85 / 87 / 89 Octane in LT? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 34 Old May 17th, 2007, 9:57 pm Thread Starter
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85 / 87 / 89 Octane in LT?

There is a thread in the GT forum about 85/87 octane in the GT.

Super here in the D/FW area is 91 octane and is about $3.29 these days at some stations, while I can still get 87 (our regular) for $2.85 at Costco.

What are you burning in your LT? Any real world/actual problems (or benefits) from burning lower octane fuels over time that you can share with the rest of us?

Antony (Tripod)
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post #2 of 34 Old May 17th, 2007, 10:12 pm
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I burned midgrade (87 octane) in my 99 for 12000 miles. No problems at all. When I unplugged the airbox temp sensor, I switched to 91.

You're lucky down there in DFW...regular here in Warren is 3.39 and 91 octane is 3.59. We're headed out to Upstate NY for Americade next Friday taking the long way around via DC, Deals Gap, VA Beach, Atlantic City, and NYC. Can't wait to hear what gas will be during the Holiday in those parts of the country.

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post #3 of 34 Old May 17th, 2007, 10:30 pm
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gas prices

Check out www.albanygasprices.com for the areas south of americade. Roughly 2.99 -3.19 right now for regular. The best place for gas is exit 17N off the Northway, just south of Lake George. Lowest prices in the area.

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post #4 of 34 Old May 17th, 2007, 11:17 pm
 
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gasoline

I run premium in mine. Furthermore, if my tires need replacing because of cupping or wear, they are replaced, like right NOW.
Knowing how much we each have invested in these bikes, does it make any sense to cut corners in the relative cost of ownership?
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post #5 of 34 Old May 17th, 2007, 11:23 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboatjohn
I run premium in mine. Furthermore, if my tires need replacing because of cupping or wear, they are replaced, like right NOW.
Knowing how much we each have invested in these bikes, does it make any sense to cut corners in the relative cost of ownership?
I fully agree on replacing the tires right away, and there is plenty of empirical data to support this. I have not heard anything scientific about fuel grades.

Antony (Tripod)
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post #6 of 34 Old May 17th, 2007, 11:47 pm
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I burn 89 octane (mid grade in CA) in my LT with no problems.

You guys are killing me with your gas prices! Regular is running around $3.55, and mid-grade about $3.70 here.

David Taylor
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post #7 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 1:06 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidTaylor
I burn 89 octane (mid grade in CA) in my LT with no problems.

You guys are killing me with your gas prices! Regular is running around $3.55, and mid-grade about $3.70 here.
Gas is actually cheaper in HI than CA right now... Jeez, I love our CA "special gas"...

Brian
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post #8 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 2:12 am
 
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Thumbs up

Yea...I'm using 85/87 octane in my GT now.

It doesn't seem to have any bad side-effects in my GT.

In fact, my GT doesn't seem to mind it at all.

I think I'll keep using 85/87 octane fuels in my GT.

Any of you other GT owners care to comment on what octane you're using . . . or any other fuel-related issues not pertaining to the topic of this thread. Thread hi-jacking is now tolerated here in this sub-forum (unlike the K1200GT sub-forum). How nice.

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post #9 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 4:48 am
 
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It's always been a no brainer for me. I burn what the manuf. recommends. I figure BMW has just a touch more knowledge and expertise in that area than I do. So I continue to pay on average, one dollar more when I fill up my tank with premium vs. regular, or fifty cents if using midgrade, based on a five gallon fill up.

I ride an average of 30,000 miles a year since I retired in 1999. I average slightly over 40MPG, so that five gallons takes me 200 miles. Doing the math, that's 150 fill ups or $150.00 extra dollars burning premium vs. regular or $75.00 more than burning mid grade. And all that added expense on a fixed income! Amazing...............
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post #10 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 5:02 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRothermel
I average slightly over 40MPG, so that five gallons takes me 200 miles. .........
Flippin heck-do you ride with the brakes on? I can't get less than 50 even when I thrash the old girl! Mind you our fuel costs somewhat more than yours!! $2 a LITRE.
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post #11 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 5:12 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRothermel
It's always been a no brainer for me. I burn what the manuf. recommends. I figure BMW has just a touch more knowledge and expertise in that area than I do. So I continue to pay on average, one dollar more when I fill up my tank with premium vs. regular, or fifty cents if using midgrade, based on a five gallon fill up.

