Tag Archives: Motorbike advice

Common reasons for bike roadworthy failures

You can avoid failing your motorcycle roadworthy if you pay attention to some of the most common failures.

Riders in Australia have varied conditions for roadworthies.

In Queensland, you only need one when you sell your vehicle. In some other states you need regular roadworthy certificates that depend on the age of your bike.

The three most common reasons for breakdowns in Australia are flat tyres and batteries and simply running out of fuel, according to roadside assistance services.Readers offered 15% roadside assist discount

Get a 15% discount on your roadside assist

So it is also important to check your tyres and battery when getting your regular or once-off roadworthy check.

Having an empty tank won’t fail you on your roadworthy!

Roadworthy stats

UK second-hand bike sales website WeWantYourMotorbike delved into the statistics on why motorcycles fail their annual test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions required for most vehicles over three years old.

They found some interesting statistics, but the one that caught our eye shows how motorcyclists look after their bikes more than drivers look after their cars.

Only 16.9% of motorbikes fail their initial MOT tests compared with 33.6% of cars and 42.2% for goods vehicles.

We are certain the same would apply around the world. Riders tend to look after their bikes.

However, when they do fail, the stats show it could easily have been fixed beforehand.

The failure could also have dire safety consequences for the rider.

The Most Common Reasons For UK MOT Failure (% of failures)

Light & reflectors 40.21%
Brakes 16.83%
Structure & attachments 10.77%
Tyres 9.95%
Suspension 8.85%
Steering 5.5%
Vehicle ID  4.09%
Horn 2.86%
Wheels 0.93%

The Most Common Dangerous Defects (% of failures deemed dangerous)

Tyres 43.18%
Brakes 26.88%
Structure & attachments 12.02%
Lights & reflectors 6.02%
Steering 5.96%
Suspension 3.89%
Wheels 2.05%
Vehicle ID 0%
Horn 0%

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Readers offered 15% roadside assist discount

Recover My Ride is offering Motorbike Writer readers a 15% discount on 24/7 roadside assistance service for their motorcycle, car or other vehicle.

That’s a $25 saving on the normally $150/year service which provides you with total peace of mind!

All you have to do to redeem this generous offer is click here or click on the “Recover My Ride” advertisement on our home page.

It is open to all riders and drivers around Australia and will aid you in situations where your motorcycle or other vehicle is immobilised.

Reasons can include a flat battery, flat tyre, running out of petrol or any mechanical problems, but not a crash as that should be covered by your insurance.

It will pick up your bike or other vehicle on any sealed or designated safe road.

Your membership also includes, at no extra cost, free cover for your motorcycle trailer, caravan, box trailer and boat trailer.

Recover My Ride Roadside Assist Features:

  • Australia Wide.
  • Ambulance member benefit assistance.
  • Emergency Roadside Assist 24/7 365 Days.
  • Flat batteries jump starts.
  • Flat batteries replacement service.
  • Flat tyre change or transported to the nearest repairer.
  • Free out of fuel emergency.
  • Member benefit personal illness.
  • Member benefit personal injuries.
  • Member benefit car hire.
  • Member breakdown accommodation.
  • Unlimited callouts Australia wide.
  • Unlimited towing to the nearest repairer.
  • Unlimited breakdowns to nearest repairer.
  • Unlimited km to the nearest repairer.

Readers offered 15% roadside assist discountMotorbike Writer is happy to partner with Recover My Ride which we believe provides you with the best and most comprehensive roadside assistance in the country.

It’s also very affordable with no hidden costs.

Some other services may seem the same, but they can have hidden costs that can make a long-haul recovery very expensive.

Once an account has been set up, customers can add and pay for extra motorcycles, cars and others vehicles on the same account at any time.

Please read the terms and conditions first.Readers offered 15% roadside assist discount

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Best Tips to Customize Your Motorcycle

(CONTRIBUTED POST FOR NORTH AMERICAN READERS)

If you like to customize motorcycles, you should know how to do it properly. Modifications come in many different forms, but you may have to understand a few important basics before you can even start planning a major refinement.

