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Old 12th July 2015, 20:12   #1
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Default Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

Hi Dear Fellow BHPians,

I am starting this thread with high hopes of clarifying my doubt on Correct and ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle.

I am happy to let you all know that I recently bought a Pulsar 200 AS motorcycle. Below are the specs and performance:

Engine size: 200cc
Max power: 24 bhp @ 9500 RPM
Max torque: 18.3 Nm @ 8000 RPM
Top speed: 138.21 kmph ( motorcycle will show 150 kmph on the speedometer on a flat out ride as per overdrive magazine road test).

I want to know how to determine the ideal cruising speed of my motorcycle.

This should be the speed that I can do all day on a highway without stressing the engine.

I have heard several theories that :

1) keeping the bike at or near the max torque RPM is the best cruising RPM for all day cruising without stressing the engine.

2) Also riding at or below 80% of the top speed or redline RPM is the best cruising RPM.

May I gather some inputs from experienced riders out there who can shed some light on my query based on their experience?

Looking forward to your replies.


Best regards,

Sajeesh
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Old 13th July 2015, 07:32   #2
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by SAJEESH View Post
I want to know how to determine the ideal cruising speed of my motorcycle
There's no motorcycle that can think on its own, no motorcycle ever said, "I'm tired", no motorcycle ever stood on its own & there's also a very famous saying, "The ride is only 10% & the rider makes it 90%"

From this, I'm sure you'll be able to make out that, there's nothing called IDEAL cruising speed; what you ride within your comfort zone without causing much trouble to others on the road is IDEAL cruising speed.
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Old 13th July 2015, 08:12   #3
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

Ideal cruising speed is what you will naturally maintain when covering vast distances over your bike. Generally it is that speed in top gear, which will provide you with least vibrations, nvh and also prevent wind blast tiredness. On most naked bikes, the speed is a shade below or above 100kmph (indicated). On some high capacity naked bikes, the bike can go much above that speed, but the rider is limited to within 120kmph due high wind blast.

However my personal limit/comfort is well below 100kmph on any bike, due to the high uncertainty of Indian roads, and obvious lack of high speed breaking abilities on two wheels compared to four.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:08   #4
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

+1 to what apachelongbow said. Sajeesh mate I believe you have been riding motorcycles and this is not your first motorcycle. If not then you need to spend some time on it riding and understand its overall nature right from throttle input to gear changes at what RPM. Also since you will be riding the Pulsar 200 AS (which uses the same engine as NS 200 derived from Duke 200) albeit with triple spark technology, you need to ride it and feel your sweet spot for cruising. I believe Bajaj has tweaked the AS200 engine to provide a better bottom end and mid range power from what I have read so far. Also as apachelongbow said in India cruising speeds should be limited to about 100 KMPH as one never knows what might pop up on the road. Congrats on your new ride and ride safe
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:33   #5
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

There is no ideal speed for any particular motorcycle. One individual might feel easy at 40 kmph (his ideal speed) and other might feel easy even at 100 kmph (his ideal speed). It all depends on your riding characteristics and road conditions.

If you want to cruise all day without making the bike feel strained at any point of time, I would recommend 60 kmph (+/- 10 kmph depending on road conditions). Do not ride at too low a gear and too high an RPM or the reverse (too high a gear and too low an RPM) and try to find the sweet spot. Your bike's NVH should be pleasant and it should move effortlessly, which I think would be fine at 60 kmph. AS200 is having a more neutral top end, and driving in the mid range is better than nearing the redline. You should focus on Fuel Economy I think, if you are looking at sedate all-day rides. Keep the RPM at a sane level and avoid unnecessary speeding/braking.

Ride safe. Congratulations on the bike.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:36   #6
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by SAJEESH View Post
Hi Dear Fellow BHPians,

I am starting this thread with high hopes of clarifying my doubt on Correct and ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle.

I want to know how to determine the ideal cruising speed of my motorcycle.
Hi SAJEESH,
Irrespective of the max torque rpm and max power rpm, the range of ideal cruising rpm for the bike engine will be from 1500 rpm to 3500 rpm.

Above 3500 rpm, the fuel efficiency will come down drastically. The engine parts will wear faster and the engine oil will also be consumed faster. At max torque and max power, the engine will be highly stressed.

Below 1500 rpm, the engine will have tendency to knock and will consume more fuel.

Instead of looking at the speedometer (km / hour), drive the bike looking at the engine rpm. Maintain engine rpm between 1500 to 2500. If needed for overtaking or climbing up a slope, go till 3500 rpm.

When you are accelerating, shift to the higher gear when the engine rpm reaches 2500. When you are slowing down, shift to a lower gear when the engine rpm drops down to 1500 rpm.

