Motorcycles have multi-speed transmission systems available, which you can utilize by changing the gear according to the requirements. Lower gears are for low-speed applications requiring more torque, while higher ones give maximum speed suitable for highway riding.
How Fast Can You Go in First Gear on a Motorcycle? According to our research, motorcycles can go between 15 to 70 mph in first gear. Harley Davidson motorcycles can go up to 15-25 mph, Kawasaki Z650 can go up to 45 mph, Suzuki Hayabusa up to 140 km/h, Yamaha YZF-R1 30-35 mph, while Honda CBR600RR can achieve 60-70 mph in 1st gear. 883L Sportster requires shifting at 25-40 mph and Dyna Super Glide at 15 mph.
We will discuss various factors affecting forcing you to shift while the engine changes its sound or starts to rev. You will also find the drawbacks of driving in first gear for longer.
What is the Maximum speed in first gear for motorcycles?
Maximum speed in the first gear of a motorcycle can vary according to its type, model, engine power, model year, and a few other factors.
It also depends on the situation or terrain you are riding, as speed and torque vary according to requirements in different gears.
|Motorcycle Model||Speed (miles per hour) in 1st gear||Speed (km per hour) in 1st gear|
|Harley Davidson 1200N Nightster||15-25 mph||24-40 km/h|
|Harley Davidson 883L Sportster||25-40 mph||40-64 km/h|
|Yamaha YZF-R1||30-35 mph||48-56 km/h|
|YZ250FX Cross-Country||28 mph||45 km/h|
|Indian Scout Sixty||15-20 mph||24-32 km/h|
|Arch KRGT-1||15-20 mph||24-32 km/h|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||87-90 mph||140-145 km/h|
|Suzuki Hayabusa||87 mph||140 km/h|
|Suzuki GSXR 750||75-85 mph||120-137 km/h|
|Honda CBR600RR||60-70 mph||97-113 km/h|
The top speed of the Harley Davidson 1200N Nightster is 15-25 miles per hour (mph) in first gear. After that speed, you must shift to second gear to avoid revving and lugging the engine.
However, the rev limiter has a range of 45 mph for this motorcycle when it crosses the red line on the gauge.
Harley Davidson 883L Sportster can go with a top speed of 25-40 mph in first gear before the engine shows any symptoms of overwork.
2006 model Dyna Super Glide has recommended speed setting before you shift to 2nd gear is 15 mph. Harley Davidson Street 750 top speed is 50 mph (80 km/h) in 1st gear.
1998-2015 model Yamaha YZF-R1 can go as fast as 30-35 mph in 1st gear at a 5000 rpm limit. You can achieve higher speeds up to 90 mph by changing rpm settings.
Yamaha MT-10 Hyper Naked Superbike has a top speed of 30-35 mph at 5000 rpm in 1st gear. Yamaha YZF-R6 has a top speed of 25 mph at 5000 rpm, but you can go as high as 70-75 mph for higher rpm.
The Yamaha XSR900 has a maximum speed of 68-87 mph in 1st gear before the engine starts revving too high.
The Yamaha WR 155R Dual Sport Dirt motorbike can achieve a top speed of 26 mph in 1st gear.
The Yamaha YZ250FX Cross-Country Dirt bike can go up to 28 mph in 1st gear before the engine reaches its maximum rpm limit.
The most feasible shift point from 1st to 2nd gear on an Indian Scout Sixty motorcycle is 15-20 mph at 3000-3300 rpm.
2016 Indian Chieftain has a taller first gear with a maximum speed limit of 40-45 mph at 5300-5800 rpm redlining limit.
Indian Challenger Dark Horse has a top speed of 110 mph, while the shift point for 1st to 2nd gear is 20 mph.
Indian Springfield Dark Horse has a maximum speed of 115 km/h, and you can go in first gear for 20-30 km/h. You can go beyond these limits depending on the situation and if the engine rpm is within limits.
Arch KRGT-1 motorcycle has a maximum speed of 100-110 mph, and you can ride at 15-20 mph before shifting to 2nd gear.
Arch 1s is the latest model from the American motorcycle manufacturer and is available customized for each customer having specifications according to his requirements.
It has a top speed of 105 mph (170 km/h), and you can drive slowly in 1st gear up to 10-15 mph with a lot of torque available.
Kawasaki Z650 has a maximum speed of 75 km/h (45 mph) in 1st gear, after which the engine starts revving without moving any faster.
However, 1st gear is not meant for speeding, and you should shift it before touching that limit as it can be detrimental to the engine and transmission system.
Kawasaki KLX 300 is a Dual Sport motorbike, and 1st shift point is at 25-30 mph. Kawasaki Ninja H2R is among the fastest and can go as high as 140-145 km/h in 1st gear with engine revolutions beyond 12000 rpm.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R has excellent acceleration and can ride up to 150 km/h in 1st gear.
Suzuki GSXR 750 can achieve 75-85 mph before you shift to 2nd gear. You can also change its rpm settings to change these limits to go at a pace according to your requirements.
One of the fastest motorcycles, the Suzuki Hayabusa, can go as fast as 140 km/h in first gear while it has a rated speed of 186 mph.
2011-2013 model Suzuki GSXR 600 can achieve a speed of 25-30 mph in 1st gear at 5000 rpm setting.
Honda CBR600RR engine will go up to 60-70 mph without crossing redline on revolution per minute gauge despite having a smaller size with a low power rating.
Honda Rebel 1100 is a Cruiser motorcycle with a dual-clutch transmission.
It has a top speed of 130-140 mph, and you can go in 1st gear up to 20-30 mph. Shift it at 15 mph for the Honda XR650L Dual Sport motorcycle.
What Factors affect the speed of a motorcycle in first gear?
The top speed of a motorcycle in first gear is not an absolute or fixed value, and you cannot find it until you cross a red line on the rpm gauge.
Therefore, you should consider them while considering a speed rating. The most important are the engine type, performance, and rpm setting.
A more powerful engine will give more speed before revving in a particular gear. Another factor to consider is the terrain you are riding on.
An uneven terrain or dirt racing engine will need more torque with speed to keep moving, which is available in lower gears. Therefore, they have a higher speed range in lower gears.
Fastest motorcycle in first gear
Suzuki Hayabusa, Kawasaki H2R, and Ninja ZX-10R are sports motorbikes with maximum acceleration and a top speed in 1st gear.
Due to their intended purpose, they have minimum time to reach 0 to 60 mph and 0 to 100 mph in under 3 seconds.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is the fastest among the three, with a maximum speed range of 93 mph (150 km/h) in 1st gear.
Drawbacks of riding a motorcycle in first gear for a long time
Each manufacturer recommends a particular shift point for each gear in the owner’s manual.
It is an optimal speed limit defined according to rpm for smooth shifting without overloading the engine. Although you can shift gears beyond those limits, it has severe drawbacks.
Revving it for longer can cause damage to the engine, including the piston and cylinder walls, due to overheating.
However, gear shifting at too low rpm can also damage the engine, called lugging, due to lack of power.
Therefore, change gears at optimum points instead of testing the limits to prevent significant damage.