Whether it’s adding small details or doing a major makeover, customizing your motorcycle takes time and money to pull off. That said, here are a few tips to make the most out of giving your bike an upgrade:

  1. Change the seats

Over time, the leather of the seat can wear out with cracks appearing on the surface. You can always by replacing the seat altogether and choosing a more comfortable alternative that firmly supports you. The new seat should have the right amount of softness so you can avoid straining your back during a long drive.

  1. Pick heavy duty tires

Performance-wise, your tires would make all the difference in keeping your motorcycle on the road and preventing it from slipping. If you want tires that are perfect for any road condition, look along the lines of all-weather tires for optimum stability on both dry and wet roads.

  1. Create a laser engraving

Nothing says you’re the sole owner of your bike quite like a custom engraving. An emblem or a coat of arms could be added to your bike to give it a touch of added coolness. You can always create engravings by hand, but this usually takes a lot of time to pull off. To save time and create intricate patterns and designs to add to your motorcycle, you can use a laser that’s capable of engraving different metals accurately.

  1. Add some lights

If you’re looking to be more creative when it comes to customizing your motorcycle, you might as well add some LED lights like those from XK Glow, especially on the bottom. Not only will this make your motorcycle look cool, but it also enhances your visibility at night. Don’t overdo it though as too much unnecessary lighting can actually distract you, other motorists, and pedestrians.

  1. Add some custom stickers

Stickers are like tattoos to your motorbike. Each one tells a different story. So, if you’re feeling adventurous, start by adding stickers that could give your bike a boost in appeal. If you don’t have a thing for stickers, you may want to overhaul your color palette and update the paint job.

  1. Look for hi-tech gadgets and features

There are a lot of gadgets you can attach to your motorbike. You just have to choose which ones to install. A GPS tracker, for one, is a good gadget to have, especially when it comes to traveling unfamiliar roads. You might also consider adding a GoPro mount to prepare your motorcycle for an adventure. 

Conquer the road by riding a bike that’s fully equipped for any journey. 

Use these motorcycle customization tips to finally give your ride the upgrade it deserves and impress anyone who might be dying to take it for a test drive!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Video lampoons loud pipe machismo

Do loud pipes really save lives or is it more about machismo and attention-seeking behaviour?

This hilarious video lampoons the latter theory.

Loud pipes theory

I won’t be popular for this, but “Loud Pipes Saves Lives” is a theory, not a proven fact.

I’m sure many readers will provide examples of how they reckon a loud motorcycle exhaust saved their lives.

But let’s look at this scientifically.

Supporters of this contention say that loud pipes alert motorists that there is a bike somewhere about.

In a situation of impending collision, the bike is approaching the vehicle it is about to collide with, right? It’s not going in the opposite direction, is it?

They may be approaching from the side, from in front or from behind, but they are not riding away from the vehicle with which they are about to collide.

So the noise of the bike really needs to precede the bike to alert the impending collider, right?

But exhaust pipes don’t face forward. They face backward with the bulk of the noise trailing behind, not going out in front of them.

High frequency sounds are easy to discern direction. However, low frequencies such as exhaust noise can be omnidirectional.

That makes it difficult for a driver in an air-conditioned cabin with the radio on to discern where the noise is coming from.Loud pipes save lives keyring - motorcycles EPA cars exhaust machismo

Guilty driver

I have been guilty of driving a car and having no idea that a motorcycle is rapidly riding into my blind spot. Not until they are alongside or already past do I actually hear their exhaust pipe.

Just how loud would exhaust pipes have to be for people in front to hear them clearly and be a truly effective safety alert?

Rather than adding to the already cacophonous state of our urban traffic, wouldn’t it actually be better and safer for riders to alert traffic with a short blast on the horn?

If you are riding along a street and see a car sitting at an intersection and you are not sure they have seen or heard you, wouldn’t it be more effective to give a couple of quick taps on the horn to gain their attention?

A horn blast surely has more of an alert tone than the gradually increasing rumble of an exhaust pipe facing the wrong way. (Be aware that in some jurisdictions, blowing the horn may be illegal, except for emergency warnings.)

There are other things you can do to get yourself noticed such as changing speed and moving around in your lane. (Dare I say, bright riding gear may help, but certainly not your machismo.)

All these proactive safety measures are much better than the ingrained and misguided trust in the safety values of a loud pipe.

