Having a good idea of how often you will need to fill up your motorcycle can save you a lot of problems in the future—especially if you plan on making longer or more frequent trips.
How often do you have to fill up a motorcycle? Motorcycles should be filled up always before they run out of fuel. How often a motorcycle should be filled up will vary from a motorcycle to a motorcycle. Some motorcycles may need to be filled up as often as every week, while others as frequently as every day.
To find out more, continue reading below. I have included more useful information which will help you understand your motorcycle better.
Table of Contents:
How often do motorcycles need to be filled up?
If we know the mpg and the fuel capacity of a motorcycle, we can calculate the maximum distance it can travel on a full fuel tank. Thus find out how often it will need to be filled up.
Of course, those are the maximum ranges, and you should not wait for the motorcycle to run out of fuel. You need to fill up your motorcycle when it starts to run low on fuel, usually below 50%.
- Motorcycles, on average, have to be refueled every 70 to 220 miles. Sports Bikes usually need to be refilled every 70 to 100 miles while touring motorcycles can sometimes go up to 300 miles before needing a refill.
- Cafe racers, bobbers, scramblers, and even Harleys will usually need to be filled up every 80 to 150 miles.
- Dirt bikes, on the other hand, can go between 20 to 85 miles on a full tank of gas, which means they need to be filled up more often than other motorcycles.
See article: How far can a motorcycle go on a full tank of gas?
In towns and cities, you will be able to find gas stations more often; however, once you get on the highway or the freeway, gas stations are more spread out.
Usually, there are gas stations every 50 to 100 miles, and you may not be able to fill up your motorcycle as often as you can in the city. This is part of the reason why the low fuel light on many motorcycles will turn on when you are left with fuel that will usually translate into 100 to 150 miles.
When should you fill up your motorcycle?
You have to fill up your motorcycle before it runs out of fuel. Running low on fuel will not damage your motorcycle. Even running on reserve is also safe for the motorcycle, however, if you do not fill up your motorcycle on time you are risking running out of fuel.
See article: Can you run your motorcycle on reserve all the time?
This may damage your motorcycle, or at the very least, you will have to push your motorcycle and find a way to refuel it.
To find out when your motorcycle is about to run out of fuel, keep an eye on the fuel gauge. With that being said, fuel gauges can also be very unreliable, so you should never rely only on them for accurate readings.
However, seeing how some motorcycles do not have a fuel gauge, you can keep an eye on the low fuel light.
Low fuel lights will come on at different times, depending on the different motorcycles. The low fuel light will come on when, on average, the motorcycle has between 2 to 2.5 gallons of gas in it. Depending on the motorcycle, this usually means you have about 100 to 150 miles left. (Which should be more than enough to find a gas station.)
However, there will also be exceptions, so you should exercise extra caution. On some motorcycles, the low fuel light may come on a few miles before you are forced to switch on to the reserve.
See article: Can you run a motorcycle on reserve all the time?
The reserve can help you in a pinch, as it can give you an extra 10 to 20 miles.
See article: How far can a motorcycle go on reserve?
And in addition to that, as the fuel sloshes around in the fuel tank, this may cause the low fuel light to come on and off, making it difficult for you to find out if you really are low on fuel.
Alternatively, you may need to calculate and keep in mind how far you can go after you have refueled your motorcycle. That way, you will have a rough estimate of how far of a trip you can do with the fuel you have in your tank.
Being able to estimate how far you can go on a fuel tank is something that all motorcycle riders should keep at the back of their mind, as this will allow them to intuitively know how often they will need to fill up their motorcycle.
What affects how often you have to fill up a motorcycle?
That being said, how often you will need to fill up your motorcycle will vary wildly from a motorcycle to a motorcycle.
Some motorcyclists will find that they have to fill up their motorcycle very often, while others will not be so hard-pressed. There are several reasons for that.
Fuel tank capacity and fuel consumption
The two main aspects of your motorcycle that will affect how often you will have to refuel it are the fuel tank capacity and the fuel consumption.
