Fuel Mileage poll

Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Fuel Mileage poll

Post by DougR » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:02 pm


I recently purchased a 1990 1500SE. I took it on it's first trip traveling from sea level to 8000 feet and back, riding two of us.

I got 37mpg. Is this reasonable? Most miles were at 65mph, but 20 miles were first gear, riding a rut with snow on either side...that was fun.

What should I expect for one up and two up highway mpg?



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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by robb » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:40 pm

I would smile and carry on.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by starfleetengineer » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:27 pm

I would think you should get better then that. 20miles shouldn't kill your mileage that much. The higher alt. might have some thing to do with it, but being computer controlled you should do better. My 84 GL 1200 with 2 of us gets around 40mpg depending on speed and traffic. give her a few more tests and see what happens.
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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by robb » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:22 am

Read this post for what others have to say. When riding 2 up with friends we are usually 150 pounds less weight than the others and it shows in fuel milage. Lots of variables but 0-8000 feet is a big difference and 37 mpg is in bragging range giving the 1500's size and weight.


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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by dingdong » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:38 am

The only times I check the mileage on my 93 is when the wife and I are together on a trip. We usually ride 75mph when on the hwy. I get, on average, 32 to 35 mpg. When we pull the trailer the mpg goes down to about 27 to 30. Riding in the mountains and twisties my mileage increases to 40 and above. Once when riding with my brother (1800) and a friend (Harley Ultra Classic) all riding two up on a 400 mile circuit through Montana and Idaho I got 48mpg on the 1500 my brother on the 1800 got 49mpg and the Harley got 51 mpg. Most of this was 25 to 60 mph through the twisties and mountains.
I would say you are where you want to be at 37mpg.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by skier » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:19 pm

I went on a 235 mile ride last Sunday, doing 65-75mph on state highways and interstate, mostly flat terrain. One up, 44mpg on an 87 gl1200, 106k on the clock. I think you are where you should be.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by mrmikey » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:55 pm

'96Asp, one up, 110kph average 38-40Imp mpg....Mike
1996 Aspencade

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by sideout94 » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:16 am

I average 35mpg on my '88 riding 1-up most of the time. I dont worry about it to much as it wouldn't matter what I get I am still going to ride just for the fun and enjoyment.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by paulr » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:20 am

Keeping under 3,000 revs,one up 40mpg for 1500, and 50 mpg for 1200 ,i would say the mileage you got doug was pretty good for the conditions :D

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by NKYWinger » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:15 am

'83 Aspy 1 up, usually high 30's

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by thirdstorybase » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:37 pm

87 interstate getting 42 mpg riding over 100 miles a day back and forth to work

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by Captain422 » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:29 pm

This past weekend I did 420 miles on an '88 GL1500 riding 2 up and saddlebags carrying overnight gear. Most of the trip was between 35 mph and 70 mph with rolling hills. I averaged 37.5 miles per gallon. I don't know if that is above or below average, but I was satisfied with it.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by TheBushman » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:20 pm

With this custom made Flexit unit I make 210kms with 18.1L. Not too bad.!!??

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by virgilmobile » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:33 pm

I've got a 1200.When it gets low ,I put in gas.I don't care about mileage.It gets what it gets.
I got this bike to ride it not agonize over how much gas it takes to go down the road.If it were my only transport then maybe,but it's a pleasure ride.I will never put a dollar sign on that.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by Shiny » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:02 pm

With my 1500 I get right in the low 30's for milage. Solo or 2 up with a trailer, it's always about the same. My 1100 got me up to 40 mpg.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by Hrai » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:18 pm

I get an average of 40 MpG with 1500.


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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by mainship87 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:41 pm

My 1995 1500 SE is generally in the 38mpg range when doing the twisties in Tennessee and small town errands. Have not had it long enough to test the long open road mileage. I am satisfied to be able to ride at 70+ years regardless. If the mileage went lower would probably check air cleaner, fuel filter and maybe balance the carbs.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by riolocodude » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:35 am

2000 1500se getting around 35mpg riding 1 up averaging 65-75mph 50/50 hwy/city. I think you are good on your mpg's.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by coldcanuk » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:20 am

Got a 1990 myself. Most of my riding is in the 2000-3000 foot level, 1 up and around 65 mph. 38-40 mpg is the range I get. Have never received a large increase by using Premium fuel, so use regular most of the time.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by rndvanderbilt » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:46 pm

I get between 33 and 36 MPG riding 1-up, 32-33 MPG riding 2-up, and down to 30 when I'm pulling the fully-loaded Bushtec trailer. 37 is good.
Stay upright.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by brettchallenger » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:53 am

Hi all

I get high thirties per gallon (US) but that tends to be on start/stop journeys because of our crowded roads in the UK. At an equivalent of $8 per (US) gallon it can get a tad expensive.
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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by bobilldo » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:27 am

89' 1500, w/4 degree trigger wheel 27k. on the clock w/ 265 pound Hannigan sidecar. 1 up, no passengers = about 20 mpg. ..... Help !!! Any suggetions are appreciated. ..... The Honda shop said that I don't need a tune-up or a carbjustment.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by virgilmobile » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:49 am

bobilldo wrote:89' 1500, w/4 degree trigger wheel 27k. on the clock w/ 265 pound Hannigan sidecar. 1 up, no passengers = about 20 mpg. ..... Help !!! Any suggetions are appreciated. ..... The Honda shop said that I don't need a tune-up or a carbjustment.
It seems the average is around 35 mpg average( my 88 is at 34mpg)
Stock bike,one rider.A few variables move the mileage up and down a bit....
For you,if you really want to compare,remove the side car and test the bike under the same conditions as every one else.
See if it runs up the gas mileage or is still low.
This will tell if your 20 mpg is bike related or side car related.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by Wingsconsin » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:51 am

This answer will be based on my experience on my '96 GL1500 and the 100K miles I have put on it personally.