In fact, reliance on a loud pipe could be hindering your active safety avoidance measures and placing you and your machismo in greater danger.

Machismo note

Road names motorcycles Triumph Street Scrambler machismo
MBW’s Triumph Street Scrambler has an aftermarket pipe that is not illegal

Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of a baritone exhaust note. Not that gets my machismo going! That rumbling sound is music to my ears and motivation to my soul.

My Triumph Street Scrambler has a legal aftermarket exhaust pipe that is not annoying, but has a lovely, musical note.

However, I detest those barking, angry pipes that give me a headache and only serve to upset most of the population.

In fact, noise (barking dogs, traffic, trains etc) is the most complained about issue in suburban life. Do we really need to attract more anger against bikes and bikers?

While loud pipes may not necessarily save any lives, they most assuredly are bad PR for a minority group that gets enough bad press as it is.

Let’s be honest, the people who advocate loud pipes love the sound of the pipes and/or love people hearing them and being intimidated.

Just go back and watch the video again.

While I’ve never witnessed a loud pipe saving my life or anyone else’s I have witnessed loud pipes causing dogs to start barking and horses to run into barbed wire fences.

Favourite noise

MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR Pirelli now sole supplier to MV Agusta machismo
MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR “organ pipes”

My favourite bike noise is actually the roar of the bike inhaling, rather than exhaling. The MV Agusta Brutale has beautiful “organ pipes”, but it’s the induction roar that is absolutely glorious.

And best of all, it sounds like a Singer sewing machine when it goes past pedestrians, motorists, dogs and horses. That’s because the induction sound is cleverly pointed at the rider and not the passerby.

Motorcycle and car manufacturers have been spending millions of dollars on research into how to best channel these “good” sounds toward the rider/driver rather than at the passing scenery.

This has mainly been forced on them by increasingly stringent noise limitation laws, but the byproduct is that we get more entertaining motorcycles to ride and we cheese off fewer motorists, pedestrians, dogs and horses.

What do you think about loud pipes? Leave your comments in the box below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle mods don’t have to be illegal

A new motorcycle is a blank canvas that you can personalise and modify without making it illegal to ride, says RACQ technical and safety officer Steve Spalding.

He recently bought a 2010 Triumph Bonneville SE (above) that he has been gradually “reworking” to his own tastes.

“Motorcycles aren’t a one-size-fits-all product,” he says.

“Modifications can be made for a wide range of reasons from re-padding the seat to full customisation that ends up nothing like the bike it started as.

“However, modifications need to be thought out carefully because it’s easy to spend a lot of time, and even more money, making changes that don’t deliver what the rider hoped for.

“If done well, a modification should result in a noticeable improvement without causing unintended drawbacks.

“Done badly, a modification will fail to deliver a benefit, disappoint the rider and quite likely be a detriment to some other aspect of the bike such as performance, handling, comfort or compliance.”

Avoid illegal mods

To avoid turning your bike into an illegal vehicle, click here to read about the major rules that apply to motorcycles modifications.

Rules regarding motorcycles, mopeds, scooters and trikes vary depending on the Australian Design Rule (ADR) category and the date of manufacture.

If you are unsure about the standards and ADRs applying to your bike, you should consider seeking professional help from the transport department or automobile association in your state.

“We have a couple of advisors who are particularly knowledgeable on motorcycle technical matters – plus can give useful advice about buying wisely,” Steve says.

Contact RACQ Advice on 07 3666 9748.

Best advice

Steve Spalding DIY bike maintenance Easter safety message duty easter pulp ulp premium illegal
Steve Spalding

“The key to achieving a successful modification is getting good advice from the start,” Steve says.

“More importantly, don’t act on well-meaning but often inaccurate information or opinions.

“Online forums are one such source where riders need to be careful about the accuracy of what’s being put forward as information.

“There’s no doubt that a collection of owners will build a good bank of knowledge over time about modifications and be keen to share with other owners.

“However, it’s also the case that advice offered might not be correct or relevant to what the forum visitor is trying to work out.

“The best advice is the right advice, and it requires careful judgement to separate these two out.”

