Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
372 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was looking around for info on other bikes that I'm looking at and I decided to look up my current bike and noticed that there is hardly any information for the VN900B.

http://www.fuelly.com/motorcycle/kawasaki/vulcan 900 classic

Only:
3 submissions for the Classic
14 for Custom
9 for Classic LT


That's kind of sad, you guys should submit info so there is more info on the classic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Won't be riding again for a few days due to weather rolling through, but I'll start doing that! My averages are usually mid 50's.

The thing about motorcycle fuel economy though, it's SO independent. Motorcycle are affected by so many variables at some amplified levels compared to cars. For example, in a 4-door sedan, your gas mileage is gonna be the same whether you weight 95 pounds, or way 295 pounds. I've talked to guys who own 900's who barely break 40mpg, I myself get closer to 60, I once talked to a guy who had a tank average 74mpg!! It really depends on you, your riding style, and what you've got on your bike.

What I've learned about the fuel economy on the 900:

Speed is a big factor. The way the 900 is geared, it seems to be geared for 60mph in 5th gear is it's 'sweet spot', so speeds over that are revving ABOVE the 'sweet spot', not to the point of over-revving or anything like that, but it does start to run a little quicker than a lazy thump. The most efficient the bike runs is probably in the 40~55mph range (which is the way most cars are actually- there have been a lot of lab test of fuel use and the vast majority of vehicles had the best fuel mileage running around 40mph, wind resistance is a big deal) It starts to get ALOT worse about 65mph. For example, I rode a 4 hour trip down to southwest, MO a while back, 2 up, averaging about 50~52mpg running 65mph the whole way. On the way back, it got ALOT colder than predicted, and I was getting COLD. I ran it at about 75 on the way home, sometimes closer to 80, when I got gas halfway I was only averaging 39mpg. Makes a BIG difference! So if you are wanting to save gas, take the 55mph state highways, or run 65 on the interstate where it's safe to do so (Sometimes it's not in those big city areas, you'll get run over...)

I lose a couple miles per gallon when I have the windshield and lowers on, it's a lot more wind resistance. But, even in the summer I ride with them. I don't like the pressure on my chest and it makes my riding jacket ride up, I don't mind the extra gallon of gas per week or whatever. Two up cuts into it too but my passenger doesn't weight much at all, I think it has more to do with the fact that she sits up above me a little, again, adding to the drag. Talk to sportbike guys, those Ninja 250's are known to get 100mpg when the riders go easy on them and tuck in, wind resistance is everything!

acceleration makes a big difference too. Seems like once that engine hits 4k RPM's or so it starts to suck that gas hard. Shifting early and accelerating slowly (where practical and safe) seem to bump it up closer to 60. I usually get right at 62 commuting 1 up on a 55mph road that's a little hilly, but not bad. I shift early, accelerate probably just as fast as I do in my car but not any faster (unless there are cars behind me), and don't go above 55. Last summer I ran it without the windshield (I didn't have the lowers yet and the buffeting was killing me) and had a couple tanks averaging 65.

Finally, the biggest thing I learned about motorcycle fuel economy on my new bike: It doesn't matter! haha!

Okay, sort of kidding, but I have to admit, when I first bought the bike my thoughts were "Oh great, good gas mileage, I can save some money on my commute". While that's true, once I throw my leg over it, fuel economy is the last thing on my mind. I ride easy and sensibly because that's safer and that's what I prefer anyway, BUT, I gotta tell ya, once I fire her up, I could care less if she was getting 12mpg. Originally I was steered away from a bigger bike because of fuel mileage, but I'm starting to think that doesn't matter to me anymore. (Although I still don't think I'll go with a bigger bike, m '9 has yet to feel small to me! It's nimble and handles everything I throw at it, of course, I'm content to glide along at 65 so, I'm easier to please than most)

-John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
696 Posts
acceleration makes a big difference too. Seems like once that engine hits 4k RPM's or so it starts to suck that gas hard. Shifting early and accelerating slowly (where practical and safe) seem to bump it up closer to 60. I usually get right at 62 commuting 1 up on a 55mph road that's a little hilly, but not bad. I shift early, accelerate probably just as fast as I do in my car but not any faster (unless there are cars behind me), and don't go above 55. Last summer I ran it without the windshield (I didn't have the lowers yet and the buffeting was killing me) and had a couple tanks averaging 65.

