You are really doing a good job on the bike and documenting it, I have enjoyed watching the progress. You have it whooped to the easy part.
you are definitely more mechanically inclined than i am with my 950 which begs the question - why premium? the compression ratio 9.0:1 calls for 87 octane, or whatever grade regular is locally, and is recommended by Yamaha.I'll bet anything that the previous owners just used the cheap stuff. I know for a fact that the last owner (my co-worker) sourced the cheapest prices and bought the lowest octane. I'll at least run premium and from a reputable pump.
I bought the bike knowing I had to split it. Bought the bike for 1100. Just under 500 in parts. Being willing to do it myself was the difference in this bike being on the road again or in the parts bin. Labor around here is anywhere from 60-90/hour (at least for cars). Before he sold it to me, my coworker did take it to a shop to get an estimate...well over 3k (for a bike he bought used for around 3500).how much money do you think you saved by doing all the work yourself instead of taking it to a mechanic? at what point did you realize you were going to have to completely take the engine part?