Poor fuel mileage results in frequent stops at the gas pump, which translates into less money in your wallet.
Sometimes it takes a little detective work to figure out where the problem is, and sometimes you can solve the problem yourself without taking the bike to a shop.
With gas prices reaching $4/ gallon and projected to go higher this summer, riders are looking for every possible way to make less stops at the gas pump.
#1 - You want to make sure you get gas at a pump that is accurate. Most pumps today are electronically configured and managed so they're usually correct. Basically this means to only stop at respectable gas stations and try to stay away from those old, outdated pumps that aren't correctly managed. Many states have agencies that inspect gas pumps and certify their accuracy. Look for this sticker.
#2 - Check the gas tank for small leaks. Before you crank up your bike, look on the floor for small puddles of gas. Most of the time you can see where the gas came from on the bike if you don't move the bike. Hard-line cracks on the fuel tank are infamous on older tanks. Debris in the tank need to be cleaned out as well. Fixing Gas Tanks Guide You will also need to check the fuel lines for small holes.
#3 - Bad gas can clog up the fuel injector or carburetor and will reduce your fuel efficiency. Click here to find out how to clean your injector.
#4 - Nine times out of ten your motorcycle just isn't getting proper combustion due to carbon build up in the engine. Air filters are the main air intake for the engine and if it's clogged then the engine just can't breath. This will effect fuel efficiency as well and should be checked every time you change the oil.
#5 - Changing the oil and spark plugs are a basic necessity with every vehicle but with your motorcycle there are several things you need to keep up with. Compression checks to make sure the piston rings are firing right, value clearance should be at manufactured specifics, clutch plate needs to be in good condition, chain should be tight not loose, wheel bearings, and the brakes should be in good condition.
The rider is just as important when talking about fuel efficiency. Cold starting is the place where every rider puts the most wear and tear on the motorcycle. When starting the engine cold you never want to rev the engine excessively. You also want to make sure you are changing gears at the correct speed and don't rev the engine unnecessarily in-between gear changing or at the light. Ride easy for the first 5 miles and turning the engine of when having to stop for longer than a minute can help reduce wear and tear thus resulting in better fuel efficiency. Lastly, riding the clutch and depressing the brake while riding is the most common problem most riders do and most do it without even realizing it but this can cause major problems in fuel efficiency.
What about E85 fuel? Avoid it. Period. Especially if your motorcycle will sit for a long period of time after filling up. Motorcycles are not designed to run on ethanol blended fuel and cause all kinds of damage to internal components. If you must fill up with E10 or E15 gas, make sure you use it up before parking your bike for longer than a couple days. See more about ethanol and motorcycles here.