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Old 02-20-2012, 06:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Gas - Regular or Premium?

After 20 min conversation with "JEFFO", one thing he said left me feeling a little weird...

He said using regular gas will make the bike ride stronger and harder...he assured me absolutely no harm would come from using regular gas, in fact the bike would run better...thoughts?
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If it's hot outside, you need the octane to prevent pre-ignition pinging at high load low speed operation. Like when you are taking off from a stop sign or redlight. Premium doesn't give you more power; it controls pinging.

If you feel jeffo is smarter than the Kawasaki engineers, follow his advice.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My understanding is higher octane fuel is harder to ignite. These bikes have high compression and for optimal performance you want the gas to go boom at the top of the compression stroke when the plug tells it to go boom. Not before. I also understand that outside of sport bikes very few production vehicle actually need higher octane fuel. So laugh away at those you see People pumping it into their cars.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Jeffo's correct. Simply Google it and you'll find enough about iso-octane and heptane that you'll come out agreeing with him. The octane necessary is mostly based on the compression the engine can deliver and whether or not the fuel will pre-ignite. For maximum performance, you want to run the lowest octane your engine can not pre-ignite.

For instance, as altitude increases, the volume of air decreases (minus 1-2 octane/3,000' AMSL). This is why you'll find certain regions of the country (Idaho, Colorado, & Utah) that have 85 octane available. It's not because the population is poor and cannot afford 93 octane premium, it's because at altitude, higher octane is no longer necessary for most engines.

I grew up learning from octane know-nothings and still ride with riders who insist premium gives their stock street bikes more power. It's a free country, you can do what you want. But in my bikes labeled with 90+ AKI stickers, I run 87 octane for the most part, because that's what runs best in them and does not pre-ignite.

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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Man...that's what so great about forums, it's like a box of chocolates!
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Not that this matters, but according to the thermal output of at least one research center's test, 87 octane has about 2% more heat than 91 octane. But then according to the California Consumer Energy Center, both fuels have approximately the same heat value. Not sure if 2% factors in as 'approximately the same' or not. Heat value is important in the chemical transformation of gas heat expansion to mechanical motion.

This may be why some people prefer one gasoline supplier over another, myself included. I may notice it more than most. In my jetski at a lake up about 6,500' AMSL using one supplier's gas, my ski will top out at an indicated 57 MPH. On all other gas suppliers it tops out at 52-55 MPH. The one supplier is not a top tier fuel supplier either, which makes it even more strange.
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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I find I get better gas mileage with a vehicle that is designed to run on premium fuel. i always got more miles out of a tank.
Anyone else experience this?

I think it's a good idea to test the mid-grade and 87 octane in your ride.
i drove 60K miles last year as a Volkswagon test driver. We drove all the 2012 models and some future prototypes all over the country. We critiqued the cars and wrote engineering reports. The diesels had to be fueled with the low sulphur highway desel. Anything else and the car would run like crap. Most of the new Volks require 91 octane premium. We did some tests to run the cars all the way out of gas. Most went at least 25 miles past empty. Average was about 32 miles. The cars on 87 octane would not run as smooth or get the mileage they would with premium. I don't think there is a direct correlation because the engines aren't tuned nearly as highly as your typical sportbike motor. If your ride has a compression ratio of 13.0:1 or close like the newer 600s, 1000s or V-twins or V-4s, test the 87 when it's really hot outside and you are riding in heavy traffic. I would be really surprised if the bike did not ping.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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"interesting reading:

