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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Default Fuel Mileage Observations

It's interesting to note that the Victory seems to be VERY sensitive to changes in riding style or traffic conditions when it comes to fuel mileage. Since the bike is now broken in with over 6k miles on it I've been able to make some observations regarding fuel burns.

I spent the summer at home at an elevation of over 5,000 feet above sea level. Cody has some traffic lights but they're short duration and for the most part avoidable altogether if you choose (I do most of the time). Speed limits around town max out at 35 mph in two locations and woe be it to those who choose to drive faster than that in those two areas, the cops have NO sense of humor on speeding especially for somebody with a local plate. All other streets in town are 30 mph or less. My fuel mileage around Cody averages in the very high 30's to the low/mid 40's and I'm quite happy with those numbers. Given the fact that riding from one end of town to the other only takes less than five minutes it fair to say that a tank of fuel lasts a long time. When I do need fuel I've got an Exxon station right behind the house that sells non-ethanol premium.

Back around Thanksgiving we arrived in the Arizona desert for the winter and are comfortably camped at about 500 feet above sea level now in Lake Havasu City. One of the first things that I noticed when I pulled the bike out of the rig and putted up the street to the car wash to rinse off the dust was that I've got considerably more power under that grip than I do in Wyoming.

Speed limits in LHC are pretty much suggestions with most streets 35 mph to whatever folks think they can get away with and there are more stop lights than Carter has little brown liver pills and they all work on traffic sensors so there's no way on earth that you can time the things. You just pretty much resign yourself to the fact that if there's a light you're gonna stop, period.

What has become painfully clear is that the Victory will punish that fuel gauge by a factor of 20%-25% if you make it stop every quarter mile or so and attempt to keep up with traffic in between so you don't get run over by some idiot that just can't wait to get to the next red light. Over the last couple of months my around town fuel mileage has crashed down to barely above 30 mpg with a high of 31.5 mpg. Keep in mind that this is "actual" mileage not the fuel totalizer on the dash.

When I got here I found an unbranded gas station that sold non-ethanol premium but after a few tanks of the stuff I came to the realization that the engine didn't like it much. I was getting a lot of very loud backfires on shifting and once in a while it would just conk out on me when I was letting the clutch out at one of the 3,500+ traffic lights around here. I was getting reasonable mileage (35-37 mpg) but I was really tired of the engine problems it was causing. I switched off to branded ethanol blend premium a few weeks ago and the backfiring and stalling issues immediately went away and so did the mileage. On the few occasions that I've gotten the bike out on the highway since we've been here the mileage is about what I'd expect, low 40's+.

If you've managed to make it this far in the post let me tell you that I'm not looking for suggestions, the bike is stock and it's gonna stay that way.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 10:34 AM
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Different gas during different times of year plus the ethanol factor will give the results you're seeing. In the summer months packing double fully loaded on my XCT stock 75mph I get 42mpg. This winter with the "winter blend" of gas I'm getting 38mpg. Last year in Colorado I got 51mpg religiously without the ethanol. In your higher altitude you should be using regular as that will return you better gas mileage. I only run regular with my bike and it's never pinged. When you came down to see level you will notice a rather surprising increase in performance as the air pressure is much denser thus giving your bike more oxygen to breath. Higher altitude will lower your compression ratio due to lack of air pressure. At 5,000 feet you've gone from 9.5 to 1 to about 8.5 to 1.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Whereas you probably "can" get away with running regular at higher altitudes I'd prefer not to try and out think the engineers on things like that. Just because you can't "hear" a ping doesn't necessarily mean you're not getting pre-ignition to some extent, especially under heavy acceleration and high advance. I've spent a number of years working for a small oil company in Wyoming and during that time I've learned a few things regarding fuels, especially what we refer to as "regular".

Regular in MT, WY and CO especially in the winter can contain up to 35% natural gasoline which is a byproduct of gas production and used to be flared off in the field simply because it didn't have much use due to it's low octane (appx. 65) and high vapor pressure. Nowadays it's used as a filler in regular fuels simply because it comes out of the oil field in a pretty much "ready to use" state. NG prohibited by federal law in premium fuels. Incidentally E85 fuels in the states mentioned above use 15% NG to render the ethanol a non-food product.

