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-   -   Lugging/flogging (https://www.fjrowners.com/forums/8-fjr-central/151335-lugging-flogging.html)

the Ferret 07-23-2020 05:41 PM

The following is strictly my opinion, and has served me well for 5 decades of riding, 31 street motorcycles, I'm guessing about 800,000 miles on two wheels, and having spent 17 years working in the motorcycle industry.... of course YMMV.

I think there may be some confusion as to what "lugging" actually is. If you are running so low of rpms in too high of a gear that your engine can't accelerate cleanly when gas is applied, or if it bucks or makes a pinging sound, regardless if on a flat or going up a hill, that's lugging. At least that's what I was always taught.

Running at the lowest rpm in the tallest gear that your bike will pull cleanly and still accelerate, regardless if on a flat or going up a hill is not lugging.

How many rpms is required to avoid lugging? Well, that varies on conditions, but there is no specific number. if you have any experience at all, you will know it when you feel it or experience it. It would generally require more rpms to avoid lugging when going up a step hill and therefore require being in a lower gear than it would on a level surface. We all know that, you downshift to go up hill, where there is additional strain on the motor. It takes very little horsepower/torque/rpms to maintain a given speed on a level flat surface.

Let's take a close look at the dyno chart for a 2016 FJR 1300 ES


Look at the blue torque line, you will see it rises to approx 3500 rpm where it hits approx 82 lb ft of torque. Then it dips (just to make sure this was not an anomaly I checked several dyno charts, they all reflected this). From 3500 rpms it dips, only to rise again to the same 82 lb ft mark, at approx 5200 rpms. It then rises to a peak high of 89 lb ft at 6800 rpms. 3500 rpms and 5200 rpms are both the same, about 7 lb ft below peak torque.

(There is no similar dip in the horsepower curve and it rises rather linear from 3000 rpms to a peak at 8100 rpms.)

I find it amazing and telling that on the 6 speed trans, Yamaha geared the bike to run 3500 rpms at 75 mph. At the first torque peak. 3500 rpms in 6th gear is certainly not lugging the engine, and 6th gear on the freeway at 75 mph is quite appropriate. (Actually the speed limit on the expressway where I live is 65 MPH..70 mph about 30 miles south of me in Kentucky). Something one might do for hours or days running on the freeway from say "back east" to "out west". being a sport-tourer, the cruise control is obviously designed for this situation, running in 6th at 75 mph at 3500 rpms.


interesting that on my 6 speed CB 1100, 75 mph is also at 3500 rpms.


Running 55 mph on back roads can also be done at 3500 rpms but that would require being in a lower gear. 4th on my bike.


I've actually found where I live and ride, the FJR will cleanly pull 6th gear down to about 2000 rpms and accelerate cleanly without bucking or pinging although I will generally be in 4th at those rpms, but the FJR doesn't complain when I inadvertently find myself in that situation. Sometimes I find myself on a 2 lane state highway, running for miles at 55 mph with the cruise on in 6th and come to a small town that bumps the speed limit to 35 mph for a 1/2 mile or so. I kick off the cruise by lightly touching my clutch lever, back off the throttle and roll thru town, accelerate out the other side back to 55 mph, go to up shift and find out I forgot to downshift and went thru the town in 6th. No fuss from the FJR. Most of the time I find myself in about the 3200 rpm area when out riding. Depending on speed that would be in 4th,5th or 6th. The engine doesn't care. It's the same on my CB1100 (and on my younger brother's T-120 Triumph btw).

Of course more rpms, in lower gears offers brisker acceleration. I've hear people say it is best to shift at peak torque. On the FJR that's 6800 rpms. It's rare I am going to be in a situation where I live and ride that shifting at 6800 rpms is feasible. How fast would you be going in 3rd, 4th or 5th gear at 6800 rpms? I'm sure it's fun to run it up there every once in awhile on a nice flat road with open sight lines but I don't live or ride there for the most part. I know you could keep it in 2nd gear and run those rpms shooting from one curve to another before backing off and doing it again for the next curve but I don't ride like that either, or live where the corners (curves) facilitate that. 6800 in 2nd might actually be exceeding the speed limit ... by a bunch. I'll have to check that out sometime. Maybe someone knows and I won't have to lol. I've heard others say they like running it up to redline which on the FJR is 9,000 rpms, or at peak horsepower (which is actually before redline @ 8100 rpms). Again, not very feasible where I live and ride, and just not my style anymore either. It's funny, we were always taught that treating a motor like that was called "flogging".
Funny how opinions change over the years.

Regardless, whether you ride at low rpms ( as long as the motor isn't bucking, stumbling or pinging) or higher rpms (as high as redline), modern motors are made for this. They just don't care. Modern electronics, and fueling systems take all this into account, adjusting timing and fueling instantaneously to compensate for rpms, load, gearing, engine temp, ambient air temp,altitude, spark duration etc etc. A miracle really. You have to be doing something really stupid to hurt a modern motorcycle engine.

Change engine oil and filter at appropriate intervals with whichever combo you feel comfortable with, run the correct grade of fuel as required by the manufacturer, keep on top of other maintenance items as required and for the most part you and your motorcycle will or can have a happy life together for at least 100,000 miles, probably a lot more if so desired, regardless of whether you enjoy riding around at 3500 rpms or 8000 rpms.

Like I said, strictly my opinion and YMMV. Anecdotal evidence is strictly that ..anecdotal, and one persons anecdotal evidence/experience may be the exact opposite of another's. This is mine.