Higher octane ratings correlate to higher activation energies. Activation energy is the amount of energy necessary to start a chemical reaction. Since higher octane fuels have higher activation energies, it is less likely that a given compression will cause detonation.
It might seem odd that fuels with higher octane ratings are used in more powerful engines, since such fuels explode less easily. However, an explosion is not desired in an internal combustion engine. An explosion will cause the pressure in the cylinder to rise far beyond the cylinder's design limits, before the force of the expanding gases can be absorbed by the piston traveling downward. This actually reduces power output, because much of the energy of combustion is absorbed as strain and heat in parts of the engine,[citation needed] rather than being converted to torque at the crankshaft.A fuel with a higher octane rating can be run at a higher compression ratio without detonating. Compression is directly related to power (see engine tuning), so engines that require higher octane usually deliver more motive power. Engine power is a function of the fuel, as well as the engine design, and is related to octane rating of the fuel. Power is limited by the maximum amount of fuel-air mixture that can be forced into the combustion chamber. When the throttle is partially open, only a small fraction of the total available power is produced because the manifold is operating at pressures far below atmospheric. In this case, the octane requirement is far lower than when the throttle is opened fully and the manifold pressure increases to atmospheric pressure, or higher in the case of supercharged or turbocharged engines.Many high-performance engines are designed to operate with a high maximum compression, and thus demand high-octane premium gasoline. A common misconception is that power output or fuel mileage can be improved by burning higher octane fuel than a particular engine was designed for. The power output of an engine depends in part on the energy density of its fuel, but similar fuels with different octane ratings have similar density. Since switching to a higher octane fuel does not add any more hydrocarbon content or oxygen, the engine cannot produce more power.However, burning fuel with a lower octane rating than required by the engine often reduces power output and efficiency one way or another. If the engine begins to detonate (knock), that reduces power and efficiency for the reasons stated above. Many modern car engines feature a knock sensor – a small piezoelectric microphone which detects knock, and then sends a signal to the engine control unit to retard the ignition timing. Retarding the ignition timing reduces the tendency to detonate, but also reduces power output and fuel efficiency.
Most fuel stations have two storage tanks (even those offering 3 or 4 octane levels), and you are given a mixture of the higher and lower octane fuel. Purchasing premium simply means more fuel from the higher octane tank. The detergents in the fuel are the same.
The octane rating was developed by chemist Russell Marker at the Ethyl Corporation c1926. The selection of n-heptane as the zero point of the scale was due to the availability of very high purity n-heptane, not mixed with other isomers of heptane or octane, distilled from the resin of the Jeffrey Pine. Other sources of heptane produced from crude oil contain a mixture of different isomers with greatly differing ratings, which would not give a precise zero point.
[edit]Regional variations

