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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, Finally got out on my first ride with the new machine (12 500 HO). Awesome. Im verrry happy with my choice. Rode for about an hour and a half. A quick question about low vs high gear. I know that prolonged slow rides, towing, plowing, mudding, etc... to use low gear. My dealer told me that traveling below and up to 25mph to use low. That seemed a little fast for low. The manual made mention of 7mph. That seemed really slow. Barely throttling put me beyond that. So what speed range should I use low gear in vs high gear. Obviously Im still in the break in period so I will be taking it somewhat easy.
 

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I think what the dealer was trying to say was don't go over 25 mph in low. It all depends on the distance you're going to be traveling slowly.

Long, sustained, technical parts where you average 7-15 mph and there's some stop and go/feathering of the throttle need low.

If you're cruising around (20-30) in high and get to a short section of tight or technical trail you don't necessarily need to change to low just because it's a little bumpy and slow.
 

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I use low only if towing, plowing, or going less than 10 MPH for more than a 1/4 mile or so. And yes, I never go over 25 MPH in low.
Prolonged use of high at under 10 MPH can wear the belt, but short slow downs around obstacles don't necessarily require downshifting, which is good. What a PITA to stop and shift, get past the obstacle, stop, and shift back up.
 

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I'm a "crawler". I run in low 95% of the time. If I hit a streatch I've run like 30 for short spurts. On your break in period don't even think of anything over 30 even in high! You want to let everything seat in together nicely for longevtivity. Don't "ride it like you stole it" if you want it to last.
 

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Not sure of the terrain you are riding in but to give you an example of the abuse these things will take. My cousins are on the family farm and run 300 head of cattle. They run ATV's all year around but not past -20 celcius in the winter. Rarely and I mean rarely do they ever use low range and that means when they are just poking around amongst the cattle, checking fence, hunting gophers etc. They just sold a 1989 250 Sportsman with over 11000 miles and a 1992 sportsman with 10000 miles on it. Still original clutches, spring, pucks etc and only one of the two had a drive belt replaced.

They have a couple of small trailers they use to haul wood or a calf to the barn and that type of thing and use high range for that as well unless in mud or crawing over logs.

Don't sell these things short as they will work very well at slow speeds in high range. I only shift to low range when we may be on a trail and following a few people and just barely crawling. Other then that, high range all the time. You will know when you are getting things hot as the heat from the engine will start to bake your legs and that may be a good time to switch to low and keep the rpm's up and the fan running.

Just my opinion of course and I am not trying to start an argument as to what and when to use low range. Just basing my comments on rding Polaris sleds since 1973 and quads and 3 wheelers since 1985 (Scrambler if I remember correctly).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. Sounds to me its a judgement call as to what activity vs speed vs terrain etc.... Im guessing that judgement will come a little easier with experience. Im a newish rider. I was just worried about pushing the low gear too far. Dealer told me " If your going 25 mph or less just leave it in low gear". Hitting around 20 in low seemed a little fast for the gear to me. During the break in Ive been going between 5 and 30 mph. My feeling on the machine was about 15 mph and lower the low gear felt about right. Going out again tomorrow to put on another couple hours. :veryhappy:
 

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Sounds like you are in the right ballpark with your thinking. The manual spells it out pretty well. You have received quite a variety of opinions that really reflect differing terrain and riding styles. You'll eventually settle in on what works for you. Also, you can feel it when your clutch is not fully engaged. I got almost 4500 miles on my belt on my 01 and most of it was in high.
 

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I was wondering the same thing, with my new HO as well. I feel about the same as you, 15mph is where it starts to seem too fast for low. I really dont go more than 10 or maybe 12 mph in low. And if I'm riding trails where I'm constantly speeding up, and slowing down, going over obstacles, then an open stretch.... I just leave it in high for everything.

The guys I ride with told me they never use low except for when they're towing or plowing or something... so I figured its not going to hurt the machine any to be in high all the time. BUT I definitely can tell a difference in performance on more technical terrain when I'm in low gear. I definitely prefer it when crawling or going up steep hills. You can tell the machine just likes it better.

It's all about feel. Ive been keeping the break-in period in mind as well with mine, so I'm using low a little more often than I probably will in the future...
 
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