How to im­prove your mpg

These nine tips will not only boost your fuel econ­omy but will also make your bike bet­ter to ride

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week in MCN -

Op­ti­mal per­for­mance 1

Clean en­gine oil filled to the right level, clear air and fuel fil­ters and ev­ery­thing set to man­u­fac­turer spec­i­fi­ca­tions is the first step to mak­ing sure your bike is run­ning ef­fi­ciently. An en­gine ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing best per­for­mance will be more ef­fi­cient and re­quire less fuel, as well as be­ing bet­ter to ride. Keep on top of ser­vic­ing (a good idea any­way) and reap the ben­e­fits at the pump.

2 Chain gang

Stiff, cor­roded or dry drive chain links in­crease fric­tion and make your bike work harder for forward mo­tion. Over-tight­ened or loose chains also mean com­pro­mise. A clean, lu­bri­cated and cor­rectly ad­justed chain will cut re­sis­tance, im­prov­ing per­for­mance and cut­ting losses – dyno op­er­a­tors have seen gains of sev­eral bhp after sort­ing grotty, poorly main­tained chains!

3 Brake dance

Keep calipers clean with free-mov­ing pis­tons and slid­ing parts. If the fric­tion sur­faces con­tact with­out ap­ply­ing the brake it will cause ex­tra drag. Re­move calipers reg­u­larly and thor­oughly clean the pis­tons, in­spect the pads, and lu­bri­cate seals with red rub­ber grease. When raised off the floor, spin the wheel once and it should ro­tate for an­other turn. If it doesn’t, they’re still stick­ing.

4 Tyre choice

Do­ing a lot of track­days? No? Then you donõt need su­per­soft race tyres. They may of­fer more grip un­der the right con­di­tions, but more fric­tion means worse econ­omy. Choose tyres ap­pro­pri­ate to the use − for big miles or all-weather com­mut­ing, sports tour­ing tyres will not only wear bet­ter, but theyõll roll eas­ier with­out soft, snotty rub­ber, mak­ing a small con­tri­bu­tion to mpg.

5 Slim pro­file

Pan­niers, top­boxes, spot­lights and big screens all in­crease the pro­file of your bike, re­duc­ing aero­dy­namic ef­fi­ciency and mak­ing the bike work harder to gen­er­ate the same road speed. So, while your Africa Twin might look the part with alu­minium pan­niers, un­less you re­ally need their full ca­pac­ity, re­move them and use a tail­pack, tankbag or ruck­sack for light loads.

6 Clean and shiny

It has been proven that a clean, pol­ished bike can go a few mph faster thanks to re­duced fric­tion in the air. So con­sider the ef­fect of brake dust, flies and road dirt on your bikeõs abil­ity to push through the at­mos­phere. A thor­ough clean and good pol­ish will play its part in slightly re­duc­ing drag Ð an­other small im­prove­ment to add up to a saving at the pump.

7 Fine tun­ing

At a ba­sic level, a smart dyno op­er­a­tor can tell you where in the rev range is most ef­fi­cient on fuel for cruis­ing. If you want to go fur­ther, ad­just­ing stan­dard fu­elling will erad­i­cate any com­pro­mises for EU test-pass­ing pur­poses. A crisper mo­tor wonõt need to be worked as hard Ð as long as you donõt use the ex­tra go ev­ery­where, itõll help re­duce fuel con­sump­tion.

8 Don’t weigh me down

Weight is the en­emy of ef­fi­ciency, so cut it down: pack lighter and only at­tach es­sen­tial ac­ces­sories. Weight­sav­ing af­ter­mar­ket parts help too, and if you have a lug­gage rack but noth­ing strapped to it, re­move it. Los­ing weight your­self is an­other way of boost­ing ef­fi­ciency Ð your body is the sin­gle big­gest thing youõll put on the bike, so keep trim for more ef­fi­cient rid­ing.

9 Forward plan­ning

If youõre open­ing the throt­tle and us­ing fuel, make it worth­while. If you need to use the brakes, youõve al­ready burnt fuel need­lessly. An ef­fi­cient rider will plan ahead, eas­ing back in an­tic­i­pa­tion of junc­tions, traf­fic lights and cor­ners. Use more of the road for sweep­ing lines to main­tain speed. Use the right gear Ð labour­ing or scream­ing the mo­tor is pour­ing petrol down the drain.

75.8mpg and ris­ing… watch your bike’s econ­omy go through the roof

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