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Thread: Crappy MPG's

  1. #1
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    Default Crappy MPG's

    Hello, new to the forum so please my apologies if I'm posting in the incorrect section.
    I have an issue, but to explain and hopefully give as much information as possible I'll give a little history on my bike:

    2015 RT-S SE6
    7200 miles when purchased
    Owned for two days as of this posting
    Dealer purchased, used, no warranty
    Stock, minus the shorty antenna

    I got a ride from the Sacramento area, to San Diego to purchase this vehicle. I've heard the Spyders' fuel economy can be better, 30-40 MPG. Taking that information into account I decided to purchase one anyone. The dealer kept trying to push purchasing a warranty. When I refused, they kept having to take it to the back for various reasons: 1st being they needed to get the engine number. Shouldn't they have had that already? 2nd was to put air in tires. This one took about 20mins, with the excuse being their gauges were defective so they had to try 3 different inflators. Hmmm....

    So I start on the 500 or so mile ride back home after filling the gas tank with 91 octane at the nearby Chevron. I noticed after about 2 hours, I had to fill up. I thought that was odd with a 6.9 gallon tank. So I decided to set my trip meter to give me some MPG readings. Being new to the machine, the trip meter was set to "pause" so at 2nd fill up my recording was incorrect. I fixed the issue, and successfully logged the mileage from 2nd fill up to now my 3rd fill up. 156 miles before the low fuel light came on. 20MPG!!!!

    I know there are a ton of factors involved:

    Speed - I was cruising, literally in cruise control at 80mph
    Terrain - I5 North, relatively smooth with the now and then rough spots. A few hills.
    Throttle control - Again, I set the cruise so after highway speed was reached, my hand wasn't engaging the throttle
    Traffic - 85% of the trip I was in cruise control
    Tire pressure - "Checked" at dealership
    Air flow - Dealer's records indicate the air filter was changed as part of the inspection. No record of stock or K&N.
    Spark plugs - 7k miles, should be a non factor
    Load on machine/weight - minus my rain gear I packed in the trunk, I was solo (260lbs) with a hydration bladder on my back
    Wind - there were parts of the trip that were windy, and I had my stock windscreen at full height (I'm 6'2)

    I had to fill up a 4th time, FYI:
    When I got home, I knew something was wrong. Being tired from the trip, I waited until the morning to check tire pressure. My gauge said the front two were low about 3 psi. I do NOT think this can account for losing about 10mpg.
    I have not checked the air filter yet. Again, 5 year old bike with 7k miles. Unless the air filter is dipped in mud, I do not think that would account for 10mpg loss. My next thing is to use some Sea Foam injector cleaner. Long shot but I'll try it as previous owner may have used crap gas. I have not noticed any fuel leaks, smells or anything obvious. I use either Shell or Chevron in all my vehicles. For motorcycles and V6 and above I use premium, whatever that is depending on state (91, 92, 93 octane).
    I've read the vacuum hoses sometimes fail. I've also read the ECU needs updating from time to time. I have an appointment with a dealer this week to have the bike checked out. Any suggestions? If I can only go about 150 miles between fill ups, with a naked bike, I'm not sure I can continue. I got this bike to two up on long cross state trips. Looking at other posts, I know this performance is not normal. Looking for suggestions as to what this can be.

  2. #2
    Very Active Member trikermutha's Avatar
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    Run the seafoam for a tank then drive somewhat at lower speeds and see what the MPG are then.

    Also make sure the brakes are not sticking. When you release the brake does it push pretty easy?

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    Yep. 80 MPH would be the first reason for poor MPG.

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    aka: akspyderman ARtraveler's Avatar
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    I suspect the 80 mph on cruise control. After 65 mph, in sixth gear, the 1330 likes gas.

    I consistently get 40 - 41 mpg with both my 1330's. 2014 RTS and 2019 F3L. We don't do high speeds much any more. 65 is where we are at on most main highways. Have not done any Interstate driving since moving here in May 2019.
    Last edited by ARtraveler; 08-31-2020 at 11:29 AM.

    Currently Owned: 2019 F3 Limited, 2014 RTS-SE6 (yellow), 2015 Vulcan 900 LTD

    Previously : 2008 GS-SM5 (silver), 2009 RS-SE5 (red), 2010 RT-S Premier Editon #474 (black) 2011 RT A&C SE5 (magnesium). 6 Spyders, 11 years, 167,000 miles


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    Thanks Trikermutha
    I'll run the sea foam, and I have not tried to push the bike in neutral with brake off. I have not noticed any brake like metallic smells to indicate brakes have stuck, but I will try the roll test.

