7 Most Fuel Efficient Motorcycles (+ 10 Hogs to Walk Away From)
Wanna hear a joke?
Why did a motorcycle go to the doctor’s office? It was feeling a bit gassy.
I know, mama was right. I should stick to my two wheels and leave the comedy to someone else.
But what are some of the most fuel-efficient motorcycles on the market? What makes them run so lean and efficient? Is it the engine size, the quality build, or the type of magnesium frame they have?
After hours upon hours of nerdy work, I’ve broken it down to 7 of the best bikes in this regard. But I also picked 10 worst ones along the way, as well as some common misconceptions.
Most Fuel-Efficient Motorcycles — Quick List
You’ve probably heard about CBR250R or NC750/700X as the ultimate fuel-efficient motorcycle legends.
But these motorcycles will bring them to their knees:
- Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
- Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive
- Piaggio MP3 500
- Aprilia Tuareg 660
- Benelli Leoncino 500 Trail
- CCM Spitfire Bobber Stealth
- Royal Enfield Himalayan
All of them share one common trait – spectacular fuel efficiency. Their fuel consumption will, as always, depend on your riding style. But it often goes beyond 50 mpg. Riding them is way cheaper than riding a car or even hopping on the public transit.
Besides, fuel efficiency isn’t the only thing that makes them stand out in the enormous crowd of motorcycles. Reliability, quality build, and price are influencing factors putting these bikes in the spotlight.
What’s the Secret Sauce That Makes Them So Efficient?
To create a motorcycle with extraordinary fuel efficiency, manufacturers play assemble-the-Frankenstein with different parts. It’s a challenging task. Jumping through hoops of power-to-weight ratio, frame material, torque, and sub-mechanic physics is their everyday job.
But what makes these bikes unicorns of fuel efficiency? What’s the mysterious X part allowing them to last for miles without stopping for a gas refill?
The answer is, each model has its own secret. So let’s take a look under the hoods of each and every green hero of this story.
1. Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
A motorcycle praised among Moto Guzzi enthusiasts. With its air-cooled, 90-degree V-twin engine, power and torque delivery are unquestionable. I heard rumors some of them even call it the “100-year-old unstoppable Eagle“.
Seeing its 744cc engine sustaining more than 50 mpg and Brembo brakes, I now understand why. It’s a bike that’s easier to fix and work on than my granny’s old Rebel 300. The remarkable thing about V7 Stone is its fool-proof maintenance.
Removing head covers and adjusting the valves is done in seconds! With a built-in ECU, you’ll sleep soundly at night, knowing you won’t over- rev past 7200 rpm and blow your engine to smithereens. GuzziTech or WildGuzzi are extremely resourceful groups if you want to take things into your own hands in this case.
But how does it achieve such high fuel efficiency?
Here’s the trick: The fuel mapping with its stock exhausted is tweaked so much making the bike extremely quiet but efficient. To skyrocket the mileage, Guzzi riders modify V7 fuel mapping to match the performance of a new slip-on exhaust.
Result? Powerful, highly fuel-efficient, and nimble motorcycle.
2. Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive
“Is it a bird, is it a plane?” — “No, it’s an executive scooter!“
Maxi-scooter/tourer is the right motorcycle category for this legend. It’s a remarkable daily commuter with enormous amounts of storage and more than 50 mpg on a freeway at 70~75 mph. Think of Honda Gold Wing’s scooter cousin.
But what makes this scooter so executive and almost more valuable than gold?
Stripping the luxury plastic covers, heated grips, and powered windscreen, you arrive at the 638cc liquid-cooled engine. Powered by a fuel injection system with PAIR (Pulsed-secondary AIR-injection) and O2 feedback, it’s the poster child of fuel efficiency.
Fun Fact: Did I mention it has three different riding modes thanks to its SECVT (Suzuki Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission)?
