Get Better Mileage on Motorcycle

Discussion in 'Street and Performance Bikes' started by greg8325, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. greg8325

    greg8325 New Member

    Hey guys, I'm a new member here and I was wondering about getting better mpg on a motorcycle. I have a 2008 Honda cbr600rr and I have gotten close to 60mpg a few times but I was wondering if there were any times on getting even better mpg on a motorcycle. For example, one thing I do is shift up before I need to to keep the rpms low. Does that help to get better mpg? I've heard that if you're going to shift up (or short shift) you just need to make sure the bike isn't in to high of a gear that makes the bike kind of chug. Any tips would be appreciated!
  2. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Early shift should help, and some even change the gearing to have lower revs (like low&slow recently did to his Ninja 250). Motorcycles often overpowered compared to their weight (your 600RR is definitely too strong to be really efficient) so Pulse&Glide quickly comes to mind to avoid using the engine in inefficient ranges, especially at low speeds (and, therefore, low gears).

    Other than revs, motorcycles have bad air drag, so riding too fast hurts more than in a car (but many motorcycles are badly inefficient at low speeds, so it may be a wash in your case).

    And, just like with any other vehicle, it's always a good idea to avoid braking. Engine braking counts too. If you're in the city, time the lights so you don't have to stop, leave more distance ahead of you, and look far ahead, not the vehicle you're behind, to avoid sudden speed changes.

    It's mostly various forms of coasting (including pulse&glide, and using that very buffer in real traffic) that could help me over 80mpg (in a better weather) with my 650 single (no aero nor gearing mods). I also ride relatively slow, most motorcyclist could not even imagine going under the speed limit...
  3. greg8325

    greg8325 New Member

    Thanks for the reply! I am interested in getting the Yamaha wr250x but for now I want to get the best mileage out of my 600rr.
  4. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Oh... xcel wrote a review about the WR250X.

    And much more :)
  5. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Greg, Welcome to the forum! Alavaro's advice is spot on: ride at the speed limit, avoid stops and idling, anticipate traffic signals and obstacles far ahead of you, etc. Taller gearing and improving your aerodynamic drag are the best mods. Check out my thread on my streamlined Ninja 250 for some guidance.
    best wishes , L&S
  6. DucatiRider

    DucatiRider New Member

    All the tricks for cars work on bikes.

    Unless you are really hitting the curves, pump your tires up. I keep mine at the max sidewall pressure. I know a lot of guys who ride sportbikes that keep their pressures race-low all the time. Pump up your tires and they'll last longer too. You can also consider going for sport-touring tires or touring tires that are not only cheaper, but they wear longer and provide a little less drag.

    A huge thing is gearing. As someone said above, most bikes are overpowered. In my mind, they are all under-geared. There is no need to be sitting at 4000 RPM at 50 miles per hour. We are lucky in that we can change our ratios. I bumped up the gearing on my Ducati and went from 35 MPG to 45 MPG instantly with no noticeable loss of speed.

    Go slow. If you can do a constant 45-50 MPH in top gear in full tuck you're gonna be getting extremely good fuel economy.

    Go full tuck whenever you can.

    Kill the engine whenever it is safe to.

    Basically try the car tricks. On a motorcycle a lot of these tricks are much easier.
  7. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    I agree, though I have a few remarks and notes :)

    My main note is that I'd very much like to see rolling resistance ratings for motorcycle tires. I experienced some difference between the Metzeler Z6 set I used to have on Teresa and the Heidenau K73 set I use now. With the Z6 I had somewhat better FE, and it also liked high pressure better. It could easily handle sidewall max (2.9 bars / 43 PSI), but the K73 set feels to distort at that pressure (I feel them lack in stability) and I had to go down to like 2.5/2.7 bars (36.75/39 PSI) front/rear. Still higher than BMW recommended values for the F650CS (2.2/2.5 bars - 32/36.75 PSI).

    A very common experience, we should gear up Ciliegia (shiNIN's Hyosung GV250) too. We expect some FE improvement in top gear cruising.

    I second, again. Full tuck is very uncomfortable with Teresa, though (wide handlebar, lack of a solid fuel tank before me). So I don't tuck too much, mostly on glides. Especially on longer glides.

    This is a great fun, I like to do it a lot. It took a while to find the way for proper bump starts, now I release the clutch lever gradually, then depress it again immediately when the engine starts to shift to the correct gear.

    Another thing is that if you kill the engine often, always keep an eye on your battery. I could drain it at winter, when its resistance is higher and I use glove heating so it couldn't recover properly when the engine was running (probably couldn't charge during engine on glides at all).

    In warmer weather I had no problem with frequent engine stops.
  8. beatr911

    beatr911 Tightwad

    The above is all good advice for just about every motorcycle. Those 600s are great bikes, and can do OK on mileage. For the performance they offer, congratulations 60mpg is very good. Document each tank and try to duplicate what you do on the best tanks.

    Something I see alot are motorcyclists using too low a gear when riding at lower speeds. Always use the tallest gear that provides the power you need.

    Some sportbike riders (very unlikely to be anyone here) are especially guilty of riding around in 2nd gear, simply because they can, and it makes them sound and feel "sporty". Just because 8000 rpm is nowhere near redline is no excuse to waste fuel, engine life and make more noise.

    On the other hand, motorcycles in the US are toys to most, not a viable means of transportation. A small percentage of bikes accumulate more than 4000 miles a year.

    My advice: Since most bikes get better mileage than the 4 wheeler owned by the same person, simply get good riding gear, luggage and replace as many car/truck miles with motorcycle miles as possible. Enjoy!
  9. FXSTi

    FXSTi Well-Known Member

    I think I see a lot of the sport bike riders reducing their rolling resistence by keeping only the rear wheel on the ground, but I'm not sure it really helps. :eyebrow:
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  10. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    I think they increase their bikes frontal area at the same time, so it's a wash, at best :Banane42:

    It's the same here.

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