Mechanical mods

Gazi motorcycle suspension illegalWhile some ownership problems are relatively generic and a common solution might work, others less so. Replacing shocks is one such example, says Steve.

“Everyone has a different idea of what is the right balance between comfort and handling and each shock on the market will meet those individual requirements differently,” he says.

“So good advice might be to scan what others are saying, but a conversation with the supplier is also invaluable.

“And, an important question is will the non-OEM shocks actually make the bike better and the rider happier? If they won’t, then it’s possibly money wasted.”

Compliance issues

Modifications affecting compliance is another problem area, Steve says.

“Compliance differs depending on the market the bike was sold in, so an online forum could be generating discussion about what’s allowed, or not allowed, in another region,” he warns.

“Again, the reader needs to probe a bit more before hitting the online ordering button or tampering with their bike.”

Exhaust modsAftermarket exhaust peeves enemy resale illegal

One of the most common modifications on a bike is the exhaust muffler.

Steve says it is rare to see a standard pipe.

“Increased noise, or claims of more power, are the usual reasons given for swapping the muffler,” he says.

“Exhaust noise is subjective; some like more noise and others don’t.

“But how does a rider know if there is actually a power increase? And even if the supplier offers power charts to show the difference, is it noticeable on the road?

“One thing that will quite likely be affected though is compliance.

“Different states and transport authorities apply different noise standards and to stay legal requires the rider to do some additional checking.

It doesn’t mean a legal pipe can’t be found; it just requires extra research.”

Modifying emission controls presents a similar issue that could make your bike illegal.

“Emissions standards are also region-specific so to stay legal be cautious of relying on online forums.

“A non-compliant bike might not bother some but it can be a pain when the owner comes to selling it or it’s due for a roadworthy check.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Exhaust pipe cleaner secret formula revealed

An American inventor who has been working on a “miracle” exhaust pipe cleaner for several years has revealed his secret formula on YouTube after it was “stolen” and marketed by a rival.

Neil Stern contacted Motorbike Writer in 2015 after we published an article in which the World Patent Marketing issued a patent for his “Rid a Blue”, a quick-cleaning product designed to take the bluing out of stainless steel or chrome exhaust pipes.

It was claimed to comprise detergent oil, white diamond Polish and an “anti-oxidiser chemical”.

Neil told us he was the inventor of Rid a Blue and was working on getting it to market.

He asked if we would like to try it and we accepted.

Dodgy packExhaust pipe cleaner secret formula revealed Neil Stern

When it arrived in some dodgy looking bottles with hand-written directions and an old rag, we were immediately dubious.

It didn’t work on an old bike we had and Neil said it was probably not real chrome or stainless steel.

So he sent another dodgy package and suggested we try it on the badly oxidised pipes of our Triumph Street Scrambler.

This time the results were amazing and immediate.

With only a small application of the solution and without much rubbing it immediately removed the ugly oxidation spots.

In fact, he emphasises you have to be quick and not leave it on for long as it is “strong and fast acting”.

He said it consisted of an “activator” to shift the stain and a deactivator to stop the process. You then use a normal chrome polish such as purple to finish the job.

Neil ran in to all sorts of dramas in getting his product to market, so he gave up.

However, when he found someone selling his formula this year at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, he decided to reveal the secret formula in this crude video on YouTube.

Secret ingredients

It turns out the secret ingredients in the formula are one-third muriatic acid to two-thirds plain old polish.

Now, muriatic acid (HCL) is a form of hydrochloric acid which is poisonous and highly corrosive. It is also known as spirits of salt.

I can imagine most riders immediately recoiling at the prospect of putting corrosive salt-based acid anywhere near their pride and joy.

In fact, I never would have agreed to use it had he revealed his secret ingredients.

However, it does work.

Warning

Exhaust pipe cleaner secret formula revealed Neil Stern
Only a small amount is needed

Neil advises “be careful, it’s strong” and to only use a small amount.

It also has a strong odour and we recommend that if you are brave enough to try it on your pipes, make sure you do it in an open space.

We would also suggest you wear gloves even though we weren’t advised to and didn’t.

Also, be very careful not to get any on any other surfaces, especially paint!

We have not seen any adverse reaction in the pipes which have not oxidised again.

