2008 Kawasaki ZZR600 as beginner cycle?
May 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm #2824
I know this website is pretty down on 600cc motorcycles for beginning riders, but I’m learning on a 2008 Kawasaki ZZR600 that I purchased at a charity auction for a great price. Because I’m still getting the hang of shifting, I’m pretty slow at accelerating because I have to shift out of first gear at only 9 mph, and sixth gear starts at 35 mph. So I unless I’m in a 25 mph zone, I’m constantly in 6th gear. This website suggests that many 600cc motorcycles can go much faster before having to shift out of first gear, making them allegedly more dangerous. But it would be nice to shift less often. I like the semi-upright seating position of the ZZR600. Any thoughts?May 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm #18492Clay DowlingParticipant
That bike has similar performance statistics to my Magna. I can hit 70 in second gear (and did it a couple times this morning on the way to work).
My bike hasn’t killed me yet, partially because that throttle is predictable about how it opens up. It doesn’t shoot me off into space, and I have to really twist it to get that kind of performance out of it.
My advice is to find an open stretch of road and find out what happens if you goose the throttle. Does the bike try to leap out from under you, or does it just pick up some speed and get going? Just make sure you’re wearing FULL gear when you do this, armored pants and jacket included, as well as a full-face helmet, because if you get it wrong you’ll being exiting the bike while it’s still in motion. I’d also wait until you have a bit of experience riding the bike before conducting this experiment.
As to the “doing it wrong” side of things: get the speed up a little before shifting. I don’t think you should be looking for 6th gear until you’re up above 60. I’m not familiar with the bike’s gearing, but that just doesn’t seem right. At the low speeds where you’re shifting it’s easy to stall the bike, and stalls can be really awkward. The only time I’ve ever dropped the bike was during a stall while turning.May 14, 2009 at 2:47 pm #18493cgwParticipant
Ford Pinto? How old are you?
In the early 70’s my mother won a Pinto in a drawing. Second place was two Pintos.May 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm #18494
Thanks for the input. I am following the shifting instructions in the owner’s manual. I’ve also taken the BRC class but that’s just in a parking lot at 15 mph. Anyway, when I apply throttle in first gear going 9 mph, the engine just revs and I don’t accelerate quickly. Same thing when I’m in 5th gear going 35 mph. To be honest, I haven’t tried keeping on the throttle even though the engine really revs. Perhaps it will take off, and I need to get my rpms higher. Right now, my rpms are sub 5000 in 6th gear.May 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm #18495Clay DowlingParticipant
Let the clutch out. Throttle + 1st gear should be fast.May 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm #18498
I obviously need to try this. Approximately how fast should I be able to go before I should have to shift into second gear, and how will I know I need to shift?May 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm #18502briderdtParticipant
They’re giving you the whole “usable” range of each gear. Doesn’t mean you should shift when you get to that speed. On my SVs, I can go 35 in 5th no problem, and it’s a nice quiet cruise at about 3000 rpm. But if I try to jump on it from there, it’d be a real good idea to drop a gear first. That chart is essentially showing you where you can cruise along in that gear as long as you’re not trying to accelerate.
Don’t get me wrong — one of my planned mods coming up is to re-gear my bike to take it down a bit on the highway. 60 mph yields about 5400 rpm in 6th. I’d like that closer to 4000, so that it’s not screaming (in my terms) at 70+. I figure going +2 in front should take care of that.May 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm #18508SantaCruzRiderParticipant
I don’t know the specs on the ZZR, but my rule of thumb is that if you shift before you’re halfway to redline, you aren’t really getting much range out of each gear. I think your 600 redlines at 14,500 rpm, so you could easily take it to 10-12k before shifting.
It will take some getting used to because the engine will be screaming, but it’s a normal novice mistake to not be using the higher end of the power range. Some folks hate that upper range, but those folks do not typically stick with the sport bike class for very long.
I would bet that you should be able to hit 35-40 mph in 2nd gear. It shouldn’t be where you cruise, but you should be accelerating in that range.
If it’s not accelerating when you turn the throttle and you’re hand is off the clutch, you have a mechanical problem.May 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm #18513
Another poster mentioned power bands, and from what I just learned, my power band is probably about half my redline, so I’m not riding anywhere close to that. Although as you said, there’s something to be said for cruising at an rpm level that creates a tolerable decibel level. To create more acceleration, it sounds like I need to rev the engine more before shifting, then let out on the clutch smoothly, and hang on! Shifting the gears constantly to get up to 35 mph is a pain, and it takes a while. If I could shift out of first at 25-30 mph that would be nice. But to do so, it sounds like I need to keep the rpms higher.May 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm #18515SantaCruzRiderParticipant
Again, I don’t know the specs, but I doubt that your powerband drops off at halfway to redline. It’s more typical of a sport bike that it doesn’t even strart until your around 6-7k.
You will needt to shift out of 1st before you hit 25 because 1st is not set up for range, it’s designed to get a stationary object moving. But beyond that, you shouldn’t need to shift anywhere near what you’re doing.
You may actually find that the bike is smoother cruising at 7k than it is at 4k (mine is). As for the decibels, get some ear plugs. If that doesn’t work, get a cruiser — we can’t all be uber-cool sport bike riders )May 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm #18518
OK, let me get this straight. Once I shift into second, assuming I have no mechanical problem, I should just roll on the throttle and ignore the ever increasing sound as the motorcycle revs (and accelerates) and I should be able to cruise to say 30-35 mph without shifting up to third? Maybe I just need to adjust to the sound as you say.May 14, 2009 at 8:53 pm #18526
Yes I have a tac, and it redlines at 14,500 rpms. Needless to say, I’ve never come close to that. When the bike appears to over-rev without much apparent acceleration, I quickly shift to the next higher gear. It sounds like I need to adjust to riding at higher rpms in a lower gear. Although my neighbors might appreciate a little less noise The owner’s manual only mentions speed, not rpms, as the guide to shifting gears.May 14, 2009 at 11:04 pm #18533eonParticipant
Yes, you do need to adjust to the higher revs and that takes a little adjustment. I cannot comment on bikes as I have a scooter (which sounds like an angry hair dryer) but I once did have a Honda S2000 (sports car). That thing did not come alive till 5000rpm and went all the way to 9000rpm screaming like a banshee. Once I got over the initial shock and realization the engine was not about to explode it became music to my ears. If you do not grow to love that sound then you might just be a cruiser guy.May 15, 2009 at 3:20 am #18530motokidParticipant
If that thing revs without apparent acceleration, either you are holding a clutch half way or clutch slips. Have it checked by somebody with an experience.
KMay 15, 2009 at 1:14 pm #18553
I took the bike out last night, and got it up to (at least) 35-40 mph in 2nd gear, and yes, it’s definitely louder, but I’ll adjust. I’ve read that you get worse gas mileage than running it in a higher gear that reduces the rpms, but I like not having to change the gears all the time. Flipping thru five gears just to get up to 35 mphs as the owners manual suggests is time-consuming! They really ought to tell you that you’re free to go much faster than 15 mph in 2nd gear! Oh well, live and learn!
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