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Discussion Starter #1
I'm really discovering that there is a lot that goes into gas mileage. I got my bike back in October of 2010. Its a 2007 RT and I have the top box on it and I carry an emergency kit and laptop computer almost all the time. My riding is nearly all commuter mileage. I have two different offices that I ride to. One is 17 miles away and that ride is 50% rural road and 50% subruban traffic lights. The other office is 37 miles away and it involves about 30% rural road and 70% super slab and speeds near 80 MPH.

During the winter, I ran a full set of Gerbing heated gear. Mileage fluctuated between 38 and 44 with 42 being about the average.

This spring, the heated gear came off and mileage improved a good bit. At the same time, I had a warranty issue with the electronic regulator for the fuel pump. The combination of these brought me up to a range of 42 to 47 with an average of 45 MPG.

Recently, I found a gas station that is 9.7 miles from my house that sells non-ethanol gas. Unfortunately, its 89 octane but at least its real gas. Its 9.7 miles in the opposite direction from my commute but I've been using it for the last 3 tanks. My MPG has now jumped to 50.

Hmmmm... Now I'm wondering what else I can do. On my last fill-up, I decided to try riding in such a way as to maximize fuel economy. I'm up-shifing sooner, now getting as hard into the throttle, riding at 65-70 instead of 80-85 on the interstate and generally taking it slower. In one stretch, I was at 60.3 MPG but that dropped down to 50 when I did my shorter commute (stop and go really kills it). I have milked it back to 54.7.

So from an average of 42 up to 54 by taking off the heated gear, riding mildly and switching to real gas. The extremes are 38 up to 60 for a whopping 22 MPG difference.

The only down side is that riding so carefully is boring. Its also not as safe since I'm not in the power range of RPMs. I'm also not comfortable on super slab being passed all the time. I'm thinking that if bumping up my speed brings me down to "only" 50, I will be happy. That's 8 MPG higher than I was running in the winter and enough to justify the extra miles to get the real gas.
 

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Some things you might consider.

Lose the trunk and bags. They create drag and extra weight.

Ride as smoothly as possible. Anticipate lights avoid using brakes as much as possible.

Avoid Ethnol

Slow down

The heated clothing did not effect gas mileage much but during the winter the gas is winter gas. Winter gas helps engines start in cold weather but reduces mileage. There will be a switchover to summer gas soon if not already.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As a commuter who needs his laptop, loosing the luggage is not an option. There are also a good number of days that I have to stop for groceries or other things that require bags. I know it sacrafices mileage but there are limits.
 

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As a commuter who needs his laptop, loosing the luggage is not an option. There are also a good number of days that I have to stop for groceries or other things that require bags. I know it sacrafices mileage but there are limits.

Do you always need the top case? That by itself causes a fair amount of turbulence and drag. If this is the only case that will hold the laptop, do you always need the side cases?

Another suggestion - check your tire pressure regularly. Under-inflated tires will reduce mileage plus reduce the lifespan of the tire. Warning! Do not over-inflate with the belief that reducing the contact patch will increase mileage. It may do that, but the inherent risks by doing so vastly outweigh the benefits.
 

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My 02 R1150RT gets between 42 and 52, depending on fuel (hate ethanol), riding style (speed), and load. Has anybody else noticed, it's hard to keep these things under 85 mph on the interstate... ;)

The biggest problem that I'm running into, is that it's IMPOSSIBLE to avoid ethanol in the midwest these days - and I notice a 5 to 15% decrease in fuel efficiency when I am stuck with it. Gee, what a deal. :mad:
 

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Drachenfels said:
My 02 R1150RT gets between 42 and 52, depending on fuel (hate ethanol), riding style (speed), and load. Has anybody else noticed, it's hard to keep these things under 85 mph on the interstate... ;)

The biggest problem that I'm running into, is that it's IMPOSSIBLE to avoid ethanol in the midwest these days - and I notice a 5 to 15% decrease in fuel efficiency when I am stuck with it. Gee, what a deal. :mad:
I commute 50 mile each way to work on average 3 days a week. The ride is about half interstate and half US highway. My riding style is somewhat aggressive (i.e. I don't baby the bike, I engine brake all the time and stay ~5 mph ahead of the flow of interstate traffic). I'm pretty sure my 2010 RT is fully broken in with just over 17,000 miles and I am consistently getting 42-50 mpg.

