A lot of that depends upon where you are. Along the Oregon Coast, you can fill up any time you want to. On the Cassiar Highway in Northern British Columbia, you better fill up every time you see an open gas station. Along US-50 in Nevada, you ought to start thinking about filling up every 100 miles.
Carrying spare gas in an MSR style fuel bottle makes sense for a lot of my trips. I also use unleaded in my camp stove, so the MSR bottle serves a dual purpose..
I actually go more by miles than by the gauge. When I see over 200 on the trip meter and a station comes up that I like, I fill up. Usually after 200 miles it is time to get off anyway. Where I live and do most of my riding it is hard to go over 35 miles and not see at least a couple stations. I do not intend to start a gas thread, but for over 30 years of owning bass boats and motorcycles I will not put in cut-rate gas unless it is a last resort. (personal preference only) I have never had any trouble doing that and I will continue to do so. If I am with a group and they stop at a cut rate I will put in a little if I do not think I can make it to a better one before running out. Flame suit on........
Always park mine full. Keeps condensation from forming in the tank. I here they don't run well on water. I start looking for a station at about 225 miles, and get real serious at the 250 mark.
But as mentioned before, in Eastern Oregon, Nevada, British Columbia and other rural places, I don't pass an open station. Would hate to have to forgo a nice unplaned sidetrip because of a lack of fuel. Cost is the same, running off the top half as it is off the bottom.
IR Harry brought up a good point for keeping the gas tank topped off on trips. You sure hate to pass up on those serendipitous side trips. There's nothing worse than being 2000 miles from home and having to pass up a good sidetrip, that you know you'll not have a chance at for decades, because you don't have enough gas.
When we are alone I like to stop at about half a tank for two reasons.
1. We still follow the habit acquired in thousands of miles in Mexico and Central America-- never let the tank get below the halfway mark because you never know if the next station is open or if it has gas. Or where it is.
2. Our bladders are not as young as they used to be.
Naturally when riding in a group we stop when the others do, but hardly ever at less than 1/4.
Like the others said, it depends where you are. I learned a lesson out West coming down through Wyomong. I thought I was fine with the gas situation until I found out that not all exits on the Interstate are for towns or gas stations. Some are just for those gigantic ranches you see along the way. Scared the bejiggers out of me. So, if you're in strange territory, fill up when you can. More familiar territory is a different story.
going with the idea that the gas liquid cools the fuel pump, I try not to let the level go lower the 3/4 myself. If this is true my pump will last a lot longer then not. This is a reason lots of auto pumps fail in the gas tank, people keep running low levels.
Usually I go by miles but riding conditions sometimes prevail. Somewhere around 150 miles I get fuel, but alot of times if the wife and I do a 100 mi. ride or so I will fill up before I go home so I am ready the next day and I can ride and not worry about fuel. :sw1: :flg:
Thanks for all the great replys. I am trying to get a feel for what the range of this bike is, since I've only had mine since Aug. '03. I pull a Bushtec trailer and ride 2 up so I know my mileage will be different than someone running solo. We took a long trip out west (we are in Ohio) and I never knew where the next gas station would be, so I got in the habit of filling up as soon after I saw the gauge at 1/2 as I could. I did not want to be walking or pushing this thing. With this data I hope to find what the range of my bike will be without running it dry to find out. :wink:
To determine what your range is, subtract the number of gallons to fill up the tank from 6.6 (GL1800 Gas Tank size) and multiply that number by your current MPG. That will give you an idea of how far you could have gone before running dry.
I have kept religous track of my MPG and have calculated a range of betwen 208 and 363 miles and an average of 277 miles on a tank of gas.
I trust my gut. If I see stations frequently, I don't worry about it until the light comes on. If I don't know the area, I start looking at 1/6th of a tank.
I had thought it strange at first that the fuel guage would have six segments to it, until it dawned on me during a ride that the tank is 6 gallons and a reserve. Right after I noticed this, sure enough, I filled the tank from the 1/6th mark and five gallons went in.
If you know the bike's average milage, it makes a very good "guessing" odometer as to how many miles you have left in the tank.