Last edited by Technocrat : 14th July 2015 at 01:47. Reason: Please quote selectively as a long quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:47   #7
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
Ideal cruising speed is what you will naturally maintain when covering vast distances over your bike. Generally it is that speed in top gear, which will provide you with least vibrations, nvh and also prevent wind blast tiredness. On most naked bikes, the speed is a shade below or above 100kmph (indicated). On some high capacity naked bikes, the bike can go much above that speed, but the rider is limited to within 120kmph due high wind blast.

However my personal limit/comfort is well below 100kmph on any bike, due to the high uncertainty of Indian roads, and obvious lack of high speed breaking abilities on two wheels compared to four.
+1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SAJEESH View Post
Hi Dear Fellow BHPians,

Looking forward to your replies.
Best regards,
Sajeesh
Sajeesh, congratulations on your new acquisition and wish you many happy rides on your bike. Like it has been mentioned earlier, once you start riding the bike you can "feel" upto what speeds the bike is in its comfort zone. This feeling comes from the NVH levels of the bike, its road grip and braking performance (this is very important in Indian context). I share my experience to give you a perspective.

I had a '12 Pulsar 180 (sold it off a couple of months back) which I used extensively in city as well as long highway rides. The bike was very relaxed till 90 kmph, pulled eagerly till 110 kmph and went further to a top speed of 130 kmph (speedo indicated). But I felt the most comfortable at 80+/-10 kmph speeds. I felt relaxed, almost vibe-free, tireless, totally in control and yes, I got very good FE too (48+ kmpl). Indian roads are not predictable for speeds above 80 kmph.

I have covered 700+ kms in a single day on more than one occasions. On those days, I got more than 500 kms of thin-traffic 4&6 lane roads. I did sustained speeds of >100 kmph (I have covered 106 kms in exactly 1 hr but it is not at all recommended) and the bike never complained. The trick was to take a 5-10 min break every 1 hr to let the bike cool down and to let your body to rejuvenate/re-hydrate. Also I would recommend changing the engine oil prematurely (every 1800-2000 kms for normal mineral oil) if you are going to do long distance high speed runs. Also my experience says that Elf/Motul mineral oils (change every 2k kms) are much better performing than the Bajaj Dtsi oil (drain interval of 10k kms).

PS: Please run-in your new ride properly before starting on "Adventures" on it and so share some pictures of it.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:55   #8
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Hi SAJEESH,
Irrespective of the max torque rpm and max power rpm, the range of ideal cruising rpm for the bike engine will be from 1500 rpm to 3500 rpm.
I don't quite agree with this.

All the numbers you stated seem to be far more applicable to a car engine than a bike engine. I am not aware of any bike where upshifting is required at a meager 2500 RPM.

As for cruising speeds, as others said, it depends on the individual.

As far as the bike is concerned, there is no one size fits all formula. But usually, say your redline starts at 9000, I would say that the 5000-6000 RPM mark would be the ideal cruising speed.

Listen to your bike and feel the vibrations going through your body. At one range, you will notice the vibrations die down and the bike becomes smoother. This is the sweet spot. Stay here.

Many people believe you need to use your eyes more often to check when to shift gears and what speed is optimal. Honestly, use your ears and learn to feel what the bike is telling you. I, for one, never use the tachometer or speedometer to change gears. You will learn this with experience. And this way, you can adapt to any motorcycle.

Last edited by Technocrat : 14th July 2015 at 01:47. Reason: Please quote selectively as a long quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:05   #9
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SAJEESH View Post

I want to know how to determine the ideal cruising speed of my motorcycle.
Dear Sajeesh

I was a avid biker before marriage and have gone places in the RX100/Max 100/Yezdi Roadking/ Fiero F2.

There is no cruising formula to determine the ideal cruising speed.

Also, the calculations of torque near red line/80% of the top speed may not be an ideal way to determine the speed for cruising.

Eg. Autocar may claim top speed of 138 kmph(but under ideal conditions/wind support/tyres/tracks etc).

In realistic road conditions, you may probably reach a top speed of say 125 kmph(wind direction/road conditions/tyres(stock/upgrade) etc.

80% of 138 kmph= 111 kmph.
80% of 125 kmph= 100 kmph.

I will go with the latter of 100 kmph both scientifically and figurative(instinctively).

The bike should not feel strained in cruising even a bit.
Also, you as a rider should not be feeling too edgy as well.

100-110 kmph on a clear tarmac is a decent speed that is also "safe" to say a 125 kmph.

Last edited by Technocrat : 14th July 2015 at 01:48. Reason: Please quote selectively as a long quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:07   #10
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by ashwin.terminat View Post
I don't quite agree with this.

Listen to your bike and feel the vibrations going through your body. At one range, you will notice the vibrations die down and the bike becomes smoother. This is the sweet spot. Stay here.
Yes, your ears can tell you the sweet spot. I wanted to write this in my post too but it slipped out of my mind while writing.

Even for the bike engine, 4000 - 5000 rpm will be outside the optimum range. The smaller engines idle at around 1200 rpm. Their optimum range will be till 3500 rpm. Use gears to maintain that range of rpm.