Miles per gallon is a moving target on daily basis but an overall average can be established over time if one tracks things regularly. I happen to be one of of those kind of people who monitor MPG all th etime as I consider it a way to discover a problem in state of tune shold one arise. My riding is 99% solo. My Wing has a Tall Tulsa widshiled and NO wind wings. I am 300lbs and carry the usual stuffin th bags like rain gear, tools, maps, junk... The 1500 is sensitvie to aerodynamic drag (which I will expound on later)

My daily commuting trips consist of mostly 45 MPH roads with some stop & go thanks to stop signs, red lights and a railroad crossing. This type of driving usually nets me about 37-38 MPG. The trip is about 15 miles one way - twice daily all summer long.

On the country roads near my home joy riding the speeds are generally 55 MPH with few stop signs. Rolling hills and swerving sweepers are the trail du jour on these rides all around the speed limit. My experience shows I average about 42-44 MPG on these type of rides. Solo riding with not a lot of weight on the bike. When I am running cross country on the side highways (not interstate) I can usually see aroung 45 MPG but have seen as high as 50 MPG (twice) riding across the great plains and as low as 35 MPG when faced with a stiff headwind.

On the INTERSTATE I can elect to ride one of 2 styles...
Running at 67-68 MPH I stay at or near but under the 3000 RPM mark. Many feel that is a magic number for RPMs that yields the best MPG. While it is a sweet spot for making MPGs - I do not think it is the RPMs that are the consderation. It is more likely in my opinin that the 3000 RPM mark is where the bike find the aerodynamic drag overcoming its ability to efficiently make HP and deliver forward momentum. When I am riding at this speed I wiil see typically 37 MPG but sometimes as low as 32 MPG depending on wind direction and speed (adding aerdynamic drag). I can also choose to run it at 73-75 MPH which should yield typically poorer results but my experience shows I still get 35 MPG at that speed while running 5+ MPH faster...Show I chooce to cover miles and stop for gas more often.

In the mountains -
I have had the good fortune to ride in the Rockies a lot and the Smokies a bit too.
At elevation my MPG ALWAYS increses dramatically. And interstingly my RPMs often do NOT figure into fuel efficiency. I have riden probably 7500 miles in the mountains doing what I call "canyon carving". That is when we find a canyon road and run down it as fast as we can and turn around and run back up .. Often these roads have speed limits in the 30 MPH range and I find I am using 2nd & 3rd gear a lot while keeping the RPMs above 3000... :o I find I have a better control of the bike when I am aggressively on the throttle out of turns and using engine braking into them and the 1500 makes some significant HP at 3500 RPMs (Try it...you will see ;) ). However ; after a day of beat running like this I can still find my bike delivering 40+ MPG. WHich is a combination of altitude and efficiently overcoming aerodynamic drag.

My riding buddy an dI have covered most of these miles together.
He on either his old '88 1500 or his newer '00 1500. I will compare to the '00 as that is the bike most often used.
Our bikess are nearly the same set-up.
Highway Pegs, Mick-o-pegs, Custom seat, driving lights, GPS mounts, drink holders, eetc. etc.
There are 2 main differences -
He has an F4 Windshield (less aerodynamic than my Tulsa Tall) and Wind wings (more drag than my no wings)

I CONSISTENTLY get 3 MPG better under ALL conditions as we ride ; and we have covered 25,000+ miles together easily.

Aerodynamic Drag is a MAJOR factor in MPG. I do not recall the formula for calculating drag force effiency but it is something like the drag increases at the rate of the speed squared...(?) Therfore doing things to reduce drag is important. Further riding 2 UP affects the HP/Weight ratio complicating the process even more.

So - to address your exact situation...It is what it is...but you have established a base line under certain conditions. SHould your bike differ in performance dramatically from that baseline under similar condistions you may consider that a warning sign that soemthing need attention. However 1 tankful is not a large enoough sampling to cull information from...you need a repetitive pattern to establish this as a trend.


Postings are my opinions based on experience and acquired knowledge.
Your results may vary. Universal disclaimers apply.

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Re: Fuel Mileage poll

Post by bellboy40 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:26 pm

Wingsconsin had a good post above about his experience with fuel mileage. I have had very similiar experience on my own 1500. I am usually riding solo with no trailer. When traveling on long trips my riding buddy and I generally avoid the interstate if possible except for a few relatively short intervals. I usually average around 40 mpg at highway speeds when riding around 65 mph or so. When riding in the mountains I have found my fuel mileage also increases, which I also attribute to the slower speeds involved. When riding around locally on the two lane country roads with little traffic or stop signs and at leisurely speeds (40-60 mph) I will get anywhere from 44-48 mpg.
So to sum up, your fuel mileage will vary depending on a lot of factors. If you are going for good fuel mileage the best thing you can do is keep the speed down. That wind drag is a killer on fuel mileage.

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