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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
I did try a search but couldn't find what I was after so posting this instead. Does anyone know whether there is any value in using super or premium unleaded over standard petrol?
In the UK most petrol is around 95 Ron and many places do 97 and 99.
Not concerned about mpg its really about whether the better petrol gives better performance. I have always used the higher petrol in my bikes and i am sure on some i could feel it was a bit sweeter running. We have no tuning shops around here, no dyno shops anywhere so i have no easy means to ask. Also our bikes are mega rare over here too so its not like i can bump into someone. I am led to believe modern bikes somehow know what petrol is being used and adjust to it, does our bike do this? Does anyone actually know for sure?
 

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I don't know for sure but on the odd few occasions i have filled up with premium unleaded i have not noticed a difference in performance or MPG.However i do not use supermarket fuel only ever known brands.
 

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General rule of thumb is, if an engine is designed to run on regular, running premium won't gain you anything, and could even hurt performance and possibly your engine's long-term health. On the other hand, if it's designed to run on premium (talking about newer EFI engines), it can adjust to lower grade fuel.
 

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General rule of thumb is, if an engine is designed to run on regular, running premium won't gain you anything, and could even hurt performance and possibly your engine's long-term health. On the other hand, if it's designed to run on premium (talking about newer EFI engines), it can adjust to lower grade fuel.
I did not know that. I've run premium in my '14 every mile. I knew I wasn't going to get more "power", being tuned for 97, but was trying to keep the corn out of it. Could you explain a bit how I'm hurting the longevity of my engine? It's hard not to put ethanol, E15 in your tank in my neighborhood and I've always tried to keep my potential gremlins to a minimum. Any follow-up thoughts would be enlightening. Thanks!
 

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Most 87 octane gasolines have up to 10% ethanol. It won't hurt the engine, but you may not want to winterize your bike with it in it. The difference between 87 octane with ethanol and 89 octane without it is about .80/gallon in Canada or more. The mpg is so close, if not the same. I figure at that price, every 20th fill up works out to be free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My understanding (in the UK) is that unleaded is set at a maximum of 5% Ethanol at the moment. Whether that will creep up I have no idea but probably. If I was an eco warrior I may be able to buy unleaded with more Ethanol now but its not something I have researched. I used to know some lorry drivers that delivered petrol all over the country and they were adamant that all petrol was NOT the same and some was much better quality than others. I recall them saying supermarket petrol was **** (insert your own word). I have to confess I put anything in the car (i.e. The cheapest) but with my bike do tend to hunt out Shell or Esso brands. Whether I am being a fool or not I don't know. I did find online results that a Performance Car type magazine did a little while back running a big modern BMW engined car on a dyno on a number of unleaded petrols of various grades and the 99 octane gave about 40 bhp more than supermarket unleaded at peak with improvement at all RPM's. It was really noticable. Max figure was something like 450-500 bhp if i remember right. So a very big difference. Because the bike can run on 87 does that mean better fuel won't make it run better, I dunno? I think we can all agree that modern petrol does 'go off' so maybe there is something in it.......?
 

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Higher octane gas Burns slower. It makes lower BTUs. You add alcohol to raise the octane so your car doesn't knock. You should get better gas mileage on regular. If you run premium, all the gas may not burn completely in a low compression engine. High compression race cars burn pure alcohol, high octane, so the fuel does not ignite on the up stroke.
I think an engine designed to run 87 octane should get 87.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Decision - Think I am going to stick with the known quality brands but use regular unleaded from now on, having thought about this and read what others think about the pro's and cons.
 

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I did not know that. I've run premium in my '14 every mile. I knew I wasn't going to get more "power", being tuned for 97, but was trying to keep the corn out of it. Could you explain a bit how I'm hurting the longevity of my engine? It's hard not to put ethanol, E15 in your tank in my neighborhood and I've always tried to keep my potential gremlins to a minimum. Any follow-up thoughts would be enlightening. Thanks!
Pretty much what BobMoe said. Higher octane fuel in an engine not designed for it can cause knocking and incomplete fuel burn, which can cause buildups and other bad stuff on valves and pistons. It's not a guarantee that this will happen, but it certainly increases the chances of it.

Conversely, if you run lower octane fuel in an engine designed for premium, you can get preignition, but modern ECU's can adjust timing enough to eliminate it.
 

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Thanks! Appreciated the responses. I've just been reading about some restoration (bike) projects and how some of the really old ones had had very questionable fluids put in them over time. What's amazing is how some of them worked at all with some of the MacGyver-style things that were used "in a pinch". I figure the more I can learn and apply the longer my ride will last.
 

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I tried the gas game with my CTX1300 when i had it and the Valk. My CTX was almost no difference from regular to premium but did acquire a better fuel range. The Valk? ZERO difference anywhere. Just run regular. Honda knows that mostly older folks buy Goldwings and Valkyries and old guys tend to be cheap. They did their homework..:-D
 

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Higher octane gas Burns slower. It makes lower BTUs. You add alcohol to raise the octane so your car doesn't knock. You should get better gas mileage on regular. If you run premium, all the gas may not burn completely in a low compression engine. High compression race cars burn pure alcohol, high octane, so the fuel does not ignite on the up stroke.
I think an engine designed to run 87 octane should get 87.

+1 on what Bob said. Higher octane DOES NOT mean it is better on a motor calling for regular gas.

Also if you want your motor to have more power and get better gas mileage then be sure to run a Top Tier gas in it.
https://www.toptiergas.com/toptier_detergent_gasoline/
 

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A lot of Harleys require premium, so a lot of people have been told that all motorcycles need premium. All 3 of my bikes state either 86 or 87 octane. Two of my cars require premium, and there was a noticeable difference when I had to get gas at a station that only had regular.

Ethanol sucks. Luckily, most modern engines aren't affected by it, but my GL1500 manual states that the use of gas containing ethanol voids the warranty.
 

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I buy the premium fuels because they are more likely to be better quality in my part of the woods. No other reason really.
 

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Higher octane gas Burns slower. It makes lower BTUs. You add alcohol to raise the octane so your car doesn't knock. You should get better gas mileage on regular. If you run premium, all the gas may not burn completely in a low compression engine. High compression race cars burn pure alcohol, high octane, so the fuel does not ignite on the up stroke.
I think an engine designed to run 87 octane should get 87.
Never too old to learn something new.....
 

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And I always just thought I was too cheap to buy 97 Octane, now I know why I was doing it, even if I didn't know then or something like that
 

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I just got gas a couple of days ago. While looking at what grade to select I remembered reading this thread. Typically I would go for mid-grade like 89 octane. Not too low, not too high...right in the middle just to be safe. I went with 87 this time and didn't notice any difference while riding my 60 mile trip.
 
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