Future of Engineering

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Motorcycle MPG - Best Mileage Motorcycles, Motorbikes Fuel Economy

This post was originally about an innovative Homemade Kawasaki Motorcycle that gave an equivalent of 300 MPG. Since then, we have had thousands visit this page looking for motorcycle and scooter MPG in general. As a result, we decided to focus this page on motorcycles and scooter MPG web resources. We have kept the original post as well...it is at the very end :-)

In these days of super-high fuel costs, we hope you find this resource useful.

You might like some of these useful stuff that could contribute to fuel economy.


Motorcycle MPG Resources
Found a lot of folks visiting this page for the key word "motorcycle mpg" so decided to add a list of useful web resources for these visitors. I don't like to disappoint my visitors :-)

Can MPG Alone Get You on a 250 Cruiser? - An interesting article on the mysterious world of motorcycle MPG data and why there is no major fuss by the motorcycle manufaturers about their MPGs, something their four-wheel counterparts never tire of doing. And oh, while you are here, do not miss reading the comments. There are as many interesting inputs and points raised in the comments (perhaps more) than in the article itself.

Here's a discussion on the MPG you can get from Honda bikes. Most of the numbers discussed are in the 35-60 range.

100 MPG Diesel Motorcycle - Diesel Alternatives - Combat-Tested Diesel Motorcycles Get Ready For The Asphalt Jungle

"I'm curious why fuel economy of motorcycles is relatively poor compared to that of a car. For instance, several of the honda 750cc models get approx 45 mpg. Now a car that's several times heavier with twice as many wheels (greater rolling resistance), a much larger frontal area, and an engine twice as big can get the same mileage. Based on the car's fuel economy, you'd expect a motorcycle with an engine half the size and much less rolling resistance and smaller frontal area could do much better.
Are motorcycles tuned drastically differently -- like for high revs and hp? Can they be re-tuned for improved fuel economy?" - Interesting question, doubtless many of you have asked this yourself - see the discussion on this topic here

What's Your Best Motorcycle MPG? You can bet a question such as this will have many tongues wagging and much data being thrown about, and you are right. See a lively discussion on this topic here

The Measure of Motorcycle's MPG - A Los Angeles Times article

Motorcycle Fuel Economy Guide - from Total Motorcycle

Total Motorcycle Fuel Economy Guide

Guide to Motorcycle Fuel Consumption - tips and suggestions on how to get better mileage from your motorcycle

Motorcycle Fuel Consumption & Real World Performance Guide

Craig Vetter's Streamlined High Mileage Luxury Touring Bike

Fuel Economy in Honda Motorcycles - a good discussion @ Fireblades

Sportbike, Motorcycle Weight, Horsepower, Fuel Economy - Numbers for every sportbike tested by Sport Rider from 1997 to the present.

Honda Announces Next Generation Powertrain Fuel Efficiency Targets for Motorcycle and Automobiles

The Designs & Inventions of Craig Vetter

How to Save Gas with an I-Scooter

The Measure of Motorcycles' MPG - "There's no standardized test for bikes' fuel economy, so where are figures coming from? Hint: the EPA emissions test is involved." So says this LA Times article.

Motorcycle Fuel Economy Should Spike Sales - a brief 2004 news report, has a nice graph from the Honda Environmental Annual Report that shows the improvement in motorbikes' fuel economy in the previous few years.

Motorcycle Fuel Economy Discussion - a forum discussion at Motorcycle Smack discussion board

What Kind of Fuel Economy Does Your Motorbike Get? - some answers and numbers to this question @ Yahoo Answers

The Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Contests - 1980 through 1985

Motorcycle Fuel Consumption & Real World Performance Guide

Sport Bike Motorcycle Weight, Horsepower, Torque and Fuel Economy

Jay Leno's Eco-friendly Custom Bike

Motorcycle Fuel - Flex-fuel, Will You Bite?

Motorcycle Fuel Consumption Real-world Guide - from Motorcycles KMPL

Some useful web resources for saving gas - this is in general, not specific to motorbikes or scooters

101 Ways to Use Less Gas

Thirty Gas Saving Tips

29 Tips on How to Save Money on Gas

Top 15 Ways to Save Money on Gas

11 Car Care Tips that Save Gas

Seven Interesting Ways to Save Gas

13 Ways to Significantly Reduce Your Gas Costs

Nine Ways to Save Gas & Money

66 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline

Other Interesting Motorcycle Articles & Links

Inexperienced Motorcyclists, in Search of Fuel Economy - these folks might pose dangers on the road, says this post

15 Motorcycle Tips for Riding in Traffic

Motorcycle Riding Tips in the City

Original Blog Post

Homemade Electric Kawasaki Motorcycle Gives 300 MPG - Ben Nelson

If you are a frequent motorbike rider, you know the kind of MPG that will make you pleased - 70, 80? How about 100 MPG? That must be awesome, right?

Now what would you say if someone tells you he can make your motorbike give an equivalent of 300 MPG? You would of course dismiss it as fanciful thinking. You'd dismiss it even faster when you come to know that the chap who tells you this is an amateur who tinkers around in his sparetime and who buys his spares on Craigslist and eBay.

But it is a fact that this homemade electric motorcycle gets the gas price equivalent of 300 miles per gallon. Its speeds hit 40mph within its modest 15 mile range. And yes, the engine runs silently with zero vibration.

Well, Ben Nelson did spend some good amount of time in producing his beauty. He spent $100 for a Kawasaki rust bucket with a broken tranny, a seized engine, no clutch, a detached seat and a badly dented gas tank. Following instructions from forum folk, he methodically converted the gas motorcycle into a purely electric one.

What followed was a proud accomplishment for Nelson: "It goes 38 miles an hour and it's a 'hot rod!" he's fond of saying. And the topper: Using a meter to measure the amount of electricity that flows from an outlet to the cycle's battery charger, Nelson calculates the machine gets the equivalent of about 300 miles per gallon. That includes $6 a month extra he pays a utility for "green" electricity. So his machine gives you a more than 400% higher returns on your spending (300 MPG vs 60 MPG), and it is green!

Nelson admits frankly that he doesn't even own any power tools other than a drill, doesn't know how to weld and only took one metal shop class in high school. But he loves to learn new things. Now that's DIY ethics for you!

Sources: Gizmodo, TreeHugger, Kawasaki Fuel Efficiency Guide


Back in 2004 I searched the net for cycle mileage. I couldn't use a scooter because I needed to run a section of freeway across a river and needed to run 65-75 for that stretch of road. I found an excellent pdf with all bikes listed side by side. The hands down winner was the Virago 250. I bought one, replaced the 45 tooth with a 39 (making the "old" 5th gear = to the "new" 4th gear and giving me a taller freeway gear for still wind and flat ground. It gives me a hedge against fuel rationing (remember 1973?) and is lots of fun. Oh, and fully outfitted with bike, windshield, panniers rain gear, taxes and license, it came in below $4k. -jb
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