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My bike has one. It's nice, but not as accurate as I'd like it to be. It says I am empty when I have at least 40 more miles of travel before I need to hit reserve on the petcock.

My guesses as to why most bikes do not have them ... It is another "thing" that takes up space and good go wrong on a bike. OR that most tanks don't hold much more then 4 gallons. And their thought is ... 4 gal. 40 miles to gal. equals 200 miles. and most folks stop before that and grab a cup of coffee or bite to eat.

Those are just a guesses though.
 

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I can take it or leave it. I reset my trip meter when I refuel and know when I get over 100 miles it's time to start looking. I know it's good for at least 120 miles but I don't like to take chances. There's always reserve if needed.
 

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I use my trip meter also. Most gauges use a float, which is rocked up and down by the gasoline sloshing in the tank. Also given that the tank cross-section is not uniform along the vertical axis and that the tank is rarely ever perfectly level, there is bound to be lot's of error. My gauge on the Harley is pretty accurate above the half tank mark, after that it bounces around a lot.
 

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I have never needed a fuel gauge on a motorcycle. I know what the approx range is and if need be the cap is right there in front of me... remove it and take a peek.
 

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Like Scrumdown my tank is bottom heavy 40 mi after it hits empty. I just hit a gas station once a week on my way to the market.
 

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My 650 didn’t have one and I’d just use the trip meter as well. The new RSV has one, but I’m curious if the accuracy. I log my MPGs so I’ll likely still use the trip meter.
 

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My 1100 does not have one. My R1200RT does. I kind of like having one since my mileage can vary a lot, and using the trip odometer on the V-Star has left me worrying at times about remaining miles in the tank when out for a ride in unfamiliar and somewhat remote places.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
i hear a lot of people that are used to compensating for not having a fuel gauge. of course we use our trip meters and know our bikes' ranges. we don't have much of a choice otherwise. take the fuel gauge out of your cars and trucks for a while and see how forgiving you are of not having such readily available technology. doesn't the fact that some bikes do have them, and have been able to have them for decades make you question why this simple thing is still such a luxury item for most of us?
 

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I had an old Mustang once. Late in its life the fuel gauge/sender stopped working. I used to try to judge how much gas was in the tank by mileage, or backing up and hitting the brakes to listen for the sound of the sloshing gas (yeah, not too scientific or accurate). As a cash-strapped college student, I also did not typically have enough cash to fill the tank which made the mileage tracking approach difficult. Not a problem now as my fortunes have improved.

Even with both methods, there was always some uneasiness of running out of gas. And I did, just once, but I was also very conservative on my estimates. Kind of "OK" when in a car with a 10+ gallon tank as I was in school and did not have to fill up often, plus I was usually always close to the local town.

So, yes, I question, "Why this simple thing is still such a luxury item for most of us?"
 

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The way I see it the difference between cars and motorcycles is that with a car you can't just pop the fuel cap and see how much fuel you have in the tank. Granted there are exceptions in both cases but that has been the general rule for a long time. I don't see a fuel gauge as a luxury worth having on a motorcycle with a conventionally mounted fuel tank. To me it's as unnecessary as navigational systems, audio systems, tire pressure monitoring systems and other luxuries that have become the norm on many vehicles... things I can easily do without and chose not to have.
 

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Well, my SVTC not only has a “gas gauge”, but dual trip meter AND it will give you estimated mileage range based on CURRENT driving speed.
For those of you used to having to switch to “Reserve” this is important.
What the computer does is MAKE SURE you have 50 MILES remaining when the fuel light comes on. It looks at your driving speed and fuel usage and calculates what that point is. Driving fast or aggressively it may come on while you’ve still got 1.5 gallons left. Driving more conservatively it may come on when you’ve only got 0.6 gal left.
The bottom line: it makes sure you have 50 miles till empty when the fuel light comes on.
Don’t ya just LOVE technology?!! ?
 

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I could be mistaken on this: I always had the impression that most motorcycle gas tanks straddle the frame tube down the center, so you end up with two sides, which you cannot drain with a petcock connected at the bottom of just one side.

If that is correct, then vintage bikes always had a pseudo reserve function simply because you needed to drain the fuel from both sides of the saddle shaped fuel tank. Putting a petcock to switch from one side to the other has the added advantage that when the main side runs out, you have about 20 to 25% of you main tank range left.

So you look at your trip odo when the main runs dry, divide by 4 or 5, and thats how many miles you have left before the other side runs out.

Cars have never been designed this way in any significant numbers, so for motorcycles its just a legacy thing: thats how you ride a motorcycle. No need for a fuel gauge.

The only real drawback for running on the main tank until it sucks air, then switching over, is it could start sucking air just as you are pulling out in front of a tractor trailer...

I know my 650 always runs out on the main tank around 200 miles, so I switch it over around 190.
 

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The only real drawback for running on the main tank until it sucks air, then switching over, is it could start sucking air just as you are pulling out in front of a tractor trailer...
I had the "main" tank go dry the other day. I was in a curve & with cars behind me.
FUN!
So I had to shift to neutral, so I could reach down & switch the petcock to reserve. Then I was able to start it & get going again.
Always fun to lose power in a turn, with cars on your rear end.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

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^ thats what cost John Denver his life - airplane ran out of fuel on one tank, he had to reach behind his seat to switch to the other tank, after the engine had already cut out.

Put the plane into a spin and did not recover.
 

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This was the first time it straight up cut out on me. Usually it will putter h let me know its "losing gas".
But, now that i think about this. I was in a right hand curve. So it kinda makes sense. Petcock is on the left hand side.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

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The early Volkswagens did not have a fuel gauge. The tank had a reserve and the switch was activated with your foot. My 660 classic does not have a fuel gauge and I live in a region where there are areas where there are no gas stations. So far, I have not felt the need for a gas gauge.
 

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I have a boat with an inboard/outboard motor. It's 30 years old. After the 1st 10 years, the float kinda got saturated so a full take showed 3/4 on the gauge. I always felt like I could run down to 'E' and still have about 1/4 tank left. Well after being towed back to the dock twice, I found a new sending unit was like $20. Inside square tank with sending unit easy to access. I don't think I could live without a gauge on my boat. My 1st bike was a Suzuki Savage LS-650. No odometer. I bought a cheapo bicycle odo and strapped it to the handlebar. It worked well and taught me to reset after each fill-up. I have no issues with my 1100. I try to fill up before having to move to the reserve but it has sputtered for me and I was able to reach down and switch to reserve. Not sure how it would be if it completely cut off on me.

Seem all kinds of ideas on fuel gauges. If you really think you need a gauge, you could do something like this:

 

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[quote

Seem all kinds of ideas on fuel gauges. If you really think you need a gauge, you could do something like this:

[/quote]

Many snowmobiles use a system like that to indicate the quantity of gas in their tanks.
 

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Any new touring bike is going to have what chiefgunner has. Fuel gauge as well as estimated miles. I think the answer is simply there is no need for most people. Plus most non-touring bikes last 120-200 miles on a full tank and that is usually when someone is going to take a break if they are touring. This kinda allows you to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. It is also extremely hard without quite a lot of technology to be accurate because of the lean of motorcycles vs cars that stay level.
 
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