Exhaust pipe cleaner secret formula revealed Neil Stern
Still non-oxidised

“Never let the activator stay on long and hit it with a polish to deactivate and polish,” he says.

“Never do it on hot pipes, always cold.”

He says it can be used to clean all oxidation on stainless steel and chrome.

Neil says some chrome pipes are “plated under solution with no oxygen which is unstable”.

“When in the air and heated up, the molecules in the chrome fall apart and allow oxidation and bluing,” he says.

“What this cleaner does is force the particles together,” he said.

Neil no longer plans to market his cleaner and has now turned his attention to health care products.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

5 Best Security Gadgets for Your Motorbike

(Sponsored post on bike security for our North American readers)

Motorbikes are excellent travel options for those who cherish adventurous trips on and off the road. Moreover, it is one of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly ways to beat heavy traffic in highly populated cities. Therefore, your motorbike is an investment that you need to protect against criminals who target to take this asset away from you.

In the recent past, bike theft has been on the rise with thousands of bikes stolen in the US every year. Even though there are ways to track vehicle history to prevent buyers from buying stolen motorbikes, most of the stolen bikes are never recovered. Thieves will quickly piece out the bike and sell the parts or reassemble it on a different frame. In this article, we have compiled 5 best security gadgets to help you secure your motorbike.

Aldi motorcycle cover Aldi annual sale securityMotorcycle Cover

Thieves do not steal any motorbike; they usually spy around to identify particular models to go for. Keeping a cover on your bike hides most of the important details that the criminals could be looking for, thus making it a less attractive target. Besides, there is a time-consuming hindrance for the thief. Though the cover is a basic accessory to keep your scrambler in good condition, it also provides security benefits.

Motorcycle Anti-Theft Lock and Alarm

A bike lock is one of the most effective preventive gadgets, making the job of a thief more risky and harder. However, with the right tools and techniques can break any lock or even carried in a track but using a strong lock along with other security device or mechanism is a great way to secure your bike. Some of the recommended anti-theft lock devices include:

Fork (Steering) Lock – This makes it impossible to steer the motorbike, so the thief cannot wheel it away.

Disc Lock – A small type of motorcycle lock fitted on the brake rotor to prevent the wheel from turning.

Digital Smart Locks – It can either be the steering or the disc lock that integrates it with the alarm system. Whenever a thief tries to break the lock, it activates the alarm scaring away the thief. Some smart locks in the market like Lock8 have a Bluetooth feature, which detects when you are away from the bike and automatically activates the alarm. Additionally, the device has a motion-sensing feature that activates the alarm when it detects motion. Some even have mobile apps that will alert you when the alarm starts.

Lock theft thief stolen steal clever steal security

Kill/Stop Switch

A motorcycle kill switch disables the connection to the ignition circuit stopping the bike from starting even if the thief has keys. Not even hot-wiring will start the machine. However, some criminals know how to flip the kill switch and can easily wheel away with the bike. Hiding the kill switch is an extra step to help you prevent theft of your motorbike.

Motorcycle Chain/ Cable

Some intelligent thieves have the techniques and powerful tools to break the steering or disc lock to escape with your machine. Combining the lock with a chain or cable enhances the security of the bike, making it harder to steal. The best way to use the chain/cable lock is on the back wheel as the front can be easily removed. Additionally, it is advisable to anchor the chain on an immovable object such as a street lamppost. You may also chain through the back wheel and the bike frame.

Motorbike GPS Tracking Device

Though the above gadgets can prevent bike theft, it is never a 100% guarantee. A GPS tracking device does little to nothing in preventing your ride from being stolen. However, it is a clever investment to help you recover your scrambler in the event it is stolen. Mostly the GPS tracker is attached in a hidden part on the bike. The device transmits the live location and other details about the bike such as movement and speed to a service which you can track online from a web-based or mobile app.

Summary

Losing a valuable possession like a motorbike can be a painful experience for anyone. While the unexpected may happen to you at any time, investing in advanced bike anti-theft gadgets can save you from this pain. Other bike safety measures include removing the keys from the ignition even when you are a few metres away from the bike, locking it in your home garage and parking within your sight whenever possible.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are cruisers the best bike for mature riders?