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    Thanks 2dogs
    Wow really? 80mph on this bike will do that? Hmmm.
    I'll take a trip at 70 or below and see how that does.

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    Thanks ARtraveler
    I'll try to limit my speed. I was in a rush to get home, so I goosed it a little (but was still safe). I hate night riding and wanted to beat the sunset. I will try lower speeds on a full tank after running sea foam through it.

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    aka: akspyderman ARtraveler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SithLord View Post
    Thanks ARtraveler
    I'll try to limit my speed. I was in a rush to get home, so I goosed it a little (but was still safe). I hate night riding and wanted to beat the sunset. I will try lower speeds on a full tank after running sea foam through it.
    I hear ya. I don't like night riding at speeds either. Deer can be a real problem. If the lower speeds don't fix it, then you need to start looking elsewhere for a solution.

    Shift points on the 1330 are at 3500. I shift there and keep it in that range for each gear. You will find the "sweet spot" for yours. That gives 60 mph or so in 6th gear. The rpms will start increasing beyond that point. Glug, glug, glug.....

    My 41 mpg is using 87 grade octane with 10% ethanol. I note NO performance differences from when I was a high test, no ethanol guy.
    Last edited by ARtraveler; 08-31-2020 at 03:48 PM.

    Currently Owned: 2019 F3 Limited, 2014 RTS-SE6 (yellow), 2015 Vulcan 900 LTD

    Previously : 2008 GS-SM5 (silver), 2009 RS-SE5 (red), 2010 RT-S Premier Editon #474 (black) 2011 RT A&C SE5 (magnesium). 6 Spyders, 11 years, 167,000 miles


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    Very Active Member trikermutha's Avatar
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    Yeah usually anything over 70 starts hurting the MPG's but 20 seems kinda low to me..

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    Yup .. 20 mpg does sound low. I have a 2019 F3S, that has a 89t rear pulley. On a recent western trip, crossing SD/NE interstates at 80 mph, I averaged around 28-30mpg. My bike had a 20" Madstad windshield, Shad side cases and luggage rack/56L top case installed. While pretty much loaded up, I was solo. At 55-60'sh mph, I was mid 30's and low 30's at 75sh. 80+ SUCKS the gas. Granted I also have a PV3 with custom map.


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    Very Active Member Bensonoid's Avatar
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    Check that air filter before you turn the key again. I myself just bought a 2015 RTS with 6800 mi on it and there was a mouse nest in the air box. Made me sick when I saw it but luckily the filter was intact so no harm done. A 5yr old machine with low miles has been stored for a while in God knows what conditions.
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    Thanks Troop & Bensonoid
    I really didnt want to start taking off side panels until I purchased my "magic mirrors", but oh well...
    I've removed the air filter, its stock, looks clean. No mouse though. I was actually hoping there'd be some obstruction which would explain things.
    I'll order the K&N filter and magic mirrors like I was going to do anyway before I button everything up. May as well order my belt tensioner while I'm at it.
    I'll update the posting once those get in and I have a chance to run the sea foam through the tank.

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    Very Active Member SteveLaoyster's Avatar
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    Did anyone mention oil level? Was it checked? It's not a good idea to assume that the dealer checked it.
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    Thanks SteveLaoyster
    It was not mentioned here, but while I was playing around under the seat I did notice the dipstick and checked. Level was spot on, and the clarity and consistency of the oil gave me confidence it was changed per the dealer's word. Waiting on parts now.

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    Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Peter Aawen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SithLord View Post
    ......
    I've read the vacuum hoses sometimes fail. I've also read the ECU needs updating from time to time. I have an appointment with a dealer this week to have the bike checked out. Any suggestions? If I can only go about 150 miles between fill ups, with a naked bike, I'm not sure I can continue.......
    Juuust addressing the points raised in your sentences above:

    • I don't think the 1330's have the same vacuum hose issues as the earlier 998's/V-Twins, but I'm sure those more in the know will respond soon enough.

