What is your fuel window?

OX-34

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#41
When you have a 4.7 gallon tank and a variation guesstimation of 170-220 miles you have no clue how far you can go on a given day - agreed.

However, once that little bar starts to flash and/or the gauge starts to count up, you are within spitting distance of the bottom - maybe.

You run it dry to find out how much farther you can go from that particular point, not how far you could go in the previous few hours.

You have to know where the bottom is. You must. That comes from running it dry.
 

keithu

Active Member
#42
I see your point, I'm just not sure it's necessary to know your range down to the last mile. The reality is, if you're down to your last 30-40 miles of range most people are going to fill up at the next opportunity. Routinely running down to that last 0.1 gallon in your tank is risky and usually not practical.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#43
<...>This should have left me fresh for another 75 mile ride to Fernley, but I knew my bike would be running on fumes, if at all, by the time I got there. So I had to stop again just three miles later and get some questionable gas at Bruno's. An aux tank would have allowed me to just ride straight through Gerlach and not worry about it.
...but, it's Bruno's in beautiful Gerlach, NV! :cool:

<...>Routinely running down to that last 0.1 gallon in your tank is risky and usually not practical.
Agreed, but when was anyone in this endeavor of LD riding practical?? :eek:

So the OP mentioned nearly 30 miles to next fuel. If the 'low fuel' indication on the bike let you know that you have 25-35 miles of range remaining, would you consider pushing it to the next fuel opportunity? What if it was 30-35 miles of range?

That last 0.1 gallon (...let's put it in perspective, roughly a 12 oz can - and for our international readers, ~0.35 liters) might be enough to keep you from being a pedestrian, right?

Absolutely knowing (by experience on this very motorcycle...) that you could easily make 30 miles on the remaining fuel helps with that decision making process.

Especially if you're competing in a rally or doing a certificate ride.
 
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keithu

Active Member
#44
I've ridden in a number of rallies, both with and without aux fuel, so I certainly understand the pressures. But whether I have 25 or 30 miles of range left is only relevant if there are gas stations every five miles. This is almost never the case in the west.

I'm usually a data nerd, so I definitely understand the appeal of wanting to know this information. I just disagree that it's mandatory data that every LD rider needs to know about their bike. You should have a general understanding of your range, yes, but I think it's unwise to routinely push into your last 20-30 miles of range. Perhaps this is why in 33 years of driving I've never once run a vehicle out of gas.
 

Georgemowry

Happy Motorcyclist
Premier Member
IBA Member
#45
Let’s do a scenario. Oregon ToH ssik: you want to visit 7 memorials from brookings to vale in 24 hours Time is tight due to traffic delays horizontal lighting and rain. The electronics are soaked and sputtering. You ride all night through to baker city and have visited 5 memorials along the way. You gas up somewhere near John day. It leaves memorials in Baker City and vale undone. Unbelievablely, the mount hope cemetery in baker city is closed at 3:30 in the morning! So ride hard to vale 87 miles to that memorial and circle back to Baker City to finish but you are cutting it close on the 24 hours. No time to waste in a gas station! The motorcycle is on fumes when you return to Baker City for the last memorial and the gold. Ha ha! That is why the big dogs have an aux.
 

keithu

Active Member
#46
Yes. For the record I am a strong proponent of aux fuel. I'm the idiot who mounted an aux fuel tank on a Triumph TT600, shortly after almost running dry outside of Baker City (yes, really).

I was merely debating the real-world applicability of the "run it dry" test. Which, after thinking about it all day while riding, I may backslide a bit. There are certainly times when it's good to know exactly how much farther you can go!
 

Georgemowry

Happy Motorcyclist
Premier Member
IBA Member
#47
(This was my story was last wk and I added it for Ku.) G.
Ps
I hate to make the next step with drilling a hole in the gas tank and for the auxiliary fuel cell, but the extra range comes in handy on these extra-ordinary rides.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#48
I was merely debating the real-world applicability of the "run it dry" test. Which, after thinking about it all day while riding, I may backslide a bit. There are certainly times when it's good to know exactly how much farther you can go!
It's even more of an advantage if you're like many LD riders who really don't have plans for aux fuel capacity on their current ride.
 