Finally, the biggest thing I learned about motorcycle fuel economy on my new bike: It doesn't matter! haha!

-John
I agree with most everything John says, but particularly this part. I have the scootworks rear pulley and a 200 rear tire and *still* get same effect when the tach hits and passes 4k. It really starts sucking the gas at 4k.

The only thing I can't verify is the mpg at 65mph. I'm incapable of restraining myself to that speed. :eek:

ride safe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
I signed up for fuelly. I think its an interesting concept. I am going to use it for my truck and the bike. Once this stretch of weather passes I will get out on the bike and start logging some miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,131 Posts
It's really hard to say what kind of gas mileage a bike gets because too many different things affect fuel economy. Most of them have been mentioned here. I'd like to add that your tire pressures can either improve or decrease you gas mileage. One of the biggest mistakes a lot folks make is lugging the engine. Going too slow in too high a gear makes the engine work too hard and causes it to burn more fuel. I know a lot of cruiser riders like to short shift so as to get the best auditory experience from the pipes, but it kills the mpg's.

I also ride a GL1800 Gold Wing, and in the mountains I actually get great gas mileage. There is a 38 mile piece of Hwy 21, north of Boise that goes up to 6100 feet in two different places, and a lot lower than that in many others. It is a tight, twisty road. i normally run that 38 miles in 2d and 3d gears, and I routinely get41--44 mpg! I get less if I do it in higher gears. Keep the engine in its power curve and it'll be happy. I haven't had a chance to do a lot of riding on my 900 Classic, but, with a windshield, lowers and engine guard chaps, I get at least 50--52 mpg on the highway. We tend to keep to the 2-lanes, anyway. In town I get about 45 mpg. When the weather warms up, I suspect the fuel economy will improve. But as it was earlier posted, it's not all about economy, anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
372 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
of course all that plays a factor.... but with enough data others can see the range that the bikes get. That's the whole point behind the feully site. get enough data so that people can make an informed decision or at least know what a product is capable of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
It's really hard to say what kind of gas mileage a bike gets because too many different things affect fuel economy. Most of them have been mentioned here. I'd like to add that your tire pressures can either improve or decrease you gas mileage. One of the biggest mistakes a lot folks make is lugging the engine. Going too slow in too high a gear makes the engine work too hard and causes it to burn more fuel. I know a lot of cruiser riders like to short shift so as to get the best auditory experience from the pipes, but it kills the mpg's.

I also ride a GL1800 Gold Wing, and in the mountains I actually get great gas mileage. There is a 38 mile piece of Hwy 21, north of Boise that goes up to 6100 feet in two different places, and a lot lower than that in many others. It is a tight, twisty road. i normally run that 38 miles in 2d and 3d gears, and I routinely get41--44 mpg! I get less if I do it in higher gears. Keep the engine in its power curve and it'll be happy. I haven't had a chance to do a lot of riding on my 900 Classic, but, with a windshield, lowers and engine guard chaps, I get at least 50--52 mpg on the highway. We tend to keep to the 2-lanes, anyway. In town I get about 45 mpg. When the weather warms up, I suspect the fuel economy will improve. But as it was earlier posted, it's not all about economy, anyway.

I think you are right there. I tend to not RUN in 5th gear until 50~55 mph, and shift every 10mph, starting at 20mph, so it looks like this

1 -0-20
2 -20-30
3 -30-40
4 -40-50
5 -50+

Doing it like this seems to give it enough power that I don't lug it but run low enough it's efficient. I have stock pipes so honestly you don't hear much anyway. I don't know if that's the best pattern to shift at either but it works for me and keeps me in the 60's
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
I've had mine for 7 months now, and averaging 52-54mpg. Only engine mods have been a complete debaffle & K&N filter (stock airbox). I tend to shift much like above 1 gear every 10mph. Plenty of power and torque.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,159 Posts
I track mine in Excel. I've averaged right at 44MPG in 5500 miles on the bike with a range of 41-51MPG. I have a batwing fairing and Cobra Slashdown exhaust and run 36/40psi front/rear on the stock Dunlops. Most of my riding is solo back and forth to work at 60-70mph. I also got my best single tank mileage riding at higher elevations.