As some mature riders begin to suffer from various aches and pains they tend to opt for cruisers to relieve the stresses on their body. 

But are cruisers with their relaxed riding position really the most comfortable bike to ride?

It really depends on what ails you.

Common ailments for mature riders are bad backs, crook knees, dodgy hips and arthritic hands.

As someone who has all these problems to varying degrees and tested all types of motorcycles over the years, I feel I am qualified to comment.

So let’s look at these separately and together.

Bad backKobbers Kruiser Klub now fr all cruisers except Harleys mature

If you have a bad back, a cruiser may not be the right bike for you.

In the relaxed riding position of a cruiser with feet-forward controls, you sit as though you are in a couch. Usually your spine is straight up and down or slightly curved.

That means any bumps from the suspension will be relayed straight up your ageing backbone.

Your legs cannot prevent any of that jolting to your back because they are out in front of you.

Depending on the handlebars, your arms also cannot take any of the stresses and strains away from your back.

All your weight is pressed in to the seat with no way to relieve that stress, so you can get a sore lower back and backside. An aftermarket backrest or luggage on the back seat may help.Kobbers Kruiser Klub now fr all cruisers except HarleysKobbers Kruiser Klub now fr all cruisers except Harleys mature

You may find a bike where your feet are in a mid-mount position is better because your body is in the shape of a coiled spring and absorbs the bumps more evenly.

You can also take some of the weight on your feet and legs.

A softer seat or a supplementary cushion such as an Airhawk may help.

Some people even find a sports bike is good because they can take some weight on their hands.

Crook kneesDaytona 675 Adventure cruisers naked sports touring Safety mature

If you are in need of a knee operation or replacement, you will find that anything with a tight knee bend in the riding position is uncomfortable.

That rules out sportsbikes.

However, bikes with a neutral riding position such as most naked bikes should be ok as you can occasionally straighten your leg to relieve the pain.2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE mature

That is more difficult when your feet are tucked up behind you.

The best bike in this situation is a cruiser where your legs are straighter.

Some people install highway bars to rest their feet, but this can be considered dangerous as your feet are away from the important gear and brake controls.

Dodgy hips2016 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic FLSCc mature

You would think that a cruiser with its relaxed position would be best for mature people suffering from hip problems.

However, most low-riding cruisers have wide fuel tanks which means you sit with your hips splayed around the tank.

This affects the hip flexor muscles and can cause a pinching sensation.

You are best to find a bike with a narrow tank so you can get your legs closer together.

Arthritic handsFingers wrapped around the throttle frail

Arthritis in the hands can be very painful on long trips without cruise control. You can also buy a palm rest so you don’t have to curl your fingers around the throttle.

Being able to relieve the pressure on your hands also means finding a bike where the bars are not too low or far away.

You will probably also need a fairly thick bar grip so your hands aren’t curled too much.

You can buy wider and softer grips such as Grip Puppies to alleviate some of the pain from the jackhammer effect of the front forks over rough surfaces.

Mature conclusion

If you are becoming a mature rider with one or more of these problems, you are going to have to think hard about what you need to remain comfortable on a longer ride.

That’s why it’s important to go for as long test ride, not just around the block. That’s if the dealer offers you a test ride at all!

A short sit on a motorcycle in a showroom (if they let you!) also won’t provide any answers. You would have to sit there for a couple of hours and the bike would need to be vertical, not on its side stand.

We suggest trying a few bikes, maybe try your friends’ bikes, and don’t just opt for a cruiser because it looks comfortable!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How to squeeze out more fuel economy

Most motorcyclists are not too concerned about fuel economy, but there may be times when you need to ride more economically just to make it to the next service station.

A few years ago, we miscalculated fuel economy on a Harley-Davidson ride to the Iron Run rally in Queenstown, New Zealand.

The low-fuel lights flashed on the bike Heavy Duty editor Neale Brumby was riding as well as mine while we were in the remote forest section on the west coast of the South Island.

We had no idea how far it was to the next service station, so we went into fuel conservation mode.

It was actually fun, if dangerous, as we switched off the bikes for downhill runs, kept corner speeds high and took turns at closely draughting each other.

In fact, we strongly advise you to never switch off your engine while moving!

