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Top 10 most economical new bikes

With the cost of living rising the fuel consumption of new bikes has never been more significant – but which are the most economical new machines available?

Phil West

Words by: Phil West

Published on 4 April 2023 | 0 min read

Historically, the fuel efficiency of most bikes has never been thought of as that important – not anymore. Whereas in the past, most bikes were reckoned to return around 40-50mpg depending on size and use no-one paid that much attention to the minor differences. Besides, everyone knew a 1000cc sportsbike would return 35-45mpg, a 125cc commuter upwards of 80mpg and so on.
But with fuel prices now higher than ever and the rising cost of living biting into everyone’s disposable income, the fuel efficiency of bikes has come under the spotlight. In short, if you’re buying a new bike, the one that’s the most fuel efficient in any particualr category, whether that be superbikes, touring, adventure or even A2 learners, is more important than ever. But which are the best? Here are our picks…

10. Most economical super naked – Suzuki GSX-S1000, 43mpg average

By this reckoning, these are the most ‘thirsty’ motorcycles you can buy due to their combination of superbike-derived engines and un-aerodynamic postures or riding positions – but some are better than others. Although impressively potent, Yamaha’s crossplane crank engined, four-cylinder MT-10 comes last (32mpg average), followed by Aprilia V4 1100 Tuono (33mpg), Triumph’s new Speed Triple 1200 RS (38mpg) and Honda’s CB1000R (41mpg). Top of the tree is Suzuki’s recently-refreshed GSX-S1000S, priomarily due to its older, GSX-R1000K5 engine being longer stroke than most and thus lower revving and more fuel efficient.
Find a Suzuki GSX-S1000 here.

9. Most economical superbike – Ducati Pangigale V2, 44mpg average

OK, we admit, buying a performance-focussed bike with an eye on fuel economy is a bit of an anomoly: the main criteria, after all, will be performance, specification and speed, none of which bode well for miles per gallon – but it still makes interesting reading. Of the leading models, in ascending order, the ranking is as follows: Yamaha R1 (31.4mpg), BMW S1000RR (36mpg), Ducati Panigale V4S (37mpg), Kawasaki ZX-10R (38mpg) and Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (41mpg). All of which leaves the Ducati Panigale V2 top, with a 44mpg average. Why? It’s the only twin cylinder bike in the bunch, the others all being high-revving (and thus high fuel-consuming) fours…
Find a Ducati Pangigale V2 here.
Ducati Pangigale V2
Ducati Pangigale V2

8. Most economical touring bike – Yamaha Tracer 900GT, 44mpg average

Again, we admit this is a slightly contentious call. Usually, when it comes to dedicated touring machines we’re thinking of bikes like BMW’s brilliant R1250RT or Honda’s Gold Wing, but the Tracer, complete with panniers, touring screen and more certainly is a dedicated ‘sports-tourer’ and, thanks to its smaller 900cc three cylinder engine, tops this category. Otherwise, perhaps unsurprisingly, the reverse order is: Honda GL1800 GoldWing (38mpg average), BMW’s six-cylinder K1600GT (42mpg), Suzuki’s popular GSX-S1000GT (43mpg) and then, equally, BMW’s class-defining, twin cylinder boxer powered R1250RT (also 43mpg).
Find a Yamaha Tracer 900GT here.
Yamaha Tracer 900GT
Yamaha Tracer 900GT

7. Most economical big (1000cc+) adventure bike – BMW R1250GS adventure, 46mpg average

One of the most popular, best-selling categories of all, due to these bikes’ unique combination of versatility, performance, long-legged touring ability and sophistication, so economy could be an important factor. So it’s also interesting to discover that not only does one of the best, most recent and potent additions, Ducati’s brilliant, 170bhp, V4 Multistrada, is also, perhaps predictably, the thirstiest while, at the other extreme, the perennial best-seller, BMW’s comparatively underpowered 134bhp, twin cylinder R1250GS, comes out top. Here’s the ascending order: Ducati Multistrada V4S (36mpg average); Triumph Tiger 1200 (41mpg), KTM 1290 Super Adventure (32mpg), Honda CRF1100 Africa Twin (44mpg), Suzuki DL1050 VStrom (45mpg) and BMW R1250GS (46mpg) – although, admittedly, it’s close!
Find a BMW R1250GS adventure here.
BMW R1250GS adventure
BMW R1250GS adventure

6. Most economical middleweight sports bike – Honda CBR650F/R, 52mpg average

Moving down the ccs into the middleweight category we start off with sports bikes as the least economical in the sector, although, with the demise of four-cylinder supersports such as Honda’s CBR600RR and Yamaha’s R6, it’s better than it was. Becaiuse of their demise, it’s also one of the smaller current categories, with only three bikes included here, although all are recent additions and prove its growing popularity.Bringing up the rear is Yamaha’s delectable, lightweight, fine handling MT-07-derived R7 (48mpg average) followed by Aprilia’s similar RS660 (49mpg) and Honda’s CBR650R which, although a four-cylinder, is in a lighter state of tune than the more recent twins and, we expect, likely to be ridden more gently.
Find a Honda CBR650F/R here.
Honda CBR650F/R
Honda CBR650F/R

