New BMW rider - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 14 Old Jun 24th, 2019, 7:04 pm Thread Starter
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New BMW rider

I really have learned a lot just reading through this forum, so I first wanted to thank this group for their insight and wisdom!

I bought my 99 1200LT last spring with only 13k on the clock from a gentleman in TN for only $3600

She runs like a top — just wanted to know if everyone runs 90+octane gasoline?

Thx agn guys!
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post #2 of 14 Old Jun 24th, 2019, 7:18 pm
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Re: New BMW rider

I know that I look for the highest octane I can get. But some trips, in some areas, it is not available. I look for non-ethanol gas, which gets better mileage for me.
I really can't tell the difference in performance, but notice my range/mileage is better.

My guess is most riders use the best stuff they can find.

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post #3 of 14 Old Jun 24th, 2019, 7:21 pm
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Re: New BMW rider

Right out of the manual:
• Refuel– Always use super (premium)unleaded fuel to DIN 51607 or equivalent standard, min.octane number 95 (RON) or 85(MON)

Depending on your driving style and terrain, you might get away with medium grade. But personally I use premium since it is called for in the manual.
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post #4 of 14 Old Jun 24th, 2019, 7:31 pm
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Re: New BMW rider

I always put the highest grade fuel available in my LT. There have been a couple of times I have had to settle for 89. Didn't notice a difference.

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I live and ride in Illinois, which has some of the straightest roads in the country.
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1984 Bluish Honda CB 650 (retired)
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post #5 of 14 Old Jun 24th, 2019, 7:51 pm
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Re: New BMW rider

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viper31 View Post
I really have learned a lot just reading through this forum, so I first wanted to thank this group for their insight and wisdom!

I bought my 99 1200LT last spring with only 13k on the clock from a gentleman in TN for only $3600

She runs like a top — just wanted to know if everyone runs 90+octane gasoline?

Thx agn guys!
I generally use the highest I can get. That generally varies from 91 to 93 and occasionally 94. My LT says to use at least 89 AKI (the average of MON and RON). The problem with running 89 is that you are already at the minimum and if you need to buy half a tank of 87 or less, you now have your average below the safe minimum.

The only time I ever had an issue was in Newfoundland where I had to buy a tank of 86 (probably at least 4 gallons, maybe a little more) and the LT immediately began to ping very audibly as soon as I hit 5th gear under any load at all. I probably had lowered the average octane to 87 or 88 as I think the “good” gas I was buying up there was generally only 89 or so.

So, my policy is to buy the highest grade I can find for two reasons:

1. It gives better margin for worst case conditions of high temps and high load
2. It gives better margin for the case where you need to buy a few gallons of really low octane swill.

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post #6 of 14 Old Jun 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm
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Re: New BMW rider

I get MUCH better milage on higher octane. Worth it? when sometimes it's $1 more/gal. Much better milage without ethanol, like 10% higher MPG (ironic that's it's 10% ethanol). Seems like states without ethanol have lesser prices, overall.

Have fun,
Jer

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post #7 of 14 Old Jun 25th, 2019, 5:49 am
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Re: New BMW rider

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Originally Posted by jers99lt View Post
I get MUCH better milage on higher octane. Worth it? when sometimes it's $1 more/gal. Much better milage without ethanol, like 10% higher MPG (ironic that's it's 10% ethanol). Seems like states without ethanol have lesser prices, overall.

Have fun,
Jer
It all depends on the engine and its control system. In an LT, higher octane has virtually no affect on fuel mileage as it has no knock sensor and thus the ECU is not able to adjust to difference octane gas so there will be virtually no affect. I think the energy content of 93 octane is less than 1% greater than 89 and 1% will get lost in the noise of MPG calculations.

Ethanol definitely makes a difference, but only 3-4% per 10% of ethanol, so E10 will cost an LT 1-2 MPG.

If you have a high compression car engine with knock sensors, then using premium gas can make a substantial difference as the car is optimized for it and the computer will “de-optimize” when you run lower octane by retarding the ignition and that can make a pretty big difference in power output. Unfortunately, the LT has no such capability.

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post #8 of 14 Old Jun 25th, 2019, 7:17 am
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Re: New BMW rider

Ethanol is one of the biggest con jobs of our time. You will fill your tank for less and that is the single attraction of this product, well ok it's also supposed to be better for the environment but is it really?
That cheaper tank of fuel won't get you as far as the tank of premium you could have bought ( provided the option was available).
We also know that ethanol eats away at your fuel system so in the long run it will cost you far more than a cheap tank of fuel. Right now in Brisbane premium unleaded is on average $1.75 per litre.
E10 is about $1.50 per litre. I'll pay the 25 cents extra to know I'm getting the extra mileage and a more efficient burn.
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post #9 of 14 Old Jun 25th, 2019, 6:47 pm
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Re: New BMW rider

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
It all depends on the engine and its control system. In an LT, higher octane has virtually no affect on fuel mileage as it has no knock sensor and thus the ECU is not able to adjust to difference octane gas so there will be virtually no affect. I think the energy content of 93 octane is less than 1% greater than 89 and 1% will get lost in the noise of MPG calculations.

Ethanol definitely makes a difference, but only 3-4% per 10% of ethanol, so E10 will cost an LT 1-2 MPG.

If you have a high compression car engine with knock sensors, then using premium gas can make a substantial difference as the car is optimized for it and the computer will “de-optimize” when you run lower octane by retarding the ignition and that can make a pretty big difference in power output. Unfortunately, the LT has no such capability.
Sounds good, as I don't dispute your wisdom. Just having done tank after tank of mostly premium through MO & AR (no ethanol) my milage surged by 4 -6 MPG when calculating from milage and receipt gallons. When
premium wasn't available, noticed a lower MPG. Normally I ride in IL/WI (with ethanol), with very consistent MPG. So, what?, elevation, latitude... I'm very "fastidious" about how I fill each time, going for a max tank filling. Thanks to the GPS for finding a gas station with ~5-mi left in tank (had 5-miles to go when BC went "---"). Don't underestimate the distance between gas stations in AR.

