How to get 100mpg on a Kawasaki Ninja

Dailies -


100MPG_Ninja.jpgA member of reports his average fuel consumption on a 2003 Kawasaki Ninja 250 increased from 70 to 101.5mpg with the addition of only basic modifications and minor adjustments to his riding behavior. Here’s how you can do it too.
We’ll let TheyCallMeeBryan tell you how he did it:

2003_kawasaki_Ninja_250.jpgIts a stock 2003 Ninja 250 with changed gearing (from 14/45 [3.21] to
15/39 [2.60]). Even the carb jetting is stock. The only other change is
the tires. Stock, the bike comes with 100/80/16 fronts, and 120/80/16
rears. My bike has 100/90/16 fronts and 130/90/16 rears.
[Elsewhere, he
discloses he runs Kenda cruiser tires at 60psi]

As of 05/15/09, my previous mpg average for 1 year was 71.9mpg. As i
had stated in the post linked above, its my commuter bike for which
most of the time was spent on the Garden State Parkway (65mph limit)
doing 75mph on average. I always position myself in a tuck any time i
am over 45-50mph.

After reading about techniques that the currently successful
hypermilers are using, I was curious to see how my little Ninja’s fuel
efficiency would improve if i applied these techniques to my every day
riding style. So i did… Heres the log since then. (Note: I started
these techniques after the 5/15/09 fill up, so the data after that date
reflects the effects of these techniques.)

Tank ending on 5/21/09: 8% mpg gain from average. 77.7mpg
The first thing i started to do was slow my highway speed down to
65mph. I had just began to attempt some very minor EOC events… it
takes time to “learn” your commute route and to spot the correct EOC
initiation points, as well as learning how far the vehicle can travel
during EOC. Im sure you hypermilers know what i mean.

Tank ending on 5/28/09: 19% mpg gain from average. 85.7mpg
On this tank, i did not exceed 60mph on the highway. My EOC’ing was
more pronounced as i had gained more experience with it on my bike. I
also limited my in-town speed to 5mph under the speed limit, no less
than 30mph, in the highest gear. Acceleration, as is my riding style
with this bike, was minimal.

I was ecstatic!! I could not believe the improvement at this point.
While it was a significant improvement, I still wanted to go through
another tank using the same techniques in order to validate the

Tank ending on 6/7/09: 31% mpg gain from average. 94.1mpg!
Inspired by my previous tank’s improvement, i pretty much tried as hard
as i could to EOC as much as was realistically necessary. I still did
not exceed 60mph on the highway, however sometimes i would slow to
55mph if there was no one close behind me (even so, other drivers
didn’t seem to mind and calmly passed me). In-town speed was still 5mph
under the speed limit.

I would like to note that my fill up routine is very uniform in that I
always fill up to where the gas is touching a metal rim below the gas
cap assembly. To make things even better, all 3 of these fill ups were
at the EXACT same fuel pump.

PS: If you happen to live in New Jersey and see a yellow Ninja 250
driving at or a little below the speed limit, with the rider crouched
down as much as possible, usually carrying a book bag, please feel free
to honk at me and/or give me the thumbs up if you see me!

Tank ending on 06-15-09: 92.8mpg
Sooooo close to 100mpg!!!

Tank ending on 06-22-09: 101.5mpg!!
I did it!!!!!!! My bike went 391 miles before hitting reserve!!! Its
crazy! I told my dad how I am now getting over 90mpg and he asked me
whether my odometer was incorrect or not.

As a side note: The gas in this tank (from 6-15 to 6-22) was Exxon
87…it must have been bad gas because any more than 40-50% throttle
and my bike would start pinging. It didn’t bother me much though since
i rarely ever use that much throttle.

Tank ending on 06-30-09: 97.8 mpg!
Was stuck in traffic on the highway a few times because of people
rushing down to the shore. Tried my best to EOC and DWB in traffic as
much as i could, but i think it took a little hit in mpg from that.

Tank ending on 07-10-2009: 95.9 mpg!
I did an experiment on this tank. I had been experiencing lower back
pain from tucking down alot. On this tank, i sat up comfortably and
never crouched and I still was able to achieve over 90mpg. It appears
that 55mph is a sweet spot as far as aerodynamics go. I am very happy
that I was able to achieve this number without crouching. Further tanks
will confirm the success of EOC and 55mph maximum cruising on
motorcycles (any motor vehicle for that matter).

Tank ending on 07-17-09: 91.6 mpg
Still sitting up comfortably and still achieving over 90mpg. I had done
a 60mile trip at 65mph during this tank because i was pressed for time
getting to class. That may have dropped my MPG off a little bit. More
to come!

