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Yamaha has some serious explaining to do


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A couple of weeks ago, I took ownership of a 2015 FJ-09 with about 17,000 miles on it. Now, I love the bike, but I noticed immediately that the gas gauge was pretty wonky. When I filled up (I'm in the US and use 87 AKI gas without any ill effects), my first bar would disappear after 45 or so miles and I would be on "reserve" between 110-115 miles. I figured it was just a quirk of the bike; I'm good at math, and based on miles ridden compared to how much gas I was filling up (46 MPG for me, and this is more accurate than the bike's own MPG calculations) I knew that when I hit reserve I should theoretically have just under half a tank left.

Tonight I ran out of gas. I was at almost exactly 160 miles. I'm very lucky that this happened on a two lane road, where I was able to easily pull over, instead of the middle of one of the busy DC area highways where I live. Now, while I had been running on reserve for quite some time at that point, I knew I still should have had at least half a gallon left, if not closer to a gallon. So I of course was very confused and frustrated. I called AAA and had them come fill up the tank with a single gallon. Then I took the bike to a gas station maybe two miles away from that point. I didn't insert the nozzle all the way, thinking that maybe the sensor that stops the tank from being overfilled was too high in the tank. And while this did create a little spillage, I was only able to put in 3.2 gallons, maybe less due to the bit I wasted.

The math doesn't add up. That's around 4.2 gallons of gas, and Yamaha claims that this model holds 4.8. The bike is missing 12.5% of its tank! Where the hell did it go? Is this a case of significant false advertising on Yamaha's part? Sure, in a car missing 0.6 gallons isn't as big a deal, but that's nothing to sneeze at on a bike. Or is there some mechanical issue that could cause my bike to not use the full capacity of its tank?

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4.79 US gallons, no more including .69 reserve on 91 AKI if you like.

55k miles average 41~43 mpg unless pushing hard or into a headwind.  The other day I did 183 miles (on 91 E0) and put in 4.35 gallons; that's cutting it close because you can't use all 4.79.  Figure no more than 21 ~ 25 on reserve.

Can't explain your results.

Mine steps down from full to the next bar between 97 ~ 109 miles.

Some do (a lot) better (don't know how); others worse but you were not likely getting 46 mpg on 87.  Try again and just get the nozzle in a 1/4" and watch!

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Yes, the gas gauge is notoriously inaccurate. I typically see very little movement of the gas gauge until half the tank has been used, and then it drops very quickly after half a tank.

Something is wonky here. I have the Tracer 900 GT, but also had the previous 2020 FJ-09 and they were pretty much the same with respect to fuel economy and fuel gauge accuracy. I stop to fill my tank at about 170-190 miles, but have gone up to 200 miles without running out of gas more than a few times. (not sure I would want to go much further than 200 miles.) I get about 45 mpg consistently. So consistently, I rarely check the MPG anymore. I typically try to get gas at or before 200 miles. I'm not one to try and push the limits, but I have never run out of gas on either the FJ09 or the Tracer 900 GT.

I used to check the mpg every time I filled up, but I got tired of it always being the same (45-47 MPG)

As always, YMMV.......

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I'd have to ride in a near comatose state with a tailwind and downhill to get 45+ mpg even after a flash and calibrating the APS.

I've always chickened out to push on to 200 miles. As I said above, 4.79 gals is not actually available.  I've never verified if .67 is left when I went on reserve; as guage accuracy is suspect.

I once ran dry on my BSA Goldstar 500 1 jug inbound into San Francisco in 73 on the upper level of the Bay Bridge!  Talk about scary!  Though it was a great view.  Only ran out once since* a couple of years ago somehow on my VTR.  It gets great mileage, 33 if your not crazy, 28 if you are.  My 72 Kawi H2 Mach IV 750 triple gets that.  Some new bikes only get 33 ~ 35, like the MT-10.  Crazy IMO.

*Knock on plastic!   PooPoo!

Edited by 2and3cylinders
Didn't want to give myself a Inahorah
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You don’t mention what has been done to the bike.  Is it bone stock or is it modified with a flash, lower gearing , custom exhaust,  cut up intake path, etc?   All of which will effect mileage.

A stock FJ should. Get 50 mpg no problem.

Forget the gas gauge. Use the trip odo.

1968 Triumph Bonneville 650
1971 Norton Commando Roadster
2002 Harley 1200 Sportster
2003 Honda ST 1300
2016 FJ 09
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11 hours ago, DavidS said:

Yes, the gas gauge is notoriously inaccurate. I typically see very little movement of the gas gauge until half the tank has been used, and then it drops very quickly after half a tank.

