5 speed vs. 6 speed

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by GimmeFuel, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. GimmeFuel

    GimmeFuel Member

    It seems to me that in theory, a 6 speed would be superior to a 5 speed. Basically, the engine is operating at lower RPMs to travel at the same speed. Lower RPMs = greater longevity of the engine.

    However, another board member here recently mentioned to me that the 5 speed is a superior design as compared to the 6 speed. Any thoughts?
  2. dbmg

    dbmg Guest

    I have 21,000 on my 6 speed no problems. Have used nothing but Spectro 6-speed oil. Possibly the 6 speed can not withstand abusive operation..
  3. Iceman24

    Iceman24 Well-Known Member

    Good question & I know some of the "senior" HD owners have labeled the preceeding 5-speed tranny's "bulletproof" so will be interesting to see more comments. My only 5-speed HD was a 05 XL1200C so not a touring class scoot, but my 09 FLHX 6-speed is running strong. Have to say I don't grab 6th very often (stick to back/rural roads), but nice having the option when needed.
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    The 5 speed is a stronger unit as compared to the 6 speed in a few areas. The 6 speed if you notice when going on and off the gas while holding a slight tension on the clutch lever, the lever will move a bit. This is caused by flex in the trap door. The 6 speed cruise drive transmission is relatively new to HD in 06 on the dynas and 07 in the rest of the bikes so in essence, it needs some refinements. Bearing retainers are not up to par and a few other areas are less than optimal.
    Harley had a good idea with the switch to a 6 speed transmission but early on also had bearing problems too. The test bed for the 6 speed was the dyna line in 06 and came with an agreement to return to the dealer at 15K to have the bearing replaced until they had a suitable replacement for the bearing that was failing. I feel this was a problem for reasons of inadequate bearing suppliers.
    Overall the 6 speed is a good idea if a quality unit is made that will last the duration of the bike. Given the choice after owning both 5 speeds and 6 speed bikes, I would opt for a pre 06 bike with a 5 speed myself if I was buying a used bike but that's just my opinion.
  5. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

    I have a 6 speed and (other than having to shift more) I like the speed range it offers. But yes I have heard that quality was another item shaved in the design process possibly for cost (selling price), possibly just a goof.

    Glider's posts outlines the details of it bout as well as I ever read it.
  6. ultrafarmer

    ultrafarmer Member

    1+ to what steve07 says. I too had bearing problems--15K miles on my 6er. Love the x-tra gear but my old 5 speeds got heavy abuse and were strong and quiet for thousands of miles.
  7. maine-e-axe

    maine-e-axe Junior Member

    The Dyna has a "lower" final drive ratio than the touring bikes. The Dyna could use a 7 speed:swoon

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    I got SPOILED on my 2000 FXDS, as I installed a rev-tech 6 speed gear set in the HD tranny case and Loved that. so when i went to the 09 FLHR I was already there.

    Knowing HD has a little Improvement to be made on the 6's yet, in time they Might be as Bullet-proof as the 5's.

  9. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    It should be interesting to see what the fix is for the 6 speeds being it's the helical cut gears that is causing some of the issues.
  10. marcus22

    marcus22 Junior Member

    i have never owned a six speed but i have rode a bike with one. i did a 5,000 mile trip (almost all interstate speeds) and the five speed trani did just fine. i think a six speed would work better only for the high speeds. i have no problems with the 5 speed and it has over 41,000 miles on it