The selection of octane ratings available at the pump can vary greatly from region to region.
In the Rocky Mountain (high altitude) states, 85 AKI is the minimum octane, and 91 AKI is the maximum octane available in fuel. The reason for this is that in higher-altitude areas, a typical combustion engine draws in less air per cycle due to the reduced density of the atmosphere. This directly translates to reduced absolute compression in the cylinder, therefore deterring knock. It is safe to fill up a car with a carburetor that normally takes 87 AKI fuel at sea level with 85 AKI fuel in the mountains, but at sea level the fuel may cause damage to the engine. A disadvantage to this strategy is that most turbocharged vehicles are unable to produce full power, even when using the "premium" 91 AKI fuel. In some east coast states, up to 94 AKI is available [1]. In parts of the Midwest (primarily Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri) ethanol based E-85 fuel with 105 AKI is available [2]. Often, filling stations near US racing tracks will offer higher octane levels such as 100 AKI.
California fuel stations will offer 87, 89, and 91 AKI octane fuels, and at some stations, 100 AKI or higher octane, sold as racing fuel. Until Summer 2001 before the phase-out of methyl tert-butyl ether aka MTBE as an octane enhancer additive, 92 AKI was offered in lieu of 91.
Generally, octane ratings are higher in Europe than they are in North America and most other parts of the world. This is especially true when comparing the lowest available octane level in each country. In many parts of Europe, 95 RON (90-91 AKI) is the minimum available standard, with 97/98 RON being higher specification (being called Super Unleaded). In Germany, big suppliers like Shell or Aral offer 100 RON gasoline (Shell V-Power, Aral Ultimate) at almost every gas station. The United Kingdom also offers Shell V-Power, but in a 99 RON octane rating, and Tesco fuel stations also supply the Greenergy produced 99 RON "Tesco 99". In Australia, "regular" unleaded fuel is 91 RON, "premium" unleaded with 95 RON is widely available, and 98 RON fuel is also reasonably common. Shell used to sell 100 RON petrol from a small number of service stations, most of which are located in capital cities (stopped in August 2008). In Malaysia, the "regular" unleaded fuel is 95 RON, "premium" fuel is rated at 97 RON, and Shell's V-Power at 97 RON. In the Netherlands Shell V-Power is a 97 RON (labelled as 95 due to the legalities of only using 95 or 98 labelling), whereas in neighbouring Germany Shell V-Power consists of the regular 100 RON racing fuel. In other countries "regular" unleaded gasoline, when available, is sometimes as low as 85 RON (still with the more regular fuel, 95, and premium, around 98, available). In Russia and CIS countries 80 RON (76 MON) is the minimum available, the standard is 92 RON, however, the most used type is 95 RON. In Ireland 95 RON is the only petrol type available through stations.
In Italy, 95 RON is the regular gasoline offered (verde), and most gas stations offer 98 RON as the premium type (Super/Blu Super), many Shell stations close to the cities offer also V-Power Gasoline rated at 100 RON.
This higher rating seen in Europe is an artifact of a different underlying measuring procedure. In most countries (including all of Europe and Australia) the "headline" octane that would be shown on the pump is the RON, but in the United States, Canada and some other countries the headline number is the average of the RON and the MON, sometimes called the Anti-Knock Index (AKI), Road Octane Number (RdON), Pump Octane Number (PON), or (R+M)/2. Because of the 8 to 10 point difference noted above, this means that the octane in the United States will be about 4 to 5 points lower than the same fuel elsewhere: 87 octane fuel, the "regular" gasoline in the US and Canada, would be 91-92 in Europe. However most European pumps deliver 95 (RON) as "regular", equivalent to 90–91 US AKI=(R+M)/2, and deliver 98, 99 or 100 (RON) (93-94 AKI) labeled as Super Unleaded - thus regular gasoline sold in much of Europe corresponds to premium sold in the United States.
In the United Kingdom, 'regular' petrol has an octane rating of 95 RON, with 97 RON fuel being widely available as the Super Unleaded. Tesco and Shell both offer 99 RON fuel. BP is currently trialling the public selling of the super-high octane petrol BP Ultimate Unleaded 102, which as the name suggests, has an octane rating of 102 RON. Although BP Ultimate Unleaded (with an octane rating of 97 RON) and BP Ultimate Diesel are both widely available throughout the UK, BP Ultimate Unleaded 102 is (as of October 2007) only available throughout the UK in 10 filling stations, and is priced at about two and half times more than their 97 RON fuel."

Pretty interesting when you dive into the chemistry and science behind it...
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Last edited by stillmackn; 02-21-2012 at 01:26 PM. Reason: bold and highlight
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by clarkmanning View Post
If you feel jeffo is smarter than the Kawasaki engineers, follow his advice.
I guess it depends on which Kawasaki engineers you talk to.

http://kawasaki.com/site/Kawasaki/Te...sp_ZX636C1.pdf

But the manual and the sticker on the tank say 90+
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by exalted512 View Post
I guess it depends on which Kawasaki engineers you talk to.

http://kawasaki.com/site/Kawasaki/Te...sp_ZX636C1.pdf

But the manual and the sticker on the tank say 90+
-Cody


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Old 02-21-2012, 01:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That was cool!

I was hoping we had a chemist or chemistry major in our midst here on ZXF that could enlighten us more. Clark's real-world experience was very interesting reading as well. I've leaned a bunch more from both.

Oooo. My brain is loving chewing on stuff like this.
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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exalted512 View Post
I guess it depends on which Kawasaki engineers you talk to.

http://kawasaki.com/site/Kawasaki/Te...sp_ZX636C1.pdf

But the manual and the sticker on the tank say 90+
-Cody
Excerpt from the Consumer Energy Center link above:

"The American Petroleum Institute says if you find that your car runs fine on a lower grade, there is no sense switching to premium. The Institute recommends following manufacturer's recommendation, but even those manufacturers say that it is more of a suggestion than a command. "

Which makes complete sense. The mfgrs would want to err on the side of caution, simply for legal reasons, but as a strict rule for normally aspirated engines, the recommended & labeled octane necessity falls apart completely. What remains as the rule of thumb however is the original formula: the octane necessary is mostly based on the compression the engine can deliver and whether or not the fuel will pre-ignite.

