Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Woe unto you that bought the first model year of a major remake, perhaps this section can help address any 2014 and later model Ural "imperfections". Here's a special section for folks with the latest rigs to discuss 2014 and later model-related topics such fuel injection, 3-wheel disc brakes, hydraulic steering dampers, spin-on oil filters and other anomalies that don't belong on true Russsian motorcycle ;-P We've gone from using big hammers and greasy wrenches to needing computers and Ouija boards in order to fix our rigs.
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Please keep this section specific to issues pertaining to 2014 and later models such as fuel injection, sidecar and rear disc brakes and so forth. Ask general or non-2014 and later specific questions in the main Hammerin' & Wrenchin' section.
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Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby ArgonV » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:36 am

Howdy all,

I've read all the posts about blowing motors or final drives with anything over 60mph for sustained periods of time after a few years of riding hard this way. From my understanding this is because the motor is overworking, and the final drive and gears being shaken apart...

What about on a Ural geared more toward highway riding with a 3:89 final drive and 18" tires though? What kind of speeds would be considered not over-loading the engine? The newer crank from my understanding has tapered roller bearings, it's only 1WD so no extra stress on the FD, and the gearing should allow the motor to not be over worked as hard in 4th?

Interested in thoughts...
Last edited by ArgonV on Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby tx2sturgis » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:49 am

What a great question...

I know that when when Gobium changed the rear gears to the taller 3.89 ring and pinion, he had some problems because now the engine was operating too hard at slower RPMs...I think his trip was cut short on that bike.

Granted, he was on a 2WD and he admitted it was an experiment, so you cant fault him for trying it out.

Just FYI, my Solo sT has the taller 3.89 gearing, but of course it's not dragging around a sidecar, and it will effortlessly cruise at 70 or more.

I don't own a 1WD sidecar rig, so someone else will have to chime in, but I would assume it should be happy at 60 (or maybe 65) all day long...but that's a guess. And of course, it not my bike!

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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby mattzahr » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:22 pm

I am new to this realm - I would be most interested in learning from the Van's, Terry Crawford's, Lmo's, Tomcatfixer aka Packmule, Gene's, and all of the other experts out there with 1WD experience. I intend to ride some asphalt next year for extended periods of time, and REALLY want to understand the limitations. Once we know what the envelope is, I want to stay in there.....
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby Tomcatfixer » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:39 pm

Oh, man, am I the Subject Matter Expert on this one? I don't know if I can handle the pressure! :?

First, read this thread: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=44670

Good read, right? Okay, here's my assessment: I ordered my 2015 cT with the 3.89:1 final drive ratio because I ride almost exclusively on-road, in pancake-flat Virginia Beach, which is Virginia's largest metropolitan area (lots of highways and interstates). I've had it on the road for sixteen months and 22,000km (it's my daily driver), and I routinely blast down the highway at 70mph.

2017-04-18 15.30.18.jpg

I've had the bike up to a GPS-indicated 82mph on a slight downhill and topped out at 79mph on a flat stretch during a windless day (and immediately blew a head gasket; don't know if it was related, but I'm assuming it was).

The particulates in the engine, transmission, and final drive oils during the 20k service looked great, giving me no indication that there's any kind of internal issues. Following the 20k service, the cT has been running fine.

While the bike will cruise at 70mph, I cannot. The vibration is fatiguing. The engine is definitely not in it's comfort zone. Also, there is absolutely no passing power at that speed. Often, I'll come up behind a vehicle and attempt to pass, but it's "air wake" will be sufficiently strong enough to hold me back, forcing me to drop back behind the vehicle. Hills will quickly bleed off speed, as well.

Also, as an aside, it's awkward riding with a group of 4.62:1 ratio Urals, because they cruise at their comfortable engine RPM, which is invariably either too low or too high for my 3.89:1 ratio. It seems the tall final drive just exacerbates the already wide spread between the four Ural gears.

SO, in conclusion, CAN you cruise at these high speeds for a sustained period of time? Yes, but it's not enjoyable. The whole experience is MUCH more enjoyable around 60mph or so. That being said, I feel that my gearing choice was a wise one, given the type of riding I do and my riding environment.
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby Wildhorse Cafe » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:04 pm

Taller gearing should more than make up for the smaller wheel diameter. IMHO and an opinion is all it is.
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby ArgonV » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:13 pm

Thanks for all the input!

I did read all of that post as suggested. I should maybe check the bolts holding the cyl heads on so I don't blow a head gasket? I'll do that this weekend and readjust the vales as well. Also will do religious oil changes...

So far, with the speedo needle bouncing so much I don't really know what my actual speed is. (Speed limit here is 70 mph) I'm going quick, keeping up with about half of the traffic around here on the highway. Even passing people in 4th despite the wind draft! I'll have to get a Ram phone mount and GPS it. For 4th gear, my bike seems to feel good at shifting into it at around 45 mph. I have some pull with 4th on flat roads too, and even up some slight inclines. The AF1 Racing mechanic said it was the quickest and nicest riding Ural he's ever been on, saying other Urals struggle to get up to 60 mph in a timely fashion.

Also need to invest in some soft grips, the handlebars seem to vibrate a lot at higher speeds...
Last edited by ArgonV on Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby tx2sturgis » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:08 am

ArgonV wrote:
Also need to invest in some soft grips, the handlebars seem to vibrate a lot at higher speeds...


Lead shot!

Fill the bars with some lead, the vibes will be GONE!

You could also try bar-end weights...

:thumbsup:
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby GHGoodwin » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:35 pm

Agree with tx2 - lead shot in bars will help. Just remember to plug the ends with a piece of dowel rod so the shot doesn't spill out if you remove the bars in the future.