Tank ending on 07-24-09: 90.4 mpg
This tank, my mpg was down because I was a little pissed off at a
driver on the parkway and had to catch up to him (he was doing 90) so I
could give him a piece of my mind. Doing over 90mph on this bike
requires WOT. I was doing 55mph in the right lane and he came flying up
behind me and nearly clipped me when passing me…I literally felt the
turbulence on my leg coming off his front bumper. He was like a foot
away from me. Turns out, it looked like he was a retired trooper or
something (he had the NJ Trooper shield on his side window)….. but
since when does that give them the right to drive like an idiot? I
still yelled and screamed at the guy.

Tank ending on 08-10-09: 90.13mpg

Tank ending on 08-16-09: 90.12mpg
The past two weeks, i installed a radiator block about 75% just to see
how it would affect my mileage. The cooling system works really well on
my bike, and usually hovers just over the bottom normal temp line
(about 25% of the gauge sweep), even in 70+ weather. With the radiator
block, the temp operates around 50% on the gauge now, even in 95*F

In essence, a warmer operating temp should richen the bike up a little,
and it felt to have done just that during my riding. This makes me
wonder whether or not the stock jetting is too rich for the summer
temperatures, and whether I could gain another 5% or so by rejetting
the bike. The only thing holding me back is that removing the carbs on
this bike is a pain in the butt with the stock airbox still installed.

I’ll never really know until I start messing around with different
jetting, or until I weld a bung in my exhaust and hook my wideband up
to it.

  • Deltablues

    As I pass, on my gas hog Sprint 1050 (avg. 48mpg), I will throw you a tow-rope…Hang on little yellow Ninja riding buddy cause your about to get 200mpg!

  • josh

    Engine Off Coasting on a motorcycle seems kind of dangerous. I sure miss my Ninja 250 :(

    • Wes Siler

      Yeah, EOC is fucking insane, but it’s becoming a common practice among Hypermilers, who appear to be about as dangerous as street racers.

      • Hiwatt Scott

        Yeah, where’s the Evening News expose on EOCing?

  • coho

    Engine Off Coasting is extremely dangerous on a motorbike and is illegal in many (but I don’t think all) states for vehicles of all types.

    • Bakari Kafele

      “55 MPH…You, my friend, have a deathwish”

      Actually, driving slower is the single biggest change you can make to stay safer:

      As mentioned above, EOC is not unsafe on this (or most) motorcycles, since the engine is in no way connected to the brakes or steering.

      It is ridiculous to compare hypermileing to street racing. There have been exactly 0 accidents attributed to hypermileing. Hypermilers drive much more slowly and much more attentively than other drivers.

  • Adam

    If you’re coasting with the engine off couldn’t you just drop a gear or two, pop the clutch, and bump start the bike?

  • JonJon

    I didn’t see it mentioned, but how is he tracking his mileage? I have a ZRX with a similar gear driven speedo off of the front wheel and I’ve checked it against my GPS on long trips. The odometer/tripometer is actually very accurate (speedo sucks, thought), BUT he changed from a 100/80-16 to a 100/90-16. this can vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but technically this means his tire is now 10 mm taller. This would actually “slow” his odometer/tripometer down, causing the odometer/tripometer to read lower than actual mileage. He may have actually been doing better than what he’s posted. Especially with the tires inflated to 60 friggin’ PSI. How about cutting out the EOC bidness and putting a small cycling computer on there to read accurate mileage?

  • Ben

    Somehow, life seemed a happier place before I learned about EOC.

  • Cru Jones

    I can understand doing a few things to increase your mileage, but 60PSI tires and EOC’ing? That’s just asking for an accident (especially in NJ). I’m amazed he’s only had the one incident…

  • Stacy

    Riding 5 miles under would drive me frakkin’ crazy.

    But now this explains why I keep getting stuck behind people driving a consistent 5 miles under the limit around town. Hippies!

  • Rooster

    What kind of dollar value savings are there on a bike that already gets great mileage and has a much lower environmental footprint than your average car?

    The safety issues of EOC, being a two wheeled pylon and the high tire pressures would seemingly negate the efforts of trying to hypermile on a motorcycle.

    Is saving a hundred dollars a year really worth the risk to life and limb? When they call the ambulance to come and scrape your silly arse off the pavement it will burn off all your savings on the way to pick you up anyhow.

    • Wes Siler

      What kind of dollar value savings are there on a bike that already gets great mileage and has a much lower environmental footprint than your average car?