On a related note, I rode ~200 miles directly into a 25 mph wind (gusting to 35) a few weekends ago and my mileage dropped to 35!! On my return trip that same day it jumped 60 mpg with the tail wind!! I would never have thought that wind would make THAT much difference, but it does.
 

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I've been slightly disappointed. 42-43 when I first got it last november and it's been 39-41 lately. I run 91 in it and in Iowa it's hard to find non-ethanol gas here. 50-60? Over a cliff may be.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ponch said:
I've been slightly disappointed. 42-43 when I first got it last november and it's been 39-41 lately. I run 91 in it and in Iowa it's hard to find non-ethanol gas here. 50-60? Over a cliff may be.
I thought the same thing. Changing gas helped but that is likely not an option for you. If your ride involved stopping frequently, you'll never see 50. I am amazed at just how badly and how quickly stop and go traffic destroys mileage. I can be averaging 54 and hit a series of lights. In just 10 minutes, my average drops to 50. Ten minutes in town is enough to shave 4 to 5 MPG off the average of an hour of steady highway driving.

The other thing that seemed to make a difference is keeping the RPMs down. Until this last tank of gas, I would upshift between 4 to 5000 RPM. On this tank, I've been upshifting below 4000 and cruising as close to 3000 as I can. That means using 6th gear on country roads.

I've got to say though that riding like this isn't nearly as much fun and its not as safe either. I've decided that there are some things I'm willing to do to improve mileage and some things I'm not. On the interstate, I am positive that its safer to be in the left lane and that means going a lot faster than is good for fuel economy. I also don't like keeping my RPMs so low because in an emergency, I want high RPMs immediately. I'll sacrafice mileage for safety. I'm hoping to keep it near 50 but at least now I know upper 50's are possible.
 

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IMHO, having a discussion about fuel compumption on the RT requires the following notes to be taken into account:

1. How the fuel consumption being reported. Is the figure you are quoting based on your own mathematical calculation using elapsed miles/kms and gallons/litres to fill? Is it based on the BC on the bike? This is an important distinction since the BC has been known to be off (vs. calculation) in quite a few circumstances.

2. How often the BC consumption is reset. The most accurate figures reported by my ('09 RT) BC are a result of zeroing-out the fuel consumption value when filling up. Others have reported this as well. Without zeroing out the consumption value, the reported number can "drift" significantly beyond what would be reasonable to expect from an averaging across distance traveled. WITH zeroing, my BC is within 1 mpg (US) of the calculated figure.

So, if a mileage figure is posted, it might be good to state the method by which it was calculated (BC or receipt-based).

YMMV!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good point TheoM. I am discussing the mileage as reported on the BC. I reset it after each fill-up. I have found that manually caclulating is frought with errors because of how hard it is to fill up to exactly the same point each time. Different pumps, different parking angles, and even differences in how good my grip is will change the point where I stop putting fuel in. Therefore, I stick with the using the on-board computer.

I realize that this method is not perfect but because I reset it each time I fill up, I get a good picture relative to every other time I fill up.
 

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cliffy109 said:
{snip}...I realize that this method is not perfect but because I reset it each time I fill up, I get a good picture relative to every other time I fill up.
I think you'll find that resetting it each time you fill up gets you a pretty darn accurate figure. At least it does on my '09 RT.

It IS hard to fill to the same point each time because of all those variables. However, I've found a station that has level parking pads and, more importantly, does NOT have the binary "bazooka" pump nozzles that have only two flow positions: off and "crowd-control flow". Also, we have yet to have the air-lock type nozzles mandated for every station.

I park the RT on the center stand, put on my reading glasses, and fill just to the bottom of the orange filler neck. I'm getting pretty good at reliably hitting the mark, but I am a self-immolating basket case with binary flow pumps that have the air-lock collars. Might as well pour fuel into the freakin' tank from a wastebasket!
 
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