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Author Topic: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?  (Read 28149 times)

Thumper

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Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« on: September 22, 2007, 03:29:21 PM »
I have started this topic as an additional resource for prospective RE owners, since it comes up fairly regularly. I invite everyone to reply and share your opinion.

Here are my thoughts:

My 2006 Electra X (with the newer design AVL Lean Burn engine) is quite content to run at 60 mph. In 5th gear, it is happier at 60 than 50. I have regularly traveled the interstate at 65 mph for a good 10-15 miles during commutes to work. The bike held up well and had no complaints.

I think my bike would run all day (literally) at 55 mph. I think it could run all day at 60 - but that's close enough to the threshold where I wouldn't try it. I would be comfortable varying my speed between 50, 60 and 65 for an all-day trip. But as I started with: it would probably be happiest at 55 for long distances.

Because it's a thumper the design has to account for the singularly violent translation of energy into motion. My Electra X does this well, and as a result it has a higher stress threshold than my 750cc Ural did. With both types of bikes, however, the key is to know where that threshold is and stay under it!  Seems like both marques are very reliable when you do this.

If your line of thinking is to buy the bike and make some performance enhancements so that it will cruise the interstates more readily, you're probably barking up the wrong tree. It's just not made for that kind of travel.

The Bullets excel in many areas of riding - but interstate use is not one of them. There's nothing like leaning this narrow thumper hard into a long curve, hearing the blast of the exhaust hammering the pavement just below you. The bikes are made for twisties, and even the normal turns I make on my commute to work leave me with a big grin.

Throw on a performance kit and the grin only gets bigger!

Join the  ;D crowd. Get a Bullet. You need one!

Matt
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 03:31:15 PM by Thumper »

bwilson17

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2007, 03:50:28 PM »
I have a 2006 Electra X with a 19 tooth front sprocket, free flow exhaust, and a bigger main Jet. I would have to ditto to what Thumper has posted.

hutch

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2007, 11:28:07 PM »
Thumper, My 2005 iron motor is like your Electra, I have stock gearing, just rejetted and piped. In fifth gear it is running in the sweet spot at 60mph. I gets 75-80mpg running there , and I have drove for 140 miles at that speed, only slowing down for an ocassional small town speed limit. As far as the interstate, I wouldn't recommend it, at least not in MI where the speed limit is 70 and everybody does 80 or more. Even if I regeared the Bullet, I wouldn't run the interstate. The iron motor just runs to good between 5mph to 60, to mess with the gearing.     Hutch
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Foggy_Auggie

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2007, 04:16:20 AM »
I have the model Sixty Five with 1700 miles on it.  I've always been a stickler for strict by the book breaking in - which I did with my Sixty Five (and every other bike I've owned).  It is bone stock and I plan on leaving it that way.

The sweet spot on this one is 60mph by the speedometer.  The Enfield speedometer has been noted for being optimistic, so real speed may be slower.  I do short sprints up to 65mph by the speedo.

I think it could cruise all day at indicated 60mph - as long as the speed is varied back and forth on a regular basis and rest stops are taken for both pilot and engine cool down.

Ambient air temperature is also a consideration.  Hot days require moderation on air cooled engines.  This would be a logical process.

I drive on urban four lane highways where the speed limit is 55mph anyway.  Country two lanes are 55mph also around here - the Bullet just loves it.

Regards, Foggy
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 04:18:04 AM by Foggy_Auggie »
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gapl53

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2007, 01:14:03 PM »
I ride my 2006 Electra-X all the time at 70mph GPS, 74 indicated. But that is only for 40 to 60 miles at a time, depending on which larger city I'm traveling too. I have de-restricted the exhaust and the airbox and added a K&N filter to the modified airbox. I also re-jetted the carburetor slightly on the rich side. This helped cool the engine down between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Heat is your enemy wit any air cooled engine. It tops out at a actual 82 mph by GPS, and will run up to 78mph GPS very quickly where it runs out of carburetor. It still has the stock 29mm unit.

rural earl

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2007, 04:31:30 AM »
I ride my 2006 Electra-X all the time at 70mph GPS, 74 indicated. But that is only for 40 to 60 miles at a time, depending on which larger city I'm traveling too. I have de-restricted the exhaust and the airbox and added a K&N filter to the modified airbox. I also re-jetted the carburetor slightly on the rich side. This helped cool the engine down between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Heat is your enemy wit any air cooled engine. It tops out at a actual 82 mph by GPS, and will run up to 78mph GPS very quickly where it runs out of carburetor. It still has the stock 29mm unit.