Yammieboy 07-23-2020 09:21 PM

Interesting post Ferret👍🏻Use it but donít abuse it (bouncing off the rev limiter, downshifting into over rev, holding high rpms for unnecessarily long durations). Keep up on maintenance, and enjoy it in whatever reasonable way makes you smile. I canít see an FJR, or any other well engineered modern bike engine grenading prematurely due to enthusiastic use.

Mr_Ed 07-23-2020 09:32 PM

Nice write up.

I know it's not very scientific, but after 55 years in the saddle I feel I know when it's lugging, but it may be hard to explain to a newer rider. I can idle up the little hill into my shop in low gear just idling -- not lugging. But idle speed would be silly in higher gears. In 5th gear I much prefer at least 3500. Your dyno chart validates my decision ;) But when just easing along in slow, steady traffic I have no trouble doing 2500 in the lower gears with just barely enough throttle to maintain. In any case, I can apply light throttle and pull away cleanly. I guess that's my real barometer; will the bike pull away cleanly with light throttle?

the Ferret 07-23-2020 09:55 PM


Originally Posted by Yammieboy (Post 1267145)
Interesting post Ferret👍🏻Use it but donít abuse it (bouncing off the rev limiter, downshifting into over rev, holding high rpms for unnecessarily long durations). Keep up on maintenance, and enjoy it in whatever reasonable way makes you smile. I canít see an FJR, or any other well engineered modern bike engine grenading prematurely due to enthusiastic use.

Good way to sum it up Yammieboy

passx 07-24-2020 12:02 AM

My opinion,,,,, if the engine isn’t chugging or bucking it isn’t lugging. I routinely run my 14 2000-2500 rpm and it works smoothly and on occasion have run it down to 1500rpm with a little judicious throttle hand.

On my antique Carbureted bikes one way to tell how it is tuned I will run it down to idle in 5th and see if it will pull cleanly back up smoothly w/o any bucking, no you can’t just whack the throttle open but with the vacuum slide carbs of the old bikes they will pretty much modulate what the engine wants & the newer throttle-by-wire stuff simply just won’t allow you to do anything to hurt the engine no matter how stupid you are.

I do not believe that you need to keep the engine screaming for some myth that if you don’t you’ll hurt the engine, if that was the case then why would all the modern cars made today basically run just over idle at 65mph or so and they all easily will last 100 to 200k. Just blasting the rpms to presumably prevent damaging the engine from lugging it is pure myth,,,,, to a point !

I file this in with the old time myth that you must blip the throttle to “match” the rpm’s to be able to downshift w/o damaging the tranny, purť bs ! Now in the old days before tranny’s were synchronized you did have to do that to get the tranny to shift but in the modern world it’s just bs and nothing more.

RaYzerman 07-24-2020 12:20 AM

Just providing the gear/speed/rpm chart again for reference.

I think some definitions of lugging vary in people's minds.... IMHO just because it isn't pinging doesn't mean you aren't lugging it. How about, I prefer a clean burn of fuel at any given speed such that you're not building up carbon, which I suppose is also the speed where the engine doesn't require more throttle to maintain a certain speed.
We talked vacuum in another thread.... with vacuum at max, it's the best fuel economy you can get, normal riding will be somewhat less than that... low vacuum readings would mean lugging when cruising.


Ditch 07-29-2020 02:23 AM

Are you lugging it in 3rd or 4th at 1500-2000 rpm while slowly adding throttle (5-8%) waiting for the revs to pick up? For the purpose of saving a shift or two?

Coffee man 07-31-2020 09:01 PM

You would have to work at lugging the FJR. I've been amazed that it doesn't care what gear or speed you are at. Remarkable that you can slow down for a town and stay in top gear. Easy on the gas and it picks up like nothing! When I test rode the FJR I did that very thing. Right after that I took out a Honda CTX 1300 and tried the same thing. As soon as I gave it some gas it instantly stalled and I had to restart the motor. It was more a cruiser with a tractor like engine. That was my impression. The FJR I can slow to an idle in top gear and it will pull along just fine on a level road two up. I had a Yamaha Roadstar 1700 and the claim to big twins is all that low down torque. That bike did not like slow speeds. Forget about trying to idle in slow traffic in first or second gears. It would buck and be miserable. Even at 55 mph in top gear the engine was not quite happy. 60 was better. The only time the Roadstar surprised me was going up a long hill in a drizzle I was doing about 40 mph in second and the back tire broke loose. Those bikes don't have a very wide back tire. The bike might have done better if I had spent money on a fuel processor. I suspect it was running a bit too lean for emissions. I just Love the smooth effortless power of the FJR! It goes about as fast as I want without feeling like I'm beating on it. I don't think I've got much past 7000 rpm with the FJR. The Roadstar was perhaps deceptively fast but I felt I was beating on it. I hit the rev limiter in almost every gear at one time or another. It just had a slight pause in acceleration when it hit the limiter. Dam! it was just starting to go good and the fun was over. 780+ lbs. and a handful at a stop even with a relatively low seat height.

Corey Bacon 08-01-2020 06:16 PM

My issue is what i call surging...not bad enough to call bucking...would happen when going a constant speed and most commonly is the 3000-4000 rpm range..ecu flash got rid of it though..that and slow throttle response were my personal quirks with the fjr.

KilgoreTrout 08-01-2020 09:06 PM

I think anything below 3 is lugging it, but I don't have any graphs or anything.

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