- Written by Carole Nash Editor
- Created: 17 October 2014
With Christmas just around the corner (well, nearly...) most of us will be looking for ways we can save a few extra pennies here and there. If you're a regular rider, one way you can save some much-needed funds is by cutting back on your fuel usage.
Don't worry, we're not saying that you need to reduce the time you spend riding; cutting back on your fuel usage can simply be achieved by improving your MPG. Generally speaking, motorbikes provide better MPG than cars, with some smaller bikes capable of over 100 MPG. That said, there's always more you can do to ensure that you are riding in the most efficient way, and with petrol prices generally increasing there's no better time to do something about it.
Let's take a look at what you can do to improve your MPG:
Change the way you ride
Your style of riding largely affects your bike's MPG. If you're a rider who regularly accelerates hard from lights and junctions then your bike will be drinking fuel. If you want to achieve good MPG you need to be a smooth rider, continuously anticipating what's ahead of you so you are able to act in a timely manner, i.e., without constantly giving it fistfuls of throttle.
Give your air filter a clean
If your air filter is all clogged up your engine won't be able to work to its full potential, and consequently you won't be achieving the best MPG. A paper filter can simply be replaced, but if you've got a foam filter that needs a clean you should soak it in an old baking tray with some paraffin or your filter manufacturer's recommended cleaner. Once it's had a good soak, wash it with warm soapy water, rinse and leave to dry. Before you fit it back onto your bike douse it with some filter oil to give the dust and the dirt something to stick to when you're on the road.
Change your oil
Your oil protects and cleans, and makes everything within the engine work in peaceful harmony. With this in mind, it's really important that your oil is fresh. At the very least it should be replaced at intervals in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, but doing it more frequently can only be a good thing, particularly if your bike sees hard mileage with higher revs and harder acceleration. If you're unsure of what oil to replace it with refer to your owner's manual.
How's your chain looking? If it's slack then it could be damaging your drive chain and sprockets; too tight and it's probably causing strain on your wheel hub and drive shaft bearings which can lead to an expensive repair. A badly fitting chain will cause drag, the arch enemy of fuel economy. Adjusting the chain is a simple task as long as you refer to your user's manual and take into account additional rider weight. A dry or dirty chain will also cause drag, so don't forget to give it a good clean and lube it up regularly.
Poorly inflated tyres will bring down your MPG significantly. You can refer to the user's manual for the correct psi for your bike, ensuring you check your tyres when they're cold. You should also be using a good quality pressure gauge and pump. There are also very serious safety reasons for keeping your pressures correct so regular checks are important on a lot of levels.