My reason for the original post was as an observation only. I'll trade crappy fuel mileage for the ability to actually ride year round down here. At least until I have to start using oven mitts to hang onto the grips.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 11:39 AM
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Foto Joe
were you doing the math for the mileage or using the bike gauge.
The university of Minnesota did a year long study on ethanol gas and found it Plautus the air more then gas all so found like you it takes more ethanol to dive across town then gas. They all so recommended to the EPA that all ethanol gas should be taken off the market.
We are lucky that we have EFI other wise we would need a handful of jets to re-tune our carbs to make it run right

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 12:08 PM
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Whereas you probably "can" get away with running regular at higher altitudes I'd prefer not to try and out think the engineers on things like that. Just because you can't "hear" a ping doesn't necessarily mean you're not getting pre-ignition to some extent, especially under heavy acceleration and high advance. I've spent a number of years working for a small oil company in Wyoming and during that time I've learned a few things regarding fuels, especially what we refer to as "regular".

Regular in MT, WY and CO especially in the winter can contain up to 35% natural gasoline which is a byproduct of gas production and used to be flared off in the field simply because it didn't have much use due to it's low octane (appx. 65) and high vapor pressure. Nowadays it's used as a filler in regular fuels simply because it comes out of the oil field in a pretty much "ready to use" state. NG prohibited by federal law in premium fuels. Incidentally E85 fuels in the states mentioned above use 15% NG to render the ethanol a non-food product.

My reason for the original post was as an observation only. I'll trade crappy fuel mileage for the ability to actually ride year round down here. At least until I have to start using oven mitts to hang onto the grips.
Good info on gasoline. Great to know.
Could you explain more about the natural gasoline. I guess it is used to get cheaper regular gas to light better at lower temperature but does it have less energy than normal regular gas stock? Would your mileage improve any by switching to premium in a cold climate regions during the winter? Do you think it would offset the increased cost?

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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VisionJohnny,

That silly fuel totalizer that is part of the computer system is about as worthless as a politicians handshake. I only calculate fuel mileage by hand although I do compare it to the computer. So far I've never been able to figure out a correlation between actual and what the computer thinks the mileage is.

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Originally Posted by Joe
Could you explain more about the natural gasoline. I guess it is used to get cheaper regular gas to light better at lower temperature but does it have less energy than normal regular gas stock? Would your mileage improve any by switching to premium in a cold climate regions during the winter? Do you think it would offset the increased cost?
Natural gasoline is produced during the separation of methane (natural gas that you burn in your stove), propane and butane as well as other light hydrocarbons and is mostly done at processing and compressor plants out in the oil fields. The average octane is around 65 and it has a boiling point of 115F. The typical vapor pressure is between 9 and 25 or thereabouts although it can be higher but seldom is high vapor pressure NG used for anything an consumer might get their hands on in raw form if ever.

Because of its low boiling point and relatively high vapor pressure it really isn't suitable as a motor fuel by itself, in an engine with a carb it easily vapor locks. When I was a kid my grandpa and I used to drive his old pickup out to the oil patch and fill up 5 gallon jerry cans with the stuff for a penny a gallon. He'd then blend it with Ethyl premium (97 octane) and run it in his pickup around town, the performance left something to be desired and did lead to a few walks home when it got hot out.

As I stated earlier, NG is nowadays used in certain regions as a filler in regular fuels. Processed NG from the oil fields is shipped to refineries in Denver, Billings, Casper, Salt Lake etc. to be used in blending of regular fuels both branded and unbranded plus to render ethanol to a non-food fuel. The company I work for ships tens of thousands of gallons of the stuff weekly to the above locations by truck and hundreds of thousands of gallons weekly travel by rail. I can't speak for other parts of the country but the area that I deal with uses a bunch of the stuff. Also as I said, it CAN NOT be used in premium fuels of any sort. The reason so much of it is used is that there's very little "refining" that has to be done to the stuff and it pretty much sells for about the same price as crude making it ready for blending at a very low comparable price to crude refined gasoline.

