Johannesburg - Fuel efficiency is not usually top-of-mind for buyers of bikes in the over-500 cm³ category – after all, bikes are naturally more fuel-efficient than cars, and you can buy a scooter or a small commuter if you want to stretch every litre to its limits.
With the recent double-whammy of financial rating downgrades set to wreak havoc on our economy, however, even bikers are edgy about increased fuel costs. But what to do if you want to save petrol without sacrificing highway capability? The answer is simple – buy yourself a Honda NC750X to commute with.
'Bump in performance'
When it was initially launched in 700cm³ guise in 2012, the NC was lauded for being a practical, well-mannered commuter, and with increased engine capacity when the NC750X hit the market, the NC got a very welcome bump up in performance.
Despite the increased engine capacity, though, the NC’s remarkable frugality didn’t suffer – it was the overall winner of the 2015 RFS Bike Econorun, and finished 2nd overall in the 2016 event, with a fuel consumption of less than 3 litres/100km.
The fuel consumption figures achieved during the Econorun are astounding, but those are achieved by riders who favour economy over anything else. The obvious question is what a bike like the NC750X is capable of in the hands of an everyday rider whose concern for getting to work on time outweighs economic riding?
To find out, I rode an NC750X for two months, covering a distance of just over 5 200km. I paid no special attention to economy, riding the bike as the traffic (and my mood) dictated.
My daily commute is a good mix of highway and urban riding, which allowed me to monitor its consumption under a mix of riding conditions that are closer to real-life riding than a controlled event.
My average fuel consumption over this period was 3.45 litres/100km. To put this in perspective, my Kawasaki Z1000SX returns an average of 5.71 litres per 100km, and my wife’s car, a 2016 Honda Jazz 1.5, uses an average of 6.41 litres/100km. But let’s put that into Rands and cents, at the current price of R13.30/litres for Unleaded 95 Octane petrol.
Image: Dries van der Walt
To make the calculation easier, we will convert the consumption figures into km/L: for the NC750X, that’s 28.98km/litres, for the Z1000SX it is 17.51km/litres and for the Jazz it works out to 15.60km/litres.
My commute is 104km per day, which means that with the NC750X I would use 3.59 litres of petrol per day at a cost of R47.75. The Z1000SX would need 5.93 litres to cover the same distance, costing R78.87, while commuting by car would require 6.67 litres of fuel at a cost of R88.71.
Assuming an average of 22 working days per month, the monthly cost would be as follows:
Honda NC750X - R1 050.50
Kawasaki Z1000SX - R 1 814.01
Honda Jazz 1.5 - R2 040.33
While it is obvious that commuting by bike is much cheaper than doings so by car, perhaps less obvious is the massive saving that you will achieve by using an economic bike – in this case, with the NC750X I have saved a whopping R763 per month, an amount that is likely increase considerably with the inevitable petrol price hikes we will face now that our economy has been relegated to junk status.
A dedicated commuter such as the NC750X is not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you use your bike exclusively – or even just predominantly – for commuting, in the current economic climate it would make perfect sense to consider making the switch to something more fuel efficient.