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I was riding the other day and as the needle crossed what I assumed to be the 1/4 mark and it started to stall. I switched over to reserve, but it still stalled. I was unfamiliar with the POOGS at the time, so I did not try opening the gas cap. It took many attempts to restart, and I was worried I was going to drain the battery. It eventually started up, so I rode to the nearest station (< 3 miles way) on reserve.

My question is, was this POOGS, or was I just overly optimistic with the fuel gauge?
 

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The fuel gauge is a bit useless. I've seen bikes that hit reserve at the 1/4 mark, and some that don't. Generally POOGS seems to strike at the 1/2 way mark, but can vary. Your usually better off just getting an idea on how far you can go before you need reserve and hitting a gas station before that. (And noting where the gauge is then) ;)

The needle doesn't move linearly...it's like you can burn up a gallon and it doesn't move, then it falls in some weird bell curve.
On mine I took a tiny piece of tape and marked the gauge where reserve would kick in, and left the bike in the "reserve" position all the time. I'd stop for gas when it got to the tape.

That said, it could have been POOGS. There's a good sticky here on how to clean out the gas cap vent, which is believed to be the cause.
 

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It may very well be POOGS, but if it's a mis-aligned fuel meter, switching to reserve should have gotten you back up and running almost immediately. If your carb bowls were completely dry when you switched to reserve, it might take two handfuls of seconds for the bowls to refill, but it should be fairly quick.

I like Knifemaker's idea to ride until you physically hit the reserve limit. That'll give you a solid reference point. Maybe do the experiment with a full gas can strapped to the back seat in case there's some screwy fluke and your reserve doesn't work or something.
 
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