There was a time when finding out that you only have fifty pesos left in your wallet was not a cause for alarm. In fact, that’s how much I got as my daily allowance back in college not so long ago. Ok, that was a long time ago, but back then paying fifty pesos at the local gas pump could buy almost five liters of fuel that would last you the entire day. Come to think of it, fifty pesos could buy you a decent meal at the university cafeteria with enough change to buy a bag of chips, a bottle of soda and still have some left for jeepney fare. But because of inflation, it seems fifty pesos nowadays will hardly buy you a happy meal at McDonalds, much less, get you very far in terms of fuel mileage. Well, unless you happen to be riding a Suzuki Shooter 115 FI where your fifty pesos of fuel, which is roughly equivalent to one liter, can get you pretty far.
How far, you ask? To find out how far fifty pesos of fuel can get you we recently held a fuel efficiency test using a Suzuki Shooter 115 FI. For good measure, we also brought along a Suzuki Smash 115 to see how fuel efficient a fuel injected bike is compared to one with a carburetor. To make the efficiency test more exciting, we decided to use a different method of measurement by emptying the fuel tanks and fuel lines of both bikes until we were absolutely certain there was no fuel left. Then we put in exactly one liter, using a precise measuring tool, in each bike and see which among the two will run out of fuel first. For our test route, we chose the Marikina – Infanta, Quezon highway for its mountainous roads and constant elevation changes that we reckon will simulate different riding environments.
I rode the Smash 115 while Randy, one of our photographers, rode the Shooter 115 FI. We started the fuel efficiency run at the Petron Sun Valley in Antipolo City then made our way towards Tanay, Rizal. Not long after we took off, I realized that it was going to be a really long ride considering that for maximum efficiency we needed to limit our speeds to 60 to 70 km/h. At that speed the fuel gauge, hovering just a notch above the empty mark, barely moved even after 30 minutes of continuous riding. I was expecting the Smash 115 to run out of fuel first because it still uses a carburetor, but surprisingly I saw Randy drop out of my rearview mirror having run out of fuel after 63 kilometers. The Smash 115 I was riding ran out of fuel 5 kilometers further down the road. We understood that fuel efficiency varies from rider to rider due to different riding styles and rider weight, so Randy and I switched bikes on our way back to Petron Sun Valley. After almost two hours of nonstop riding, the Smash 115 ran out of fuel after travelling only 45 kilometers, validating our suspicion that Randy has a heavy throttle hand. The Shooter 115 FI, on the other hand, managed to travel 74 kilometers before sputtering to a complete stop.
We tallied the results by adding the overall mileage travelled for each bike then dividing it by two, which is the number of liters of fuel used to and from Infanta. In the end, the Shooter managed to achieve a fuel efficiency score of 68.5 kilometers per liter (KpL) while the Smash 115 managed only 56.5 KpL. The result wasn’t all that surprising considering that the Shooter 115 FI held the upper hand for having electronic fuel injection and it’s lighter (94 kg. vs. 99 kg.) than the Smash 115. The Shooter also has noticeably better spread of torque throughout the rev range, negating the need to shift gears often, which, we surmise, greatly contributed to its overall fuel efficiency. The disparity between the two bikes may not sound significant on paper, but in reality, even just a few kilometers can spell the difference between getting home safely and pushing the bike to the nearest gasoline station. In the long run, you’ll save more money riding the Shooter 115 FI than the Smash 115. Then again, we bet even the Smash 115 has superior fuel economy than anything with four wheels in your garage right now.