I ride an average of 30,000 miles a year since I retired in 1999. I average slightly over 40MPG, so that five gallons takes me 200 miles. Doing the math, that's 150 fill ups or $150.00 extra dollars burning premium vs. regular or $75.00 more than burning mid grade. And all that added expense on a fixed income! Amazing...............
Proves my point on skimping on pennies (or even dollars on a $20,000+ motorcycle) rather well. Thank you.
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post #12 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 7:12 am
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There are two major components in gasoline-octane isomers and heptane isomers. Heptane has a very low ignition point and can be ignited by the compression of the engine causing the engine to knock. The energy content of the heptane isomers is higher than that of the octane isomers. What this means is that the higher octane gasolines contain lower energy levels than do the lower octane gasolines. The differences between the various brands of gasoline are in the additives each of the companies use and in my experience make a more noticable difference than does the octane rating.

Running the lowest octane gasoline that does not produce knocking should result in the highest gas mileage. When I purchased the LT, I experimented with running regular, mid-grade, and premium and could not tell any difference. It seems to me that I get the best results from using Shell regular gasoline. I don't see the need to run premium fuel but if it makes you feel good, then go for it. YMMV

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post #13 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 7:18 am
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Nothing but 93 in mine; preferably Shell, but I will use BP.
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post #14 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 7:32 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astuber
The differences between the various brands of gasoline are in the additives each of the companies use and in my experience make a more noticable difference than does the octane rating.
I've always run Mobil regular. My local Mobil station has been closed for renovation and I can't find another fuel that runs as well. I've tried a number of stations and grades, but Mobil regular seems to run best for me.

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post #15 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 7:55 am
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Please add bike to your signature line so we can tell what model you ride.

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post #16 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 8:46 am
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Greetings all.

GT,GT,GT. What's this GT thing? If it isn't an '83 base K100 or an LT I'm not interested.

Look, the LT likes 95 RON (Australian code) but it really enjoys 98 RON. Don't try to save your self a few lousy cents and cheap out on your beautiful BMW. If that's how you feel, buy a GW.

Take care of your LT. Give it the fuel IT deserves, not what you think your wallet deserves. If you can't afford the correct fuel for you fine German machine, get off it.

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post #17 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 9:12 am
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Question What?

Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboatjohn
I run premium in mine. Furthermore, if my tires need replacing because of cupping or wear, they are replaced, like right NOW.
Knowing how much we each have invested in these bikes, does it make any sense to cut corners in the relative cost of ownership?
I think you have missed the point. If you just indiscriminately use premium octane you might not be getting the best performance and/or gas mileage. Depending on what state of tune your bike is in and the operating conditions you might get the best results with 85 (stock tune @ 5000+ feet). If you have cut the brown wire or made other modifications then you might need 89 or more.
I can’t wait to try the new Avon Storms.

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post #18 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 10:16 am
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Our price for regular in NC this morning was 3.19. Yesterday morning was 3.04. Who knows by Memorial Day weekend.... could be $4.

I can't tell any difference in 87 or 89, yet. Maybe when it gets hotter. Temps are pretty good now, 50 ish in the morning, 75 is by 5 pm.

Haven't cut brown wire yet. As long as it's running properly and not knocking I'll keep the brown wire intact, and run 87. and we're at about 1000 ft above sea level here, I think.

I've always read that if your engine (whatever it's in) doesn't knock, then there are no benefits to higher octane. There may be more additives in the higher grades.

Randy
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post #19 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 11:06 am
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I have to agree with Alan. Many years ago and many jobs ago, I worked on engine software for a major auto manufacturer. I don't know if I can say the name, so lets just call them Company G. For on of their car lines, Let call them Make C, introduced a new V-8 DOHC 4-Valve V8, the "star" in Make C's lineup. Predominantly displayed on the IP and the filler cap was a warning "92 Octane only". However, in perusing the source code, 'lo and behold, there were both a 87 and 92 octane lookup tables. This ECM actually learned the octane of the fuel being pumped into the engine by purposely inducing knock at steady state cruise situations, and then doing a multi-dimensional interpolation to determine spark advance based on octane, MAP, coolant temp, intake air temp, and RPM. Now, that was in 1992.5 using a 8-bit, 8 Mhz Motorola HC11. Make C required 92 octane fuel because it made it easier to pass the EPA emission test. They told the EPA that the mindless, lemming-like consumers would always use 92 octane because of the sticker on the IP, knowing full well the engine was designed to run on any octane, and the EPA bought it.

Everybody is using 32-bit micros running at 16Mhz or more and I would almost guarantee than any ECM manufacturer worth their salt, including Bosch, has a similar algorithm, but I don't know this for a fact.