Back in the olden days it just wasn't financially viable to ship the stuff given that crude was so low in price. In todays world the oil companies will go to great lengths to cut production price and increase the bottom line, NG is one of the methods and has been approved by the EPA for this use although the public remains largely ignorant of its existence.

As far as your question about switching to premium in cold climates here again I'd have to defer to the owners manual and the engineers who spent countless dollars of the manufacturer to determine what is best for the engine. It always cracks me up that there are people out there who will try to outsmart the designers and engineers. Todays combustion chambers are extremely efficient and the old "wedge head" configurations have largely disappeared. The familiar "PING" that anybody who ever road a Harley knows about is rather uncommon and if you do hear it there is a substantial problem. Just 'cause you can't hear the little guy inside your engine beating it to death with a ball peen hammer doesn't mean he isn't there.

Personally, if a manufacturer recommends a specific minimum octane fuel I use that as a "minimum" octane for the engine. There are other things regarding premium fuels that would fill a book that regular doesn't have and since we don't run carbs anymore I have a tendency to error on the side of caution. I got tired of working on engines a number of years ago and I have no desire to replace things like injectors or valves because I decided that I was smarter than the company who spent millions of dollars designing a specific engine configuration to run on a specific fuel. I happen to trust the guys with the slide rules.

Now if you want to build a hot rod engine and push design limits then that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. The Victory 106 is nowhere near its design limits regarding horsepower and there's a lot of ways to play with it and those that chose to do so can have a lot of fun in the process. What I'm talking about in the above post though is those of us who chose to leave pretty well alone and live with the paltry 100+ horsepower than the bike came with.

There are probably those of you reading this who will take what I am saying as rather arrogant and maybe it is, it would be the first time somebody accused me of arrogance.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foto Joe View Post
VisionJohnny,

That silly fuel totalizer that is part of the computer system is about as worthless as a politicians handshake. I only calculate fuel mileage by hand although I do compare it to the computer. So far I've never been able to figure out a correlation between actual and what the computer thinks the mileage is.



Natural gasoline is produced during the separation of methane (natural gas that you burn in your stove), propane and butane as well as other light hydrocarbons and is mostly done at processing and compressor plants out in the oil fields. The average octane is around 65 and it has a boiling point of 115F. The typical vapor pressure is between 9 and 25 or thereabouts although it can be higher but seldom is high vapor pressure NG used for anything an consumer might get their hands on in raw form if ever.

Because of its low boiling point and relatively high vapor pressure it really isn't suitable as a motor fuel by itself, in an engine with a carb it easily vapor locks. When I was a kid my grandpa and I used to drive his old pickup out to the oil patch and fill up 5 gallon jerry cans with the stuff for a penny a gallon. He'd then blend it with Ethyl premium (97 octane) and run it in his pickup around town, the performance left something to be desired and did lead to a few walks home when it got hot out.

As I stated earlier, NG is nowadays used in certain regions as a filler in regular fuels. Processed NG from the oil fields is shipped to refineries in Denver, Billings, Casper, Salt Lake etc. to be used in blending of regular fuels both branded and unbranded plus to render ethanol to a non-food fuel. The company I work for ships tens of thousands of gallons of the stuff weekly to the above locations by truck and hundreds of thousands of gallons weekly travel by rail. I can't speak for other parts of the country but the area that I deal with uses a bunch of the stuff. Also as I said, it CAN NOT be used in premium fuels of any sort. The reason so much of it is used is that there's very little "refining" that has to be done to the stuff and it pretty much sells for about the same price as crude making it ready for blending at a very low comparable price to crude refined gasoline.

Back in the olden days it just wasn't financially viable to ship the stuff given that crude was so low in price. In todays world the oil companies will go to great lengths to cut production price and increase the bottom line, NG is one of the methods and has been approved by the EPA for this use although the public remains largely ignorant of its existence.

As far as your question about switching to premium in cold climates here again I'd have to defer to the owners manual and the engineers who spent countless dollars of the manufacturer to determine what is best for the engine. It always cracks me up that there are people out there who will try to outsmart the designers and engineers. Todays combustion chambers are extremely efficient and the old "wedge head" configurations have largely disappeared. The familiar "PING" that anybody who ever road a Harley knows about is rather uncommon and if you do hear it there is a substantial problem. Just 'cause you can't hear the little guy inside your engine beating it to death with a ball peen hammer doesn't mean he isn't there.

