Every Day is Earth Day on Your Motorcycle

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — As conservation takes center stage on Earth Day 2011, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) notes the environmental benefits of commuting and traveling on a motorcycle.

“Regardless of how you use your motorcycle or scooter — commuting to work, riding down the block, across town, traveling across the country — your choice to ride instead of drive has a positive impact on the environment and results in a more enjoyable, less-congested experience for you as well as your fellow road users,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “For motorcyclists, every day is Earth Day.”

In the wake of skyrocketing gas prices, motorcyclists have emerged relatively unscathed. A typical motorcycle can provide fuel mileage that exceeds that of most fuel-efficient automobiles. Many motorcycles return more than 50 miles per gallon, and many scooters can deliver nearly twice that. In addition to using less gasoline, motorcycles require less oil and other chemicals to operate. And the recent introduction of electric motorcycles provides an added benefit for the environment.

Motorcycles take up less space than cars and trucks both during operation, and when parked. They reduce traffic congestion and, in so doing, help increase the efficiency of traffic flow on the road.

Significantly fewer raw materials are utilized to produce motorcycles and scooters compared to cars and trucks. By some measures, it requires thousands of pounds less metal and plastic per vehicle to produce a motorcycle. The environmental benefits are realized both during production, as well as at the end of the vehicle’s useful life.

Because motorcycles and scooters are so much more compact and lighter than cars and trucks, they cause far less wear and tear on the highways, reducing the cost and environmental impact of infrastructure repairs. In addition, because of their size, many more motorcycles can be transported from factory to consumer using the same or less energy.

“When you add it all up, there is no question: If everyone rode motorcycles, the planet would be a greener place,” Dingman said. “And just as important, more of us would experience the thrill and freedom that motorcycles provide. Riding is not just easy on your bank account and the planet, riding is a fun, and often a social activity that simply makes life more enjoyable.”

Those interesting in coming along for the ride are encouraged to visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Riding > Getting Started for more information about the benefits of motorcycling.

5 Ways to increase fuel efficiency on your motorcycle

Poor  fuel mileage results in frequent stops at the gas pump, which translates into less money in your wallet.

Sometimes it takes a little detective work  to figure out where the problem is, and sometimes you can solve the problem yourself without taking the bike to a shop.

With gas prices reaching $4/ gallon and projected to go higher this summer, riders are looking for every possible way to make less stops at the gas pump.

#1 – You want to make sure you get gas at a pump that is accurate. Most pumps today are electronically configured and managed so they’re usually correct.  Basically this means to only stop at respectable gas stations and try to stay away from those old, outdated pumps that aren’t correctly managed.  Many states have agencies that inspect gas pumps and certify their accuracy.  Look for this sticker.

#2 –  Check the gas tank for small leaks. Before you crank up your bike, look on the floor for small puddles of gas. Most of the time you can see where the gas came from on the bike if you don’t move the bike. Hard-line cracks on the fuel tank are infamous on older tanks. Debris in the tank need to be cleaned out as well. Fixing Gas Tanks Guide You will also need to check the fuel lines for small holes.

#3 – Bad gas can clog  up the fuel injector or carburetor  and will reduce your fuel efficiency. Click here to find out how to clean your injector.

#4 – Nine times out of ten your motorcycle just isn’t getting proper combustion due to carbon build up in the engine. Air filters are the main air intake for the engine and if it’s clogged then the engine just can’t breath.  This will effect fuel efficiency as well and should be checked every time you change the oil.

#5  – Changing the oil and spark plugs are a basic necessity  with every vehicle but with your motorcycle there are several things you need to keep up with. Compression checks to make sure the piston rings are firing right, value clearance should be at manufactured specifics, clutch plate needs to be in good condition, chain should be tight not loose, wheel bearings,  and the brakes should be in good condition.

The rider is just as important when talking about fuel efficiency. Cold starting is the place where every rider puts the most wear and tear on the motorcycle. When starting the engine cold you never want to rev the engine excessively.  You also want to make sure you are changing gears at the correct speed and don’t rev the engine unnecessarily in-between gear changing or at the light. Ride easy for the first 5 miles and turning the engine of when having to stop for longer than a minute can help reduce wear and tear thus resulting in better fuel efficiency. Lastly, riding the clutch and depressing the brake while riding is the most common problem most riders do and most do it without even realizing it but this can cause major problems in fuel efficiency.

What about E85 fuel?  Avoid it.  Period.  Especially if your motorcycle will sit for a long period of time after filling up.   Motorcycles are not designed to run on ethanol blended fuel and cause all kinds of damage to internal components.  If you must fill up with E10 or E15 gas, make sure you use it up before parking your bike for longer than a couple days.  See more about ethanol and motorcycles here.