Drive, Power, and Manual mode are like three sides of the same coin. Switch it, flip it, and ride it however you desire. Suzuki Burgman will execute your every decision.
3. Piaggio MP3 500
“It’s like Vespa, but with two shots of espresso,.” as most Italians would call it.
The Piaggio MP3 500 is like a motorcycle bulldog. It’s ugly but in a beautiful low-speed handling way. It’s one of those bikes that are quiet in the street, but once you open up the throttle, the engine roars with power!
Its 493cc engine brings 44.2 HP to the table aside from built-in ABS and ASR features. If you ever had to lay this three-wheeled bulldog down, the lean-sensitive immobilizer protects the engine by killing it in microseconds.
But how does this relate to fuel efficiency?
Piaggio MP3 comes with a secret riding mode at the push of a button – or more precisely, the ECO button. It’s what makes this motorcycle so fuel-efficient, ramping the 60 mpg mark. It transfers this four-stroke thumper into the CVT-gearbox-equipped fuel-efficient comfortable three-wheeled giant.
4. Aprilia Tuareg 660
It’s dirty, but better than a V-strom!Daily Rider on Aprilia Tuareg 660
Riding Tuareg gave me a mixed sense of feelings:
- It’s like African Twin but more lightweight
- Its power-to-economy exceeded my expectations
- It comes with all the electronic safety features bigger, heavier flag-ship ADV bikes have
- It’s cheap, brainless to ride, and versatile.
Makes you wonder – is it a sport-tourer, ADV, or a daily commuter?!
Truth is, it’s all of the above! With three different riding modes (Off-road, Urban, and Explore), three engine braking settings, three throttle map settings, and two ABS settings, this parallel-twin 79 HP powered Dakar-inspired beast is a force to be reckoned with.
Now you probably wonder – how many fuel checks do you need to write to ride one?
Aprilia Tuareg 660 plays a little trick on you. Weighting over 440 pounds, many adventure drivers think it’s just another fuel-eating ADV bike. That’s where they’re terribly wrong.
Tuareg goes past the 55 mpg mark, morphing its ADV capabilities into the perfect comfy daily commuter on the freeway.
It’s no surprise that’s awarded the top spot as the best ADV motorcycle of 2022 by the Daily Rider.
5. Benelli Leoncino 500 Trail
A perfect beginner bike that’ll top Rebels and CB500X. It’s a type of motorcycle that’ll make CBR500R owners run for their moneyYammie Noob’s commentary on this overlooked treasure
This perfect beginner bike comes with a parallel twin engine with torque-first emphasis. The 360 crank is what makes this motorcycle so distinctive from others. It’s that old-school engine feature many manufacturers have abandoned that brings soul and character.
It’s one of those motorcycles that’ll dust off any Ninja 400 in the mirrors.
Being called “little lion” in Sardinia, it’s a perfect mix of old-school and new moto tech. Coming with a built-in switchable Bosch ABS and EFI system at 48 HP, you’ll get the most bang for your buck with this nimble two-wheeler.
But that’s not all!
Leoncino 500 Trail goes past the 50 mpg mark. It’s a perfect water-cooled terrain-versatile bike any beginner rider will quickly fall in love with.
6. CCM Spitfire Bobber Stealth
How should I describe it – It feels like riding a bobber and flying a fighter jet at the same time.
It gives that mean fighting motorcycle look Keanu Reeves would ride in one of his John Wick movies.
With Mitsubishi’s fuel injectors, water cooling, parallel twin configuration, and 55HP, it’s a bobber that’ll make heads turn. Rolling with stock Marzocchi inverted forks and Brembo front brakes, this lightweight fighter jet of a bike is reaching the 60 mpg fuel-efficiency mark.
Plot twist: The CCM’s main goals were simplicity and authenticity. Every bike is manually assembled. Only 500 of these two-wheeled treasures rolled out of the CCM’s factory yard. Even though they are rare as Dinosaurs, their engine needs, not desires, more aggressive riding.
