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