Therefore, I thank Kawasaki for recommending 90+ AKI for my 9Rs, but they seem to run better on 87 mostly & 89 when I feel I want to err on the side of caution.

What really excites me though in Stilln's reprint is the suggestion/fact that when I use 89, I'm not getting stale old 89 from it's own holding tank, I'm probably getting a cross mixture of 87 & 91. That too makes sense, as I have had really good results from running 89 AKI as well. The gas is probably not stale. Cool!
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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
Science & OODA literate. ACA covered.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:07 PM   #13 (permalink)
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In case anyone wanted to see it for the zx14 as well, Great find!

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Old 02-23-2012, 01:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Most of the new Volks require 91 octane premium. The cars on 87 octane would not run as smooth or get the mileage they would with premium.
That makes perfect sense.
If the engine's compression/tune requires 91, it will probably knock on 87.
The knock sensor will tell the computer to retard timing.
Which will make the car run less efficiently.
If a car is tuned for 91, it will run the best on 91.
If a car is tuned to run on 87, it won't run any better on 91/93.

Any vehicle will run the most efficiently on whatever octane% fuel it was designed to run on.
Doesn't matter if it's 87 or 110.
You never want to run a lower octane% than what is recommended.
And using a higher octane% than what is recommended will net no benefits.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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...If a car is tuned for 91, it will run the best on 91....
Depending. It doesn't hold true in all cases. For you at 800' AMSL New York in an EFI car/bike with an anti-knock sensor, yes. Me in the mountain states at 5,000' AMSL in Idaho with either an EFI car/bike or carburetted car/bike w/o an anti-knock sensor, no. I can deduct 1-2 octane for every 3,000' AMSL or 3 to 4 octane lower than your vehicle/your conditions due to less atmospheric pressure. So my bikes will run happily on 87, for sure and 85 quite possibly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrzxter View Post
...
Any vehicle will run the most efficiently on whatever octane% fuel it was designed to run on.
Doesn't matter if it's 87 or 110.
You never want to run a lower octane% than what is recommended...
Unless you're me (two cars taking 87 & two bikes w/o anti-knock sensors, taking 90+) and follow the lowest octane without pre-ignition rule. Gosh, I'm starting to sound like EZ.
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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I always ran premium (91-93) in the late BW1 (ZZR 1200) because it started with less cranking, seemed to have better throttle response and got slightly better mileage than similar bikes running 87 side-by-side over hundreds of miles. The manual recommended 87.

The manual for BW2 says primo, so i'm still paying the extra price.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:17 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Depending. It doesn't hold true in all cases.
It did/does in Clark's case.
I just wanted to comment on his post because it could easily be misunderstood as:
These cars run on 87, but, they ran better/got better mileage when using 91.

They ran better on 91 because they were tuned to run on it, not because more octane makes ANY car run better.
(not saying that's what Clark said/thinks, just posting for other readers).

Anyway, drinking lotsa beer gives any car you're driving, more HP.
Regardless of what octane% the fuel has.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Are we still talking about octane? Again!?
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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
Science & OODA literate. ACA covered.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:02 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Exactly, what it's tuned to. So tuned correctly, lower octane fuel releases more "energy" = more power. It will not hurt the bike, and has ability to make it stronger.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:18 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Exactly, what it's tuned to. So tuned correctly, lower octane fuel releases more "energy" = more power. It will not hurt the bike, and has ability to make it stronger.
Anyone who has built race motors will tell you they run the strongest right before they blow up. The factory engineers and Jeffo are not sending conflicting messages, but their purposes are slightly different. More power=more wear=reduced service life. Efficiency and performance don't necessarily go hand-in-hand. Dump in a jet kit or a richer map and fuel mileage goes down. Everything's a trade-off.
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