5. Most economical middleweight roadsters – Suzuki SV650, 55mpg average

Middleweight ‘nakeds’ or roadsters come next up the mpg pecking order by virtue of not being as extreme as a middleweight sportster – or likely to be ridden as hard – but also suffering from a lack of aerodynamic fairings and weather protection. Bringing up the rear (although not by much) is Triumph’s otherwise brilliant, three-cylinder Trident 660 (48mpg average) followed in turn by Kawasaki’s Z650 twin (also 48mpg), Yamaha’s brilliant, lightweight best-selling twin, the MT-07 (51mpg) with, coming out top, Suzuki’s aging but still good, affordable and slightly lower-powered SV650 twin.
Find a Suzuki SV650 here.
Suzuki SV650
Suzuki SV650

4. Most economical ‘retro’ roadster – Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, 58mpg average

Retro-styled roadsters, bikes styled like historic classics from the 1950s and 1060s but with modern engineering, have also become hugely popular in recent years for their combination of easy, gentle riding, heritage character and affordabilty, which might mean their fuel consumption is an important consideration, too. One of the most recent best sellers has been Royal Enfield’s all-new, air-cooled 650cc twin cyling Interceptor roadster (plus its Continental GT café racer variant and, with an easy 47bhp, it also comes top in terms of fuel economy. Of the others, Moto Guzzi’s comparitively ‘old tech’ and now 850cc V7 fares worst (50mpg) followed by the 1200cc, more powerful T120 version of Triumph’s Bonneville (51mpg) then the smaller, 900cc, 59bhp T100 version (52mpg).
Find a Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 here.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

3. Most economical middleweight adventure bikes – Honda NC750X, 64mpg average

Another slightly ‘leftfield’ choice. Middleweight adventure bikes have become hugely popular in recent years for delivering much of the versatility of their full-sized siblings but in a more affordable, manageable package. They also, generally, offer better economy than other middleweights due both being faired, often having less power and also likely to be ridden less hard than ropadsters or sportsters. Top dog is Honda’s NC750X which, although less ‘pure’ adventure than some (it’s no real off-roader, more just adventure ‘style’ is very economical by virtue of its softly tuned, low revving, parallel twin engine – but it’s still a great all-rounder cum commuter. Of the rest, KTM’s relatively hardcore 890 Adventure trails in last (45mpg average) followed by Triumph’s three cylinder Tiger 900 (46mpg), Yamaha’s MT-07-derived 700 Ténéré (53mpg), Suzuki’s SV650-based VStrom 650 (54mpg) and BMW’s impressively economical F850GS (58mpg).
Find a Honda NC750X here.
Honda NC750X
Honda NC750X

2. Most economical A2-licence class bike – Royal Enfield 350 Meteor, 80mpg average

The A2 learner licence category by definition limits riders to 47bhp which in turn dictates that bikes are smaller capacity and therefore likely to be more fuel effcient than larger bikes. Royal Enfield’s 650 twins, the Interceptor and Continental GT both qualify for this category but the brand’s more recent 350cc single-cylinder Meteor (and the HNTR 350 roadster version) are even more focussed on being learner-friendly with with a softly tuned 20bhp are even more economic with fuel. Other bikes worth considering are, in reverse order of fuel effciency, KTM’s punchy, lively 390 Duke (55mpg average); Honda’s excellent A2 specfic CB500 twin family, of which the adventure-style CB500X is our pick (65mpg) and BMW’s gentle but pleasant single cylinder roadster, the G310R (also 65mpg).
Find a Royal Enfield 350 Meteor here.
Royal Enfield 350 Meteor
Royal Enfield 350 Meteor

1. Most economical A1/125cc class learner machine – Honda CB125F, 93mpg average

Finally, we’re covering motorcycling’s introductory category – for A1-class 125cc bikes which, by their very nature in being low powered, small capacity 125s, have the bonus of having great mpg figures. That said, there’s still quite a lot of variety. Popular, sporty bikes such as Yamaha’s best-selling YZF-R125 tend to be ridden quite hard, so aren’t likely to have the best mpgs. Coming out top, then, is Honda’s latest 125cc commuter, the CB125F which is specifically designed to be frugal and fuel efficient and, although in the real world, it doesn’t match up to Honda’s 150mpg+ claims, is still impressively economical. In reverse order, here’s the best of the rest: KTM 125 Duke (75mpg average), Honda CB125R (86mpg) and Yamaha’s YZF-R125 (88mpg).
Find a Honda CB125F here.
Honda CB125F
Honda CB125F

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