How I interpret my fuel gauge - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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How I interpret my fuel gauge

After 32K+ miles, I thought I’d share how I interpret the bars on my fuel gauge and how far I can go on a tank.

I’ll start by saying that my riding is fairly consistent and I usually get about 52 mpg indicated on summer (non-oxygenated) fuel. Since I have a 43 tooth rear sprocket, my actual mpg is 7% better because the odometer reads 7% less than actual miles traveled. But for the sake of this discussion, I will use indicated miles.

I normally fill up about halfway up the neck and have estimated that I fit about 5.3 – 5.4 gallons in the tank.

My observations are as follows for each bar of the gauge, assuming 52 mpg:

1st bar will disappear after about 50 miles. 2nd through 4th bars will each take me about 33 miles before they disappear. The 6th bar will take me about 50 more miles. So:

Bar 1 disappears at 50 miles.

Bar 2 disappears at 83 miles.

Bar 3 disappears at 116 miles.

Bar 4 disappears at 150 miles.

Bar 5 disappears at 183 miles.

Bar 6 disappears at 233 miles.

“Flashing” is supposed to be .9 gallons, so I estimate about 45 miles on it. I have never run my tank dry, but I have put more than 5.2 gallons in.

By paying attention to the mileage when each bar disappears, I can judge how I’m doing against my standard 52 mpg, and can project how much further I can go on this tank.

If you back-calculate from the above, you can assume that Bars 1 and 6 are about a gallon each and bars 2-5 are about .6 gallons each. Add those together with .9 gallons for “flashing” and you get 5.3 gallons total.

During the winter months when we have oxygenated gas in California, I immediately notice a drop in mpg by about 10%. I then use 45 miles for bars 1 and 6 and 30 miles for the others. I can almost pinpoint the week when the do the changeover from one formula to the other!

On my cross country trip this summer I found the above formulas to be consistent. When we had a lot of headwinds, the bars disappeared sooner, and when we had tail winds, they lasted longer.

I hope this helps others figure out what the fuel gauge is telling you. Obviously, your mileage may vary.

Michael
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 10:03 PM
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I often wondered and now I know. Thanks.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 10:19 PM
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Bu the time i hit the 185-mile mark, i would be filling her up already.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 11:07 PM
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One of my best days...


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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 11:18 PM
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Good info, cheers.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 12:05 AM
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Very Good info.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genehil View Post
One of my best days...

HOW???? I'd be pissin my self in joy. I have yet to report more than 46 mpg. And a little word for the wise, she hates corn gas. I was left with no other option, and the last fill has vanished quickly, she coughs and lugs more too.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 12:45 AM
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HOW???? I'd be pissin my self in joy. I have yet to report more than 46 mpg. And a little word for the wise, she hates corn gas. I was left with no other option, and the last fill has vanished quickly, she coughs and lugs more too.
It was just a good day... I had never seen a hundred miles and still have five bars still showing... hence a photo. I had just come out of the mountains at Trinidad, Colorado and the rest of the tank was in flatlands of SE Colorado/NE New Mexico. It was 85 octane regular and had whatever Ethanol is normal for that region of the country. I run regular grade with 10% Ethanol... 87 octane... Here in the Florida Panhandle and normally get around 47 MPG most of the time with no performance issues at all.

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Last edited by genehil; 08-09-2012 at 07:48 AM.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 02:24 AM
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Thanks for the info. It's helpful to know about how much each bar is worth.

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I normally fill up about halfway up the neck and have estimated that I fit about 5.3 – 5.4 gallons in the tank.
When I bought my bike, I was told (and there was a sticker on the tank) that warned of filling the gas into the neck and the possibility of it overflowing into some charcoal filter something or other that's part of the evaporative system we have here in CA. I don't remember the specifics, or if the same recommendation was on the 49 state models too, but I stop filling just as it gets to the neck. Sounds like you haven't had any problems though, huh?

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 06:40 AM
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One bar left around 180. I then fill up. It starts flashing around 200. I then panic.....

Just under 50 mpg most of the time.

I check mileage every tank.

David
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 07:49 AM
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My normal top off is halfway up the neck as well.

GeneHil - Mount Dora, FL
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 07:56 AM
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I usually buy gas around 200 miles and rarely put in more than 4 gallons. Most I've done was 240 and put in 4.6.


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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 08:15 AM
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averaging 45 mpg here......On a good day!
Must be a problem with my bike...Perhaps it's the throttle; It always seems to favor being 'wide-open'!
A little help would be appreciated.


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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaileyMan View Post
When I bought my bike, I was told (and there was a sticker on the tank) that warned of filling the gas into the neck and the possibility of it overflowing into some charcoal filter something or other that's part of the evaporative system we have here in CA. I don't remember the specifics, or if the same recommendation was on the 49 state models too, but I stop filling just as it gets to the neck. Sounds like you haven't had any problems though, huh?
This information is correct. On California (or anywhere else with evaporative recovery systems (charcoal canisters)), you should not overfill the tank because it will spill in to the tank vent to the canister.

My Versys is from Nevada (2008) and doesn't have a charcoal canister, or the tank vent that would go to it.

If you only fill to the bottom of the neck, then the first bar on the gauge is probably about .75 gal (I'm guessing).

Michael
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 10:48 AM
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Who needs a trip computer?!
I always get get better mileage and/or have better tank range than the guys I ride with, so just fill up to the bottom of the neck.
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 11:55 AM
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Interesting thread. I'm a newbie here,, what octane do you guys burn???
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 01:22 PM
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Interesting thread. I'm a newbie here,, what octane do you guys burn???
Regular - 87 Octane with Ethanol in northern Florida.

GeneHil - Mount Dora, FL
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 03:18 PM
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REALLY? I thought you had to burn high octane fuel in motorcycles.

Anyone else want to chime in?
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 04:27 PM
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If i fill up when it the light starts flashing it only takes 3.9...
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 04:29 PM
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REALLY? I thought you had to burn high octane fuel in motorcycles.

Anyone else want to chime in?
Read the manual this isnt a sportbike, we only need regular fuel, no need for super.. save yourself some cash

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