Although gasoline prices are playing roller-coaster, up and down, on average there is no doubt fuel prices are increasing. Big bad SUV cars suffer the most but even motorcycles use fuel, and over time this can hurt your bank account.
Many of us bikers need to start paying attention to our fuel consumption. One way is to buy the latest motorcycle, since the newer the bike, the more fuel efficient it will be. Technology is changing and newer technology makes our bikes more fuel efficient. But it’s not enough, we need to change our riding behavior if we want to spend less money at the fuel pump.
Right Hand Reduction
Obviously one of the easiest ways to reduce fuel consumption is to take it easy with your right hand. Don’t accelerate like a dragster, increase throttle very gently. The more you open the throttle, the more fuel you’ll be using.
It’s no fun accelerating slowly, but it’s not fun having to take a second mortgage to pay for gasoline.
Be Switzerland When Possible
Coasting is one very big way of reducing fuel. Coming up to a red light or a stop sign, going down a hill? Pull in the clutch and put your gear in neutral (or just keep the clutch in, though it’s not recommended to do this all the time). Let your bike coast to a stop.
Hypermilling: You can hypermill, though you might feel a bit anxious, just kill the bike by pressing the kill switch. It stops gasoline from getting into the engine. If you’re going down a hill, once you get to the bottom, turn the engine back on. If you arrive at a red light or intersection, wait until you can continue before starting the engine.
This kind of hypermilling does have dangers. If you suddenly need to get yourself out of a jam, you’ll not have the time to start and engage your gears. Also, turning of the electricity means that you’ll no longer have ABS nor linked braking.
Idle Mind Is The Devil’s Playground, But Not With Motorcycles
Never idle your engine. When at a stop light or intersection, kill the engine. The gasoline that is used to start your engine is nothing compared to what is needed to idle.
It will cool down your engine, and a cooler engine is less fuel-efficient than a warmer one, but overall you’ll be using less fuel.
Tire pressure is essential. Badly inflated tires will make you ride to the pumps more frequently, and they also represent a danger to you and others.
Buy a tire pressure meter and check your tires regularly, like daily.
A Weighty Matter
Weight on your motorcycle means more fuel is needed to transport everything. Check your top case and dump what you really don’t need.
It would be nice to dump your pillion, but I don’t think that is going to fly.
Let The air Flow
Proper air flow on a bike is essential. If you’re riding a sportsbike, no problem, your body will not catch any wind, but if you’re riding a cruiser or touring bike, you will be upright and therefore catch a maximum of air, slowing down the bike, and therefore using up a lot of fuel. Bend you body forward to minimize aerodynamic drag.
Do you really need those saddle bags? No? Remove them for your trip, they’re only catching wind.
Have you got a jet helmet? Change it for a full face helmet, they are far more aerodynamic.
Be Pulled Is Better Than Push
Dangerous but very good for fuel-economy: ride behind a big 18 wheeler truck. The truck will “suck” you along, like it is pulling you. It’s a trick most car racers use on the circuits, using the car’s draft air in front of them to pull them along, giving them a sudden acceleration. If you stay behind a truck, you will be using up a lot less fuel. But you need to keep a sharp eye for the truck’s lights (hoping that they actually work).
To reduce your fuel consumption, you need to do all those things we bikers love doing. Stop riding the twisties, stop accelerating, don’t gun your engine, etc. No fun, but if money is tight, you’ll not have any other options except walk. Or buy an electric motorcycle.