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Classic newbie mistake

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by midlife, May 21, 2016.

  1. I'm pretty new to this riding life, but am embracing it as much as I can. Its so much fun to be out there on a lovely day and also fun to go out on the not so lovely days. However today wasn't much fun.
    Im still getting used to riding without a fuel gauge and I get paranoid whenever 200km clicks over and I fill up again. Not once have I needed to use the reserve switch. I always wondered though how far I could actually go before I finally ran out and today was the day to find out.
    I kitted up, checked the fuel (under a quarter tank left) and went out to a nearby town to smash down a coffee, pie and donut. The town is about 50km away so I thought "no worries here" let's do this.
    I was on my way back and about 5 km past a petrol station when the beast began to splutter. It was about 20km to home (but no petrol stations on the way), so I pulled over, flicked on the reserve switch for the first time and thought I was safe to travel the 20km home. Boy was I wrong. I got about 3 km down the road when it began to splutter again. Crap. A quick U-turn was done and I made a bee line back to the petrol station. Splutter, splutter and finally silence. Damn, still 6km away, now what .
    After a few false starts, I managed to roll and splutter about a km closer. Now do I call my non biker mates for a lift and cop abuse for running out of fuel. No, I thought I may as well push the beast 5 km back and fill up.
    Don't know if any of you have tried this but I don't recommend it. Especially if it's along a highway. After about 2km of struggle thoughts of ditching the bike and hitch hiking home were frequent as I shuffled forward.
    Out of nowhere I heard a beep beep. I didn't see any cars coming towards me so I ignored it. Again I heard beep beep. I turned around and there in a beam of sunlight was my new hero, pulled up behind me in his car with a jerry can in his hand. I nearly cried as he offered a few litres of premium for nothing and hung around to make sure all was well. If you're reading this and you rescued a newbie on the Penola Hwy today, then I thank you again and I hope to return the favour one day.
    Quick question for those who read this essay to the end, what sort of range could I expect from a 2013 GS500? I managed 280km including the reserve (which only managed about 4km on the highway ). Its a difficult question with a lot of factors to consider, but I thought it would have been further. Anyway lesson learned and from now on I'll fill up at 200km

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  2. How much does the tank hold ? and how many litres are you putting in when you fill up ?
  3. #3 cjvfr, May 21, 2016
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
    It is always nice to hear of someone willing to stop and help someone. Getting rarer and rarer now days.

    You should have got more than 3k on reserve. I believe it is a 20 litre tank, 17 litre in main and 3 litre reserve. Make sure you haven't got your Reserve and Main mixed up in the way the petcock switches.

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  4. #4 midlife, May 21, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2016
    It holds about 17L, but I've never filled from empty. Today it took about 14L at the pump, but my roadside hero had splashed in a few litres. Whenever I get to about 200km it takes around 10L to fill up. That's why I thought I could get further today. Oh well, I know better now.

    I was super thankful when he stopped. The number of cars that passed without stopping was pretty high. I was clearly in struggle town with a way to go. I'm sure the petcock was set right, but having never used it I could be wrong. I'll experiment again, but within sight of a petrol station this time
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  5. Yeah I would have thought that you should have gotten a few more than 3km's from the reserve.
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  6. I'd expect better than 250 before you need to switch to reserve, and that should get you another 50 at least.
    It does depend on the load and how it's being ridden though.
    Have a look for some gs500 forums that mention their fuel economy. There's also an economy / reserve tank chicken thread on here but I can't remember the name. Just search for GS500 and see what comes up.
  7. GS500 usually do somewhat better than that, particularly on reserve.
    I always run my bikes out of fuel when I first get them, I do it with a Jerry onboard to ensure I get to the next servo, and I then know how far after the reserve light comes on before I'm likely to be walking.
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  8. Does you bike have a trip meter?
  9. Hey midlifemidlife

    My gs500f would regularly get 300-330 before it started coughing and then another 20-40 on reserve.

