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How To Get The Maximum Fuel Efficiency From Your Bike

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  • How To Get The Maximum Fuel Efficiency From Your Bike

    In India, bikes are primarily used to commute from one place to another and a lot of people are concerned about the mileage of the bike. Every time a prospective buyer looks for a new bike in the market, one of the first few things he/she looks for is the mileage. The mileage quoted under ARAI specifications are often done under ideal test conditions, which are almost impossible to achieve in real-world environment. This post is dedicated to let users know about the tips to get the maximum fuel efficiency of their bikes, irrespective of the make. These tips may or may not give you the figures quoted by ARAI but will certainly improve your fuel efficiency by a considerable extent.
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    * The worst enemy of fuel efficiency is weight. Carry as little weight as possible. Adding unnecessarily heavy crash guards may have a negative impact on fuel efficiency. If you have any touring kit installed in your bike, remove it when not in use as it only adds unwanted weight and affects the dynamics of your bike. Riding with a pillion also reduces fuel efficiency. You may not be able to avoid certain things like a pillion rider, but keep in mind that adding weight reduces your bike's mileage.

    * Keep the bike in good condition. Make sure all your bike's internals are well maintained. Ensure the air filter is clean, engine oil topped up and chain properly lubed.

    * Maintain correct tyre pressure in your bike. Inflate it only as specified by the manufacturer. Most people fill 25psi at the front tyre and 35psi at the rear no matter what they ride. Your bike may or may not confirm to the pressures. Read the instruction manual and make sure what the correct tyre pressure is. Always check your tyre pressure when the tyre is cold.

    *Always try to fill fuel only at the fuel station you know. In that way, the chances of getting cheated are less. (Also see: How to detect fraud at petrol pumps)

    *Fill your tank up early in the mornings or late at night. Avoid filling it up in the afternoon as the fuel expands and evaporates too.

    *Keep the bike running in the highest possible gear and at the lowest possible speed, which the drivetrain can achieve without lugging the engine. Usually, it is between 40- 55 kmph in normal bikes. Lugging is when the bike 'jerks' when the decreasing speed is too much for the engine to handle. At that time, the engine tends to half-stall while the drivetrain forces it to run. This is especially detrimental to the chain as the varying speed may force it to snap.

    * Make sure your throttle inputs are slow and gradual. Sudden acceleration can lead to more fuel consumption. It goes without saying that racing starts should also be avoided.

    *Avoid idling the engine too much. When you are at a long traffic signal lasting more than 20 seconds, shut down the engine. If you come across too many long traffic signals, if your bike has a kick start, use the kick-start so that the battery does not get loaded often. That way, you can improve the life of your battery too.

    * Maintain a steady pace while riding. When slowing down, slowly decelerate using the engine instead of braking at the last moment. A keen awareness is needed to ride efficiently. Always look ahead and decide accordingly when you would want to decelerate. You can save your brake pads' life too!

    * Avoid clutch riding and brake riding. Many people tend to keep the clutch pulled while riding. What happens is, the clutch slips and there is a loss of power from the engine to the drivetrain. Hence, the power transmission does not take place efficiently. I have seen many riders do brake-riding. Brake riding means keeping the foot pressed against the brake pedal while riding. When you do this, the brakes constantly create unnecessary friction and hampers the movement of the wheel.

    * Make sure you shut off the fuel tap (if equipped) when the bike is not in use. Before taking the bike out, do not forget to switch the fuel tap back to the “On” position.

    * When starting the bike for the first time, allow the bike to idle for at least two minutes. This ensures the oil is at the optimum temperature and circulates properly to the entire engine unit.

    * Last but not the least, plan your route. Use routes that are less congested and time your journey in such a way that the traffic is minimum.

    Please add any other fuel efficiency tips you use with your bikes in the posts below.

    Also see: How to Get Maximum Fuel Efficiency from your Car
    Keep the rubber side down!

  • #2
    Does the addition of premium petrol in bikes from time to time help? I've noticed a considerable difference on my Classic 500, when I've filled Speed 97 (High Octane) petrol on a couple of occasions. It's just a couple of litres, added to regular petrol, but I find the bike is more responsive, starts easier and fuel efficiency actually improved slightly, probably because of the easier combustion and better power. Does that work? The economics of it does not add up though, as high octane fuel is pretty expensive.
    Drink coffee and drive!


