Factors that Affect your Bike’s Fuel Efficiency

by Deepak on December 17, 2008

For an Indian biker, achieving the highest possible fuel efficiency for any bike is a constant endeavour. The answer is to keep learning so that you do not forget the key points. I have already posted some tips for inproving your bike’s mileage. Here are some factors which affect fuel efficiency. I hope you find it useful.

Aerodynamics: Aerodynamics do not make much of a difference in Indian motorcycles. However faired bikes like the Karizma do offer a marginally more aerodynamic stance, but that’s when the rider is firmly tucked in behind the fairing.

Gadgetry: Aids that draw power from the engine and battery naturally result in more consumption of fuel. This includes over size horns, additional headlights etc. Oversize and wider tyres also increase drag and reduce the fuel efficiency.

Highway Riding: Lower capacity bikes aren’t capable of high speeds on the highway and run out of breath over 80kmph, cruise at 60kmph on such bikes. Larger capacity motorcycles are comfortable cruising at 80kmph speeds but ensure that the engine is not stressed which will ensure optimum mileage. Avoid shifting up and down and try to maintain a sate and constant cruising speed in top gear. Do not open the throttle wide open, a part open throttle is the most efficient throttle opening. Plan overtaking moves well in advance so that you don’t have to brake nor accelerate hard to pass vehicles. Reduce speed by easing off the throttle rather than by using the brakes. Smoothness is the key, in acceleration, in braking and in maintaining speed which will deliver the best mileage.

Weight: Unnecessary accessories like excessively heavy crash guards, enveloping guards on scooters, oversize horns all add to the weight and consequently reduce fuel efficiency. On a 100kg bike even a 5kg increase will have an adverse effect on fuel consumption.

Fuel: Always buy fuel in the morning as it is sold by volume and expands during the day when it gets hot.

Cleanliness: Any leaks will be immediately noticeable on a clean bike and in a roundabout way will have an effect on the fuel efficiency. Dirt on the chain, in between moving parts etc will increase drag and consequently lower fuel efficiency.

Octane: Check the owners manual on what quality of petrol your bike requires. Modern bikes run a very high compression ratio and need high octane fuel (93 octane fuel is available in the metros) to run without knocking. Octane boosters (recommended on the Pulsar) also do a good job of controlling knock. However on engines designed to run on 83 octane petrol using higher octane rating petrol or octane boosters will have no effect other than lightening your wallet. Remember that higher the octane rating higher the price per litre.

Tanking Up: Do not tank up right to the brim. Not only is there a chance of spillage while filling up, petrol also expands with heat and can overflow. Filler caps on many bikes do leak once the rubber seal hardens and cracks. Tank up from busy and well know fuelling stations where quality and quantity are assured.

Engine Efficiency: Specific output is the most reliable indicator of engine efficiency. Specific output is defined as the ratio between power and displacement and higher the specific output in terms of PS/litre the more efficient the engine is. Lower emissions are also a sign of a more efficient engine. For example an engine designed to meet Euro II norms will be more efficient than a Euro I compliant engine. However an efficient engine will not necessarily translate into better fuel efficiency as it might be powering a heavier motorcycle and geared more for performance.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Anand December 17, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Hey Deepak…. It would be nice if you would put up the economy speeds of all major bikes at one place…. It would be useful….


Indian Cars December 18, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Riding a bike by leaning is not a easy task. I don’t mind compromising on FE for a better and more comfortable riding position.


bez December 30, 2008 at 11:07 am

I dont agree for what you have written under the fuel heading there is nothing related with expansion or contraction or filling in the morning or day time… Who is this writer??? Dont take the readers for granted!


sunny May 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm

hey dude. i have pulsar 150 cc. I want to know tips about making good mileage in pulsar. Hope that you will help me and give me suggestions about making my bike in good condition.


Mayank May 12, 2009 at 3:38 am

We cant ignore tyre pressure as far as mileage is concerned..less tyre pressure decreases fuel efficiency..One should ensure that tyres have optimum tyre pressure..


shahbaaz June 16, 2009 at 2:50 am

I fully recommend filling your vehicle in the morning….If a person has studied chemical compoositions and its properties then he will agree to the tips…
You will always get actual amount of petrol for which you are paying…
Specific gravity if anybody remembers….


