10 Tips on How to Save Gas on a Motorcycle

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Tip #1: Don't Lollygag During Warmup

Warming up a Motorcycle
Don't wait longer than you need to when warming up your bike. Photo © Getty Images

Looking for great fuel economy on a motorcycle?

Warming up a bike's engine is part of the riding ritual, but most fuel-injected motorcycles are actually ready to ride instantly, making the warm-up routine a bit of overkill.

If you're confident the engine won't stall or rev sluggishly, riding off without waiting will not only avoid wasting fuel while idling, it will enable the motor to reach operating temperature more quickly, which will enhance combustion efficiency and allow you to achieve better fuel economy.

Related: 10 Fuel Sipping Motorcycles

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Don't Let Your Tire Pressure Drop

How to Save Gas on a Motorcycle
Maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the easiest ways to improve fuel economy. Photo © Basem Wasef

One of the quickest and most effective ways to boost your MPGs is to check your tire pressure. Find the pressure rating for your tire on the sidewall or owner's manual; not only will hitting the correct PSI boost your fuel economy, it will also improve your bike's handling. And while some hypermilers swear by running on higher-than-recommended PSIs, we recommend you stick to the recommended figures for maximum safety.

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Take Care of Your Baby

How to Save Gas on a Motorcycle
Keeping your bike maintained keeps it running most efficiently. Photo © Basem Wasef

Motorcycles run best when their engines are maintained, and that includes making sure the air filter is clean, the spark plugs are fresh, the fuel filter is free, and the timing/valves are adjusted.

Some economy-minded riders even use lower friction, energy saving oil for lubrication. Whether or not you're interested in going that far, some basic maintenance can make a surprisingly big difference in fuel economy.

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Smooth it Out

How to Save Gas on a Motorcycle
Riding smoothly will allow you to ride longer between fillups. Photo © Getty Images

Focus on maintaining constant speeds, smooth throttle inputs, and avoiding unnecessary slowing, and you'll watch your fuel economy rise. Not only does even-keeled riding allow you to stretch your gas budget, it makes for smoother and potentially more enjoyable rides.

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Lower Your Cruising Speeds

Speed on a Motorcycle
Though it goes without saying, you'll pay for speed at the pump. Photo © Getty Images

Motorcycles offer amazing performance that fits between your legs-- hence the term "crotch rocket"-- and the rush of acceleration and high-speed cruising can be addictive. But twisting the throttle hard quickly kills your fuel economy, as does high-speed cruising.

Think of it this way: highway speed limits were created partially in order to conserve gas, and following the rules will not only enable you to ride farther, it could help keep your DMV record clean.

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Get That Junk Out of Your Trunk

How to Save Gas on a Motorcycle
Junk in the trunk trims fuel economy. Photo © Buell

The more weight your motorcycle has to haul around, the harder the engine has to work.

If you've got saddlebags on your bike, empty them out if you can afford to do without extra junk. Even better: if you're not using the saddlebags all the time, remove them for a relatively quick and easy weight loss tactic.

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Practice Your Aim

How to Save Gas on a Motorcycle
Ready, aim, fire!. Photo © Getty Images

When you're in a hurry to fill up and still wearing a helmet and gloves, you're probably not paying much attention to your refueling tactics.

Take some care while positioning the nozzle into the fuel filler, and you'll not only save a few cents by avoiding spilling, you'll also protect your paint from the damaging effects of stray fuel. Also, avoid the temptation to overfill your tank, as the spillover will create a mess and waste fuel.

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Think Aero

Motorcycle Tuck
Not that you'd do this every time you ride, but tucking reduces aerodynamic drag and increases fuel economy. Photo © Yamaha

Aerodynamic drag has a serious effect on fuel economy, and pushing a higher profile shape through air will make your engine work harder.

If you're interested in short term gains, consider making a more compact shape behind your windshield; if that's too much of a bother, you might think about how your bike is configured, and make changes like removing saddlebags or other drag creating accessories.

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Cruise it if You Can Use It

How to Save Gas on a Motorcycle
Cruise control, if your motorcycle has it, is an easy way to increase your MPGs. Photo © Basem Wasef

Constant speeds improve fuel economy, and relying on your internal speedometer is an easy way to go farther on a tank of gas. But if your bike has the luxury of cruise control, it will do a better job than any human at sipping fuel while cruising along the highway.

Set it and forget it, and watch your MPGs rise!

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Keep it on the Road

How to Save Gas on a Motorcycle
Staying on tarmac is more fuel efficient than riding on dirt or gravel. Photo © BMW

We should all be so lucky as to have the option of riding on dirt when we want to; riding offroad offers a refreshing take on the terrain around you, but it also requires significantly more fuel than riding on pavement.

If you've got the choice between a paved and a gravel or dirt road, pick the former and you'll use less fuel getting from A to B. Also remember that a motorcycle with knobby offroad tires won't get the same fuel economy as street biased rubber.

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