Motorcycles are great in so many ways but the fact they sip petrol like a budgie drinks water is an added bonus. Most motorcycles can carry between 10 and 16 litres of fuel and will easily manage 50mpg. With a gallon costing around £5, that’s just 10 pence per mile.
While petrol prices in the UK are currently low and in line with what they were in the 80s, over 70% of what our petrol costs goes directly to the government in taxes. However we don’t have it s bad as Norway who have the most expensive petrol in the world, at around 50% more expensive than here in the UK.
In Venezuela, a litre of petrol costs just 8 pence, compared to around 130-pence in the UK. Filling up an 18-litre BMW R1200GS Adventure would cost just £1.54 down in South America. Argh!
So we know that motorcycles are fuel efficient but when it comes to THE MOST fuel efficient motorcycles (and scooters) who tops the charts?
Before we hit you with this list, we just want to add in a caveat: if this truly was the most economical motorcycles and scooters, the fact is, there wouldn’t be many motorcycles in here at all. Gearboxes and larger engines mean super-high fuel economy means you need to ride like a man possessed. Possessed with the want to spend as little time in a petrol station as possible, that is.
All of our figures have been gathered from motorcycle penny-pinchers paradise: fuelly.com
So while this list includes scooters and 125s, we’ve kept them to a minimum, instead listing the best in class, so you can see the range of fuel efficient motorcycles as well as scooters.
It’s no surprise that Honda fill out the charts when it comes to fuel efficiency. In recent years, their launch of the NC700S has paved the way for Honda’s efficiency drive. Essentially half a Honda Jazz engine, the NC700 (now NC750) range uses cutting edge technology to deliver 125cc rivalling fuel economy.
So what do you reckon you get from a tank of petrol and how many miles per gallon do you achieve?
Tips here for how to get better motorcycle fuel economy:
Check your tyre pressures
If your tyres are under-inflated you’ll be creating more drag. Drag is the enemy of fuel economy as you’ll need more power to overcome the drag. More power means more fuel. So make sure your tyres are properly inflated.
Clean your air filter
If your bike’s struggling to breathe, your engine won’t be running efficiently. Your air filter is designed to remove particles that could affect the engine. Often the filter has a thin film of oil to help it trap these particles. However, it’ll eventually affect the amount of air that can pass through. So clean your filter – use a bit of petrol to break down the oil and then give it a good old soapy-water scrub if it’s a foam filter. If it’s a paper filter, you can carefully use a Hoover to remove most of the build-up and get your engine breathing properly.
Adjust your chain
A chain and sprockets that are too tight or too loose won’t help your fuel economy. A chain that’s too tight will increase wear on the sprockets and put the bearings under increased load which will also cause your mpg figures to plummet.
Change your engine oil
This one’s a no-brainer but fresh oil is better for your fuel economy. As your oil gets older you’ll notice it gets darker, dirtier. This is due to the fact it contains carbon from an inefficient burn. This carbon can build up on your engine’s internals, meaning there’s more drag and the engine has to work harder to produce the same amount of power. Fresh oil gives your engine an easier life.
Put simply, more revs burns more petrol so think about the gear you’re in and don’t over-rev your engine. Fewer gear changes and a smoother throttle will ensure you can get a better mpg figure. Try it out and if your motorbike has a MPG display, keep an eye on it and see how the type of riding you’re doing affects the figure.
If you ride a scooter, you can’t do much about the engines revs as the bike doesn’t have a conventional gearbox, however you can get more miles per gallon by not accelerating too quickly or riding at a speed that means you constantly have to use the brakes – as you’re just scrubbing off the speed you’ve used your petrol to generate.
Ride smooth and your MPG will improve.