It’ll make you aware of its hunger for the road, despite its high fuel efficiency and comfort, Honda CB650F would only dream of.
7. Royal Enfield Himalayan
Royal Enfield Himalayan – an ADV poster child of the oldest motorcycle company in the world!
But what’s so special about this boring lightweight ADV besides its air-cooled 411cc SOHC engine?
Sure, it appeals a bit sexier with its switchable rear-wheel ABS unit and lower center of gravity. Add a juicy GPS invention like Enfield’s new Tripper GPS, and you have a cutting-edge techy bike. But that’s about it with this 24 HP dual sport bike.
Or is it?
Here’s the secret: Riding Himalayan gives you the most bang for your buck when hitting the dirt trails out of the bat. With its high ground clearance, better spoke wheels, and highly fuel-efficient engine (breaking the 65 mpg record), this motorcycle is the GOAT for beginner adventure riders.
Bonus: 10 Least Fuel-Efficient Motorcycles to Walk Away From
Those seven uncommon stars of motorcycle fuel efficiency paint a perfect picture of what to aim for in these harsh economic times.
But what are some of the fuel-eating two-wheeled monsters you MUST walk away from at any cost?
The infamous bikes are:
- Honda VTX 1300 (37 mpg)
- KTM 990 SMT (32 mpg)
- Yamaha FJ1200 (38 mpg)
- Triumph Rocket III Roadster (32 mpg)
- Honda Magna (38 mpg)
- Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 (28 mpg)
- Honda CM400T (34 mpg)
- Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max (32 mpg)
- Suzuki GS750 (32 mpg)
- Honda CB600F (42 mpg)
That’s quite a lot of fuel-hungry motorcycles! But what is the takeaway?
If you plan to enjoy the ride and save some gas money in your pocket steer clear of big CC motorcycles. Even with fancy, cutting-edge tech, these two-wheelers are fuel-chugging monsters. They are often heavy pieces of rolling metal that are not built with fuel economy in mind.
3 Misunderstood Facts About Fuel-Efficient Motorcycles
There’s an urban myth running in the world of motorcycles. It says that only small displacement bikes like 50, 125, and 250cc engines are fuel-efficient. Some of them skyrocket to 100 mpg marks. **Looking at Indian manufacturers.**
Here are 3 misunderstood facts many riders get wrong about fuel-efficient bikes:
- The bigger they get, the more fuel they need – Engine size isn’t directly related to fuel efficiency. Factors like frame material, gear ratio, type of wheels, and suspension play a vital role in how often you visit the gas station.
- Fuel efficiency doesn’t equal less powerful motorcycles – Just because they are running slightly leaner to meet regulatory norms does not mean those bikes are powerless. Using advanced tech manufacturers tricks the engine to produce high amounts of power while respecting emissions standards.
- Fuel-efficient bikes are dirt cheap – In today’s strict regulatory environment not so much. Sure, getting Himalayan or other Chinese motorcycle brand at pennies on the dollar is perfectly fine, but fuel efficiency comes at a cost. It’s not just the engine and technology that makes it run matters, but also the type of brakes, wheels, and frame that come with the bike.
Bottom Line: Are Fuel-Efficient Motorcycles Even Possible?
Five years from now, we’ll see an increase in fuel-efficient motorcycles. (And not because the industry genuinely cares about the environment, mind you!)
Manufacturers care about one thing – getting as many butts on two-wheeled leather seats as possible. To reach that goal, they are forced to produce more fuel-efficient motorcycles equipped with ABS, ASR, IMU, and all kinds of other assistive technology.
Till that moment comes, get yourself one of the seven superstar bikes of efficiency and enjoy the moment.
P.S. My two favorite ones are Aprilia Tuareg 660 and Benelli Leoncino 500. But keep it a secret. My editor is a hard-core Japanese motorcycle fan and isn’t fond of Italian wheelers.