How far can a motorcycle go on a tank of gas?

This question is one of the most common questions that hits a motorcyclist’s head. As a rider, you would always plan up the refueling station during a journey. And to draw an estimation you must know the fuel holding capacity and fuel efficiency of your motorcycle.


With the varying fuel tank capacity, the distance you can travel with a full tank varies. However, an average motorcycle can cover 150 miles to 230 miles. While, higher grade or better-ranged motorcycles are expected to provide better mileage, approximately 300 miles to 400 miles. And motorcycle of lower than the average grade is much obviously expected to travel fewer miles, say around 100 to 120 miles in a full gas tank. 


However, apart from the tank size, there are several other factors that affect the fuel consumption and mileage range. The factors include motorcycle type, the newness of the motorcycle, engine size, riding style, environmental conditions, roads, etc. 

The influence of these factors on fuel consumption has been elaborated on below. 


What are the factors that affect the fuel consumption of a motorcycle?

The factors are as follows:


Tank Size, 

It is a very obvious factor. For, larger is the size of the tank more is the fuel carrying capacity and so is the ability to cover the distance. The tank sizes of the motorcycles vary greatly. 


The size of the gas tank extremely varies from one to three gallons in the case of a 50 cc motorcycle to 7.5 to 8 gallons for 6500 cc to 7500 cc motorcycles. The powerful bikes that range from 300 cc to 400 cc usually are provided with a tank size of 3 to 5 gallons. 


The general daily commute motorcycles generally have a tank of the size of 2 - 3.5 gallons. 


The little heavier motorcycle, says the sports bikes fave a fuel tank of capacity of 3 - 6 gallons, while higher cc ones in this category have a little bigger tank capacity. 


So, as per the purpose, the fuel tanks are designed. The heavier motorcycles with engines like 1000 - 2000 cc are provided 7 - 8.5 gallons of fuel capacity tank. 


Thus, tank size is greatly dynamic and varies from motorcycle to motorcycle. So based on the type of motorcycle you buy as per your purpose it is to suit the best of your need. 


Size of the Engine,

The larger size of the engine is supposed to consume more fuel. Alike the tank size the engine size is also made keeping the purpose of the bike in mind. 

A higher engine size motorcycle comes with bigger gas tanks and to compensate for the use up more gas. 


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Riding habits,

The riding habit plays a role in fuel efficiency. It is proven that aggressive riding causes more fuel usage than cruising. 

However, if your choose any sports bike or adventure motorcycle for aggressive riding it might not affect the fuel utility but cruiser are meant for maintaining a speed when riding and thus cruising helps inefficient consumption of gas. But riding at high speed in a cruiser can grade up your fuel consumption. 


So, choosing the right motorcycle as per your purpose is much important. 


The newness of the motorcycle,

The newer motorcycle with all the upgraded technology is made to ensure maximum fuel efficiency. The older generation ones with no fuel injection and with gravity fuel supply systems are often capable of providing fewer miles per tank of gas. 


Also, motorcycle with age tends to consume more because the parts often become worn. 

Dirty carburated, under-inflated tires, worn out parts, clogged fuel filter also plays a certain role in fuel efficiency. However, well-maintenance can save up this bit and enhance efficiency. 


Environmental Conditions,

Cold weather is not very suitable for rides because the engine tends to cool faster and takes a struggle to start. And thus results in more fuel consumption than usual. This cold factor works more vividly in trucks and cars. 


Related read, Why Won’t My Motorcycle Start In The Cold?


Road condition also plays a vital role in fuel range per mile. Smooth roads enhance their fuel efficiency whereas rough roads cease it down. 


How to increase the fuel efficiency of your motorcycle?

Every motorcycle rides irrespective of their motorcycling purpose and their motorcycle type would unite under the hed of improved enhanced and better mileage. Here are a few ways by which you can keep your motorcycle fuel-efficient. 


  • Keep your motorcycle well maintained. Clean it regularly and service it at regular intervals. 
  • Reduce the pressure on the throttle. Fast riding and more throttle can deduct your fuel efficiency. 
  • Use proper graded engine oil. Though it costs little more than the regular ones it functions to improve the function and increases fuel efficiency. 
  • When going for rides avoids very loads. Pack minimal amount of luggage. 
  • Choose your motorcycle as per your purpose and abide by the riding instructions. 
  • Avoid practicing stunts on the motorcycle which are not meant for it. 


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How long can a motorcycle go on reserve?

A motorcycle fuel tank is divided into two levels. The warning systems arise with the fuel consumption from the reserved segment. 

When fueling a motorcycle tank, this part is filled up first and then the second half. Utility from this level is marked by an indicator to remind you of refilling your fuel tank. 


A reserve tank generally stores 0.30 gallons to 1.0 gallons of fuel in it, which is estimated to go for ten to fifty miles in an average motorcycle. The exact mile per gallon ratio is difficult to be estimated as factors the tank size, motorcycle type and condition, weather, etc are dependent. 


How to increase mileage when a motorcycle runs in reserve?

In such a state the main goal should always be to refill than to strategize where to fill from. Get asap to your nearest refilling center and refuel your motorcycle tank. 

However, to restrict the maximum use of the available fuel, follow the following steps:


  • Avoid multiple stops and takes straight roads, 
  • Try to ride at an average speed that is economical and fuel conserving, 
  • Do not overburden the motorcycle,
  • Try to avoid traffic jams, 
  • Do not ride aggressively. 


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Is it bad to run a motorcycle on reserve?

It is one of the functionalities provide so you can not really claim it to be bad, be YES, there are some ill effects of running your motorcycle on reserve. 

The ill effects include an accumulation of specks of dust and debris and small stone particles in the lower or bottom level of the gas tank. This in turn can clog the fuel pipes and cause trouble after a certain time. 


This should not be neglected as if you once forget that you were running of reserve and forget to refill, you would be in trouble and can be standing amid some troublesome situation during the next ride. 


People living in cold areas should completely avoid running motorcycles on reserve as in colder areas for fuel is consumed during the starting of the motorcycle as well as when it is running. So it tends to be much riskier and thus recommendable to avoid running their motorcycle on reserve. 



A motorcycle is expected to go as far as it is designed to by the manufacturer, depending upon the size of the tank and considering a few common factors. 


A helpful tip here would be to always track your fuel meter and not to wait for complete exhaustion. This would not only save you from misery but also be economical and keep your fuel efficiency maintained. 


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