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High mileage Suzuki

I found this picture (there's more) at www.motorcities.com. According to the San Diego Automotive Museum, where the vehicle (motorcycle) is been kept, the fuel efficency is 215.4 miles per gallon. That's not a typo. It holds Guinness World Record for Motorcycle distance on one tank of gas. 2,443 mi on 11.83 gallons of gas!
Picture ©  MotorCities.com, Inc.

Much later I happened to find an article about the bike and its builder/rider, Matt Guzzetta and I could tell much more about the interesting vehicle. And a few months later I received an e-mail from Mr. Guzzetta who could tell that the bike actually ran 256 miles per gallon!

1982 Suzuki Mile High Milage Bike white / orange

1982 Suzuki High Mileage Bike
Engine: 124 cc Suzuki GN125Z, modified with help of Pops Yoshimura
Fairing: sandwich construction built in four pieces of fiberglass and polyurethane
Brakes: modified (larger than original) drum brake at the front, no rear brake
Mass: 118 kg (260 lbs)
Top Speed:  90 mph (145 kph)
Fuel Efficiency:  215.4 mpg (0,790 l/100 km) average, San Diego to Daytona Speedway,
256 mpg (0,665 l/100 km) at the contest
Street legal model with lights, flashers, mirrors etc.
Designed, built and ridden by Matt Guzzetta, Don Vesco Products

Built to save fuel

Matt Guzzetta, a companion to Don Vesco at the Don Vesco Products, decided to built the most fuel efficient motorcycle in the world. The year was 1981 and Matt's goal was to win the Craig Vetter's Economy Run high mileage contest, held on trafficked highway in California, USA, between San Luis Obisco and Laguna Seca Raceway by Monterey.

Matt Guzzetta called his bike the Project 200. His goal was to ride 200 US miles on a gallon of gasoline (1,175 l/100 km). There had been vehicles that had already achieved the goal gut not with a street-legal motorcycle with all the equipment required for riding on roads, light, flashers, rear mirrors and such.

It took Matt three months to build his machine. He used a single cylinder two-stroke engine of a Suzuki GN125 that was later modified with help from the famous trim expert, Pops Yoshimura. But the first thing to do was to modify the transmission ratios to get most of every drop of fuel by letting the engine run on its most fuel efficient revs.

According to a magazine article from early 1983 Pops Yoshimura was going to use ceramic and synthetic materials on some of the engine parts. Unfortunately I don't know what modifications were actually made to the engine. By the time the article was published, Matt Guzzetta had calculated that after the engine trim the bike could probably manage 260 miles per gallon (0,905 l/100 km), perhaps even 300 mpg (0,784 l/100 km)...

Now we know that the bike could not run that long with only a gallon of fuel. Pops Yoshimura had not touched the engine by the time Matt Guzzetta participated the High Mileage Contest. The result: 152,31 mpg (1,544 l/100 km).

Suzuki GN125 had quite small front brake drum before Matt modified it. It was replaced with a larger one to compensate the rear brake that was removed when Matt modified the rear wheel. Instead of the drum brake, Matt mounted a starting engine freewheeling system from a Suzuki GS1100 into the rear wheel. The system let the wheel spin freely (when riding downhill) it the chain rotated slower than the wheel, naturally to save fuel.

Matt Guzzetta told back in 1982 that although the High Mileage Suzuki can be ridden on the road, it is not a practical bike. It cannot be leaned that much in corners because of the shape of the aerodynamic fairing, that also makes the vehicle very sensitive for side wind.

— A powerful blow of wind could lift me and the bike in the air and throw us to the Ocean, Matt told in the interview.

— The reason why I am building this machine is to find out a way to get better fuel efficiency for motorcycles with the help of aerodynamics. We will learn from our experiences and use the knowledge on normal motorcycles when we are done, he continued.

Matt had already experimented with a Suzuki GS1000G shaftie. By building and mounting an aerodynamic fairing to it he managed to lower the fuel consumption by 22% on highway speed.

I don't know what happened after that. All I know that the best the highly modified Suzuki GN125 could do was 215.4 mpg (0,790 l/100 km) and that the bike is now kept in the San Diego Automotive Museum. That I could read on the Motorcities website. Can anyone of you readers tell us more? The answer to that question is is Yes... See the update below!

Jarmo Haapamäki

Source: Allt om MC, Sweden (see the article scan below)

Update February 4, 2004

Matt Guzzetta had found this page on the Internet and sent me the following message:

Hello Jarmo,

A friend found your information on my motorcycle on the internet and sent me the link.

Your information is mostly correct, the exception is the mileage we achieved. The 215 mpg was the total MPG of the entire trip, from San Diego to Daytona Speedway in Florida. We came in 3rd place in the Vetter Economy run in our 2nd year with a 256 mpg run in the contest. The 1st place motorcycle won with over 400 mpg.

The Vetter Economy run was an excellent contest that was run like a rallye. You had to maintain an average speed for the 100 mile run and if you "broke out" by going too slow, you were disqualified. The speed was high enough on Hiway 1 that you had to travel at 60+ mph at times to keep the average.

It would be great to see another contest like that.

Nice site, thanks for the nice mention!

Best regards,

Matt Guzzetta

Project 200Project 200

Magazine article of Matt Guzzetta's and Don Vesco's project bike (two pages). Click to enlarge. Published in Swedish Allt om MC, January 1983. As you can see, the graphics are not similar to the later version (see the color photo above). The contest of the article is pretty much the same as the article I rewrote in English (above).

More: Suzuki GN125

More: All Suzuki models

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