That is impressive performance in my book.  How do you keep track of your engine temp?  That would seem to be the key variable, and worthy of consistent measurement while riding.  I guess I could just get more sensitive to the heat near my leg.

dogbone

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 09:24:59 PM »
NO ! #1 its too light and unstable. OK with no wind, or trucks, or thunderstorms, or x-tra large puddles.
#2 Too many rpm's for the stock gearing, and too little power ,when geared down (or up if you look at it That way)
#3 It's too much of a grin to take the longer twistier route
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luoma

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2007, 03:21:47 AM »
I agree with you Dogbone. I installed the performance kit ans 19-tooth sprocket so that I could get in the interstate. I can now, but it's lonely. No other bikers ride there. Besides, with a bike this light, it's doun right insane to ride above 65. I'm even thinking about going back to the 18-tooth.

dewjantim

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2007, 01:39:11 PM »
Free flowing exhaust, K&N pod filter, and re-jetting are my engine mods so far. Indicated top speed 93-95 mph WFO with a tailwind. Cruising speed 60-65 mph all day long (watch that oil level). Most of the time I am in the company of much, much larger bikes and I have to wring it out to stay up front, so I guess my bike is run a little harder than everyone else. Still don't like to do interstate, everyone does 80-85 mph which is to fast for my RE to run for long. Recently, some of my riding buddies have been buying old singles and a couple are thinking about buying REs. It is great to ride down the road with a bunch of singles thumping away......Dew.
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LJRead

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2007, 03:43:50 AM »
 
Ambient air temperature is also a consideration.  Hot days require moderation on air cooled engines.  This would be a logical process.

Speaking of ambient temperature, I wonder what the effect of humidity is on cooling.  If you took air at the same temperature, but changed the amount of humidity in it, would the cooling efficiency increase or decrease.  If it were evaporative cooling, as in sweating, then the drier air would have the advantage, but I'm not so sure with radient cooling where the moisture could maybe draw off the heat.  The extreme of this would be taking a swim, where one gets cold very quickly, so maybe it is the same with the cooling of bike engines.  It might be useful to know, so you could perhaps increase or decrease your speed with humidity. Any ideas?

cyrusb

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2007, 02:20:22 AM »
No.

Foggy_Auggie

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2007, 04:53:29 AM »
I have a professional Auto Meter cylinder head temperature gauge in the box.  It's designed for ultra-light aircraft engines.

As far as mounting on the Enfield, it will wire up.  But the cobbled appearance of mounting anywhere around the handlebar headstock requires custom fabrication and I think it would look just like a cobbled up arrangement.

To get heat parameters would be rapid though, with just riding through all different ambient temperatures.  Of course this would be with the stock exhaust and carb jetting.  There would be a settled area of temp with normal use.

Think it will stay in the box for now.

Regards, Foggy
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Leonard

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2007, 03:29:25 PM »
No.

  I respectfully disagree.  The minium Interstate speed (in Kansas anyway) is 40mph.  Get out there and maintain your rights! 
  Seriously though......I would rather do 55 on the Interstate where everyone can pass than try and do 55 on some of the 65mph two lanes we have around here.  People don't seem to know how to pass, they can have a half mile of clear road and they won't pass.  I think it must have something to do with my bad ass biker appearance.
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hutch

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2007, 04:51:55 PM »
No.

  I respectfully disagree.  The minium Interstate speed (in Kansas anyway) is 40mph.  Get out there and maintain your rights! 
  Seriously though......I would rather do 55 on the Interstate where everyone can pass than try and do 55 on some of the 65mph two lanes we have around here.  People don't seem to know how to pass, they can have a half mile of clear road and they won't pass.  I think it must have something to do with my bad ass biker appearance.
Here in Michigan the interstate speed post is 70mph. If  you do 55 mph here you will either get run over, or get a ticket for causing an accident from going to slow. 80-85 is the norm. The cops set their with their radar and won't even move until someone does 90mph. Semis run 70mph with signs clearly stating 55mph for semis. If you take a Bullet on the interstate here, you have a death wish. I changed my 650 Savage to chain drive and regeared just so I wouldn't get run over on that on the interstate.  They took down the 45mph minimum signs on the interstate here. It 's called go with the flow OR DIE in Michigan.   The average speed on my two lane paved country road is 60mph. Everyone has those mailboxes with the door in the back, so you don't get killed getting your mail. The METH labs must be making a lot of money around here.  Hutch
« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 04:58:07 PM by hutch »
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cyrusb

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Re: Is the RE Interstate-Worthy?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2007, 05:12:57 PM »
Yeah, theres the data on minimum speeds ect, then theres the real world. You are responsible for your own safety no matter which world  your in. Here in the northeast, people are doing 70 on the shoulders.