don't think you're hurting the engine.

As far as having a tach, I've always had one on previous bikes (they had OHC engines and high redlines) and I liked to play with the engine sound. I consider my OHV engine with the long-stroke to be more of a tractor engine and I enjoy the torque. It's like apple vs. orange. I miss having a tach but I don't think it would affect how I shift. I like keeping my rpm's on the high side and I never "lug" my engine. My owner's manual says to keep the idle speed +/- 1000 rpm's and I read somewhere that the higher rpm is for preventing oil starvation in the oil pump, unlike the "Big Twins" which sound better at low rpm's.

Last edited by boomerguy; 21st April 2019 at 13:25..
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