    It is a 20L tank and reserve is about 3L, as cjvfrcjvfr stated.
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  10. #10 GreyBM, May 21, 2016
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
    You should be able to calculate an approximate range by topping up the tank and going for a ride and then noting how far you have gone and how many litres to fill up again,

    From that info you can work out how far you get per litre and from that how far you will get on a full tank.

    Most bikes have a reserve of about 4l So that should give some indication of how far to reserve. Personally I would be filling up about 50 Km before that but once in a while run to reserve to see that it all seems about right
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  11. I aim for 300-350 km on the GS500F for conservative mixed highway/urban riding however have rolled it on fumes and tailwind to 400.
    Saying that the bikes on the normal lean jetting and carbs well balanced, many people run them slightly richer for more performance which increases the fuel consumption quite substantially.
  12. It might be worth making sure the pickup screens are clear. It sounds like the reserve one could be blocked or damaged.
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  13. Hi midlifemidlife, I had a 2009 GS500F. It holds 20 litres. I would get 320km before reserve if I wasn't thrashing it. And would expect at least 30 to 50km from reserve, I found I was doing 3.5l/100km regularly, so the numbers you are getting seem not to be right, especially on reserve. Obviously any aggressive riding will reduce your range, and my riding was more often cruising around winding roads. You could also flick the reserve on the ride, just practice it while stopped, just behind the left knee. Obviously always remember to flick the reserve back at the servo, or next time you will actually be out of fuel. The only other trick I always did was to reset the trip meter upon refuelling. I still do it on my current ride, but it has a fuel gauge and 100km warning.

    If you continue to get low returns, maybe a little maintenance is required.
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  14. Thanks for the replies folks. I've only had my bike a few months and I'm still getting used to it. I have no idea if the carby was fiddled with before and being the type of person who gets confused with mechanical pencils, I wont be probing around to find out. I might be getting poor fuel economy at the moment as I'm still learning the gearing. I'm not as smooth as I want to be, but I'll get there. I should also get it serviced (it's done 20,000km), but the books tell me it was well looked after by the previous owner.
    I'll get the fuel lines cleared up too as there might be some schmutz in there somewhere. Fuel economy experiment #2 is underway and I'll post results. Thanks again. This is a really helpful communit
  15. Yep that sure sux, seems to be a very short distance to get on reserve. If you need, you can lay the bike on its side drain the fuel onto the side the fuel runs from and get just a little further... not that I have done this... this week just saying.
  16. I know that I can go about 360km on a tank on my bike - I learned this by riding from Tumut to Oberon via Taralga without refuelling one day.

    I also learned that I _never_ want to do that again! ;) I can't remember exactly when the low-fuel light came on (meaning that i'm down to the 4L reserve of a 16L tank), but on looking at my mobile phone reception I thought that I was in for a very bad evening indeed.

    These days, when I'm out and about, I like to stop in and refuel every 200-250km, though sometimes I'll push it to ~300km.

  17. I'm glad someone stopped eventually. Must not have been one motorcyclist in the other cars that passed.
  18. Carry a small jerry can with you and fill up your bike at a servo, ride as you normally would until completely empty and note the ks you did. Fill it up with your jerry can.

    My drz gets about 160ks to a tank, I'll usually fill it at about 130 to be safe.

    Happy riding!
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  19. Hi midlife, you say you usually fill up at the two hundred km mark and put 10 L in. So with a 20 L tank you should get close to 400 km including the reserve. This is pretty typical on the GS500, so I doubt that there is anything wrong with the fuelling but it really depends on how fast it's ridden and also if you're riding on the flat or uphills and if you have a headwind. The unfaired GS500 perhaps does a bit worse at highway speeds than the GS500F. I typically got over 350 km on a tank from my F but the worst I got was 270 and then found that there was no fuel feeding on reserve, so blockages and faults with reserve are pretty common and should be pretty easy to remedy at the next service. Even on the flat bikes are not fun to push and the more tired you get, the greater the chance of a stumble or trip putting you and the bike on the ground. Over that sort of distance I would have been hitching back to the servo for a can.