TIPS to get the best fuel economy MPG from the NC?

MalcolmReynolds

Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
237
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
Serenity
Visit site
One of the things that attracted me to the NC is the legendary fuel economy these bikes are capable of getting. However like learning to hypermile other vehicles I am sure there are techniques that will help net the best fuel economy.

So what are your fuel economy tips to help get the best MPG numbers from this bike? Where is the sweet spot for shifting, speeds that will net the best economy? Pro's or cons of down shifting vs just coasting up to stops etc. Tire pressures? Any additional ideas that you can think of that help turn the best numbers would be awesome.
 

670cc

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Mods
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
8,167
Reaction score
1,217
Points
113
Location
USA
Visit site
My best tank was 94.5 mpg over 293 miles, riding the Blue Ridge Parkway. On another occasion I had done 300 miles on a single tank. Getting over 80 mpg going slow on my rustic local farm roads is common.

All I can say is, use the least throttle, lowest speed, highest gear and lowest RPM you can get by with for the conditions you are in. Don't use the brakes any more than necessary. Maintaining 45 mph in 6th gear seems to be the sweet spot for MPG.

Side bags can knock off as much as 5 mpg. Small top boxes are not a problem. Windshields can actually help if they provide less drag that an upright human torso.

If this all doesn't sound like much fun, then you run it a harder and accept that there will be more fuel usage.
 
Last edited:

netizen

Active Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2012
Messages
1,468
Reaction score
3
Points
38
Location
Wake Forest, NC
nc700-forum.com
One of the things that attracted me to the NC is the legendary fuel economy these bikes are capable of getting. However like learning to hypermile other vehicles I am sure there are techniques that will help net the best fuel economy.

So what are your fuel economy tips to help get the best MPG numbers from this bike? Where is the sweet spot for shifting, speeds that will net the best economy? Pro's or cons of down shifting vs just coasting up to stops etc. Tire pressures? Any additional ideas that you can think of that help turn the best numbers would be awesome.

Shift at as low RPM as you can without causing the bike to lurch or bog down. Speeds to shift at depend on if your going up or downhill, into a wind or with a wind... figure out the most economical point to shift when the engine is working the least... if you shift and the bike is struggling to accelerate you shifted too soon. You want that sweet spot where you shift and it is just enough for the bike to continue to accelerate to your desired speed with the least resistance or RPM. I would never use the engine to slow down if going for fuel economy.. just pull in the clutch and coast. Using the engine to slow you down will also tend to stretch your chain. Tire pressure is usually best on the high side as the tire will roll with less resistance. You can put the bike up on the center stand and spin the wheel to see if it is spinning freely, if not investigate what is causing it to drag.

I got 82 mpg once riding back roads when I kept getting caught behind vehicles going 40-45 mph. I was not trying for fuel milage and was somewhat frustrated but was pleasantly surprised when I stopped and filled up later in the day. I keep side cases and top box on the bike at all times and run the Honda tall touring screen with a Wunderlich wind deflector at the top, so I am not very aerodynamic.

Slow gradual throttle movement.... then steady 40-45 mph speed with as few stops as possible on a windless day possibly decreasing altitudes as you ride for added assistance.
 
Last edited:

anglachel

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
881
Reaction score
6
Points
18
Location
MN
Visit site
Fuel economy is about eliminating resistance.

Luckily there are only three types we really need to be concerned with.
Resistance internal to the bike, the resistance from rolling across the ground, and resistance from the wind. There is also some variability based on the weight of the bike, but that matters most during acceleration, and all acceleration is fuel intensive, so it's best just not to accelerate any more than necessary once you get to speed.

The bikes internal resistance is best dealt with via oil, checking tire pressure, and standard maintenance.
The ground resistance varies by the surface you are riding on... if it is roads, it's pretty constant.
Wind resistance varies exponentially with speed, but is also impacted by rider position, smoothness of the surface area of the rider and bike, and air density.

