Gas Mileage Difference On My Bike - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-21-2014, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Gas Mileage Difference On My Bike

I've got a stock bike (except for bags), but I noticed on my fill-ups after my last trip, my mileage differed greatly:

49 mpg - Before I left for my trip and it involved mostly around-town riding
35 mpg - After first fill-up. Hwy roads, but I did have full luggage and twisted the throttle to max a few times in all gears (just trying to learn the bike on hwys).
42 mpg - 2nd leg of the trip with more traffic and riding slower, but still hwy.

Does this sound normal? I'm not a gas-mileage guru, but this runs counter to what I experience in my truck, which gets 14-16 mpg city or highway; but it gets better hwy mileage even when I'm hammering it pretty good.

Is there an RPM that tends to generate the best mileage?

Thanks for any insight (even if it's "obvious" because my experience, even with a cruiser I had prior to the V, is different).

Last edited by kawdawg; 07-21-2014 at 10:00 PM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-21-2014, 10:03 PM
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It may not seen logical but even your truck is considerably more aerodynamic than you in the saddle of your Versys (with hard bags as well). Poking a hole in the air, especially a head wind or cross wind can have a startling impact on fuel mileage. And then add hills to make things even worse at highway speeds. And that's before even considering how hard that twisty thing on the right hand grip is wrung. My two cents worth.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 06:40 AM
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I've given up on the gas mileage thing. Fun counts more for me and I recognize that it comes with a price. I don't even calculate the numbers. If I'm running to the city for business or errands and just flowing with traffic, the mileage is better than my car's. If I'm out for, shall I say spirited ride, it's worse. C'est la vie.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:09 AM
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Not sure about normal per se, but my mileage also varies a lot. I've noticed a few factors greatly contribute to gas mileage, including the season, the type of riding I'm doing (heavy or light on the throttle), how long the rides are (commuting the 2 miles to work gives much poorer gas mileage than going on a long weekend ride), and the type of gas I use (I've actually noticed higher octane gas gives me better gas mileage). In any case, here are my numbers from the past few fill ups:

41.6 mpg
57.6 mpg
32.2 mpg
25.5 mpg
29.7 mpg
28.7 mpg
34.0 mpg
35.1 mpg
40.6 mpg

Since I started using the mileage keeper app to track my gas mileage at every fill-up (early 2013), I'm averaging 36.2 mpg.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:45 AM
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Lotsa factors that can cause variations. Odometer is probably off a little. Mine is off a lot, about 9% short. You fill the tank to different levels. This is where keeping a long term record helps. Mileage varies greatly according to how you use your right hand. You will bet worse mileage in city traffic kinds of situations. Stuff that hangs out in the wind like big windscreens and panniers kill mileage.

All that said, I get 50 - 55 mpg at 70 mph (true) correcting for everything on my '12 with 16/46 gearing.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:57 AM
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I've found the stock gearing provides the best mileage around town. Once you get on the highway and consistently cruise at 6k rpm's it's going to affect the mpg. In my opinion, it would have been nice to have a taller six gear like the new Z1000. You have all the hooligan fun with the first five, but when you drop it in 6th it will drop you rpm's to provide better mpg.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 10:36 AM
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I get about 42 - 43 in the summer, but most of that is a 42 mile RT commute every day, most on the highway. I have found that my riding style has evolved slightly over the last 3 years, and involves higher RPMs than casual riding. Going home in the evening, it is easy to cruise around 75-ish,which puts the RPMs up around 6k. I think that, combined with basic aerodynamics, accounts for most of the reason I am in the low 40s.

Every once in a while. I'll fill the tank up and tell myself I'm going to ride like an old fart (shifts below 5k rpms, keep the top speed below 65, etc.) but that only lasts a little while before I'm back on the throttle, enjoying the ride

'09 Versys
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawdawg View Post
...Is there an RPM that tends to generate the best mileage?...
I tend to get somewhere in the mid to high-50s, mpgUS, sometimes in the 60s. I don't "wring-its-neck" when I'm riding - I 'short-shift' a lot - but when I NEED to, I DO!



I DO fill it consistently, to the top of the filler neck, and I NEVER fill it unless I'll be riding at least 10 miles before stopping.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 01:27 PM
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I DO fill it consistently, to the top of the filler neck, and I NEVER fill it unless I'll be riding at least 10 miles before stopping.
Do you do that in order to minimize expansion of the fuel and resulting venting or overflow?
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 01:34 PM
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I get better gas mileage before breakfast. Even worse after lunch. Then better after a mid-day crap. Then the worst of all after dinner.....

