What is your fuel window?

cacomly

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#22
What I was referring to is the distance-limit on an IBA ride (350 miles). Most people I speak with who have auxiliary fuel tanks tell me that they plan their stops to be around the 330-mile mark, so if you calculate for 350 miles, you would still have a nice little reserve. Planning for 400 miles, though, seems like overkill (for an IBA ride, that is).
But not all rides for everyone are IBA rides. During a rally there is no mileage limit. Plus during rallies we tend to be riding all night or at least late into the night/morning and there isn't always fuel available.

Plus when I do a trip I like the convenience of only stopping once during the day for fuel and topping off either at the end of the day or first thing in the morning.

But there is no right answer for everyone as we all have a different ride profile.
 
#25
Before I go and test this myself - does anyone have a vague idea of the range of a modern street glide special? Not the traditional long distance bike from what I see, but someone might know already.
Actually, it's going to vary wildly based on rider weight (I'm kinda in the huge category), exhaust, etc. I guess I need to go test it. Hrm... I wonder what I'm doing this weekend.
 

Traxx

Premier Member
#27
Before I go and test this myself - does anyone have a vague idea of the range of a modern street glide special? Not the traditional long distance bike from what I see, but someone might know already.
Actually, it's going to vary wildly based on rider weight (I'm kinda in the huge category), exhaust, etc. I guess I need to go test it. Hrm... I wonder what I'm doing this weekend.
Rider weight, wind, temp, throttle control/cruise control, hills and hollows, fuel grade, luggage/bags. There are really a lot of things that can affect fuel mileage.
Ride your own ride how you would normally do and check your fuel mileage.
 
#28
Pretty good advice all around. BUT. here's how I do things.
1- Re-read the Archive of Wisdom carefully. Its the best jumping off info.
2- Re-read the ride instructions for your choice of ride. I have never had to ask what any of the instruction mean. They have always seemed crystal clear to me. In fact I have used them as an example of how to get it done right in the first place.
3- Experience is the only teacher I trust. More experience, better wisdom.
4- Run the fuel down to the idjit light and top it up asap. Do it until you are comfortable with the number. Now you know how reliable the mileage is for the idjit light.
5- Run the bike down to zero mark and top-up asap. After a bunch of times, you will get familiar enough that it won't scare you to do that. Pack 2 qts of fuel if you need to lessen the anxiety.
6- I usually run a new-to-me bike empty at least once. I have never damaged a fuel pump and see no reason for me to worry about it. If the manufacturer put in a crappy fuel pump, the word would soon be out. Put in a carefully measured amount of fuel and ride to gas. Note the quantity to top -up. You now know exactly how much fuel is needed to fire the bike. You also know how much the tank actually holds. Plastic tanks swell with age and heat and may hold as much as 1/2gal more than the factory specs.
7- You could drain the fuel system and fill to measure. If done in the cool and comfort of the garage, it may not give the same spec as if it was done in the heat? I have never felt the need to to get this level of accuracy.
8- I figure 20 miles of reserve fuel for east of the Mississippi R and 40 miles west in the Good Ol' U.S.of A. Out of country is not my forte. I did go twice to the Far North where fuel was rare. First trip I had plumbed aux fuel and used some. Second trip I packed 4g Rotopax and didn't need any of it.
9- I have developed riding fuel 'modes'. Basically, I know at what speed and conditions I can ride to give me my best mpg. Start at 40mph and work up/down from there. An aerodynamic bike might have a sweet spot at 60mph. Fold in the highway pegs and tuck in and a Wing might give much better mpg than ever before. Adjustable windshields might give huge increases when set to the right height. Pack gear on the bike with some thought to the aero's. Putting a duffel of light stuff on the pillion to fill the void between the pilot and the tail/top case might increase mpg by 3-4.
10- On a chain drive bike, use the biggest CS sprocket available all the time. On an LD ride, drag starts are never needed. Ride like you need the mileage and not the time.
11- Comfort stops should be planned and executed with the same loving care as fuel stops. I use the "100 mile get-Off" technique sometimes known as the "Half Tank Get-Off". Like the AOW says, "Slow down to go further". I use a stopwatch velcro'd to the bike just for this comfort stop. At about the desired mileage of the stop, I find a convenient safe place to park. I start the watch and get off the bike. I have a nearly choreographed stretching exercise routine (informed by a Pilates instructor) that takes me around the bike for a visual inspection. There is time for hydration and noshing while replenishing supplies, think dancing and working. If I gotta take off the helmet for a scalp scratch and some air, so be it. The idea is to get really refreshed in 2 minutes by the clock and get back on so as not to waste time. The 2 minute drill repeats at fuel stops, meal stops, and any place/time that it might get worked in. Sure the bike seat/cockpit is as comfortable as you can make it. The "100 Mile Get-Off" makes it feel delicious every time you get back on. Especially if you are as unholy old as me.
12- Have a super econo-mode and know how to use it. Out west, it is amazing how I can get to remote fuel on fumes to find out that the station power is out and fuel cannot be pumped (even manually, grrr, sigh. Buy some from people waiting for fuel if you can. A half gallon might just get you to the next town where the power is still working. Phone ahead to make sure.). Ride up the hills and switch off to coast down. Carry siphon gear and a tow strap. Walk to the nearest farm house/habitat and offer to buy garden tool fuel at a very very good price. 2-stroke fuel will burn in a modern bike most times. Diesel will run in some 4-strikes poorly enough to get to a station where it can be diluted with premium.
13- Stopping while "on the clock" is much different than rides with plenty of time to get a cert. Develop a comfortable fuel stop routine and time it so that you know what you are reliably working with. By example, I can get everything I need to do at a fuel stop done in 12 minutes, 10 if I need to hurry. If I am 'on the clock', 5 minutes is what I need for a top-up splash&dash.
In sum, all my riding is planned and used as practice and experimentation for when I might have to do it later when it counts. Its been fun leading club group rides and telling noobs that fuel stops will be <12 minutes or they will be left. Having a 'crisis potty stop' group signal is fun too. Ever have a riding budd BEG for a potty stop?
14- Unless the aero's are really good and known to the rider, speeds above 80 will be self defeating over the long term. It is tiring to ride that fast for long periods. If cruise control or throttle loc is not available, speeds will vary more as the rider tires. Bad for fuel mpg and bad for safety all around. Rally Nominal is another topic. Even one roadside performance discussion will wreck the timing of the whole day. Some day the IBR will be set up to give real advantage to mpg and the wingabagoes and autobahn'rs will suffer mightily. Why significant boni pts are not awarded to high mpg riders at the scoring and lauded at the banquet escapes me? Rider with the worst mpg should get teased too. Riders who consistently fill with less than a 1/2gal remaining might be noted? Some interesting fun could be had with mpg?
 