Have fun,
Jer

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post #10 of 14 Old Jun 25th, 2019, 7:55 pm
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Re: New BMW rider

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Originally Posted by jers99lt View Post
Sounds good, as I don't dispute your wisdom. Just having done tank after tank of mostly premium through MO & AR (no ethanol) my milage surged by 4 -6 MPG when calculating from milage and receipt gallons. When
premium wasn't available, noticed a lower MPG. Normally I ride in IL/WI (with ethanol), with very consistent MPG. So, what?, elevation, latitude... I'm very "fastidious" about how I fill each time, going for a max tank filling. Thanks to the GPS for finding a gas station with ~5-mi left in tank (had 5-miles to go when BC went "---"). Don't underestimate the distance between gas stations in AR.

Have fun,
Jer
Without knowing your circumstances, I can only guess what what may have caused the mileage difference. However, I can say with certainty that it wasn’t the octane of the fuel.

I haven’t yet got to entering my fuel purchases into my spreadsheet, but on my recent trip to Alaska I had MPG tank averages (going by the BC) that ranged from a low of 38 to a high of 50. The biggest factors are wind, speed, elevation change and temperature.

If I cruise at 70 in calm air, 70+ degrees, and level road, I get about 42 MPG. If I cruise at 55 in calm air, 70+ degrees, and level road I get about 50 MPG.

If I cruise at 70 into a 15 MPH headwind and temps in the 50s, I get about 38 MPG. I got 32 MPG a couple years ago cruising on the level across Minnesota at 80 MPH into probably a 30 MPH gusty wind that was varying from 20-40 degrees off the nose.

I bought gas at one “no name” station in Canada and was getting about 4 MPG less than normal. I was thinking I had got some gas that had more than 10% ethanol, then I came to a series of steep descents and realized that I had been gaining altitude very gradually and imperceptibly for probably 30 miles and that almost certainly accounted for most of the MPG difference. After I got to the bottom of the descents, the average was nearly back to normal.

Even in normal conditions, I vary 1-3 MPG tank to tank just due to differences in fill level, temperature, traffic, etc. Unless you ride the same route every day in very similar weather and very similar traffic and park in the same spot at the same pump at the same station, it is nearly impossible to have less than 1 MPG tank to tank variation.

I have every fill-up I have made in my bike since it was new in a spreadsheet, so it is very easy to see the variation and it is surprising.
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post #11 of 14 Old Jun 26th, 2019, 10:15 pm Thread Starter
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Thx so much!
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post #12 of 14 Old Jun 26th, 2019, 10:17 pm Thread Starter
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Great advice! Thx
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post #13 of 14 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 5:55 pm
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Without knowing your circumstances, I can only guess what what may have caused the mileage difference. However, I can say with certainty that it wasn’t the octane of the fuel.

I haven’t yet got to entering my fuel purchases into my spreadsheet, but on my recent trip to Alaska I had MPG tank averages (going by the BC) that ranged from a low of 38 to a high of 50. The biggest factors are wind, speed, elevation change and temperature.

If I cruise at 70 in calm air, 70+ degrees, and level road, I get about 42 MPG. If I cruise at 55 in calm air, 70+ degrees, and level road I get about 50 MPG.

If I cruise at 70 into a 15 MPH headwind and temps in the 50s, I get about 38 MPG. I got 32 MPG a couple years ago cruising on the level across Minnesota at 80 MPH into probably a 30 MPH gusty wind that was varying from 20-40 degrees off the nose.

I bought gas at one “no name” station in Canada and was getting about 4 MPG less than normal. I was thinking I had got some gas that had more than 10% ethanol, then I came to a series of steep descents and realized that I had been gaining altitude very gradually and imperceptibly for probably 30 miles and that almost certainly accounted for most of the MPG difference. After I got to the bottom of the descents, the average was nearly back to normal.

Even in normal conditions, I vary 1-3 MPG tank to tank just due to differences in fill level, temperature, traffic, etc. Unless you ride the same route every day in very similar weather and very similar traffic and park in the same spot at the same pump at the same station, it is nearly impossible to have less than 1 MPG tank to tank variation.

I have every fill-up I have made in my bike since it was new in a spreadsheet, so it is very easy to see the variation and it is surprising.
Just curious, what type of gas/octane you use? Any issues with the fuel pump or anything else?
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post #14 of 14 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 6:04 pm
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Re: New BMW rider

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Just curious, what type of gas/octane you use? Any issues with the fuel pump or anything else?
As I mentioned earlier, I use the highest available. Typically, this is 91, but I found as high as 94 at a couple of Sunoco stations on my recent trip.

I avoid ethanol when possible, but in many parts of the country that isn’t possible. I generally try to by name brands such as Sunoco, Shell, Exxon Mobil, etc., but on the trip to Alaska, you often have no choice. You get 87 (at least you hope it is that high) and it typically has no brand on it. The pumps are old with the analog dials and you often have to take a picture of the pump so they know how much you got. Having said that, I had no issues at all with fuel on the way to Alaska. The bike ran fine with no pinging or issues, but then it was in the 40s and 50s almost every day so I probably had pretty good detonation margin. My temp gauge almost never even got up to the midpoint, running several bars below midpoint most days.

No issue with fuel pump to date and with the all new hoses internal and external, no issues with fuel lines.

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1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
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