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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2001 Ninja 250 with 1371 miles on it. I'm getting less than 40mpg, but I've heard that most people get 55 to 75mpg on this bike. So I want to improve my gas mileage. I don't drive it hard, so I think my mileage should be better. I'm planning the following maintenance:
     1. clean the carbs (any tips on how to do this?)
     2. adjust the valves (I haven't done this yet)
     3. lubricate the chain & adjust slack
     4. check tire pressure (I already did this)
     5. oil change (I already did this)
     6. clean air filter (I already did this)
     7. change spark plugs (Do you think I need this?)
     8. adjust timing? (Is this like a car?)
     9. adjust clutch? (Is this like a car?)
I'm also planning to change my sprockets to reduce my highway RPM's and spread out the gearing. That may or may not have much effect on gas mileage, but it's something I want to do anyway. After my rear tire is worn, I'll put a taller tire on it to additionally reduce the highway RPM's and spread out the gearing.

I have the Kawasaki service manual and supplement.

So here are my questions. Is there anything I'm forgetting (as far as improving gas mileage goes)? Does anyone have any suggestions on any of this? Has anyone had low gas mileage that was fixed easily with a single maintenance item? Thanks.
Curt
 

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Well your bike is still new, it's normal for fuel mileage to be lower until eveerything is fully broken in.

I would check air/fuel adjustment and/or jetting.
 

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MILEAGE

Check out that owners manual!!! Read it over again...I don't think that you are not completely broken in yet...and I'd toss in...Factor in your weight and height into this too. Your valves should have been checked and adjusted by now...stay tucked in, get a taller or attachable to the one you have, windscreen...RE-SYNC the carbs!!! Get the best plugs, the Iridiam (can't spell this evening), once the carbs are whistling and your plugs are set properly, look at the tire pressure adjustments and your weight and height...adjust only in small increments and COLD tire pressures...For Highway or commuting best MPG I'd be running 29-30 PSI in the Front and maybe 33-34 PSI in the Rear tires. Especially if you are doing highway riding. Then too...you may NOT be using enough/ or maybe to much THROTTLE. Lugging a man and his machine around at 6,000RPM is LUGGING or slightly straining... I'm going to a larger rear Sprocket (decreasing what would be my crusisng MPG) in favor of city commuting and US Highways all twisty and turny, and staying off the interstate. I'm also going to a minimum pressure (warmer tire, more wear, less mileage) for the same reasons. I don't need the 100+ MPH/or 70MPG. Once broken in, I'm going with my own brand of Synthetic OIL...I'm not a dealer but I believe in AMSOIL. I wouldn't recommend a pure synthetic till your mileage gets to the indicated FLAT spot in your records. Fuel Mileage should continue to rise as the bike gets some miles on her...when that does happen...then I too will swap out my oil and filters for AMSOIL and do only filter changes every so often and changing out the oil only when it comes back with the computer readout saying that the oil is finally starting to break down. AMSOIL had a Really great program...that I used once for my car to show me how over a period of 55,000 miles after I started using it, (changing the oilfilter and topping off the oil every 5,000 miles) that I finally needed to do an oil change, and that was At 85,000. I decided to change it although it still was still "good"...and I have used AMSOIL since then in everything. I hate sounding like a darn commercial! Personally I wouldn't change anything major, in your situation till you get it through it's "Break-in." Then swap over to Synthetic oil. The plugs, and tire pressure, perhaps a different wind screen... Cruiser tires are not as soft, and last longer, and also provide less grip than a Sport Tire. MAYBE...spdrkt ZX7R is right and you're pulling to much throttle, to soon...OR on the oter side of the coin you are literally lugging your machine...you should be to the point where you can use darn near the Redline if you need to... Riding a 12 speed on flat and level is ok, but sometimes it is less WORK/more Efficient use 10th gear at a HIGHER RPM...your legs are carrying you like a motor...so get back to us... My 2002 EX250 Isn't home yet. I just bought it with 1028 miles on the odometer...lots of money extras on it, setting in the salvage yard. I guess someone was in to big of a hurry and that is as far as they got with her (1028 miles). This will be my first 250 Street bike, the smallest real street bike that I have ever owned, but I'm really excited. My Suzuki was a 450 twin. I'm 51, 68" tall, 180 pounds now...and losing weight...I should have her out of the yard the First of April...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the help, guys! I have my work cut out for me now.

Uncle Bob said:
Well your bike is still new, it's normal for fuel mileage to be lower until eveerything is fully broken in.
Okay, but isn't a difference of 15mpg or more a lot just for being new? Besides, I'm already past the official break-in period, and if there is any gas mileage difference during the first 3,000 miles, I'll bet most of it is during the first 1,000 miles.

Uncle Bob said:
I would check air/fuel adjustment and/or jetting.
I checked the service manual. Under carburetors I find several headings, including:
     idle speed adjustment
     high altitude performance adjustment
     carburetor synchronization
     fuel level adjustment
Are these the things I need to go through for "air/fuel adjustment?"

Does jetting mean I need to buy a jet kit?

spdrkt ZX7R said:
Don't yank on the go handle so hard. That's my problem.
I can understand that. But there's two reasons why I don't think that's my problem. Firstly, other people tell me they drive like maniacs and still get 55 mpg or better on this little engine. Secondly, I really don't hit it that hard anyway.

