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Old 07-02-2016, 07:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
EcoModding Apprentice
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Cookeville,TN,USA
Posts: 118
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I came and rode in the 2014 AMA event in a mostly-stock 2014 Honda CTX700. I was hoping to do well and showcase what this bike could do compared to any other stock bike of any size class and hopefully my good result would challenge the theory that keeps being proclaimed at these events that streamlining (only in a specified way) and 20-28 horsepower-capable machines are the keys to winning the challenge and maximum mpg on a motorcycle. It should have already been noted that this assumption is not necessarily the only way to excel in PTW mpg, as Mr. Hayes has won many with a different body and 30-34 horsepower many times.

I was additionally motivated by the fact that a previous event in 2013 included another stock bike with the same engine as mine, but a different style version and a DCT automatic transmission with ABS brakes. I saw that at that event, that NC700X stock bike achieved 70 mpg, and I knew that I was regularly achieving 73-78 from tank to tank, mostly commuting around home and felt like I could come there, show what the modern Honda power train could do; show that it's not always necessarily about smallest possible displacement with the least necessary horsepower irrespective of the body, but that higher torque in the mid range, combined with being easy on the throttle, even with a heavier overall weight, can absolutely compete with the RPM screamers. I'm no physics-minded person, but it doesn't take a genius to consider that if you've got extra torque available at or about 3400 RPM at 60 mph (as long as the displacement isn't overkill), you're likely generating modest power to do equal work, equally efficiently as a machine that's working nearer to its capability.

The reason I feel it is important to illustrate this idea of another way to achieve economy is, with a bike like mine, with its 52 peak horsepower rated and 44+ peak foot pound torque, 90% of which is available from 3000-5700 RPM in a 500 pound curb weight package wet, if it can be shown that a lower revving machine with more torque and more usable power down low than the traditional, high revving mc machine, then this shows that the minimalist approach is not the only approach and that some riders may prefer the refinement aspects of these lower-revving machines. The problem is, until Honda came out with this engine from their automotive division, the only examples of torquey motorcycles were low tech and liter+ engines in very heavy packages and Fred's diesel. But I think that, maybe, everyone chalked Fred's success 100% to it being diesel and Fred's expertise.

But if I could find a way to show up at one of those events, do really well versus the other stock bikes and get that CTX700 bike highlighted, as was done in the 2013 Quail event and the NC700X @ only 70 mpg, maybe that would change the discussion about focusing on these smaller cc bikes as the only way to streamline and achieve 130+ mpg.

It took some saving and rescheduling, and some hardship, but I made it to the event. I stayed in a Motel 6 about 20 miles away from the meeting place to stay in budget. I worried a little about how E10 , possibly reformulated 87 gas may hurt my mpg versus back home. I debated about trying to come up with a bigger box to carry the groceries or just keep my 53-liter Dewalt tool box on there that always gives me everything I need in so far as luggage space, and I had to take along chain lube and lube the hard way for this long trip. In the end, I decided that I'm no carpenter and also in protest to the 4-bag grocery rule, I'd just ride the way I always ride accessory wise with a Madstad screen and my Dewalt box. I'd tuck when it made sense to tuck, and I felt I'd do very well. After all, the NC700X didn't carry the groceries and a fuss was made about it at the Quail event.

My result: During the ride, I was amazed at how slowly the fuel gauge was dropping as compared to back home. A streamliner rider asked me how it was going. I replied conveying my amazement. This was going to far exceed my best ever; obviously attributed to the tucking, because I'd been on slower charity rides back home and had never exceeded 83 on a single tank, and that was on pure gasoline.

Back at the gas station, I filled up, did the math based on my trip meter, and I came up with nearly 97 mpg. This was going to blow the event leaders away. There would be a group of pictures and quotes, etc., etc. There was going to be lots of questions about how this was possible? The official results put my number even higher; almost 102, as the distance used was higher than my measurement

I talked to Craig, Fred, Allan and others. It was known by many how well I did. They seemed impressed. I crashed in Columbus, OH on the way home getting in to some loose pavement pebbles that were unseen near the shoulder of the interstate. I limped back in hurting more and more as I went. I sent emails to Craig and others telling about how I enjoyed meeting everyone and my big mishap back home. Craig replied and stated that they were going to post some things about my accomplishment.

Nothing ever happened. My results were posted indicating that I got a whopping 20 mpg above the next-highest stock bike and only about 1.5 short of Craig's streamlined Helix that's reportedly 16 horsepower versus my 52 horsepower vehicle.

Now it may seem as if I'm whining but I'm not. I'm suggesting that, going forward, these events should get back to more openness to promoting and/discussing technologies and techniques and less about what has already been shown over and over with these 250 cc streamlined machines. What Allan, Vic, and others are doing is truly amazing and should not be minimized and they are great guys doing great things, but there are other styles and ways of achieving amazing results, and if I had some mechanical skill and were financially able, and if I didn't think my spouse would kill me, I'd streamline and show that a streamlined bigger bike could absolutely compete with the big boys (figuratively speaking), although probably around the 500 cc range with the same engineering would likely maximize the higher torque theory of efficiency in a NA, automobile-style gas engine.

I healed and fixed the bike and then began riding again October 2014 only to crash a second time in November 2014, but this time in an unavoidable crash caused by a cager pulling right out in front of me and another cager. I fixed the same damage the second time and healed a little more slowly in this higher speed layover, but this time decided to sell and quit riding. But after one-and-half years with my amazing bike not selling, I'm riding again. New tires, adjusted for trip meter error, achieving more than 75 mpg so far. The only negatives of this bike is that there are competitors out there with more stopping power, which is suddenly more important to me now, and it drops mpg excessively in cold weather; down to mid sixties dead of winter.

Anyway, it's great being back, and I'll be keeping up again with mc eco maximizers with keen interest.
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