RPM's and Fuel Mileage

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by Dr. Dolittle, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Occasionally I see threads about whether it's better to keep the engine revved up closer to the "sweet spot" or always seek to get it into 6th gear for better mileage. I rented an FLHT in San Francisco for the day Tuesday and decided, what the heck, it's a rental, let's experiment.

    I rode 215 miles of mixed type roads from VERY twisty to 80 MPH on I280. I intentionally never put it into 6th gear and spent the majority of the day between 3000 and 4000 RPM (I know Hobbit rides like this simply leaving his driveway!). I topped off the gas tank twice and guess what? Averaged 40 MPG both times. This is about what I get day in and day out on my FLHX so I was a bit surprised.

    Guess I'll be edging my riding style a little more towards the high revvers.
  2. STEVE07

    STEVE07 Well-Known Member Staff Member Super Moderators

    I find if I use sixth gear on a major highway(over 70mph.) my mileage increases to about 47mpg.
  3. Bud White

    Bud White Well-Known Member Retired Moderators

    only time i use 6th is 60 and above but mostly Expressway driveing .. but we have some long roads with no lights where you can cruise 55-60 for long streches
  4. Flashback

    Flashback Active Member

    hey doc you didnt mention how was the ride? did you get up 1 to Bodega or head somewhere else? With "very twisty" in there sounds like you made some part of 1 hehe. Hope you had a good ride.


    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Find that fifth gear on my five speed Sporty feels like the engine is actually lugging if it is engaged before 65mPH. Fuel mileage of around 47mpg is about average for both 4th and 5th freeway operation, as I am usually doing 65 mph and occasionally 70 mph (if long runs).

    Dr.Doolittle - I am with Flash...How was the ride in SF? What trail did you blaze (in 4th and 5th)? Any pictures?
  6. navyman

    navyman Member

    I don't usually shift to 6th until 75 mph or more.
  7. UglyJohn

    UglyJohn Active Member

    Here in Oregon, I rarely ever get into 6th gear except up toward the north part of I-5 near Salem where it's more flat. I hold the bike close to 3000 to 3200 rpm all the time and get over 45 mpg. When I get down to 2200 to 2800 rpm, my mileage goes down to 35 area.

    With that being said, my SERT is mapped that way so keep the motor cooler around town and side streets etc... more fuel, cooler bike. But out on the freeway or hwy, leaned out a bit...more air...keeps it cool, sort of. :newsmile025:
    Ugly John
  8. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Nope, weather was forecast to be moving in from the north so I headed south. Rode 1 out of town, cut over to Skyline Blvd through Big Basin to Santa Cruz. Lunch at Whale City Deli/Bakery then up 1 northbound until gas stop in Half Moon Bay. Backtracked south to 84 (I think) and took that over the ridge back into Redwood City and then super slab 280 back to SF.