ZX-2R said:
. . . Factor in your weight and height into this too. Your valves should have been checked and adjusted by now...stay tucked in, get a taller or attachable to the one you have, windscreen...RE-SYNC the carbs!!! Get the best plugs, the Iridiam (can't spell this evening), once the carbs are whistling and your plugs are set properly, look at the tire pressure adjustments and your weight and height...adjust only in small increments and COLD tire pressures...For Highway or commuting best MPG I'd be running 29-30 PSI in the Front and maybe 33-34 PSI in the Rear tires. Especially if you are doing highway riding. Then too...you may NOT be using enough/ or maybe to much THROTTLE. Lugging a man and his machine around at 6,000RPM is LUGGING or slightly straining...
My height and weight aren't the problem. I'm 5'10" and 130 lbs sopping wet. Ah, riding position. That's where we find out that my little Ninja is not a real sportbike. It looks great when you're standing beside it, but you can ride it upright. I usually hunker down on it when I'm accelerating or going over 30 or 40 mph. But sometimes I ride upright which will increase my drag. Some Ninja 250 owners ride upright all the time, and they get a taller windshield. So this may be a small part of the issue since I occasionally ride upright.

The valves have not been adjusted yet. I suspect that this might be pretty significant. I haven't bought the tools I need for that yet. The manual mentions thickness gauge 57001-1221 and valve adjuster 57001-1220. I think I'll try to buy a generic thickness gauge so I can see not only when I'm in spec, but also how far out of spec I am. I've heard others mention that the valve adjuster is handy on this bike.

Okay, re-sync the carbs. I have no idea what that is, but I found it in the manual. It looks like I need to buy a vacuum gauge set to do it. Will one for a car work fine?

I was undecided about changing the plugs, since my mileage is so low (although the bike is three years old). Those iridium plugs are $8 each, but at least I only need two of them.

I will definitely check tire pressure when I start riding. We've had more days with snow than without snow this month. But the snow is turning into rain today and tomorrow before it starts to get cold again. Dang.

As for lugging, you may have something there. The redline is 14,000, and I rarely go over about 11,000. I don't just put it into sixth gear and hold the throttle wide open, but I do tend to keep the RPM's lower than some other people. Maybe that's a big issue on this bike.

I'll keep you posted. I may squeeze in a day or two of riding here and there, but I really won't do much until the snow melts. At least that gives me time to do all this work. I'll let you guys know when things improve.
Curt
 

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ADJUSTMENTS

Curt, Thanks for a GREAT feedback into the system/FORUM!!! You are definately on the right track now! Starting with the cold tire pressures add pressure to AT LEAST what the book calls for...a taller or add on air deflector windscreen will help with the aerodynamics. You should not have to rejet unless you have done some "modifications" to your bike. I don't know what carb sync setup you have or may have access to...but I had access to the shop so I used theirs. YOu can see both, in your case at the same time and make the appropriate adjustment. Plugs, oil, just keep great records...perhaps make a record log in your computer and keep it up to date...Most of all...Thanks for the update!!!
 

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AERODYNAMICS

Curt, You could try as well, to get a salvaged seat and depending upon where you set on the seat (the sweetspot for your leg-length and arm length) and how you want to be positioned...you could then carefully remove the cover remove the foam and then start building a lower sadle so that you are lower behind the windscreen...this may require you to set further back on the seat as well...but in the end it would be cheaper than even the gas that you are putting into the bike. TOO, you may end up having to purchase or custome make a set of "rearsets" for shifting and braking...(the footpegs are moved in this situation)...The seat solution is the cheapest way to go and still not make any real changes, as it could be changed back anytime that you wanted...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am officially an idiot.

Nevermind my earlier post about the dome light on my car. This one's even better.

You guys have heard me complaining about my poor gas mileage on my Ninja 250. I've been getting 34-39 mpg, and I should be over 55 mpg; i.e., if we compare ourselves among ourselves, but that's another story.

Well, it turns out that I made a little error in my spreadsheet. Instead of dividing my miles by the number of gallons, I was dividing the miles by the number of dollars paid for the gas. So really my mileage has been in the 55-60 mpg range.

And I thought I was so smart.

From now on if anyone gets any advice from me, feel free to totally ignore it.
Curt
 

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AHHH

How sweet it is to find an error, even better to announce it to the world...the truth "IS" free. No need to feel out of sorts on this forum...you just belong that much more. When you get to the tire pressure...have you actually weighed the front and rear on a set/pair of scales and figured the appropriate (cold) tire pressure for your bike? and...how COLD would that reference relate to? and with what tires...compound, size profile??? and on what type of road surface? I THINK NOT! I think the MANUAL is for average riders without a clue on physics/math...change compounds tire sizes what is the human body weight, have you changed the weight by changing the exhaust -20pounds or adding a tank/saddlebag? You want to see something worse...look at the suspension portion of the manual. Besides removing the shock...to adjust it...does anybody//ANYBODY have a clue or has anybody done the settings and put numbers to them for absolute (certain) weights, so that we (250R/500R riders) could just go to our FORUM and adjust it to a setting that is in the "Ballpark" for what we should be using for a weight such as 325 pounds gross weight on the rear tire? There is some room for adjustment ont only for us but for the stock shock as well. I've been told that there is a 600 shock that we could swap out for that uses air...so what...what good is that if the rider is not into math and just init for the looks...what is "perfect" for each persons riding style? One thing that is NOT perfect is what we have now. Something that needs to be addressed. I'm not complaining...Mine is still in the salvage yard awaiting my further payments to get her out...I could go on to address more problems, but I'm on to let you, CURT, that you are one hell of a lot smarter than a whole crew of Technical Writers and Engineers, even a Corporation that would allow such a manual to be released to the public. Your honesty is seriously an assett that you should have on your resume'. I give you a "10" on this Forum for your unbiased opinion and suggestions, words of advice. Besides it's just an error that you made and corrected...GREAT job!
 
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