I will use premium if necessary, but hate to waste the money if not needed. I have had a lot of backfiring with deceleration, I am having my mechanic rejet and put a hypercharger on it. He said to use premium like Funk.
I put 12,000 miles on an 1100. I tried premium a couple of times I didn't really see any difference. I think no computer or oxygen sensor so the bike does not adjust to changes in fuel. As I understand it higher octane fuel burns slower, maybe cooler as a result. I see some people that believe premium burns dirtier in a bike not designed for it. I actually can not see any reason for that. But seems like it would be a waste of money if your bike is not designed for it. I use premium in my Stratoliner but, Yamaha recommends it, and it has an oxygen sensor and computer. Originally Yamaha did not recommend premium for it.
You are not talking much money, I normally buy three to three and a half gallons of fuel. So sixty to eighty cents is all you are talking.
some gas stations around here sel the higher octane fuel without ethanol, that could be what some people see as a performance gain. I found a fuel station that sells all its fuel sans ethanol. Octane is the fuels resistance to burn, the higher the octane, the higher the resistance. So when you use a lower octane fuel it burns more efficiently if that was what the engine was designed for. Unless you have detonation, or want fuel without ethanol there is no reason to buy anything more than 87 octane.
I've got a 2007 1100 and the owners manual calls for 87 octane. I've tried everything from 87 to 93 and never noticed a difference on how it ran or mileage. Pulled the plugs and they looked good and clean, so I think I'll stay with the 87, but it's your choice. They'll all get you down the road and riding where you want to be.
Higher Octane gasoline is for higher compression engines (like sport bikes and sport cars) which compress the air/fuel mixture to a higher degree, thereby causing the vapors to explode/detonate prematurely, this is the knocking. The higher octane gas, which is more resistant to combustion, is recommended for use in these engines for that purpose, to resist the premature detonation/knocking. It doesn't help a lower compression engine, since the combustion resistance is not necessary.
Before I knew this, I would occasionally try the higher octane in my bike, and found that in cold weather, the bike was harder to start with the higher octane gas... probably due to its combustion resistant properties... I can't say for sure, but switching to 87 octane again, it would always start up fine.
So really nothing is gained by higher octane gas if your bike doesn't ping (pre-detonate) with the lower octane gas.
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