Fuel economy quandry - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Fuel economy quandry

I just returned from a 1680 mile 6 day trip from Alaska into Yukon Canada and beyond. I've found that my 2011 versys gets pretty craptastic MPG (probably below 40 MPG) when I'm running in the 5-5500 RPM range. If I keep RPM's in the 4-4500 range it jumps up to the mid 40's. AND when commuting to work (some stop & go and some 55 MPH cruzing) I can get nearly 50 MPG. I totally understand that I'm running aggressive tires and are loaded with weight on my trip, but why is my highway mileage worse than my stop & go mileage? I've also ridden unloaded at 5K and above RPM's and get the same MPG. Anyone else have similar issues?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 01:46 PM
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ya ive noticed the same, in the city i was getting mid to high 40's mpg now that im out of the city and do all 50+mph my mileage dropped to the low to mid 40's mpg. just the laws of physics, the faster you go the more friction/ wind resistance, and higher sustained RPM's , plus the biggest factor of all the more fun your having the more it costs
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 02:52 PM
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Jeff - my Gen 3 gets SUBSTANTIALLY better mileage than either of my Gen 1s. My last two reasonable-length rides gave me 75+ and 72+ mpgImperial (62 and 57.6 mpgUS) at about the 5K rpm range, and the 72 was two-up.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaJeff View Post
I just returned from a 1680 mile 6 day trip from Alaska into Yukon Canada and beyond. I've found that my 2011 versys gets pretty craptastic MPG (probably below 40 MPG) when I'm running in the 5-5500 RPM range. If I keep RPM's in the 4-4500 range it jumps up to the mid 40's. AND when commuting to work (some stop & go and some 55 MPH cruzing) I can get nearly 50 MPG. I totally understand that I'm running aggressive tires and are loaded with weight on my trip, but why is my highway mileage worse than my stop & go mileage? I've also ridden unloaded at 5K and above RPM's and get the same MPG. Anyone else have similar issues?
I have had similar results. I do a combination of highways, Manhattan commuting, and riding side and country roads. I find that I get about 45 on the highways (65+ cruising, limited stop and go), about 48 when I commute assertively, low 40s when I go with the flow, and high 40s (and 50+ occasionally) when I take the side roads and only occasionally stop. I think the fuel mileage goes down every time my feet do, with my right hand being the next biggest factor.

Edit: I also try to keep the tach at 5500-6000.

Last edited by aemacleod; 06-21-2017 at 02:58 PM. Reason: additional information
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:13 PM
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Just curious, Jeff, how many miles on your bike total?
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PHX_Joe View Post
Just curious, Jeff, how many miles on your bike total?
17K and change. But I've noticed this condition pretty much since I got it in 2014.


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:50 PM
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I don't every bother to check mileage (especially on motorcycles because how you top off the tank is so imprecise). But I have found I seem to go through a tank faster now that some of my rides are at 65 mph on the highways compared to my 45 mph loops near the house I used to do. I think it is everything that has been suggested. I know wind total wind resistance goes up faster than a 1:1 relationship as speed goes up. And I can only guess that the V gets worse mileage at 5,000 + rpm's than at like 4000 cruising in town or on back roads. Is it a sign of something wrong with your V Jeff? I don't know that, but as long as you do the regular maintenance at regular intervals, your mileage drop sounds ok to me.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
Jeff - my Gen 3 gets SUBSTANTIALLY better mileage than either of my Gen 1s. My last two reasonable-length rides gave me 75+ and 72+ mpgImperial (62 and 57.6 mpgUS) at about the 5K rpm range, and the 72 was two-up.
I couldn't even fathom getting that kind of mileage.............
Do I need to check my valves?
Is my aftermarket slip-on causing a rich burn because of the reduced back pressure?
I am at a loss.
I've always thought that highway mileage should be better not worse


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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 07:55 PM
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Non-aerodynamic. Especially loaded with luggage. As speed increases parasitic drag increases exponentially.

My Triumph Trophy SE with that aerodynamic fairing got almost 60 mpg with the 1200 cc triple

My Harley Road Glide Ultra gets consistently 49 mpg with its designed in a wind tunnel fairings.

My Versys Travels:


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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 05:11 AM
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At 17k, valve check wouldn't hurt.
But I will add, tire pressure makes a difference.
When loaded like you seems to be, I run 40psi rear and I saw a difference on both tire longevity and fuel consumption.

Surprisingly, with hardcases I don't really see much difference... I should, but I don't. I guess I'm slower when touring.
Also, sometimes you are just unlucky and get a front wind more than usual...
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 08:02 AM
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"I think the fuel mileage goes down every time my feet do, with my right hand being the next biggest factor." This is very clear on my heavy bike.

Everything contributes to mileage. I have instantaneous mileage readout and usually ride the same roads, in part. Headwinds and tailwinds are obvious contributors. My huge hard bags are good for a loss of several mpg at highway speeds. My big windshield cuts several mpg.

On the Versys, we haven't run any real comparisons, but I can tell the mirrors aren't helping! I'm convinced I get worse mileage than my wife on it, but the pegs get much closer to the ground when I'm riding!!

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 08:32 AM
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I have no experience with the later gen versys' (versii? lol). I'm not sure if the 2nd and 3rd gen's have an O2 sensor or not. If they do not like my first gen, then an aftermarket exhaust will for sure throw off the air/fuel mixture a bit as the computer is open loop and has no feedback on the exhaust richness which would most likely negatively impact gas mileage. If it was a big enough concern to you, in this instance fuel re-mapping on the computer would be needed (if that's even possible on these bike) or put the stock exhaust back on. My first gen is stock and I average about 47-48 mpg on my daily work commute (about 50% highway/ 50% town and stoplights). If I go 55-60 mph on highway, I get about 54-55mpg and on the interstate doing 70-75mph, I get about 45-46mpg.

