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FEATURE: Top five tips for improving your motorcycle's mpg and fuel efficiency

Follow our tips to save at the pumps
Follow our tips to save at the pumps
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by Damien Sharkov

Suggesting motorbikes are cheaper to run than cars is kind of like saying that commuting to work on horseback is faster than taking the bus.

It might be true, if you planned your journey and took good care of the horse. Just like a trusty steed, your bike could come to the rescue of your schedule and your wallet, if you follow a few words of wisdom from industry specialists.

If you want to save money and stay on two wheels, follow our Five tips for Fuel Efficiency:

1. Drive gently

Not only will steady steering and braking decrease your chances of suffering an accident, it will also maximise your mileage to the gallon.

Observe your commute and set yourself a challenge every time you change speed to keep the transition as smooth as possible. Aggressive driving is your enemy, so keep calm and save your cash.

And remember that wind resistance is proportional to speed squared. It is worth keeping in mind that a speed of 70mph will have almost double the resistance of 50mph.

2. Gear up for the wind

The average rider should not be surprised to find out that every nook and cranny on a bike affects its overall running efficiency.

Any accessories on your bike weigh it down and increase resistance when you are travelling. Take down any unnecessary knick knacks and reconsider your own wardrobe.

A full face helmet is the most aerodynamic and thankfully the safest option for your head, say the experts at Metropolis training.

There is plenty of riding attire on the market that is meant to increase performance, safety and keep you warm in the coming months. "Wearing non-flappy clothing and using luggage only when necessary will improve your fuel efficiency," advises the Energy Saving Trust.

3. Plan your trip smartly

It goes without saying to plan ahead, when you set out on the road, but do not forget to take terrain into account.

Take motorways as often as possible. They are smooth, even and straight so your fuel consumption will be easiest to gauge with regard to distance travelled and you will find it easier on your handling.

You will also avoid gridlock traffic - a fuel killer even for bikes and you will get where you are going faster as a constant speed, which will allow you to keep your body close to the bike, minimising wind resistance.

4. Maintenance

Regular upkeep is not just for when you want to play MotoGP mechanic. A simple cleaning of your ride of choice will prevent build up and decrease the amount of fuel burnt unnecessarily.

Expect an increase in engine responsiveness and a smoother running. Once again this will add to your chances of staying safe when riding and it will save you more than a few shillings.

5. Upgrade your ride

Love your two wheeler as you might, you have to be unscrupulous when assessing its performance. An unhealthy affection for its original set up or even the whole bike itself could cost you.

It might be you have different needs now than five years ago, when you first purchased your Suzuki GSX-R or when you needed a tourer to get around.

There are quite a few slick city bikes now that will not drain your petrol kitty too much. Royal Enfield cafe racers are the personification of efficiency and style on the city roads with an average mileage per gallon in excess of 80 by some estimates, while the Honda CMX 250c Rebel (84mpg), Kawasaki Ninja 250c R (77mpg) and Suzuki TU 250 X (80 mpg) are good new world alternatives.

Kawasaki's KLX 250s is a good bike to run cheaply (70 mpg) if you need all-road capability, while if you are committed to riding a hefty touring bike Yamaha's V Star 1300 can crank out a staggering 78 miles per gallon, if you take it easy on the gears.

And if you still find yourself burning too much cash and fuel, you can always make the leap into electric bikes and scooters.Seriously!

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