BMW RT Pilot

Premier Member
#49
I think some people are missing the point:

You cannot trust your fuel gauge and/or fuel warning lights with blind faith. Too many times my fuel warning light on my RT will come on at different times- sometimes at 42 miles, sometimes in the low-30s. Regardless or that, the bike still has a ton of gas remaining and therefore, range.

Different weather conditions will produce different results. For instance, in hot weather, I can run 85-90 all day long and get about 250 miles before pulling in. When I fill-up, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of about a gallon in the tank. But, in colder weather (below 60), there have been times (as in, almost always), when getting to 200 miles was almost asking for too much; I have frequently seen the need to add anywhere from 6.0 to 6.6 gallons in my RT's tank when the temps drop and I have run out a few times at merely 190 miles (even while going slower).

So you should run the tank dry a few times when you first get a bike to see how your gauges are, but then once you are out on a ride, you need to see how much you're putting in, given your riding style and weather conditions, and go from there. On a LD ride, making too many pit stops just slows you down.
 

SteveAikens

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#55
Think about that from the perspective of your - soon to be empty - wallet Chris. The phones themselves can be had for a reasonable cost, what you pay for what you get. However, think long and hard about the cost of services. As I previously posted, I used SPOT SOS when I had a rear flat where there was no service on the way home from Greenville. We all generally already use SPOT tracking and have the ability to use it for "emergencies" -like a flat in 100° with no shelter and no phone service, in the middle of nowhere, TX. SPOT SOS costs you nothing to use and in my case - proved to provide fast response.

Before cell service became popular, due to the nature of my business, I had a sat-phone & cell phone. It was damned expensive but a business necessity. As soon as I was comfortable that cell service was good enough - I dumped the sat-phone and bought another motorcycle with the savings per year - and that is not a joke - it's true.
 

cacomly

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#56
Think about that from the perspective of your - soon to be empty - wallet Chris. The phones themselves can be had for a reasonable cost, what you pay for what you get. However, think long and hard about the cost of services. As I previously posted, I used SPOT SOS when I had a rear flat where there was no service on the way home from Greenville. We all generally already use SPOT tracking and have the ability to use it for "emergencies" -like a flat in 100° with no shelter and no phone service, in the middle of nowhere, TX. SPOT SOS costs you nothing to use and in my case - proved to provide fast response.

Before cell service became popular, due to the nature of my business, I had a sat-phone & cell phone. It was damned expensive but a business necessity. As soon as I was comfortable that cell service was good enough - I dumped the sat-phone and bought another motorcycle with the savings per year - and that is not a joke - it's true.
My issue is my first reaction is being stranded in 100° with no shelter and no phone service in the middle of nowhere, or being stuck on the wrong side of a closed barrier on the Beartooth highway in a blizzard, or even Kirsten's episode in 2017 are not emergencies. Of course after thinking about it I realize they can be if I cannot get help in a reasonable time. However with a Sat phone they may not be emergencies if I can reach someone who can be there in a reasonable period of time.

Of course I have not researched Sat phones yet. Based on your info I may quickly realize I need to adjust my preconceptions on when I should hit that SOS button :)
 

EricV

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#57
Some of you need to use the edit feature of this forum more. :eek: Much more.

Salient points of this way too angst ridden thread:

How far can I go? Well, let's find out.

What's the advertised capacity of your fuel tank, (or your fuel tank plus aux tank)? Great, how how much gas do you usually take when you fill up as soon as you observe the, (low fuel light, indicator, Reserve petcock is turned, etc), reserve point?

So good, now you know how much fuel you have left in the tank when you hit reserve. That doesn't mean how much useable fuel, but we'll get back to that in a bit.