After adding new exhaust at 3500 miles, the average mileage dropped for a while, then recovered and is almost at its highest (all of this is current as of September 4th, when I filled it up for the last time). Looking at other people's numbers I'm not sure if I ride that much harder or if the fairing affects mileage that much. I'll be replacing the tires in April so I'm interested in seeing how/if the mileage changes then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
I live in Tn. and my buddies and I will sometimes take an all day round trip up arround the smokies and ride the Dragons Tail (aprox. 300 miles r/t) and I buy fuel with no ethanoyl every time we can, and my 08 900 class. Lt.,and I will aveg. 58 to 62 mpg. I have RoadHouse pipes, and a PC 3 on my bike...Ride Safe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Im almost 330lbs which is like riding two up lol I ride daily year around and w non ethanol I average about 45-50 with ethanol I average 40-45. I've put 28,000 miles on mine in just the last seven months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
382 Posts
I consistently get between 47 - 52 mpg. I often jump on the freeway and those numbers don't seem to change no matter how I ride.
My average is in that range... I have saddle bags, and hit the scales at probably 150 with helmet, jacket, and steel toe boots.

At 70mph (indicated... supposedly reasonably accurate with the scootworks pulley) it's turning 4000rpm. Of course, stock pulleys will indicate the same. But actual speed would be lower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
450 Posts
I average 37-38 mpg with an average speed of around 73 I'd say doing a daily round trip of 50 miles on the ca freeway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
I track mine in Excel. I've averaged right at 44MPG in 5500 miles on the bike with a range of 41-51MPG. I have a batwing fairing and Cobra Slashdown exhaust and run 36/40psi front/rear on the stock Dunlops. Most of my riding is solo back and forth to work at 60-70mph. I also got my best single tank mileage riding at higher elevations.

After adding new exhaust at 3500 miles, the average mileage dropped for a while, then recovered and is almost at its highest (all of this is current as of September 4th, when I filled it up for the last time). Looking at other people's numbers I'm not sure if I ride that much harder or if the fairing affects mileage that much. I'll be replacing the tires in April so I'm interested in seeing how/if the mileage changes then.
I'm also running the stop dunlops, 40/40psi, and I average in the high 40's when two up touring on the interstate. Otherwise, mid 50's, and sometimes even over 60mpg. My best tank was around 60 (I have it written down in excel also but not at this machine), with the windshield off. Haven't gotten that high with the windshield on yet. If I ride two up at 65mph it's about 45mpg. Most of my commuting, however, is down a small two lane state highway doing 55mph the whole time, and it's fairly flat, usually low to mid 50's

The wind resistance from the windshield drops my MPG, so I bet your fairing does too. I think 44mpg on the interstate sounds about right. Most people think cars get the best gas mileage on the interstate because 70mpg is an efficient speed, but, of course it has more to do with the CONSTANT speed. A hypermiling team recently got a Ford F-150 over 40mpg, by doing 40mph on the highway (stock truck). I think our bikes are even more affected by the wind drag at higher speeds (and higher revs at higher speeds) simply because of the power. Guy I know has a Hummer, and he gets around 11mpg, in town, on the highway, at 55mph, at 75mph, it doesn't matter. That thing has all the reserve power in the world, so the added wind resistance doesn't change much. Vulcan 900's are a wee smaller than Hummers though :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
I average 37-38 mpg with an average speed of around 73 I'd say doing a daily round trip of 50 miles on the ca freeway.
I guess you have a California model? I was wondering if the CA models are particularly worse in fuel economy. My worst tank EVER was 40mpg even, doing 80mph on the interstate trying to beat out a rainstorm and get home. Two up, with loaded down saddlebags.

I know the CA regulations are trying to reduce emissions but, I wonder if the poorer fuel economy makes up for the reduced emissions? In other words, by the time you've gone 1,000 miles and I've gone 1,000 miles, who polluted more?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,074 Posts
First fill up on my 2009 Vulcan 900 Classic resulted in 58 mpg : ) I had 146 miles on the odometer and it took 2.5 gallons to fill it back up. I am very pleased. The best I ever got on my Vulcan 500 was 55 mpg.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top