Wind resistance is the hard one to control. Cutting speed helps, 45mph has been suggested above and mirrors my experience.
Leaning down over the tank to hide the majority of your body's surface area behind the tiny stock windscreen helps.
Luggage, and passengers can actually help if they makes thing more streamlined than usual.
Drafting it an option, but far more dangerous than I'm willing to commit to.

Fun experiment on a flat open stretch of road, hold the throttle in the same position maintaining speed (around 50 mph is good) then slowly without changing the throttle position lean down over the frunk, and watch the speedometer, with no more throttle your speed will tick up, because there is less drag on the bike from your body against the air, same amount of power makes you go faster because of the decreased resistance.

I mentioned air density too... best mileage I've gotten in my car was in utah, driving on backroads all day up and down rolling hills... rolling hills normally kill my gas mileage, but the air was thin enough at altitude that it was my best tank ever (slower speed on the backroads helped). If you check the forums you'll find people saying the same thing about their NCs (I've never been able to get mine into real mountains... yet.)


Best gas mileage would probably be doing 30-45 mph on a long straight flat section of road at altitude (low air pressure) maybe drafting a large truck, hunched over the bike to present the lowest possible wind profile. That is to say, it'd be absolutely no fun at all. ;)
 
D

Deleted member 5383

A lighter-than-air contingent of balloons sometimes help, provided you don't negatively impact your traction.
 

HarveyM

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2016
Messages
542
Reaction score
58
Points
28
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
Visit site
I worked out Fuelly has the NC700x at 65 mpg average for 430 bikes. So that would be your baseline. My caution would be while getting great gas mileage gives you bragging rights, if you're not moving with the traffic (I feel) you're increasing your risk of getting hit.
 

b_rubenstein

New Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
325
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
Melbourne FL
Visit site
The dominant factor is drag, because it is nonlinear and goes up at the square of the speed. (Overcoming drag and wind resistance takes HP; Mass, aka weight, is not a factor at steady speed.) The best way to get good gas mileage is to build a fairing that covers the bike and rider, or go slow. Acceleration requires a force (engine torque). From F=MA, in the form A=F/M, the more mass, the more force needed for the same acceleration. Going up a hill is also an acceleration. So, don't accelerate hard, or maintain constant velocity going up a hill. A lighter than air balloon is worse than useless, since they only add drag. Mechanical frictional losses are second order. Lower RPM will lower engine frictional losses.
 

dduelin

Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
4,368
Reaction score
506
Points
113
Location
North FL USA
Visit site
Good replies already above. My best mpg (94.5) has always been under 50 mph and on a route that eliminated any stops. If there was a stop I'd clutch in and coast to a stop. Accelerate gently with just part throttle and shift around 3000 rpm through 5th to cruising speed and select 6th, no acceleration in 6th. Also I used non-ethanol gas for best mpg.

What I've always thought is amazing about this engine is that it doesn't seem to matter too much about how hard I twist the throttle as long as I keep top speeds under 50. In context I might be riding hard in the mountains where the speeds are maybe between 20 and 50 mph. I can ride hard and use a lot of throttle and still get 70+ mpg. In the end it's aerodynamic drag that hurts mpg the most. Keep speeds low and mpg will be high.
 

stormrunner001

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2016
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Tulsa, OK
Visit site
If you have it available, pure gas makes about a 5 MPG difference.

If you are looking for the worst fuel economy possible, ride 80 MPH into a 30 MPH headwind with your motorcycle loaded for a week long trip. Getting below 50 MPG is easy like that.
 

kpinvt

Site Supporter
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Messages
1,505
Reaction score
33
Points
48
Location
Mighty Peculiar, BRRRRRRRRRRRRmont.
Visit site
Good replies already above. My best mpg (94.5) has always been under 50 mph and on a route that eliminated any stops. If there was a stop I'd clutch in and coast to a stop. Accelerate gently with just part throttle and shift around 3000 rpm through 5th to cruising speed and select 6th, no acceleration in 6th. Also I used non-ethanol gas for best mpg.

