Lugging the engine

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by horizonchaser, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. horizonchaser

    horizonchaser Senior Member Contributor

    There is this hill that banks into a sharp curve where I live. When I am descending that hill I am usually in 5th gear doing like 35 mph and the rpm's are around 1800. I keep it in the higher gear because when I downshift to get the rpm's up there the bike will backfire. I try to avoid the backfiring by leaving it in the higher gear. Please understand that there is no strain on the engine, I am practically coasting. Just before I get into the turn, when the engine will need some higher rpm's, I will downshift. My question is: Am I doing any harm to the engine going downhill at the higher gear but lower rpm's without the engine lugging?
  2. whatyardwork

    whatyardwork Banned

    Low rpm's on the bike is lugging.One of my friends found out at Laconia this year decending mount Washington.Spun the counterbalancer on his 05 Fatboy.

    When you say it backfires,do you mean a loud bang?Or are you refering to decell popping that is atributed to unburned fuel?
  3. dcfatboy

    dcfatboy Active Member

    I cannot answer your engine question, but when you say you are practically coasting - are you basically saying there is very little power to the rear wheel? If so, I would think you are creating an unnecessary hazard for yourself since power to the rear whell helps to control the bike.

    I would also try to fix your backfire or decel popping. Have you checked for exhaust leaks?
  4. horizonchaser

    horizonchaser Senior Member Contributor

    I believe it is like you say, the decell popping as I back off on the throttle and coast. I certainly don't want to spin a counterbalancer. I just wasn't sure if I was doing any harm.
  5. horizonchaser

    horizonchaser Senior Member Contributor

    Funny you should say that dc, because the bike is in the shop as I type this getting the rear head exhaust pipe replaced because it was cracked (leaking). I'm aware that I have no engine control over the bike when it is its high gear, low rpm decent. I'd like to think that by gently applying the brakes I am keeping it under control.
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

  7. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member

    I do not believe your are lugging engine. It sound like you are adjusting for another problem. My concern would be in such a high gear low rpm what if you needed sudden acceleration to ride out of a dangerous situation. You maybe cutting yourself short. Sometimes seconds count for survival.
  8. dickey

    dickey Member

    Could you explain "spun the counterbalancer?"
  9. billyd1

    billyd1 Active Member

    Your Road King doesn't have the counter balancer system if the motor is the original stock motor.
  10. BUBBIE

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    My thoughts are : I also agree with the above...

    If your bike and the area you are in,,, allow the rpm to go lower ON COMPRESSION is not lugging. The motor will tell you if it is... The older day bikes , it was common practice to shift to a Higher gear when using compression as not to put strain on the WEAK shoe holding the primary chain... I never saw anything in Print but I have always liked going down a long grade at less than 2900 RPM... 1800 with a tack. but ONLY on occasion...

    YES, IT can be dangerous to have your Power Band so low.... ONLY on occasion do I do this Today on my bikes... Not for the shoe that holds the primary chain,,,,JUST old habit.....

    Coming off Chinook pass at 45/50 east bound, no traffic, and a nice day, ,,,I might go to 6 gear for a mile or two.... NO BAD feeling on the motor but I Don't expect it to do more than compression SMOOTHLY down the grade..(my choice)

    I do Preach, Have your RPM band with-in ONE shift if needed..... It's a SAFETY Issue, Using the "throttle" to get OUT of a situation is just as important as being able to use the "breaks"...

    Lugging a motor with the Torque a HD has will only tear-out the bottom end.... A lot of riders love to hear it but beware of the soon to follow $$$$ it takes to hear that lovely sound...

    I usually can tell by the Feel and the Sound IF I AM LUGGING.... It is like any piston motor, apply power to PULL and by doing so at a LOW rpm, damage can-will be done...

    The newer model bikes, FI, shut OFF the gas flow on compression at a set RPM, so when using compression Just For The Purpose of SLOWING under compression NO Backfire...

    just my way