The fuel consumption is usually expressed by miles per gallon (mpg), liters per 100 km (L/100), or kilometers per liter (km/L) and the fuel tank capacity in liters or gallons.
The larger the fuel tank and the lower the fuel consumption, the less often you will have to fill up your motorcycle as it can go for longer without running out of fuel.
See article: How to calculate motorcycle fuel consumption
How fast you ride your motorcycle
Motorcycles can be very fast. The faster you go, the more fuel you will burn through, and the more often you will have to refill your motorcycle.
When the Honda Gold Wing was tested, it was discovered that at 50 mph, it has a little over 55 mpg while at 90 mph, the mpg falls down to 28.7. A reduction in fuel efficiency by almost 50%.
If you are constantly riding at speeds exceeding 55 mph, you may notice that your mileage will go down compared to riding your motorcycle at speeds of 35 to 45 mph.
The gearing also affects fuel efficiency. A taller gearing usually will improve fuel efficiency.
How often you ride your motorcycle
If you are riding for extended periods of time and at long distances, you will end up refueling your motorcycle very often. Riding your motorcycle often is not bad, but you may end up having to fill up your motorcycle every day if you manage to burn through all the fuel every single day.
If you are interested in the pros and cons of riding your motorcycle every day, you can read my article on the topic here.
Most motorcyclists usually have to fill up their motorcycle at least once or twice a week, depending on how often they ride their motorcycle and how they use it.
How you fill up the fuel tank
Usually, you want to leave the fuel pump automatically shut off while the nozzle is in the fuel tank. Then you take the fuel pump’s nozzle almost out of the fuel tank—just below the or an inch inside and manually fill up the fuel tank while looking in to make sure you do not overfill it.
Some motorcyclists will leave their motorcycle on the kickstand while they are filling the fuel tank up. This creates an angle that, depending on the fuel tank profile, will not allow you to fill the fuel tank fully.
The ambient temperatures
Low temperatures will negatively impact your motorcycle’s fuel efficiency by as much as 24% in some instances.
Not a lot of motorcyclists will ride at 20°F, but the colder the weather, the more fuel you will be burning through. In other words, during the winter, you will have to fill up your motorcycle more often than the summer when the temperatures are warmer.
The pressure of the tires
The tire pressure can also affect your fuel efficiency and cause you to fill your motorcycle more often than normal.
The effect of tire pressure on the mpg rating is usually minimal—from 0.6% to 3% at most. However, this, combined with some of the other factors mentioned here, can significantly decrease your fuel efficiency.
Make sure to often check the pressure of the motorcycle’s tires and keep them properly inflated.
Usually, the average payload a motorcycle can carry is between 350 lbs and 450 lbs. However, those numbers will vary depending on the type of motorcycle.
The more payload the motorcycle needs to carry, the more fuel it will use, which in turn will cause you to refuel it more often.
The fuel’s quality
A premium or higher octane fuel may improve your motorcycle’s gas mileage under certain conditions like carrying heavy weight loads in hot weather.
However, during your motorcycle’s everyday use, you are very unlikely to notice any benefits.
See article: What kind of gas do motorcycles use?
If you have to fill up your motorcycle more often than what seems reasonable, then this may be indicative of technical problems like faulty fuel pump, bad spark plugs, or dirty carburetor and air filters.
However, fuel theft is also not entirely out of the question depending on where you leave your motorcycle.
Can you be filling up your motorcycle too often?
There is no such thing as filling up your motorcycle too often. You can fill your motorcycle at every gas station you come by, and nothing will break or wear out faster except maybe your fuel cap. You can fill up your motorcycle as often as you like. However, it is simply unnecessary.
Filling up your motorcycle very often is inconvenient as it takes time and effort. You will have to go to the gas station, park, open the fuel cap, and pay—all that for filling up a few ounces if even that of fuel.
If you are refueling your motorcycle very often, you may also run the risk of overfilling your fuel tank by mistake.
If you have the extra time, you can fill up your motorcycle’s fuel tank, even if it is half full. In a certain way, this can be an advantage. If something happens and you need or feel like going on a ride, you will be sure you are good to go.