      That’s an excellent question and one that’s much more easily addressed by looking at fuel economy as gallons used per 100 miles than miles per gallon.

      For instance, a car getting 20mpg is using 5 gallons per 100 miles. A bike getting 40mpg is using 2.5 gallons per 100 miles, a 50% saving. A super efficient vehicle returning 63mpg is only using 1.5 gallons per 100 miles, but the saving is now diminishing.

      There’s an excellent Popular Mechanics article on that here.

  • designboy

    And an Enertia electric motorcycle only uses 7.75 kWh per 100 miles, which equates to .215 gallons per 100 miles or the equivalent to 465 mpg! Hmmm… wouldn’t that be sooo much safer, more environmentally friendly and more fun than driving this way?…

  • vic

    i haven’t read the whole 11 page thread in the link but i am dissapointed that a lot of people who own or claim to own bikes are giving him thumbs up
    it seems to me that he was obssesed with that number and he did everything he could to achieve it just as racers do stupid stuff in order to cut a second off their time .EOC is dangerous and(in the long term) more expensive on cars but on motorcycles it’s even more so..jeez i am surprised he hasn’t had a serious accident by now

  • s0crates82

    yeah, i ride a gs500 like i freaking stole it and can’t get less than 50mpg. damn sight better than driving my 25mpg averaging car.

    …and i wanna z1000.

  • MotoGpDylwah

    I have not done any research into hypermiling (an odd verb, to be sure), and therefore I am unsure to what degree this particular niche of moto-eccentrics takes into account wer and tear one bikes; however -unless ninja 250s are some alien technology to moot my point – the oil pump is turned by the rotation of the crankshaft, the transmission is lubricated by the oil pump, if you are rolling, the rear sprocket is turning the front sprocket, which is in turn causing the rotation of all of your transmission parts, close tolerance, gear-gnashing transmission parts. It does not seem a good idea to me to run a transmission for any appreciable amount of time without a fresh supply of oil as intended and required.

  • Kevin White

    Interesting and blog worthy.

    However, he went one up in the front and six down in the back on a 250?? Wow, forget all about the 60psi and the EOC, a 250 with that gearing alone is already starting to creep into dangerous territory.

    And he does a racer tuck over 45 mph? Fancy!

  • Ron

    100 mpg by doing 55 mph.
    Why don’t just get a 125cc bike?

  • Kostas Gazis

    Hahaha. I laughed loudly on the first comment. EOC? I didn’t even know this silly game we played with our mopeds when we were young had a name attached to it. Hypermilers? Interesting stuff. Ultimately pointless in my opinion, but nevertheless interesting. Still pointless. Definitely pointless.

  • fetherston

    55 MPH, engine-off coasting, tucking (reduced handle bar leverage) and running 60 PSI on the Garden State Parkway?

    You, my friend, have a deathwish. However, I will salute your courage if I ever see you in my travels.

  • Bronson

    Suzuki advertises their new DR200SE as getting 105 MPG:

    Regardless, it was an interesting article and great comments as always. Just the reason I love reading HFL every morning!

  • Sean

    So… When I commuted on an EX250 for a year, I averaged 48 miles per gallon.

    I achieved this by holding the throttle wide open in sixth for the entirety of my 42 miles freeway commute. Average speed is around 105. I had a bent front rim, twisted frame, and no fairings. After I realized what an utter piece of shit that bike was (kick stand fell off, shifter fell off, muffler mounts broke off the frame, blew a headgasket, etc) I bought a new GSXR600, and I’m now getting 47 miles per gallon.

    I have a really hard time understanding why you need to go crazy and ride under the limit searching for 100mpg. It’s so much less fun than wearing out a set of pucks on on ramps, and interchanges.

  • Morbidly

    EOC is a lot less dangerous than you all think. There is no loss of power steering or of power brakes. In fact, there are no safety systems, nor procedures (MSF 101), that technically require the application of throttle or engine-braking. Brakes and brake lights still work.
    Bright-coloured clothing on a brightly coloured bike; he may have less a deathwish than most of you! Read the latest HURT Survey, it is worth it.

    • Sean

      Hmm… You know power steering and power brakes don’t apply to motorcycles right? Right?

      • Phil

        Power steering, no, but BMW’s got servo-assisted brakes on several models (R1150RT and K1200RS were the two I test-rode one day).

        You lose the electrical system and you’re looking at some suffering. You /keep/ the electrical system and you’re suffering anyway as you get to hear the servo assist chatter at you as long as you’ve got your hand on the brake lever at a stop light.