I think what has happened is that in the muscle car phase of the late 60's, Detroit put out some killer power plants that had such high compression ratios, that 87 pump gas would knock, no matter what, so they required higher octane fuel. So, high performance requires high octane. But, the consumer got that turned around, and assumed that these 500hP beasts of yesteryear made high power because they used high octane. And, if these high powered muscle cars needed high octane fuel, then high octane must be better across the board. The gas companies did nothing to dissuade this since higher octane = higher profits.

I run 87 in my BMW. Once in a while, it knocks. I down shift or back out of the throttle a little, and it goes away. Last year coming home from CCR, 2-up with a trailer, and going through the mountains and hills of Tennessee and Kentucky in the hot weather, it knocked more than usual and it was not as easy to get it to stop. So, I used premium for the remainder of the trip. Then switched back when I got home to the lack-of-any-hill-or-curve northern Indiana.

If you don't believe me and think higher octane is better for your bike, then switch to methanol. My tractor makes nearly 7,000 hp with 32 lbs of boost and 11:1 static compression. It needs methanol. If you think premium is hard to light and slow to burn, you should try methanol. Plus, it's only $2.39 a gallon vs. $3.39 for regular gas.

Regards,
Larry

'99 K1200LT

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post #20 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 12:31 pm
 
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my gas cap says "min 91 oct" - which equates to mid-grade around here. the bike is tuned to run best on 91.

as far as going below 91? 89? the title of this thread says 85 even? hmmm, well... depending on how much 85 oct costs...

in a 5 gallon fill up, we're talking about saving ~20 cents per gallon - ~$1 every fill up? what is a buck worth when the total fill up is $17-18? plus, in the grand scheme, saving a buck every fill up could lead to big problems.

and keep in mind that going 89 oct over 91 oct is saving 10 cents/gal - a whopping 50 cents in the total fill up. when $3.49/gal is the norm, why not just make it $3.59 and use the right stuff?

its like the ethanol thread earlier this week. why cut corners on something as simple as what gas to use and risk a monumental repair later on? bmw tells you what gas to use right on the gas cap!! seriously.
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post #21 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 1:52 pm
 
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Originally Posted by rjhammetter
as far as going below 91? 89? the title of this thread says 85 even? hmmm, well... depending on how much 85 oct costs...

in a 5 gallon fill up, we're talking about saving ~20 cents per gallon - ~$1 every fill up? what is a buck worth when the total fill up is $17-18? plus, in the grand scheme, saving a buck every fill up could lead to big problems.
My last little ride was 8K miles. Let's say that I used somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 gallons of fuel in 3 weeks. Let's also say the average difference between 86/87 and 91 was 40 cents . . . that was a savings of over $70. In just three weeks!!! And sorry if I don't buy the whole octane requirement bullcrap that these OEMs and the gas companies are trying to sell us. In fact, there's plenty of room for argument that higher octane fuels do more damage than lower octane fuels. So...who do you believe? I tend to always shy away from the guys that like digging the deepest into my pocket for loose change.
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post #22 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 2:12 pm
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While doing an Iorn Butt ride I rode with another bike, one fill up I used mid grade and he used premium HO Gas. And his LT got better milage than I did, not much but by the time we found gas I was worried about running out before we found it and he was lauging at me, as he had a quarter tank left. The only difference I found.

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post #23 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 2:17 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOGILLS2
While doing an Iorn Butt ride I rode with another bike, one fill up I used mid grade and he used premium HO Gas. And his LT got better milage than I did, not much but by the time we found gas I was worried about running out before we found it and he was lauging at me, as he had a quarter tank left. The only difference I found.
Umm...you were riding two separate motorcycles, weren't you? That just might have been the other difference.
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post #24 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 2:18 pm
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The LT has 11:1 compression, running anything less than high test will not only lower the performance of the bike, but can carbon "coke" the pistons...anything lower than 9:1 regular gas is fine...higher than that means stepping up to the plate and bucking up that $.20 per gallon more...on a 5 gallon fill-up, that ONE whole dollar difference....GEEEEEEEEZE !!!!

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post #25 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 2:35 pm
 
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My last 5 tanks have been 91octane . I have not reset my computer since and i show 40.4mpg average on those five tanks. I will reset the computer and fill the next five at 87octane to see if there is any diff. Will be apples to apples on riding style and all other input(s) @ 5000-5500' average elevation.
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post #26 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 2:35 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K1200LTryder
The LT has 11:1 compression, running anything less than high test will not only lower the performance of the bike, but can carbon "coke" the pistons...anything lower than 9:1 regular gas is fine...higher than that means stepping up to the plate and bucking up that $.20 per gallon more...on a 5 gallon fill-up, that ONE whole dollar difference....GEEEEEEEEZE !!!!