    • The ECU shouldn't need updating 'from time to time', but getting your ECU Upgraded (just the once!!) by a good tuner can REALLY wake these machines up!! They are SIGNIFICANTLY de-tuned for use on our Spyders; with the same engines tuned for a lot better power/torque figures in other applications/uses. And funnily enough, if you get the ECU Upgraded and can resist the lure of exploring the further reaches now available with just a twist of your right wrist, you can actually get somewhat better fuel economy as well as better performance!! But you shouldn't NEED to get the ECU updated at all, let alone 'from time to time' - not unless there's something clearly wrong with it, anyway?!


    • How much gas are you actually using to run those 150 miles between fill-ups?? The 'low fuel' warning light and even the gas gauge level itself can be fairly problematic on these things, altho it was much more of a problem on the earlier V-Twins - but even so, you really need to look at how much gas it's actually taking to run that 150 miles AND to make sure that you are really filling the tank up properly and to the same level each time!! I've been sprung by a low fuel warning light sometimes coming on just 18 or so miles after filling (properly & fully) but it had only used less than 1/2 a gallon of gas... yet at other times the light won't show even after 250 miles (& I've got a V-Twin with a smaller tank, too!) and I know of some owners/ryders who swore their tanks were nowhere near able to hold just FIVE gallons (yep, 5 ) and they were equally as sure they could never get 200 miles out of a tank of gas, let alone anything better - until they were shown how much more gas would go into the tank after the first 'auto click-off' with the nozzle buried deep into the tank!! There is no filler neck on Spyder gas tanks - you NEED to pull the nozzle up out of the hole some, just not right not right out, & fill the tank closer to the 'bottom of the cap' level or you might be only half filling your tank & so restricting your range that way!!

    However, all that said, I too hafta agree with everyone else in saying that even if you are on cruise, travelling at 80mph instead of 60 or even 55mph will have been a BIIIG part of why you used so much gas!! No matter what else might come into play, these Spyders & Rykers hafta push a whole shed-load of air ahead of them as you travel down the road, even more if you have a big windscreen fitted, and travelling any faster than about 60 mph or so will increase the engine's effort required to do that exponentially, which WILL be reflected in the exponential increase in gas you use to keep it moving at that speed!!

    Over to you! Oh, and Welcome to the Forum too!
    Last edited by Peter Aawen; 08-31-2020 at 02:29 PM.
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    Very Active Member BLUEKNIGHT911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SithLord View Post
    Hello, new to the forum so please my apologies if I'm posting in the incorrect section.
    I have an issue, but to explain and hopefully give as much information as possible I'll give a little history on my bike:

    2015 RT-S SE6
    7200 miles when purchased
    Owned for two days as of this posting
    Dealer purchased, used, no warranty
    Stock, minus the shorty antenna

    I got a ride from the Sacramento area, to San Diego to purchase this vehicle. I've heard the Spyders' fuel economy can be better, 30-40 MPG. Taking that information into account I decided to purchase one anyone. The dealer kept trying to push purchasing a warranty. When I refused, they kept having to take it to the back for various reasons: 1st being they needed to get the engine number. Shouldn't they have had that already? 2nd was to put air in tires. This one took about 20mins, with the excuse being their gauges were defective so they had to try 3 different inflators. Hmmm....

    So I start on the 500 or so mile ride back home after filling the gas tank with 91 octane at the nearby Chevron. I noticed after about 2 hours, I had to fill up. I thought that was odd with a 6.9 gallon tank. So I decided to set my trip meter to give me some MPG readings. Being new to the machine, the trip meter was set to "pause" so at 2nd fill up my recording was incorrect. I fixed the issue, and successfully logged the mileage from 2nd fill up to now my 3rd fill up. 156 miles before the low fuel light came on. 20MPG!!!!

    I know there are a ton of factors involved:

    Speed - I was cruising, literally in cruise control at 80mph
    Terrain - I5 North, relatively smooth with the now and then rough spots. A few hills.
    Throttle control - Again, I set the cruise so after highway speed was reached, my hand wasn't engaging the throttle
    Traffic - 85% of the trip I was in cruise control
    Tire pressure - "Checked" at dealership
    Air flow - Dealer's records indicate the air filter was changed as part of the inspection. No record of stock or K&N.
    Spark plugs - 7k miles, should be a non factor
    Load on machine/weight - minus my rain gear I packed in the trunk, I was solo (260lbs) with a hydration bladder on my back
    Wind - there were parts of the trip that were windy, and I had my stock windscreen at full height (I'm 6'2)