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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaJeff View Post
I couldn't even fathom getting that kind of mileage.............
Do I need to check my valves?
Is my aftermarket slip-on causing a rich burn because of the reduced back pressure?
I am at a loss.
I've always thought that highway mileage should be better not worse
W/ my '08 in AZ (I'm going by memory...) I get low-to-mid 50mpg as a NORM, but I have had OVER 60mpg (US gallons, of course!) a few times. Very SELDOM does it ever dip into the 40s. As the US Gen 1 and 2s come w/out the oxygen sensor, I personally would NOT run an aftermarket 'can', as you are changing something on an "open-loop" FI system.

Have you EVER checked your valves, Jeff? Despite what the "book" gives as an interval, quite a few of us have checked them EARLY and found some TIGHT valves, and open up the clearances to the MAX end.

I 'did' them in my '09 at 10,888 kms (6,765 mi) and found ALL FOUR EXHAUST valves at .009", against the book limits of .0087 to .0122"; and the intakes JUST ABOVE .006", against the book limits of .0059 to .0083", so IF a dealer had done the check, they would PROBABLY NOT have done anything, as they ALL WERE W/IN LIMITS!

I, on the other hand, 'opened' them ALL up to very close to the MAXIMUM.

I re-checked them two years later (at 39,440 kms - 24,506 mi) and found that ALL valves had tightened SLIGHTLY, but not enough to require anything done.

On the GREEN HORNET TOO (my '15), I checked them at 26,243 kms (16,306 mi) and found 3 exhausts at .225 mm - just ABOVE the tight-limit of .22 mm; and the intakes had ONE tight, one just ABOVE min, and the other two a BIT looser, but I opened them ALL up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyclopsRider View Post
I have no experience with the later gen versys' (versii? lol). I'm not sure if the 2nd and 3rd gen's have an O2 sensor or not....
I BELIEVE that all the Gen 3s have an oxygen sensor (MY '15 certainly does), thus operate "closed-loop", giving the better mileage.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 01:22 PM
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Valve Check Early

Like Ed, I checked my 2015 early, this winter and found one tight exhaust valve. I also posted the following in another thread. For a while I was using Lucas fuel treatment which some on this forum claimed increased mileage. I tried it late last year and found the opposite, riding conditions and temperature play a roll, I intend to try again this year since I have lots of it.I can't say for sure if the oxygen sensor on the MK-3 plays a part with the lucas fuel treatment, or if I picked some cold windy days for comparison which affected the mileage. The MK-3 has a KM/liter readout, which showed consistently low readings on those rides, also at the time I had adjusted my TPS to a lower voltage, still within the manual spec. I think I will get back into the settings later this summer and post my findings.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the inputs fellas.
I don't have an 02 sensor, I've done the TP hose sync, never adjusted the TPS, and looks like I will be checking my valves this winter.
Now my last tank BEFORE the trip when I was commuting to work was in the high 40's close to 50 MPG, so I know it's capable of decent mileage. Temps were petty cool for most of my trip and there were crosswinds and drastic elevation changes at times. SO I probably don't have any major problems. Just a heavily loaded 650 with a 220 pound rider, tall windscreen, and knobby tires = NOT optimal combination for MPG.
I should just be happy and RIDE!!


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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 03:26 PM
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...I should just be happy and RIDE!!
...says Jeff, then he put THAT pic of him NOT riding it JUST above his "signature line"....


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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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...says Jeff, then he put THAT pic of him NOT riding it JUST above his "signature line"....

Hey, I WAS riding it up to that point!
BTW I'll have a D2D 2017 and beyond ride report coming soon. It was just short of 1700 miles in 6 days. From Palmer, Alaska to Dawson City Yukon to Whitehorse to Skagway AK ferry across to Haines AK then back into BC and the Yukon then finally back into Alaska AGAIN and back up to Palmer! It was a blast!!

Oh and BTW Eddie, thanks to you I just ordered a 130/80-17 Kenda Big Block to replace my VERY worn TKC80 on the front.


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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 07:50 PM
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My Gen 3 gets much better mileage at above 40 mph and 4000 rpm. Highway economy typically 52 - 55 mpg at 70+ mph. Around town the economy is 40-ish depending how close the stop lights are. The O2 sensor apparently only affects the mixture at lower rpm low throttle, and, I suspect, lower speeds. At those low rpm low throttle conditions the 02 sensor will modulate the mixture leaner, improving mileage.

I suspect surging and jerky throttle at these low rpm low throttle conditions is due to too-lean mixtures due to the O2 sensor's effect. Adjusting the TPS to richer will improve the ride-ability in those conditions but will reduce highway fuel economy. So there's a tradeoff there.
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
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...Oh and BTW Eddie, thanks to you I just ordered a 130/80-17 Kenda Big Block to replace my VERY worn TKC80 on the front.
Jeff - FWIW, I ran a BIG BLOCK 150/70 on my rear, and a TKC80 front but it was a 120/70 when I rode some of the AZBDR w/ "jdrocks" a few years back.





They BOTH lasted about a full season PLUS....



-

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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 10:20 AM
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I'm thinkin I got 46.5 mpg on my '16 650 on my recent trip. But...I was runnin fast enough where the economy mileage light was off the majority of the time. I had a bulky profile too with panniers and big tail bag etc.
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