Who doesn’t like a bike ride? That feeling of freedom on two wheels, with no barriers between you and the endless landscape on either side, is one to die for!
It’s no surprise that bikes, or two-wheeled motor vehicles in general, are the most common mode of transport for the majority of individuals in developing countries like India. Apart from being affordable, they provide better mileage (km/litre) than cars and are therefore more economic in the long run. And what better way to wade your way through the notorious Indian traffic!
Anybody can guess why bikes are cheaper than cars but why are they more fuel efficient? Although we accept this is a fact but have you ever thought what might be the reason behind it? Well, we are here to help you, aren’t we?
Understanding the construction:
Before we delve into why bikes give better mileage, it is important to know a little about the engines of these vehicles.
Cars and bikes, nowadays both come with a 4-stroke engine. The term ‘4-stroke’ refers to the 4-step process of burning fuel inside a cylinder, which is the part of an engine where the chemical energy of the fuel is converted into kinetic energy. Greater the number of cylinders, higher the quantity of fuel consumed. The difference in construction of bike and car engines lies in the number of cylinders. Since a bike is much smaller and lighter as compared to a car and has to carry at most two passengers, it usually comes with a single cylinder engine. Cars, on the other hand, come with four-cylinder engines, owing to the fact that they are heavier and have to carry up to four passengers.
Connecting the dots, still?
Why bikes provide better mileage:
Once we have got an understanding of the engines inside the two vehicles, it becomes easier to understand why bikes provide a better mileage. One of the notions that people have about bikes being able to provide better mileage is the fact that they have different engines. That’s only partially true, as the engines differ only in their size (number of cylinders) but not in the mechanism on which they work.
So, the primary reason that bikes are able to provide better mileage than cars is that the power required to run a two-wheeler is much less than that for a car, owing to its smaller size, lighter weight and a lesser number of passengers. Moreover, a bike doesn’t have any peripheral units which need power from the engine. Whereas in a car, even the air conditioner depends on the engine for electricity, inflicting even greater load on it. Considering these factors, it is easier to understand why bikes consume lesser fuel per unit distance covered, thereby yielding a better mileage as compared to cars.
Reading this must have got you a little excited about the anatomy of engines, right? Watch this VIDEO video and learn a little more about how engines actually work!