    I had to fill up a 4th time, FYI:
    When I got home, I knew something was wrong. Being tired from the trip, I waited until the morning to check tire pressure. My gauge said the front two were low about 3 psi. I do NOT think this can account for losing about 10mpg.
    I have not checked the air filter yet. Again, 5 year old bike with 7k miles. Unless the air filter is dipped in mud, I do not think that would account for 10mpg loss. My next thing is to use some Sea Foam injector cleaner. Long shot but I'll try it as previous owner may have used crap gas. I have not noticed any fuel leaks, smells or anything obvious. I use either Shell or Chevron in all my vehicles. For motorcycles and V6 and above I use premium, whatever that is depending on state (91, 92, 93 octane).
    I've read the vacuum hoses sometimes fail. I've also read the ECU needs updating from time to time. I have an appointment with a dealer this week to have the bike checked out. Any suggestions? If I can only go about 150 miles between fill ups, with a naked bike, I'm not sure I can continue. I got this bike to two up on long cross state trips. Looking at other posts, I know this performance is not normal. Looking for suggestions as to what this can be.
    I have basically the same spyder as yours ..... I have always said " know what your average MPG's are ... they are an indicator of engine issues .... 20 mpg is TERRIBLE for your 1330 engine ..... If the bike sounds good and otherwise feels good I think what others have said about steady 80 mph for extended periods of time might be the issue.... Like are said 40-to 41 mpg's with moderate operation is Normal.... I drive fast in the " twistie's " and avg. 36 mpg's ..... I suggest you put 500 miles on it at normal speeds ( not highway ) and do an accurate check on the mileage you get.... and " low by about 3 psi " doesn't help US help you .... Are they Kenda tires ??? ... what is/was the actual PSI ??? .... There have been a few posts lately about drive belt tension and an aftermarket devices .... IMHO they arn't necessary, I lowered my tension to 160 lbs ( tire on ground ) using the KritKit gauge ( see BAJARON - vendor here ) ..... and can't feel any Vibes ( I did before lowering tension ). The 1330 doesn't have " vacuum hose " issues ( the V-twin engines did ) .... Normally the ECU doesn't need periodic up-dating .... Do to what you already said about the Dealer ---- Run away and find another ..... They don't impress me so far ..... good luck .... and ..... Mike

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    Active Member Woodaddict's Avatar
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    since you are new, was oil checked proper operating temp???? take out for a ride 10 mile ride, stop on level surface, wait for 1 or 2 cooling cycle of fans. shut off, check oil level within 2 minutes.
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    Very Active Member AeroPilot's Avatar
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    Like others have said higher speeds do cost in fuel economy, especially with the RT and its larger wind resistance profile. My wifes F3T gets a little better gas economy than my 15 RT when we ride together on our 300 mile jaunts down to see the inlaws in Kansas. If we hold to 60-65 mph on the secondary roads we get close to 40 mpg if not riding into a headwind.

    By formula, going from 60 mph to 80 mph requires 40% more HP so the law of conservation of energy says it comes with 40 percent less fuel economy. A theoretical calculation looks like this:SpeedHP&FuelEconomy.jpg

    Tires, road condition, load, rolling and mechanical friction and air resistance also mean your mileage will vary.
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    Very Active Member AeroPilot's Avatar
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    Like others have said higher speeds do cost in fuel economy, especially with the RT and its larger wind resistance profile. My wifes F3T gets a little better gas economy than my 15 RT when we ride together on our 300 mile jaunts down to see the inlaws in Kansas. If we hold to 60-65 mph on the secondary roads we get close to 40 mpg if not riding into a headwind.

    By formula, going from 60 mph to 80 mph requires 40% more HP so the law of conservation of energy says it comes with 40 percent less fuel economy. A theoretical calculation looks like this:
    SpeedHP&FuelEconomy.jpg
    Tires, road condition, load rolling and mechanical friction and air resistance also mean your mileage will vary. Sorry for the double post.
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    .......... Woodaddict, BK911, And Peter. At speeds of 55-65 MPH you should average 40 MPG + or -...... When filling you have to pull the nozzle out of the tank and very slowly top your tank to get the fuel level up to full with no bubbles. Mine usually took about an extra gallon to get to full. And, when the low fuel light came on, I had about a gallon and a half left in the tank. I never did a steady 80 MPH for extended periods but did 65 to 70 and could do 200 miles easily. Slowing down to secondary road speeds and 240 miles+ is easily achieved. Good luck..... Jim
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    Very Active Member trikermutha's Avatar
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    Also how much ethanol you have in your area. That will also effect you MPG.