Madhav July 9, 2009 at 8:37 am

Hi buddy… stats look impressive and i agree to most of the stuff that u say… though i m not much into biking yet bt what i m curious to know abt is… ” does long stretch with 1 or 2 breaks harm the bike and its mileage or its ok” and does that vary with how often we drive”. i do have a bike at home which is my brothers and i dont use it much often a PASSION 2008 model.. bt it drags when i drive abve 60kmph and especially when i drive for long. suggest me.
suggestion: i was looking comparisions for mileage on your site bt i dint find one. i know you dont like to publish such controversial stuff bt i m sure a poll for various bikes wud give a decent number or average so please conduct such poll where people can mark a vote for their respective bikes and we get to know the mileage on an approximation… plz reply


rajesh October 19, 2009 at 6:20 pm

im useing cbz xtreme. before i used to get good mileage. but now im not able to get good mileage. can u provide some tips……….


Muddasir February 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Well done brother.
I want to know about the internal parts of a carburator like jet etc with picture result.My Honda CD 70 2004 model that is 70cc only has mileage only 35 KM.How can i increase it.???
And can cylendrical pressure in the head effect fuel efficiency.
Thanx in advance.


shubham August 4, 2010 at 9:12 pm

one lovable post…. that what a blogger should make. thanks for the wonderful post.


yo man March 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Honda CD 70 is 1984 tech !!
dont expect too much out of it..


rakesh man joshi June 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm

what is a real milege of cb unicorn how to put good conditons


ToRqUe September 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Nothing about……….
Fuel blockage
Carburetor Overflow screw
Tuning screw Lean/Rich (good tuning for good balance of power & mileage)
Wider tyres
Tyre pressure
riding techniques to improve mileage
keeping idling to 1.2 approx
The electronic Economy unit in most modern bikes (should be operational for good mileage)
having a clean good sparkplug electrodes ( Iridium NGK for better milaege) ????????????????????????

those are important for good mileage


Ajitendra September 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

how can i improve my pulsar 220f mileage


mahi January 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

i m having Yamaha SZX and its giving me continue avg. of 50-52kmpl…… i m just following few steps..like on highway i m riding it in economy area like 40-50kmph speed…..if i m corssing 60/70kmph then my bike is giving only 42-45kmpl…..in the city like mumbai where taffic is prblem for all….we have to keep our bike in economy area then it will be grt for bikers…


himanshu March 12, 2012 at 10:02 pm

i hv a stunner n i get milege nt more than 40
gv sum tp to xtnd mileg


xDNA June 10, 2012 at 11:58 am
arnav October 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

For better mileage in bikes of any segments, the proper maintenance is required. As all of us are not automobile engineers, we should follow some easy steps.
-regular servicing at scheduled time
-maintain optimum tire pressure
-maintain constant speeds and no sudden acceleration or deacceleration
-most importantly maintain speeds below 55 kmph during run-in period
-take petrol in same authorised petrol stations
-for air-cool engine bike, don’t use engine-cover, as it hinders the cooling process
-don’t park your bike under direct sun, else little amount of petrol will evapourate
I won’t say keep the speed between 40-50 kmph (economic), because I belive people choose higher segment bikes for better speed. Those who use 100-125 cc bikes, are not in much tension with mileage figures…..:)


Swapan Bhattacharya November 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I have Bajaj Dts 135 CC. How can I improve my fuel mileage ??


Natesh December 12, 2012 at 6:34 am

I brought a new pulsar 150cc bike yesterday at what speed should I change the gears for first 500 kms


Natesh December 12, 2012 at 6:35 am

I brought a new pulsar 150cc bike yesterday at what speed should I change the gears for first 500 kms and how to maintain the bike good condition


william thekkan January 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

damm ….ur bike gives 30,40,50 milage atleast ……..den my story is d worst …i have a kinetic honda DX 98cc ….u wont imagine …..its in a great condition u wud probably see …..d 1 an only ish is dat ….it only gives a milage of 7 to 8 kmpl…..plss any of d expert out der ….can u tell me how to improve my milage …..did i mention dat my topspeed on it is exactly 60kmph


Jagz March 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm

good information…


Kumaravel May 30, 2013 at 9:32 am

Dear Deepak,
I have a Honda unicorn CB 150cc bike. Right now i getting 45 to 48 /litre. Would u Guide to improve the mileage.


sudhir kumar October 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm

hi frnds! I would like to ask abt da mileage of my discvr 135..recently i had to change its bak tyre i did so bt its milege has bn decrecred by 10km atleast..mechanic pointd out dat its becoz of fat tyre of mrf alough dimensns r same bt its grip is more than erlier one..so nw tel me guys ..cud it b da main reasn for that? And what should i do to ovrcum dis problm?


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