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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I recently received a 1996 kawasaki Vulcan 1500 as a gift from a friend. I discovered it's a 4 speed. Never ridden a 4 speed. Started out on a 2002 kawasaki Vulcan EN500, and absolutely loved it. So, I was pleased to get this. As I'm learning, there are some issues I have. I've never been on a 4 speed, and don't know what speed I am supposed to shift. I know what I feel on the bike. I get a shake and vibration at 10mph. So I shift to second. I get same vibration at 15mph so I shift to third. And again at about 20-25mph I get it again, and shift last time. That feel it's right when I'm riding, cause I'm listening to the bike, but, when I get to 40mph, there's a harsh vibration till I hit 55pmh. My husband has a 2005 kawasaki Vulcan mean streak 1600 and has been riding 25yrs, and tells me I'm wrong. I can't find very much on shifting speeds for that bike. Does anyone know if I'm doing it very very wrong? Am I going to hurt barney (the bike)?? I've always been taught to feel the bike, and I do, the engine sounds and the vibration tell me I need to shift. But then, why's there a hard vibration when I hit 40 till I'm at 55? Please, I don't wanna hurt the bike. Can anyone tell me what's up with it
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Shifting into top gear at 20-25 MPH is indeed way too early. Shifting from 1st to 2nd at 10 MPH is close to right, but going 2 more gears up only another 10 MPH faster (at 20 MPH) is shifting way too early. V-Twin's will vibrate so you can't use that as an indicator. Without a tach, you have to go by sound of the engine to hear how fast it's running and feel to sense when the powerband has run out and the motor is no longer pulling. Not exactly what you were hoping for, exact shift speeds, but the speed at which one shifts depends on how hard they are accelerating. The harder you accelerate the longer you delay shifting (shift late/at higher speed). But even if your pampering it and accelerating slowly, 20-25 MPH is too slow to be in top gear. I'd expect the shift into 4th/top gear to be closer to 40 MPH.

TL;DR: You need to wind out the gears more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Shifting into top gear at 20-25 MPH is indeed way too early. Shifting from 1st to 2nd at 10 MPH is close to right, but going 2 more gears up only another 10 MPH faster (at 20 MPH) is shifting way too early. V-Twin's will vibrate so you can't use that as an indicator. Without a tach, you have to go by sound of the engine to hear how fast it's running and feel to sense when the powerband has run out and the motor is no longer pulling. Not exactly what you were hoping for, exact shift speeds, but the speed at which one shifts depends on how hard they are accelerating. The harder you accelerate the longer you delay shifting (shift late/at higher speed). But even if your pampering it and accelerating slowly, 20-25 MPH is too slow to be in top gear. I'd expect the shift into 4th/top gear to be closer to 40 MPH.

TL;DR: You need to wind out the gears more.
Thank you, I will try your way this afternoon. I usually go by feel and sound, and it doesn't feel, or sound like I'm wrong, but I will definitely try the way a more seasoned ride says. Thank you.
 
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