What I've always thought is amazing about this engine is that it doesn't seem to matter too much about how hard I twist the throttle as long as I keep top speeds under 50. In context I might be riding hard in the mountains where the speeds are maybe between 20 and 50 mph. I can ride hard and use a lot of throttle and still get 70+ mpg. In the end it's aerodynamic drag that hurts mpg the most. Keep speeds low and mpg will be high.

My average is about 62 MPG but that's because I usually ride with Givi E21 saddle bags and/or a top case. Last summer I hit 72 MPG with no bags on the bike (not recorded on Fuely) during a day of flogging the throttle and having a lot of fun in the twisties but not going faster than 55 MPH.
 
D

Deleted member 5383

With the stock windscreen one can get some pretty good fuel economy staying below 60, 65mph -- even 70. Shortshifting in tune with the torque feel is key, rather than using higher PRM than needed. Add a little more frontage in windscreen/fairing type items including pannier cases may hinder. Depends on conditions and designs I suppose. But it's still going to be pretty good unless you have a real big aerodynamic profile. Tire weight and tread design play into it too.

Where the NC fuel economy shines is over the long term, IMO, where faster running and headwinds and long steep grades are averaged in with some of the above factors.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Wildfire

New Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
207
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
La Ronge, Saskatchewan, Canada
Visit site
Does anyone here use any kind of fuel efficiency gauge? I have thought of getting a MPGuino as they look like they could be adapted to work with a motorcycle. I brought it up a while ago on the ecomodder forum but nobody there seemed to have done it yet.

It would be nice to have instant and average fuel efficiency data available to see what difference various mods make.

Using the tank fill method of measurement, I went from ~3.2 L/100 km to 3.8 L/100 km after adding crash bars, madstead windshield, heated grips, aux lights, knobby tires, a rear rack, and have probably increased my average speed a tad. I am OK with the loss of efficiency as the fuel savings still pay for my rego/insurance, but it would be nice to be able to tell which mod had what effect with some ABA testing that didn't take a whole tank.
 

anglachel

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
881
Reaction score
6
Points
18
Location
MN
Visit site
Does anyone here use any kind of fuel efficiency gauge? I have thought of getting a MPGuino as they look like they could be adapted to work with a motorcycle. I brought it up a while ago on the ecomodder forum but nobody there seemed to have done it yet.

It would be nice to have instant and average fuel efficiency data available to see what difference various mods make.

Using the tank fill method of measurement, I went from ~3.2 L/100 km to 3.8 L/100 km after adding crash bars, madstead windshield, heated grips, aux lights, knobby tires, a rear rack, and have probably increased my average speed a tad. I am OK with the loss of efficiency as the fuel savings still pay for my rego/insurance, but it would be nice to be able to tell which mod had what effect with some ABA testing that didn't take a whole tank.

I'd never even heard of MPGuino until just now... looks neat (though probably not enough for me to cut into the wiring harness on my NC).

Also looks like there are some left over inputs... Seems like a reasonable hack to drop the tach signal into the arduino as well and have a calculated gear indicator as well (commercial products for that exist).
 

turbodieseli4i6

Senior Member
Elite Member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 14, 2012
Messages
2,784
Reaction score
4
Points
38
Location
Missouri
Visit site
Try this and see if you get better mileage. Fill the up and take a ride. Do your best to not let your rpm's get above 4,000 on the ride.
Then fill up and do it again with 3,500 rpm as your max.
Next make 3,000 rpm as your limit. I bet you'll start getting some impressive numbers.
I just rode 60 miles with a 3,000 rpm limit and it took a lot of self control not to open it up.
If you set limits, its not so bad because you can enjoy the scenery along the way.
 

CDA441

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2017
Messages
84
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
Belgium
Visit site
Wouldn't increasing the front sprocket size, or decreasing the rear sprocket size also lower RPM, lowering the rpm's down the range and increasing top speed?
I did this to my previous bike and got a little more MPG out of it.
 

Old Can Ride

Active Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
6,854
Reaction score
22
Points
38
Location
Webster, Texas
Visit site
Over the years I have only found one thing that has increased my fuel economy. That this is - lose weight - either on the bike or on my body........................................
 
Top