Above 3000 - 3500 rpm, the engine efficiency will drop, it will consume more fuel and wear faster.

Last edited by Technocrat : 14th July 2015 at 01:48. Reason: Please quote selectively as a long quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:10   #11
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Default re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Hi SAJEESH,
Irrespective of the max torque rpm and max power rpm, the range of ideal cruising rpm for the bike engine will be from 1500 rpm to 3500 rpm.
As an NS owner, i can say that this is a wrong statistic, and also would be taking babying of an engine to its extreme. For one, it is nigh impossible to maintain 2500-3500 rpm these bikes, save the bullet. in 6th gear, this would result in speeds of 45~. This will just drag the engine and cause more harm than any good.

One of the procedures you can follow for Run - In : Vary the RPM speeds constantly and maintain a sedate pace, without mad rush to the red-line. This will subject the engine to different load conditions in different speeds and different gears.

Post the run-in: The AS, like the NS will do a 100-110 Kmph @ 7000-7500 RPM. You can call this as a safe cruising speed the bike is capable of handling all day long with out any protest. Do remember the ATGATT rule.

P.S: you will notice the engine becoming smoother with more kilometres. Do shift to a better oil post the first service.

Last edited by Technocrat : 14th July 2015 at 01:48. Reason: Please quote selectively as a long quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 13th July 2015, 13:15   #12
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Default Re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Hi SAJEESH,
Irrespective of the max torque rpm and max power rpm, the range of ideal cruising rpm for the bike engine will be from 1500 rpm to 3500 rpm.
This is diabolically wrong. You would just be lugging your engine and reduce its life and not increase it. You would also be putting yourself in danger with gear shifts at 3500RPM while overtaking since you will never enter the power band and spend a lot of time over taking which is a maneuver that should be completed as soon as possible with gradual acceleration.

Engines are mostly most comfortable going at around the mid way of its RPM range.

As for speed/cruise speed limit, drive to a maximum of 70-75% of your comfort level. if you are not comfortable over 40, ride at 30. If it is 100 then cruise at 80, considering we are talking about open roads.

Last edited by Technocrat : 14th July 2015 at 01:49. Reason: Please quote selectively as a long quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 13th July 2015, 13:16   #13
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Default Re: Correct and ideal cruising speed on Pulsar 200 AS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Hi SAJEESH,
Irrespective of the max torque rpm and max power rpm, the range of ideal cruising rpm for the bike engine will be from 1500 rpm to 3500 rpm.
Please don't do this , The RPM range 1500-2500 on a bike for sustained period of time will cause more problems to the engine than redlining it.
Ideally use your ears to feel the smoothness and a speed in top gear where you cannot hear the engine note (or is at its lowest) and there is little or no vibrations felt on the handlebars.
I feel 5000 to 6000 rpm will be ideal on the Pulsar 200 AS.

Last edited by Technocrat : 14th July 2015 at 01:49. Reason: Please quote selectively as a long quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 13th July 2015, 13:29   #14
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Default Re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SAJEESH View Post

I am happy to let you all know that I recently bought a Pulsar 200 AS motorcycle.
Hi Sajeesh,

This question has been interpreted in many ways like

1. Ideal cruising speed for a person.
2. Ideal cruising speed for a particular road depending on conditions like incline/decline, cross winds, curves, traffic and other speed cutting factors.
3. General ideal cruising speed for any motorcycle.

However, assuming that you are trying to ascertain the comfortable (for the bike) speed for your Pulsar 200 AS on a barren NH (e.g. Bangalore - Hyderabad NH), for an extended period of time, without stressing/harming the engine, I would say anything b/w 100 - 120 kmph, with speed bursts to red line during overtaking or during an odd adrenaline rush would be ideal.

Considering the fact that you would have to slow down at tolls, junctions, village limits and due to lane hoggers, at the above mentioned speeds you would be able to keep an average speed of 85 - 95 kmph, thereby munching miles in good time and also deriving decent fuel efficiency and consequential tank range. Cheers!
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Old 13th July 2015, 13:35   #15
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Default Re: Ideal cruising speed on a motorcycle?

In my opinion, the ideal cruising speed depends on a few factors.

1. Nature of road. (Twisties/Straights)
2. Distance to destination. (If riding for a purporse, not leisure)
3. Traffic conditions. (Heavy vehicles on NH/LMV on SH)
4. Weather. (Rainy/Foggy/Too Hot)
5. Time. (Early morning or evenings)

However, the most important factor here is :

6. Your comfort level.

Its not necessary for a superbike to have a higher cruising speed just because its a superbike. It's a motorcycle and not a Concorde, for the love of god. I, for one, wouldnt think twice before riding a ZX-14R constantly at 80 for a while because I feel the situation demands so. Cruising speed should never be influenced by squids, tempting straights or traffic signals. And nor should anyone prescribe it to you.

Safety first.
Ride safe, all!
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