Some bikes have servo-assisted brakes that require power to operate. It could also cause a rear-wheel lock-up when you switch back on and re-engage the drive.

You will also lose the use of crucial safety features such as brake lights and indicators.

Fuel economy tipsTriumph Bonneville fuel economy rules service station fuel economy

There are much safer ways of conserving fuel if you are ever in the same situation, something more likely in remote areas of Australia’s outback.

Momentum and aerodynamics are the most effective ways of reducing fuel consumption.

Acceleration chews fuel, so you need to keep the momentum going and avoid heavy braking.

That means smooth and light acceleration before you reach the bottom of a hill so that you don’t loose too much speed and need to accelerate hard to get up the next hill.

Keep that momentum going and your speed fairly stable.

Aero hurdle

One of the biggest hurdles to motorcycle fuel economy is the aerodynamics of the machine and rider.

Even aero-dynamically designed motorcycles like the Suzuki Hayabusa are not very aerodynamic when a rider sits on them.

So it is important that the rider crouches down over the tank to decrease their wind resistance.

Check the official fuel economy figures for your motorcycle. Some companies actually list them for various speeds. That’s because they can vary substantially with speed.

Most motorcycles will have optimum fuel consumption figures around 80km/h, thanks to the aerodynamics of a motorcycle, so stay around that speed.

Otherwise, if you are riding in remote areas of Australia, it is a good idea to carry a 5-litre jerry can of fuel.

Even if you know there is a service station 300km down the road, it may not be open, it may be out of fuel, or, as I once found, the electricity is out and they can’t pump the fuel!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Does premium fuel give bikes a boost?

Using a premium fuel with a higher octane than specified by the motorcycle manufacturer will not improve engine power or economy, RACQ technical officer Steve Spalding advises.

He says the energy content of fuel is the same no matter what octane rating it has.

“We see a lot of claims made about using premium fuels over standard and often motorists/riders believe they get a benefit from their use,” he says.

“The reality is by using a fuel with a higher octane than specified, there is only an economic or performance benefit if the engine management system can utilise the higher octane. Some will and others won’t.”

The anecdotal evidence of riders saying they get more power and higher range from a higher octane than their bike needs may simply be justifying to themselves the extra expense of PULP, Steve suggests.

Steve Spalding DIY bike maintenance Easter safety message duty easter pulp ulp premium
Steve Spalding

Premium advantages

However, there are other advantages to using a PULP fuel over ULP.

“Some premium fuels such as Caltex and BP advertise they have additional cleaning additive packages that can offset the need to periodically buy fuel cleaners,” Steve says.

However, riders would have to work out if it is cheaper to pay the extra price for PULP over ULP rather than buying the occasional cleaner additive.

It may have been an economically wise decision about a decade ago, but the price differential between ULP and PUP has crept up and is now about 12-14c a litre.

“Fuel makers have worked out that people will buy it, not often on an evidence-based reason,” Steve says.

Steve says fuel companies and retailers make the most profit from the sale price of PULP.Fuel petrol servo service station helmet pulp ulp premium

Steve also points out that while ULP also has cleaning additives, it just doesn’t have the additional cleaners in some of the higher octane fuels.

However, it is certainly more convenient to have the cleaner additives in the fuel than having to periodically buy and add the fluid separately.

Steve also says PULP has lower levels of sulphur.

“While these are beneficial in reducing the build-up of engine internal deposits, they won’t make the bike travel further for each litre of fuel purchased,” he says.

“The best advice is to use the fuel specified for the bike.”

Low octane risksDirty fuel premium

Most modern motorcycles recommend a minimum of 95 or 98 RON.

If you fill up with a lower octane rating you run the risk of harmful engine detonation and pinging, Steve warns.

Also the higher sulphur content in RULP can damage catalytic converters and prevent them from working properly.

Some motorcycles have knock sensors that sense detonation or pinging and alter the ignition timing to effetely down-tune the engine.

Knock sensors are a preservation measure in case you are stuck at a remote service station that doesn’t have premium fuel.

Lastly, with E10 being common in services stations, ensure your bike is compatible with it before using, older carburettor models shouldn’t use an ethanol-based fuel.

Click here for more advice on using ethanol fuel in motorcycles.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com