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 01:51 PM
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Mine almost never varies these days, 53 mpg plus or minus 0.5 mpg. I have 24,000 miles on it, have one extra tooth to the countershaft sprocket, and adjust mpg calculation for the 6% gearing change. No really.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 04:21 PM
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I get pretty much consistently 42-44 mpg in daily use, commuting. I ride it "pretty hard," and run 15/43 gearing. On longer freeway runs, usually cruising at 80-85 mph, I get 45-46 mpg. I got 49 mpg once while "stuck" for a long period of time in "slow moving" traffic cruising at 60-65 mph. I have never seen 50 mpg, ever, in 53,000+ miles of riding my Versys.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. It sounds like my mileage varies comparable with most of you. I have never exceeded 50 mpg either (my weight at 200# probably affects that), and my average mpg is 43-45.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 07:10 PM
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Some fuel can be saved by keeping it under 5200+ rpm as much as possible... Best fuel mileage should be achieved at 4500~5000 rpm for highway cruising speeds, and under 3500 rpm at low speeds.

Avoid the less efficient ethanol gasoline if you can... Is your air filter dirty and/or over-oiled, and are your tires under-inflated?

http://pure-gas.org/
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 07:07 AM
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I used to be worried about mileage and tracking how much per tank. I was trying to see how much I save on bike from truck. Even went out of my way for 3 fill-up to get pure-gas. Then it occurred to me that it doesn't matter, cause I'm riding. And I get to brag about having the fill-up this week cost $16.
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Do you do that in order to minimize expansion of the fuel and resulting venting or overflow?
Yes, AND some rides I go a LON-N-NG way and that extra 1/2 gallon MIGHT keep me from having a "walk-to-the-gas-station" event.

On the Dempster it's ABOUT 400 kms of dirt/ gravel/ ??? from Dawson to the ONLY gas station at Eagle Plains, then another 370 to Inuvik for more. That's a LONG walk...!

I carry a gallon extra just-in-case on rides like that, as you need AT LEAST 47.5 mpgUS IF you only got 19L into the tank, 42.9 IF you filled up the neck and got 21L in (and that's to "tank-DRY"!). Considering that the road's dirt, w/ all that entails as far as gas mileage goes, you can see WHY I fill like I do.


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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 12:15 PM
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I used to be worried about mileage and tracking how much per tank. I was trying to see how much I save on bike from truck. Even went out of my way for 3 fill-up to get pure-gas. Then it occurred to me that it doesn't matter, cause I'm riding. And I get to brag about having the fill-up this week cost $16.
I figured out recently that commuting on my 53 mpg motorcycle does not save me any money over using my 30 mpg car - when I figure in the difference in the cost of tires. My V eats up $300 to $ 500 worth of rubber every 6,000 - 7,000 miles! So, I ride for fun now.
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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 12:24 PM
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Yes, AND some rides I go a LON-N-NG way and that extra 1/2 gallon MIGHT keep me from having a "walk-to-the-gas-station" event.

On the Dempster it's ABOUT 400 kms of dirt/ gravel/ ??? from Dawson to the ONLY gas station at Eagle Plains, then another 370 to Inuvik for more. That's a LONG walk...!

I carry a gallon extra just-in-case on rides like that, as you need AT LEAST 47.5 mpgUS IF you only got 19L into the tank, 42.9 IF you filled up the neck and got 21L in (and that's to "tank-DRY"!). Considering that the road's dirt, w/ all that entails as far as gas mileage goes, you can see WHY I fill like I do.

When you say that you "fill up the filler neck", do you mean that you somehow hold the bike vertical while doing that? If so, how do you juggle the pump nozzle back onto the pump while keeping the bike upright all the while?
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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 01:14 PM
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When you say that you "fill up the filler neck", do you mean that you somehow hold the bike vertical while doing that? If so, how do you juggle the pump nozzle back onto the pump while keeping the bike upright all the while?
Sit on the bike while fueling it. I never get off when gassing unless I need to go inside.

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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 01:14 PM
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I used to track my mpgs with Fuelly. I never could make heads or tails out of the differences; and eventually realized all it was doing was serving to frustrate me. So I stopped! Now I just ride!


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