For cruising I'd recommend watching your rpm. In the middle of the power curve in fourth will give you a good starting point. My '14 will go over 70 and hold speed but I'm reluctant to run her above 60/65. Seems to me that much above that MPH any steering mistake is terminal, not because of the engine, but because of the handling dynamics of the rest of the bike.
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby scottolds » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:12 pm

Congratulations on your new rig!

My suggestion for anyone that is getting a Ural and intends to ride to the limits of the machine would be to invest in at a minimum a Cylinder Head Temperature gauge (CHT).

You can Google about ranges of what CHT should be on internal combustion engines though the majority of it is about aircraft since those folks know the importance of not over stressing their engines for any length of time.

Since your Ural is air cooled with aluminum heads, any information you find regarding safe operating ranges would relate.

When I got my Ural as a newbie, the previous owner let me know that while everyone on the forums says 55-60 is where you should keep your speed normally, he found that it easily does 70. When it was fairly new he even rode about 2000 mile round trip on it on freeways with no problems. And continued to ride it that way most of the time.

I bought it with about 15000 km on the odometer and just after 16000, a rod bearing finally gave out. During the 1000 km I drove it I confirmed that it would indeed go down the road fairly easily at 70. Then I bought a CHT and paid close attention to the readings. I was very surprised at how fast and high the CHT's would get once the speed got up to 65-70. Conversely, the temps would drop quickly when I slowed down. After some research into the safe range for aluminum head engines and reasons why the temperatures go up I experimented with different octane fuels and just changing speed.

Bottom line is high CHT's are bad for an engine. They can indicate detonation or other poor burn or cooling conditions. Such as if you had a small leak in a compliance fitting, it would most likely show up as a CHT variance even before you noticed poor running. When these engines heat up and are working near their maximum potential, they generate a lot of heat and can cause detonation which is a killer of bearings and other things.

Anyway, there is analog CHT gauge some use from aircraft spruce and then there is the digital one which others have used.

My $ .02 on this subject is if you have a good understanding of how your machine is functioning through appropriate types of monitoring, then you are able to experiment and see how things respond. It is better to know more than less. It could very well save you some expense down the road. :cheers:
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby Mr Wazzock » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:42 pm

Tomcatfixer wrote:Also, as an aside, it's awkward riding with a group of 4.62:1 ratio Urals, because they cruise at their comfortable engine RPM, which is invariably either too low or too high for my 3.89:1 ratio. It seems the tall final drive just exacerbates the already wide spread between the four Ural gears.


Interesting - my cT has the stock 4.62:1 ratio, I figured should be advantageous for hills (18" wheels don't forget) at the cost of a bit less speed on the flat.

YMMV.
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby BigJames » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:56 pm

I go WFO on my Retro, ends up being between 65 and 70, have 3.89 gears. rarely have the need to go over 4200 RPM in 4th.
I go WFO on my M70, ends up being between 65 and 75, has 4.62 gears. Beats living shat out of engine. If it had a rev limiter, that would find it.
M70 will have 3.89 gears in it right after CRAP...should be interesting.
Retro will have 90K on her by the time she gets home from CRAP...I'll be going WFO both ways...power to weight ratio and aero dynamics are rev limiters with 3.89 gears. Wanna go faster? Carry less stuff or lose weight. Also, with 3.89 gearing 3rd gear sometimes is the destination and not just a stop on the way to 4th. 45MPH is only 3500 RPM (by my tach) in 3rd. I have a wee bit of experience with 3.89 gearing and one of the few who like it. Rode Harleych's Dnepr from SpB to Murmansk to Rybachi (and back) with that gearing, come to thing of it.
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby rebelrider » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:54 am

I have and M70 with the stock gearing. Not quite the same as what ArgonV is asking about, but I haven't had any problems attaining higher speeds. The bike and I both prefer highway speeds of around 55-60 mph. I could go faster than 70, but with my gear ratio 70 is about at the 5,600 rpm redline. I don't have vibration issues, but I do get the wind pushing on the sidecar, so I have to push back if I want to go strait. At 55 mph, that wind resistance doesn't happen, even with the sidecar loaded down for a big camping trip. When its just me and the empty rig, I usually cruise around 60-65 mph. My engine seems happy enough cruising between 1,000-5000 rpm. Though I like to keep it between 2,000-4,000 rpm. I hope this is useful. :)
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby ArgonV » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:06 am

Thanks gents! Is there a tach available for the newer EFI bikes? Looking at the CHT gauges on Ural of NE's site now.
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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby Tomcatfixer » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:53 am

Is there a tach available for the newer EFI bikes? Looking at the CHT gauges

There's EVERYTHING available for the newer EFI bikes!

2017-02-16 11.47.11.jpg

...and a thread on each item in this forum! :wink:

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2015 Ural cT "Mobile Chernobyl", 1999 Ural Tourist "Desert DisGrace: the Iron (Oxide) Curtain", 1994 Honda VFR750F, 1986 Yamaha FZX700S Fazer

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2007 Honda VTR1000 FireStorm (Super Hawk in U.S.)
2001 Buell Blast! - - - - - - - 2005 Yamaha FJR1300
1993 Honda CBR600F2 - -1984 Yamaha FJ1100
1986 Yamaha FZX700S (a different one than above)

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Re: Reasonable cruise speed to expect on EFI w/18" tires and 3:89 gearing?

Postby rebelrider » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:04 pm

I did a thread a while back where you can see my journey figuring out how to get one to work on EFI:
http://www.sovietsteeds.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=38683&hilit=Tachometer

The short version is to get a regular bike tach, and add in an adapter to change the direct spark signal to a wasted spark signal that the tach can read.
I got a Baron set from Amazon, but others here have done it differently with just as good results.
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