Something is wonky here. I have the Tracer 900 GT, but also had the previous 2020 FJ-09 and they were pretty much the same with respect to fuel economy and fuel gauge accuracy. I stop to fill my tank at about 170-190 miles, but have gone up to 200 miles without running out of gas more than a few times. (not sure I would want to go much further than 200 miles.) I get about 45 mpg consistently. So consistently, I rarely check the MPG anymore. I typically try to get gas at or before 200 miles. I'm not one to try and push the limits, but I have never run out of gas on either the FJ09 or the Tracer 900 GT.

I used to check the mpg every time I filled up, but I got tired of it always being the same (45-47 MPG)

As always, YMMV.......

Yup this is pretty spot on for my GT as well, I don't ever ride like an old lady and typically get 48/50 MPG pretty regularly. Think the most gas I have ever put in was like 4.1 gallons? Yes the guage is not linear like it should be, it just drops like a rock for at half for me at around 100 miles, but find the consumption and average to be quite accurate.

Edited by Ride365
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This is fairly typical for my commuting miles. I've never had to gas up less than 180 miles, and that's downright abusing the throttle. 

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’70 Yamaha 125 Enduro; ’75 Honda CB360T; ’81 Yamaha XS650SH; ’82 Honda GL650 Silver Wing Interstate; ’82 Suzuki GS650L; ’87 Yamaha Virago 535; ’87 Yamaha FJ1200; ’96 Honda ST1100; ’99 Yamaha V-Star Classic; ’00 Suzuki SV650; ’07 BMW K1200GT; ’12 Suzuki DR200; ’15 Yamaha FJ-09.  Bold = current

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I find that I can fill the tank to the brim (bike on the side stand) and then look down and the level has dropped a lot as the fuel trickles into the side parts of the tank. I can play this game several times and get quite a bit more fuel in there,  but most times I can’t be bothered and just reset the odometer and start looking for fuel after around 100 miles.

Red 2015 Tracer, UK spec (well, it was until I started messing with it...)

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3 hours ago, maximo said:

This is fairly typical for my commuting miles. I've never had to gas up less than 180 miles, and that's downright abusing the throttle. 

IMG_20190729_074013334 (2).jpg

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Wow. I got to almost 200 miles once but I was 20+ miles into reserve and spooked enough to be riding in 6th gear at 50 mph at any opportunity. 

I'm old enough that trip meter = fuel gauge and I'm fueling up around 170 milles. 

I probably need to go ride the speed limit on the Natchez Trace so I can see 200 on the trip meter once. 

[Quote]A stock FJ should. Get 50 mpg no problem.[/quote]

No. Never. Not at any legal speed in any reasonable gear. I'd have to be riding 55 mph at most with zero acceleration to get that. Stock gearing. With or without bags. With or without windscreen. Summer gas. Kev's O2 controller. 

I can get 47 mpg at 70 on flat-ish steady riding but thay last 3 mpg would be hard. 

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2 hours ago, 1moreroad said:

Wow. I got to almost 200 miles once but I was 20+ miles into reserve and spooked enough to be riding in 6th gear at 50 mph at any opportunity. 

I'm old enough that trip meter = fuel gauge and I'm fueling up around 170 milles. 

I probably need to go ride the speed limit on the Natchez Trace so I can see 200 on the trip meter once. 

[Quote]A stock FJ should. Get 50 mpg no problem.[/quote]

No. Never. Not at any legal speed in any reasonable gear. I'd have to be riding 55 mph at most with zero acceleration to get that. Stock gearing. With or without bags. With or without windscreen. Summer gas. Kev's O2 controller. 

I can get 47 mpg at 70 on flat-ish steady riding but thay last 3 mpg would be hard. 

Petcock = Fuel gauge when Smiths speedo odometer didn't work on half of my Matchless and AJS.  Lucas, Prince of Darkness, 6 volt generator (not alternator) and their magneto ignition with reverse internal point "cam".

As I said, never more than 44 mpg and maybe that only twice in almost 55k miles.

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3 hours ago, 1moreroad said:

No. Never. Not at any legal speed in any reasonable gear. I'd have to be riding 55 mph at most with zero acceleration to get that. Stock gearing. With or without bags. With or without windscreen. Summer gas. Kev's O2 controller. 

I can get 47 mpg at 70 on flat-ish steady riding but thay last 3 mpg would be hard. 

It’s the O2 controller that’s doing that you know…. If you disconnect it, have a stock ECM and reconnect the O2 sensor you’ll probably rise to 50+ mpg. 

Any of these “Kevs O2 controller” or Ivan’s, or whichever one you buy off eBay - do the same thing:  trick the ECM in staying in open-loop FI and ignore the O2 sensor. Basically running rich at idle and part throttle positions. 
 

…Which makes the bike much nicer to ride, but kills your fuel mileage. 
HTH,

-Skip

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