Running Engine Speeds - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 4 Old Jul 15th, 2007, 7:40 am Thread Starter
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Running Engine Speeds

Hello All,

I am being haunted by a thread that I read regarding the recommended RPMs to run your K engine while driving or touring. I have made some modifications in my driving habits temporarily to see the effect of changes based on forum recommendations. Based on my experience with riding this bike for the last 2+ years and 25K miles prior to these changes, I have attempted to quantify what I have found. These are the changes that I have made recently and my take. I would like some feedback from the individuals that have made these recommendations to further verify that my interpretation is correct:

1) Change crusing engine speed so that you do not run below 3000 rpms
2) Do not ride uphill below 3000 rpms
3) Perform most shifting above 4000 rpms

These are my observations:

1) Gas mileage has decreased 10 - 15% from my previous riding style
2) The overall ride experience not as smooth as before
3) Much more shifting is required to maintain these guidelines
4) The engine runs warmer then before
5) It seems unnatural and pushing the engine more

In the past, this has been my standard riding style based on the overall riding experience:

1) Accel. from a stop and shift anywhere from 3K to 3.5K in each gear depending on traffic and ability to accel. quickly.

2) In lower speed limit areas, cruise above 2K and usually between 2.5K - 3K

3) When slowing or stopping, downshift to slow and bring engine in the range of 2.75K to 3.5K until stop.

4) Never attempt hard acceleration below 2.5K in higher gears but gradual acceleration is ok at any RPM from stop.

5) If fast acceleration is required with the behavior indicated above, downshift one or two gears as required to bring engine speed to 3.5K and above depending on how much acceleration is required. Never exceed redline..

My comments above are what I have found to be natural for the K engine. I have never noticed any engine sounds that would indicate bogging or straining of the engine at low RPMs with my old less aggressive riding style. But, the newer more aggressive style feels somewhat unnatural for me due to the sound of the engine.

Please feel free to comment on the above. Do any of you believe that there should be any ill effects of reverting back? I have not experienced any ill effects to this point and it feels more natural to me.

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post #2 of 4 Old Jul 15th, 2007, 8:22 am
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Location: Waco, TX, USA
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My technique is the same as your standard riding style; have put 8k on the bike since February with no ill effects on trips. In fact, took 62/21/412 from Eureka Springs to Clarksville this weekend and found 3k - 4k rpm to be the norm in the curves.

Dang! What a nice ride!

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Rider of Stahlross
1999 Basalt Grey LT
2001 Classic Red Ducati 748
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post #3 of 4 Old Jul 15th, 2007, 8:28 am
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Location: Dandridge (Near Knoxville), TN, USA
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Ride the way you feel comfortable. Hard accelleration below 2500 is not good on the engine, but other than that it is a tough unit.

If you do not feel the need for the much better performance available in the higher RPM ranges, then why bother with them? The bike can cruise around easily in the 3,000 range, and if this is your type of riding don't worry about it.

I liked the performance feel myself, and rarely let it get below 3,000 except when just cruising down the highway, usually shifting in the 5-6K range to keep it from dropping below 3,500-4,000 on the shift. In the mountain twisties I tried to keep it above 4,500 for the fun factor. That is just the way I liked riding, but it is not a "required" way.

We do suggest to most coming from V-twins or the like should experiment with the higher RPM ranges to see how they like it before deciding against it. It is very easy to stick with the early shift habits and never know the thrill of the performance the LT can offer. You have now experimented, and should just ride the way you want to. Many riders are perfectly happy just cruising around with no need for higher performance, thus the overwhelming majority of V-twin cruiser riders, which are typically lower on the performance curve available anyway.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
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post #4 of 4 Old Jul 15th, 2007, 8:57 am
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Location: North East Florida, FL, USA
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My normal riding style is very similiar to what you call your standard. I've put a total of 130,000+ on two LT's. I would say that 80 to 85% of my riding is done with a non aggessive style and about half of that with my wife as a passenger. The other 15% or so is solo and somewhat more aggressive, like trying to keep up with Joe or Tom Gallo on the Dragon, similiar to what you described. With that history, I've not experienced any mechanical problems or failures on either of my bikes. I think that kind of flexibility is one of the things that I love about the LT. It's very capable when you want to get out and play Speed Racer but when your in a more mellow mood it also makes a great curiser.

Lynn Keen
North East Florida
MSF #28271 Retired
'99 Canyon Red RETIRED AT 93,000 MI
'05 GRAPHITE METALLIC retired at 87,000 MI
'01 R1150 GS- totaled
'02 R1150 GS sold
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