6th gear speed/rpms? - Harley Davidson Forums

Go Back   Harley Davidson Forums > Harley Davidson Motorcycles > Touring Models
Log In 

Touring Models Road King, Road King Custom, Road King Classic, Road Glide, Street Glide, Electra Glide, Electra Glide Classic, and Electra Glide Ultra Classic bikes.
Sponsored by: Fuel Moto USA

6th gear speed/rpms?

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-22-2011, 12:25 AM
Jon0807's Avatar
Jon0807 Jon0807 is offline
Senior Rider
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 470
Default 6th gear speed/rpms?

This being my first HD, I'm having trouble shifting by "ear" since I don't have a tach yet. I'm not used to the low loping sound of the HD motor. My last ride was an 1100 Yamaha VStar and it sure let me know when I needed to shift. My troubles are mostly with 5th and 6th gear. I've been putting off shifting into 6th till I hit about 70 mph. If I shift at 65 it sounds like I'm lugging the motor. I can stay in 5th till 75 but I'm worried I'm over revving. It also doesn't help that I've found that I've gone 60 mph in 4th gear a few times when I wasn't paying attention to what gear I was in.

My question is, what speed should I shift into 6th gear while cruising or slightly accelerating? Also what are my rpm's at that point?

2012 FLHRC
I'd rather die living than living to die.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 12:28 AM
Vitric's Avatar
Vitric Vitric is offline
One Of The Regulars
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: PA
Posts: 168
Send a message via AIM to Vitric

I wouldn't use 6th gear for anything but cruising down the highway, or a very long flat stretch of road where you won't need to accelerate. I think your owners manual should say 6th gear @ 60mph is safe.

And who needs a tach? Thats the whole point of shifting by ear!
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 12:30 AM
Lawdawg's Avatar
Lawdawg Lawdawg is offline
Road Warrior
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Naples, Florida
Posts: 1,361

At 80mph I am turning right around 3000 rpm if that helps at all.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 01:43 AM
mkguitar mkguitar is online now
Extreme HDF Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Phoenix '53, '88, '09 Big Twins
Posts: 12,523

Hey Jon,

you are totally in tune with your bike. while the bike will run 6th on level ground at 65 or even 60, higher revs is better all around incl. oil pressure and volume.

Oil is part of the cooling system, removing heat from the internals and moving it where it'll disipate

charging system output is also dependent on RPM

70 is a good place for 6th.

FYI the bike will run up to about 75 in 3rd before hitting the rev limiter...up to about 105 in 4th.

here's a chart that'll give you an idea of revs at various mph, check the chart for your model bike.


it would be expected to downshift for rapid acceleration and grades.

--many riders are newer to Harleys and air cooled 45 v twins- treating them right results in a long service life
The smarter you spend- the more bikes you can buy!

Last edited by mkguitar; 09-27-2011 at 10:36 AM. Reason: new link to Andrews charts
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 08:03 AM
Ribitt Ribitt is offline
Senior Rider
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 433

anything under 70 stay out of 6th gear.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 08:20 AM
Geezr Glidr Geezr Glidr is offline
Outstanding HDF Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Wellsboro, PA
Posts: 2,794

I'm on my 2nd Harley. Both had tachs. (09 EG Classic & now 103 Ltd Ultra.) Both at 2500 RPMs, at 55 mph, in 5th. I use 6th as much as I can.
To actually answer your question:
-- On a 2 lane at about 62, 6th will be around 2100 - 2300 RPMs. If it's flat & you could use cruise, I'd say 6th is OK as long as you're OVER 60 mph.
-- At 72 to 75 on the highway, 6th is at about 2800 RPMs on mine.
-- At under 60, I'll probably use 5th because my tach is under 2000 & I usually shift down, under 2000.
-- Seems like I go into 4th at 45 or 50.
-- Coming into town at 35 to 40, 3rd.
-- Cruising up Main St at 25, it almost sounds like I should shift up to 3rd, but my tach would be below 2000, so if I were to do it by ear (knowing what I know now) don't shift up to the next gear until it sounds like almost too many RPMs in the lower gear.

Just my opinion. See what other people say. Some guys on here will say that the bike should run at ALOT higher RPMs on the highway --- like as high as 3500 -- 4000 (?), but like I said, at 75, mine's only at about 2800 in 6th. 4000 seems WAY too high on mine. (Maybe 4000 is on a bike with only 5 gears, at 75 MPH.)
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 08:29 AM
one-up's Avatar
one-up one-up is offline
Road Warrior
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Middlebury, Indiana
Posts: 1,970

I shift into 6th on my 2010 Street Glide 96'' at 60 MPH. I even let it drift down to 55 MPH. The engine rpm is at about 2,000 at 55 mph - much lower than 2,000 (or 55 mph) and it begins to lug.

My $0.02
2014 Road King (FLHR) Black/Chrome
- Navy Vet. 1966-1970
- American Legion Rider-Post 210 Middlebury, IN
- Patriot Guard Rider
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 08:32 AM
locodude's Avatar
locodude locodude is offline
Road Captain
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: lone grove, oklahoma
Posts: 502

I shift 1st to 2nd at around 15, 3rd at 25, 4th at 35-40, fifth at 50, and sixth at 55 or more, keeps my rpms above 2000, at 70 I'm at about 2500 rpms.
Proud member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
09 ultra classic, red hot sunglo.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 08:33 AM
JonW's Avatar
JonW JonW is offline
Road Master
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: MO
Posts: 793

Originally Posted by Ribitt View Post
anything under 70 stay out of 6th gear.
Ditto on that. From what I've read here, the sweet spot for the TC motors is 2500-3000 RPM. To stay in that sweet spot, you need to be running 70 before you shift into 6th gear. Downshift for hills.

2014 Road King Brilliant Silver
Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2011, 08:52 AM
peddler's Avatar
peddler peddler is offline
Club Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: North East
Posts: 1,250

Originally Posted by Jon0807 View Post
My question is, what speed should I shift into 6th gear while cruising or slightly accelerating? Also what are my rpm's at that point?
Keep in mind any changes to the air cleaner, exhaust, EFI tuning can have an affect on the appropriate RPMs per gear. I changed the A/C, exhaust and EFI tuner on my '07 Ultra and it pulls without lugging in 6th at just above 60.

Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
here's a chart that'll give you an idea of revs


it would be expected to downshift for rapid acceleration and grades.
mkguitar: what have you learned about referencing facts on this forum???? Members are looking for opinions HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAH.

Great info. I've had my '07 Ultra since it was new and I'm making a copy of this chart to save. Thank you.
Replacement:Stay Tuned
Totaled July 2015:
2007 FLHTCU-Vivid Black
Wild One 575 Bars
SERT-PRE '07 SE Race Mufflers
SE A/C-HD Oil Temp Gauge
IDS-Best investment
Reply With Quote

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
6th gear hwy trouble PAULB43 Primary/Transmission/Driveline/Clutch 11 06-19-2013 11:16 PM
Experienced HD Riders Please Assist chief1600 Touring Models 54 05-16-2012 10:11 PM
Shift Speeds & The "Shakes" tpapa Dyna Glide Models 11 05-29-2011 03:51 PM
4th or 5th ? - 1200C 3power Sportster Models 27 06-13-2007 12:24 AM
Shift Pattern for 06 Dynas with 6 speed rap87 Dyna Glide Models 17 07-07-2006 02:33 PM

07, 103, 1200, 2012, 6th, change, davidson, engine, flhrc, gear, harley, mods, mph, ratio, rpm, touring

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:09 PM.