    • #3
      Roshun I think the use of high octane fuel in a comparatively low compression ratio engine won't make any considerable difference because the high octane fuel does not reach it's full potential in a lower compression ratio engine. I feel it is a 'placebo effect' of sorts because we think anything that is costly must be superior, even though practically, they may not be so. All in all, the effect of a high octane fuel can be fully utilized only in an equally higher compression engine. I haven't used high octane fuel personally, but this is what I learnt in my college.
      Keep the rubber side down!


      • #4
        Does power or speed petrol make any changes to my classic 350? Or ordinary petrol ?which is advisable


        • #5
          I have tried using Speed 97 and also Speed 93 in my Classic 500. I think the difference is mainly psychological. I found the engine felt a little smoother, starting was easier. No big difference in fuel efficiency really. It still gives about 29-30 kmpl.
          Drink coffee and drive!


          • #6
            I use normal fuel, usually from Indian Oil and I get somewhere between 30-35 kmpl with a pillion in a mix of city and highway riding. My commute is 40 km round trip per day. I get 39-42 kmpl riding alone in the highways between 70-80 kmph. Not bad for a Royal Enfield, don't you think Roshun ? I use tank full to reserve to tank full method. What are the other reliable methods to check fuel efficiency?
            Keep the rubber side down!


            • #7
              Originally posted by Praveen View Post
              Roshun ? I use tank full to reserve to tank full method. What are the other reliable methods to check fuel efficiency?
              The most reliable method to check fuel efficiency is the tankful to tankful method. The reason being, you can check exactly how much fuel was used for the number of kilometres you've ridden. How do you do the tankful to tankful method?
              Step 1: Fill petrol at a reputed petrol pump, right up to the brim (not just up to the auto cut level, as that varies with temperature and pressure).
              Step 2: Ride for about 150-200 km.
              Step 3: Come back to the same pump and fill the tank again to the brim.
              Step 4: Divide the number of Km travelled by the Number of litres of fuel used to fill the tank, up to the exact decimal points (Example: 200 km / 9.25 litres of fuel = 21.62 kmpl)

              This is about the most accurate method, as it is not dependent on tank capacity or amount in reserve or anything else.
              Drink coffee and drive!


              • #8
                Praveen It's not just a feeling, in my opinion. These 93 octane premium petrol (Speed-BP, Power-HP) makes the engine more refined. Not, quite sure of the increased FE figure though. Certain well refined normal fuels also makes a difference. When in Kerala, we always prefer to fill fuel from either Shell, Relliance or HP.
                if everything comes your way, you are in the wrong lane.


                • #9
                  Hello, I am using an YAMAHA YBR 110 since July-2010, the bike is giving only 40 km per litre. How to improve the mileage figure?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Virupaksha_Ullagaddi View Post
                    Hello, I am using an YAMAHA YBR 110 since July-2010, the bike is giving only 40 km per litre. How to improve the mileage figure?
                    I think 40 kmpl for a six year old 110cc bike is quite respectable. How many kilometers have you done? You might have to overhaul the engine if it has racked up more than a lakh kilometers. Ensure you maintain the bike regularly. Also, read the above post for more tips on improving the mileage of your bike.
                    Keep the rubber side down!


                    • #11
                      My method is, I fill exact 10 liters of petrol just after reserve and note the kms reading. Now I note the kms when bike comes to reserve. Subtract the kms and divide by 10 ltrs. For 40kmpl average bike should travel around 400 kms between that 10ltrs till reserve. Assume I have ridden 5kms after reserve to reach petrol pump. Add that 5kms while calculating.
                      16685 kms when I filled 10 ltrs
                      17075 kms at reserve
                      5kms to reach petrol pump.
                      (16685 - 17075) + 5 = 395
                      395/10 = 39.5 kmpl


                      • #12
                        Kirtikumar_Gaikwad Yes, that is a fool-proof method i suppose! By the way, what bike do you ride?
                        Keep the rubber side down!


                        • #13
                          Both are good in different aspects.


                          • #14
                            Praveen i ride a classic 350 which I bought 6 months ago. I always fuel up tankfull and hence measure FE TF to TF. I always fill up only V Power from a nearby Shell outlet. Believe it or not I get an incredible FE of 52 kmpl. I do all that's mentioned in this article to increase FE. I clean and lube chain every 500 kms. I have run 3.5k km so far. Since I stay in a suburban area, my commute is mostly on the highways.


                            • #15
                              Kapil_Raheja Wow, 52 kmpl from a Royal Enfield is insane! Good that you are maintaining your bike properly. I think the modern Royal Enfields are relatively trouble free as long as you maintain it regularly. Do post an ownership review of your ride if you can. Cheers!
                              Keep the rubber side down!