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futurelaker88's avatar

Why does my motorcycle ride differently after i hit a high RPM?

Asked by futurelaker88 (1594 points ) May 15th, 2010

i notice that when i leave my job, (which is on the highway) i pull out and hit 8k RPMs sometimes to go 60mph on my 250 ninja, and when i come to my exit and speed is reduced to 35/40mph, the bike sounds, and feels different then it does if i never hit those high speeds first. it feels more…“tense?” like its working harder for some reason. its a 2006 bike with only 1200 miles on it so i dont see it being engine problems or even a problem at all. its my first bike, and maybe this is normal, and its supposed to feel that way. Just wondering. any info is helpful! Thanks!

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9 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

Are you in the same gear at the same speed. Usually if you are accelerating, you are in a lower gear. Once you get up to speed, it is easy to stay in the higher gear as you are slowing down. If you open the throttle in high gear from 40 mph it will sound like your engine is laboring. Make sure to downshift.

whitenoise's avatar

Could it be that after riding at 60mph with 8k RPM, your hearing quality is different. As if you step out of a load bar?

Also, your engine will warm up quicker at high RPMs, so if you have an engine temp check, that maybe indicate a difference?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Small motors don’t like being “lugged down”, try to keep your revs above 2500. Hard acceleration or deceleration will put some loading on the suspension; that is likely what you are feeling. If it feels this way at steady speed, you should have a mechanic check out the suspension. Something may be wrong or the setup might need a few tweaks. With smaller bikes, the weight of the rider is a critical factor.

jerv's avatar

Without knowing the exact powerband of your engine, it’s hard to say for sure. However, every car I’ve had felt different at the same speed but different RPMs. Most of my cars have been around 1.6 liters and, like Stranger says, they really do not like being lugged.

For instance, my Corolla is virtually useless below 2000 RPM, and it is a totally different beast if I tap the gas and do a rev-matched downshift. In higher gears, I cannot accelerate, generally lose speed on hills if the tach goes below 2K, and have to rely on weak, worn 9-inch solid discs for deceleration which means that my braking sucks on level ground and is nearly non-existent on a downhill. That is below the powerband of my 4A-LC engine; peak torque is at 2800 RPM and peak HP is at 4800.
Rev it up into the powerband which requires a downshift and it pulls like a draft horse under power, slows even on a downgrade if I lift my right foot, and the steering is different as well since I can shift weight fore/aft with a little footwork and can actually get some power to my front wheels.

Know your powerband. Know your gears. Get used to how your rig handles.That familiarity may save your life someday.

Jeremycw1's avatar

cuz there’s more power being demanded by the engine

futurelaker88's avatar

I think some of you are misunderstanding my question. I’m not asking why it feels different WHILE I’m hitting higher RPMs, but im saying AFTER hitting high RPMs, going normal speed feels different. in other words, starting the bike and going 35 feels great. if I speed up and hit 70mph and the slow down back to 35, no matter what gear im in, it feels different than it did before I hit 70mph. it feels like it’s pushing harder to do 35. almost like Its not as easy to do it as it was. does that help clarify?

jerv's avatar

That sounds like a temperature-based thing then.

I know that when I punch it up to 70, I generate quite a bit of heat (in fact, that is how I kick-start the defrosting process in the wintertime) and that its not uncommon for the pistons and/or piston rings to be a different metal with different thermal expansion properties from the block, causing the piston to fit in the cylinder differently. Even if they are made of the same metal, there are localized hot spots so that the same uneven expansion occurs at least momentarily until the heat spreads. Depending on which way it goes, that could either bind up, almost like seizing it, or loosen up and cause a loss of compression; maybe only a little bit, maybe enough to really cause issues.

If your bike is air-cooled, you really should learn about “heat soak”. It’s handy knowledge for those of us with coolant in our engine blocks too, but an air-cooled engine can kill itself pretty easily if forced to remain stationary like in a traffic jam so it’s a bit more important for many motorcyclists and VW Beetle owners to know than for the rest of us. Heat soak may lead to performance loss, or it may result in engine loss.

germanmannn's avatar

It’s not the bike it’s you that feels different , the vibration of the bike resonates in your body and takes a few min to ware off.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The engine is working harder at a steady 70 mph than at a steady 35 mph. With motorcycles especially, the aerodynamic load of the rider increases greatly with speed.

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