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Kevin Helt
Kevin Helt has been racing in all forms of motorsports, building and maintaining his race equipment since 1984. He has worked in the aircraft field for about 12 years in Quality Assurance before going to work for Nmotion Race Technology in early 2004 as a dyno technition and engine builder. In 2005 Kevin became an owner and took over the parts manager position where he made many contact in the motorcycle and atv industry which has proven to be very beneficial to Nmotion. Kevin is experienced in most of the day to day operations at Nmotion where he has taken an active role in managing Nmotion.
2008-02-01 10:12:00
Fuel mileage fast becoming an issue
he fuel mileage of the average motorcycle is a lot better than that of the average car or truck, so it might seem that fuel mileage would not be a big issue. But with gas topping three bucks a gallon during part of the past year and threatening to do so again with every future meteorological or political crisis, two-wheel fuel mileage could become an issue. We motorcyclists like to believe that we are already ahead of the environmental and gasoline price curve since we are riding fuel-efficient vehicles every day. However, modern motorcycles are nowhere near as fuel efficient as they should be. Big Twins struggle to reach 40 MPG between city and highway riding. That might be great fuel mileage if you’re driving a full size truck, but for a two wheeled vehicle, you should do alot better. It is almost impossible to see 60 MPG unless you downsize to small and underpowered bikes 250 cc territory or less, and it’s highly unlikely that your average touring big bike rider is going to trade in their ride for a 250 any time soon. But there are some things you can do to squeeze the most out of each gallon of pricy and environmentally-damaging gasoline. Follow these tips and watch your MPG soar! Oh, and most of them apply when you’re driving your car too! Keep the RPM in the power-band. On a manual-transmission motorcycle, the most important thing is not necessarily the speed you are traveling but what the tachometer reads. There is not a huge difference in load on a motorcycle at say, 4,000 RPM in second or in third gear, therefore fuel economy will be similar in both gears, even though you are going significantly faster in third. Experiment to find out where the power-band is on your bike, in most cases under the power-band will feel sluggish and over the power-band the engine is screaming and reaching redline. Different bikes have different power-bands. Huge V-twin cruisers get into the power-band at about 1,800 RPM and out at around 3,000. Some sport-bikes don’t even get close to the power-band until 7,000 RPM and keep it up until 10,000 or more! Bottom line is, don’t lug or over-rev it. Your MPG figures will thank you. Don’t drag race/start. You’re not hunkered over a nitro methane fueled dragster at your local race way, you’re commuting through traffic. Nobody is impressed and thinks you’re hot if you do burnouts at every stoplight. Try to imagine a half-empty glass of water on your gas tank. Try to take off from a stop without spilling it. Don’t blip the throttle. When you’re idling at a stoplight in your car, you don’t push up and down on your accelerator pedal, so why can’t you let 3 seconds go by in neutral without twisting your bike’s throttle. Again, you do not impress anyone with the fact you have an engine. Ride what fits. If your relatively big rider and would love the 100+ MPG of a 50cc moped, you have to realize that it’s highly unlikely. Not only would you squish a moped by just sitting on it, but the little 50cc engine is not going to have the grunt to get away from a stoplight with your tonnage on it. However, we could all analyze our requirements and take a serious look at the possibility of trading in for a “relatively” smaller displacement bike. Big twin riders would find that there are a significant number of truly righteous rides in the 800-900cc category that provide very similar around-town and legal highway speed performance while delivering about 50% better MPG. More next month regarding motorcycle maintenance and how this can help with performance and economy.
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