    The bike is barley broken in at 7200 miles.

    Anyway good luck!

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    Thanks all

    Peter Aawen:
    Regarding the ECU, I stand corrected. I've never had a tune before, even on the multiple vehicles I've owned. I tried to find the post I read about updating the ECU due to outdated software to discover if it was indeed a tuned machine or what the circumstances were but I can no longer locate it.
    My tank is a 6.9. Granted some of that is the reserve. I only logged two fill ups, due to time and frustration, the first being 5.054 gallons and the second being 5.475 gallons (per the fuelly app). Each was done at the onset of the low fuel light and gauge, at the first filling station I came across afterwards. My buddy that took me south took off on his own, and I didnt carry extra fuel with me. That part of the I5 corridor after the "Grapevine" is not a place you want to be caught running out of gas. So I trusted the gauges. Granted, they could be off, and if they are that would be the first for me regarding any type of vehicle. Here in CA, we have those emission friendly pumps, where the nozzle has a sleeve on it that has to be pushed back in order to dispense fuel. Very difficult to top off and get every bit of fuel in the tank without making a mess on the Spyder.

    Woodaddict:
    No, I have not checked the operating temp levels, but I will add that to my "to do" list as I troubleshoot this issue, thanks for the tip.

    Blueknight911:
    Yes, they are kendas. On the sidewall it says 15-30 PSI. My gauge, that I've used on my 2 wheel motorcycle and all my cars, indicated about 17 on left and 18 on right. Panel, under the seat, indicates fronts should be 20 PSI. I was going by what the panel (similar to that on the door jam of a car) as to what was recommended by the manufacturer. So the tires were consistent with the recommended setting. I usually go by what the manufacturer says, instead of the sidewall, if running stock sized tires.
    I too am a fan of knowing what my average MPG is, that's why I discovered something was off at the first fill up when the Fuelly app indicated 20mpg. I knew through my research I was short about 10mpg.

    Seems the general message here is ease off the throttle. As I mentioned earlier I was in a rush. My logic was based on my two wheel bike and other vehicles I've owned, where constant speed is better even at greater speeds than the fluctuations the hand on the throttle or foot on the pedal can give. I'll wait for my parts, button it up, then monitor the situation running errands locally, and 70mph trips when available. I did not purchase this bike for speed, so I'm fine with cruising at 70 or below. The K&N filter should show minor improvements, as it has with all my other vehicles. I'll post in about a week when I get my upgrades and run the bike some more.

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    Very Active Member JayBros's Avatar
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    In 2017 with 29K+ on the odometer I made a high speed run to St. George, UT from my home in NC. On leg from OK City to Albuquerque I ran for a good number of hours at 85 into a very stiff headwind. Three fill ups showed 28.3,28.5, and 28.6 mpg. Those are the three worst tank mileages I've ever gotten. As canamjhb says, if you're not slowly topping off getting that gas level very close to the nozzle baffle you're not getting all the gas it will hold into the tank.
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    Very Active Member IdahoMtnSpyder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SithLord View Post
    I fixed the issue, and successfully logged the mileage from 2nd fill up to now my 3rd fill up. 156 miles before the low fuel light came on. 20MPG!!!!
    No way 20 mpg. To be that low you would have had to pump in 7.5 gallons. The total tank volume is 6.9 but the usable volume is barely 6.4, and that only when you are running on fumes when you get to the gas station. You more than likely pumped in about 5+ gallons for an mpg somewhere around 25 to 30. 80 mph is a mileage killer. If you have a head wind at all you can easily see mileage as low as 25 mpg. I've had 30 tankfuls less than 25 mpg in 34,000+ miles.

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    Very Active Member IdahoMtnSpyder's Avatar
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    For my real world experience with gas mileage over two summers read this thread. https://www.spyderlovers.com/forums/...ium-vs-Regular.

    2014 Copper RTS

    Tri-Axis bars, CB, BajaRon sway bar & shock adjusters, SpyderPop's Bumpskid, NBV peg brackets, LED headlights and modulator, Wolo trumpet air horns, trailer hitch, custom trailer harness, high mount turn signals, Custom Dynamics brake light, LED turn signal lights on mirrors, LED strip light for a dash light, garage door opener, LED lights in frunk, trunk, and saddlebags, RAM mounts and cradles for tablet (for GPS) and phone (for music), and Smooth Spyder belt tensioner.

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