From your first hand, personal experience with your bike, you have a Good Idea™ what your 'normal' mpg is. Excellent.

So for my Super Tenere, the stock tank is 6.1 Gal. My bike, and nearly all other Super Tenere bikes, hit reserve with about 1.5 gallons still in the tank. So when I hit reserve, I fill up with 4.5 gallons, give or take.

For me, on my bike, loaded the way I load the bike, riding the way I ride the bike, I average 42 mpg unless speeds are over 80 mph. So, generally speaking, I have 60 miles of range left when I hit reserve. I have exceeded that on a couple of occasions. I have also run dry far quicker due to wind, speeds and terrain. The 60 miles is just a general idea of how far I can go and useful for me to manage my speed depending on how far I think I need to go to the next gas station if I get into this situation. It's very useful. Even more useful when I know exactly how far I need to go to the next gas. I may not stress at all if I know the next gas is 40 miles because I know I have ~60 miles of range left.

My personal experience is that I'm not going to be able to use that last .1 gallon of gas in the tank on the Super Ten or my previous FJR. Some bikes may leave .2-.3 gallons when the pump stops getting enough gas to the engine to keep it running. Knowing that is good info to have if you encounter a critical situation. Most of us are smart enough to not encounter a critical situation 99% of the time.

Life, is full of unknowns. And knowns that turn into unknowns. Don't believe this? (Really??) Then you need to get out more.

Riding in Alaska I discovered that the 'known' gas station I planned to get fuel at was burned to the ground in the previous few days. I had plenty of fuel to get to the next one, not planning on using all of my range between gas stops. Not everyone was as well prepared. I gave some gas to a fellow rider that was stuck there with very little fuel and no idea where the next fuel was. Then I rode with them to make sure they got to the next gas station where they could get fuel. (It's nice to have a 500 mile range and 11.5 gallons of gas, even when you don't use it all.)

Riding in Eastern OR I discovered that the fuel station I had used many times before closed an hour earlier than they used to. On the day I stopped there an hour before they closed, which was now when they closed. They were nice enough to turn the pumps on for me and hang out another 5 minutes. It would have been iffy for me to get to the next gas station that day. OR doesn't have 24 hour unmanned pumps because they require, by law, the gas station to hand you the nozzle for bikes. Car owners couldn't do self serve at all. NJ used to be the same. Eastern OR is high desert and very sparsely populated. Gas pumps are locked after hours.

To the HD rider running on fumes I would have asked what the heck they were doing stopped if the bike was still running? That's just dumb unless you think you could get stuck in a very unsafe spot, (Turnpike? long bridge?)

Running the tank dry isn't optimal for the fuel pump. It's also very unlikely to kill a fuel pump doing it a couple times. If you worry about killing your fuel pump by filling up at the reserve point, you need a new bike or a better pump. You really don't need to worry about killing fuel pumps because you run into reserve either. Maaaaybe if you take it down to vapor all the time, then you should worry about this.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#58
Slight tangent to the thread...

Some of you need to use the edit feature of this forum more. :eek: Much more.
Heh...
<...>
Riding in Eastern OR I discovered that the fuel station I had used many times before closed an hour earlier than they used to. On the day I stopped there an hour before they closed, which was now when they closed. They were nice enough to turn the pumps on for me and hang out another 5 minutes. It would have been iffy for me to get to the next gas station that day. OR doesn't have 24 hour unmanned pumps because they require, by law, the gas station to hand you the nozzle for bikes. Car owners couldn't do self serve at all. NJ used to be the same. Eastern OR is high desert and very sparsely populated. Gas pumps are locked after hours.
From August, 2018:



Intriguing that the second paragraph contains instructions on how to activate the pump. :D
 

EricV

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#60
I heard the law had changed. Glad it's being implemented. I suspect some of those Eastern OR stations will still be using the old pumps that lack CC readers and are physically locked with a padlock in some towns for a long time to come. ;) Eventually, the modern world will get there!