A view of cars driving next to motorcycles. Media courtesy of RideApart.
A view of cars driving next to motorcycles. Media courtesy of RideApart.

Cars or Motorcycles: Who Saves More Gas?

New Test Pits Four Wheels Against Two in Selective Pairing Challenge

New to the press is a test from motorcycle magazine Motorrad, who has decided to pit cars against motorcycles to see if improved technology has closed the gap between the two. 

The report from RideApart states that, for this fuel efficiency test, the following machines were placed into three categories for the upcoming shenanigans: 

SPORT

Yamaha YZF-R1 VS. Porsche 718 Cayman

ECONOMY

Honda NC 750 VS. Ford Focus

UTILITY

BMW R 1250 GS VS. Audi Q5 Sport Back 45 TFSI Quattro

Yamaha's R1 pitted against a Porsche 718 Cayman. Media courtesy of Crossroads Yamaha and Top Gear.
Yamaha’s R1 pitted against a Porsche 718 Cayman. Media courtesy of Crossroads Yamaha and Top Gear.

For the Sport category, the R1’s claimed 33mpg was under-exaggerated; Motorrad’s team were able to get 41mpgg out of the bike, while the Cayman under-performed, shrinking the auto’s claimed mpg from 27 to 24. 

Honda's NC 750 against a Ford Focus. Media courtesy of Top Gear and MCN.
Honda’s NC 750 against a Ford Focus. Media courtesy of Top Gear and MCN.

The Economy category was even more telling; between the NC 750’s claimed 80.5mpg shrinking to a wilting performance of 67mpg and the Ford Focus’s claimed 40 hitting the back of the neck at 31mph, numbers just weren’t adding up. 

(Keep in mind, this particular test had everybody restricted to a fixed speed, so the rules may have slightly affected the potential of the results.)

BMW's R 1250 GS pitted against an Audi Q5 Sport Back 45 TFSI Quattro. Media courtesy of Edmunds and BMW.
BMW’s R 1250 GS pitted against an Audi Q5 Sport Back 45 TFSI Quattro. Media courtesy of Edmunds and BMW.

As for the Utility category, numbers were more well-behaved; our favorite Bavarian R 1250 GS actually got the most bang for buck out of everybody, bumping up the claimed mpg from 50 to 52. 

Audi underperformed by a measly three mpg (25 to 22) – nothing crazy, but enough to finalize the results of this test as being slotted firmly in the rider’s favor. 

What do you think? Do you have any similar fuel efficiency tests you’ve undergone?
Be sure to drop us a comment, let us know below what you think, and as ever – stay safe on the twisties. 

*Media sourced from RideApart, MCN, Crossroads Yamaha, Top Gear, 5FourMotorcycles, and BMW*
  1. Really, riding bikes, well, its really about riding bikes isn’t it?
    Does fuel economy come into it?
    The motorcycle these days in Australia seems to be more of a passion thing rather than a ‘cheap mode of transport’.
    If we want that we’d buy an I 20 or, a postie bike?
    Buy a car, get in and drive, simple. Buy a bike, different story. the expensive and, time consuming task of gaining a license, the some what excessive insurance premiums, the helmets, jackets, boots and so on.
    Consider that, take the postie bike out of the equation and, I believe we will find the modern motorcyclist, at least here in Australia is paying a premium well before we even get to the pump.

    1. I’m in the states and have a ’21 1250GS.
      Full coverage insurance is $27 a month with Geico.
      I commute to work everyday averaging 45mpg, $12 in fuel lasts almost two weeks!
      The savings in fuel costs alone comparing it to my other option, (Dodge Ram) makes my bike payment every month.
      If true sad to hear bikes are that expensive in Australia. They are fantastic commuters.

  2. My Xtrail gets 13km/L (uses 91)
    My MT09 gets 21km/L (uses 95) and is about 8c per km.
    Works out to about 33% less in fuel costs for the bike.

    But then there the maintenance costs which are cheaper for the Car.
    Bike maintenance costs about 9c per km vs 5c per km for the car.
    Noting thats for a relatively cheaper maintenance bike like the MT09.

    Parking and tolls are cheaper for bikes.

    Depreciation is much worse on bikes. No one wants a 60000km bike. People often buy cars with 100000kms on them.

    Much better cost savings if you only own a motorcycle but thats not practical for most people.

  3. Now, I happen to find this article very interesting but that it would be helpful to consider also reporting in litres/100km which nearly everyone except the USA uses. When I read the article I thought that the mpg figures were low but then I remembered that the US also uses smaller gallons than Australia used prior to going metric, we used UK gallons. For example 41mpg (US) converts to 49.24mpg (UK) or 5.74 litres/100km. My own bike is averaging around 5.9 litres/100km or 40mpg (US)

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