Personally, if a manufacturer recommends a specific minimum octane fuel I use that as a "minimum" octane for the engine. There are other things regarding premium fuels that would fill a book that regular doesn't have and since we don't run carbs anymore I have a tendency to error on the side of caution. I got tired of working on engines a number of years ago and I have no desire to replace things like injectors or valves because I decided that I was smarter than the company who spent millions of dollars designing a specific engine configuration to run on a specific fuel. I happen to trust the guys with the slide rules.

Now if you want to build a hot rod engine and push design limits then that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. The Victory 106 is nowhere near its design limits regarding horsepower and there's a lot of ways to play with it and those that chose to do so can have a lot of fun in the process. What I'm talking about in the above post though is those of us who chose to leave pretty well alone and live with the paltry 100+ horsepower than the bike came with.

There are probably those of you reading this who will take what I am saying as rather arrogant and maybe it is, it would be the first time somebody accused me of arrogance.
I have found that most motorcycle "Engineers" are not fuel engineers. When one can explain a motorcycle running 12 to 1 compression ration and the manufacture stating 87 octane and the other manufacture' bike running 9.5 to one requires premium I show you an engineer that isn't at the top of his expertise. Victory engineer's claim that the steering head bearings need service every 15K miles. All the shops have told me that's overkill. It's more of a time issue as to mileage issue. Lots of shops recommend pulling the O2 sensors to send the ECU into open loop so the mixture stays a little richer. Honda Gold Wing fuel injection is 3D with is calculating perceived knock or ping and auto adjusts to that threshold.

If these experts know better than anyone then why is there such a huge aftermarket for fuel processors and other performance parts? Manufactures will always take the "safe" way when their design parameters are not tightly controlled. Heck even my Kawasaki Nomad "required" 93 octane and it's not even available in California; only 91. That's how unknowing these engineers are. I know everyone thinks they are experts. Remember these engineers brought us the Cadillac V8-6-4 the worst designed engine on the planet outside of GM trying to convert a gasoline block engine to diesel with disastrous results. No expert there.

Victory's archaic fuel injection design along with the narrow band O2 Sensors (basically an on/off switch) cut some corners where a true variable timing 3D injector would have been state of the art. Therefore Victory recommends premium because some injection systems will not calibrate correctly and recommending premium will not expose the deficiency. I've pulled the 02's and ran regular since day one. Just changed my plugs after 25K miles on my CCT and they show perfect color. "hidden detonation" is very apparent on your plugs. Mine showed none.

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Russell Day Long Saddle.
7Jurock 14" tinted flip shield
Unplugged O2 sensors.
Stage one filter.
14" replacement ant.
Drag Specialties highway pegs.
Custom Pin-striping.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 08:35 PM
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When one can explain a motorcycle running 12 to 1 compression ration and the manufacture stating 87 octane and the other manufacture' bike running 9.5 to one requires premium
[/COLOR]
I think some of it has to do with liquid cooling and the way the head is designed.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 12:13 AM
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Joe,
Does NG have approximately the same btu as gas stock?

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2014 XC 8 ball that no longer stalls
1993 HD fxrp
1982 HD Sturgis
2009 Honda rebel
co owner
1991 gl1500 A w/ Champion Daytona 2+2 sidecar.
"God works both good and evil in a mans' life and you deal with it as best you can" Somebody..
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 05:57 AM
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I have kept a spreadsheet recording date/miles/gallons/station/octane/ethanol percent/ percent highway/1up or 2up and after 2.5 years and 8,000 miles I am at 42 mpg overall. I have had a few tanks as low as 30 mpg and a couple as high as 58 mpg but nearly every fill up is in the upper 30's to low 40's. Bike seems to do the same on both 93 and 89 octane (never tried 87). I live near a lake and have several mom and pop stations that sell ethanol free gas but looking at the numbers I actually have got less mpg on non-ethanol premium than I have on name brand premium with 10% ethanol. Safe to say I don't pay the extra 30 cents for the non-ethanol anymore.

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