BMW RT Pilot

Premier Member
#29
14- Unless the aero's are really good and known to the rider, speeds above 80 will be self defeating over the long term. It is tiring to ride that fast for long periods. If cruise control or throttle loc is not available, speeds will vary more as the rider tires. Bad for fuel mpg and bad for safety all around. Rally Nominal is another topic. Even one roadside performance discussion will wreck the timing of the whole day. Some day the IBR will be set up to give real advantage to mpg and the wingabagoes and autobahn'rs will suffer mightily. Why significant boni pts are not awarded to high mpg riders at the scoring and lauded at the banquet escapes me? Rider with the worst mpg should get teased too. Riders who consistently fill with less than a 1/2gal remaining might be noted? Some interesting fun could be had with mpg?
This isn't the eco challenge; it's about devouring tons of miles in the shortest time and in a safe manner. The IBA has rescinded certifications after finding out that the riders rode reckless and were bragging about it in a national magazine. The IBA posts how many miles were ridden and NOT the times. Ever wonder why? It's because they don't want to make these rides a race.

I ride 85 all day, every time. I ain't tired during the ride and I ain't tired afterwards. Colder weather I see about 200 miles on a tank and around 240 when it's warmer. You want to put MPGs over all else? Get an electric bike or a scooter.

It was quite painful to read some of what was written.
 
#30
This isn't the eco challenge; it's about devouring tons of miles in the shortest time and in a safe manner. The IBA has rescinded certifications after finding out that the riders rode reckless and were bragging about it in a national magazine. The IBA posts how many miles were ridden and NOT the times. Ever wonder why? It's because they don't want to make these rides a race.

I ride 85 all day, every time. I ain't tired during the ride and I ain't tired afterwards. Colder weather I see about 200 miles on a tank and around 240 when it's warmer. You want to put MPGs over all else? Get an electric bike or a scooter.

It was quite painful to read some of what was written.
Sorry to have gored your ox.
The thread topic is fuel management. Most bikes have a tip-over point where mpg drops rapidly at a certain high mph. Finding that speed where fuel usage is so high that it negates any or most of the advantage of having aux fuel is part of the answer to efficient riding. Learning to be efficient fueling and while riding is part of the challenge. All of this is just based on the classic 'Tortoise&Hare' choice. Many rallies have a forced 'rest' day because riders cannot be trusted to rest properly/efficiently. Speed is exactly how much of the skill set to successful Rally and LD Riding? Even the Nascar Nation knows that cumulative pit stops can be real important.

Some of us are no longer young, supple, and can not ride ride tank-to-tank for several tanks in a row and have much physical energy left at the end of the day. Knowing what one needs to function well over 2-3 weeks of high mileage riding is an efficiency problem.

The IBR has morphed over time getting away from ever bigger miles and focusing on efficient routing. As much as I like reading about the big dogs and how that was achieved, I really miss the Hopeless Class. My normal riding is closer to what the Hopeless Class does. So that is what I tend to identify with and appreciate the most. Making MPG a little bigger share of the action could be a good/fun way to go?

"Speed elates one." -James Joyce
"Speed is relative." -Einstein

ymmv,
fran
 
#31
Just as a matter of point, the OP was about how to determine the range of the motorcycle not really fuel management as in maxing out MPG vs time.

