Riding on Reserve - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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Riding on Reserve

My father, who rides Harleys, told me that he always rides with the fuel petcock on Reserve. I have scant knowledge of the inside of a motorcycle's gas tank. Does riding on R constantly refresh the measure of reserve gas in the tank? Are there disadvantages to riding on Reserve all the time?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 12:54 PM
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The disadvantage is you have no reserve ! Later efi bikes don't have a manual petcock . They rely on the low fuel warning.

If you have a manual petcock it makes sense to leave it on main, and switch to reserve when the splutters arrive (or just before if you are clever !)

And it is good practice to switch the petcock off when bike left for any length of time


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 01:01 PM
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Reserve is meant to do just what it says; give you a reserved amount of fuel to get you to a gas station. There's no separate part of the tank for reserve. The fuel petcock draws fuel from a little higher than the bottom of the tank normally. When you switch to reserve, it draws from a lower level, to allow you to get all of the fuel from the tank. The fuel is constantly mixed up while riding, as well as while filling the tank. Riding on reserve all the time is just robbing you of the safety net of not running out of fuel. Here's a video that shows it somewhat well:
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the lesson, Ken.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mick!
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 04:07 PM
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On older/vintage british bikes, there are typically two petcocks....one is Main and one is Reserve. One petcock attaches on one side of the tank, the other on the other. A motorcycle tank is essentially divided into to chambers by the central frame spine of the bike....having only one petcock on one side, means no fuel can be used from the lower half of the other side of tank that sits below the frame spine.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 10:19 PM
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A motorcycle tank is essentially divided into to chambers by the central frame spine of the bike....having only one petcock on one side, means no fuel can be used from the lower half of the other side of tank that sits below the frame spine.

but not all.

I once had the pleasure of completely running out of fuel while riding my Bonnie. it reached 299 kilometers on the trip odo, about 185 in miles, and when I reached to switch to reserve imagine my surprise upon finding it was already on reserve. lesson learnt, dont ride in reserve.

and I too was also in the belief that there would be some fuel trapped on the other side of the tank, but alas no. it seems that with mine that is carbed with the EFI tank, it drains from one side to the other at the seat end of the tank, unlike the earlier tanks
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 10:47 PM
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If you wouldn't mind I have a question . How much motorcycle experience do you have?
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by retjustdad53 View Post
If you wouldn't mind I have a question . How much motorcycle experience do you have?

who? me?

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
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If you wouldn't mind I have a question . How much motorcycle experience do you have?

who? me?
Nah, the JV who started the thread.
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