The IBR does have "Rest Bonuses".

I guess if mpg was a factor in the IBR a 250cc or smaller would be the way to go. Just an observation.

I personally enjoy riding at a leisure 50 through scenic territory. However, I enjoy running 80 ( or more in west Texas) on the interstate. I guess I go both ways. :)

Of course I did not buy a motorcycle for economy I bought it for the enjoyment it gives me. However, I understand everyone has their way to relax and enjoy their leisure time. I live my life and let others do their thing as long as they do not infringe upon my rights or force their beliefs on me.
 

Traxx

Premier Member
#32
Where I am usually riding even the FM roads are 65 and 70mph (farm to market) The last thing I want is to be passed on a 2 lane by a dually pulling a cattle trailer or farm implements.
Fran brings up a lot of good points, granted I am not inclined for eco mode. If I had not been more focused on my time schedule, maybe I would not have lost 4 hours due to lack of fumes. Slowing down upon the ID-10t light and not trying for the "I can make the next station" would have saved me a lot of time and kept my schedule.
Roto Pax will be with me on my future rides.
 

SteveAikens

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#33
<sigh>
The insecure riders have crazy auxiliary tanks .
I didn't read much further than that comment and didn't read anyone's replies.

Let me just say that as a 73 year old rider, that's likely been on motorcycles longer than you've been on the planet, I would be more than honored if you and I would start a ride - and you could expand on your belief at the chosen finish point - I am "insecure" in my riding style and confidence I can make it anywhere you chose as a stopping point.
 

BMW RT Pilot

Premier Member
#34
Sorry to have gored your ox. The thread topic is fuel management.
fran
I have no livestock to impale. The topic isn't fuel management, but how does one figure out how far one can go on their bike.

If the burning of fossil fuels saddens you, you can always create an "hypermiling" ride and submit it to the IBA; they are always receptive to new rides as long as they can be done safely.
 

Gatey

Premier Member
#36
I came across a rider in the Mojave desert yesterday. We were at a off ramp with no service. We were 29 miles from gas. She said her Harley was running on fumes. She was waiting for help, which had been summoned. How did she know she couldn’t make it to the gas station?

How far can you go on your tank of gas? The great long distance riders know exactly how far they can go between stops. The insecure riders have crazy auxiliary tanks . The rest of us worry about being stranded and out of gas.

Can you run the tank completely dry and not hurt the motor? Will the motor start afterwards? Has anyone done this to determine the range? How do you know when to stop to gas?

One last thought: what is the point of carrying gas at the bottom of the tank if you never use it?

Please let me know your secrets.

Georgemowry
Ive several bikes with auxliray tanks but Im not insecure. All of those bikes have been run to a standstill and all those motors still work fine. And started OK.
I do a ride to standstill test on all my bikes to determine the range. So if I work back through your post with each of my answers then I must be a great long-distance rider because I know exactly how far I can go between stops.
The gas at the bottom of the tank is what makes your bike start once its been run dry. On the ST1300 its generally considered that portion of fuel well into the reserve keeps the pump cool. That may or may not be true. Ive heard it said of FJR's and wings and Rhinos too.
Personally I use every ounce Of fuel I can on occasion but I generally know my fuel stops as needed one or three legs ahead.
 

Georgemowry

Motorcycle Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#37
I took off my saddlebags and have 2 tail bags instead in order to lane split here in California I was going to compare mpg with the 2 set ups. I am going to time my stops. There is more time to be gained or lost when the rider has stopped than with speed on the road. I am going to calculate mileage on all my iba rides and I am going to run the tank dry to determine range The better I know the motorcycle the better off I am. It’s like Keith code $1.00 of concentration concept.
Thanks to all for input.
georgemowry
ps Gary you are a great long distance rider. Steve Aiken I already apologized for insuinuating that anyone is Insecure. Ironbutt finishers are my heroes. You are one of my heroes. My heroes are one of the reasons that I ride long. I do not want to insult you or challenge you to a ride that I would Surely lose. However , I did beat you in one regard: I am 74. I started riding motorcycles in 1970. I started the thread to liven things up. It’s working. George
 

SteveAikens

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#38
As noted George, I didn't read past the insecure comment. As to heroes - none of us finishing the IBR want to be anyone's hero. The IBR is a personal challenge for personal satisfaction. As to age, yep, yer officially on old fart. ;)

However, as to riding, my Dad started teaching me to ride a BMW hack in 1956 [think busing experiment issues]. Though with a couple breaks in riding for overseas obligations and some health issues, I've been riding ever since.

Congratulations on meeting your goal - the thread has indeed livened things up some.

Be safe y'all.
 
#39
I've found every bike I've owned has different ranges based weight, wind, speed, and how steady I can maintain throttle. Sometimes 250 miles a tank, sometimes190. So having said that, I don't plan range, I make sure I know where the gas is....i always check routes for 24 hr stores....i now carry an extra gallon in case the gps is wrong. But as Dad used to say...its not half full, it's half empty.