Any thing lower than 9:1 regular gas -- What is 9:1 gas?

Antony (Tripod)
Dallas' Northern Suburbs
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post #27 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 3:34 pm
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Sorry Deputy....9:1 compression ratio.

I stand corrected.

And by the way, The LT is getting 55.7MPG (fillup to fillup, not computer average), that's full bags and trunk, my svelt self, and my lovely round SO. I dont know how it would do with the bags empty and a solo rider, but no doubt better.

Remus Titanium, Rhinewest chip, 93 Octane Sunoco...Life is good.

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post #28 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 3:56 pm
 
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Originally Posted by K1200LTryder
Sorry Deputy....9:1 compression ratio.

I stand corrected.

And by the way, The LT is getting 55.7MPG (fillup to fillup, not computer average), that's full bags and trunk, my svelt self, and my lovely round SO. I dont know how it would do with the bags empty and a solo rider, but no doubt better.

Remus Titanium, Rhinewest chip, 93 Octane Sunoco...Life is good.

That is some impressive mileage. My 2000 Remus/Rhine has been over 50 once with a good tailwind. Usually get 47-48 on the Interstate @ 75-80 though. I have found the computer and fillup-fillup method to be quite close (+/- 1 MPG) on this bike. I guess the ECU should know exactly how much fuel is being squirted based on a set pressure.
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post #29 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 4:05 pm
 
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I have done several fill up mpg. calculations and am always in variance between 40-44mpg. Who knows why the diff because i ride the same almost all of the time (hard), wind, baro pressure???? ...i think the average from the computer on a measured amount will give me a fairly accurate assessment of overall mpg. between the octane(s). I ride to work every day and rack up miles pretty fast.
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post #30 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 4:51 pm
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My around town mileage is another story...more like 35MPG, with just me riding....the 55.7 MPG is had on US #1, with speeds 55-60 MPH...as much as I would like to go faster, I would rather keep my money than donate it to the Sheriff's benevolent fund.

Lots of stoplight in town traffic, and they are spaced just right...1st to 3rd gear laying on the throttle. It's alot of fun, but kinda like flushing the toilet when it comes to economy....

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post #31 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 5:04 pm
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Which Octane?

I grew up working on my own vehicles. I had several friends who had tools, a-frames, etc and were knowledgeable regarding engines, cars in general. So, I gleaned info, skills, and lots of skinned knuckles. I learned more than most shade tree mechanics cause I always did a job twice. Once to get it done and then the second time to add the part I had inadvertently left off.

But, without exception, all of those people(friends) told me that if an engine knocks, either adjust the timing or increase the octane. I don't have the equipment or knowledge to adjust the timing on my LT.

So from the day I bought my LT, I started using the 91. After about 6 months, I tried the 87 to see if it would knock (ping). None. So, after another month, I tried the 85. No knocks.

I've been using 85 now for over a year. I may regret it, but the engine starts easily, has good acceleration, no knocks, in short, seems to be running fine. No smoke. No squealing brakes. I must've gotten a good one.

I have just over 18k. (I'd have more, but I still work full time, so I don't have the time to ride as much as I'd like.) And, we've had a really ugly winter here and just wasn't ridin weather. Not the cold, just sloppy on the roads.

So, maybe sometime I'll hear of or read about a really good reason to spend extra $ to fill my tank, but it'll have to make really GOOD sense.

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post #32 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 5:47 pm
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One thing to remember is altitude ie more specifically "Density Altitude". Those of you up in the "Rocks" start up even on a "standard day" at 5,000 feet or in the hot summer you may be at 10,000 feet for air density................. non-supercharged ie K1200LT and most all motorcycles are producing less horsepower and your BMEP's will be lower, lower cylinder pressure and there in lies the reason you can get away with the lower octane. You know they even sell 85 octane there vs 87 in the lower elevations. My 2 cents worth. My 99 does not have a knock sensor have they added one in the later models?

Carl

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post #33 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 6:20 pm
 
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Your quite right Carl, living @ 5500' makes allot of difference. I ride daily (no city) from 55-100mph depending on which stretch i am on ...when i travel to the lower elevations my motorcycles have typically gotten much better mi.
Last year for examp. i rode an 03' Venture to Canada/lower Alaska...most of those altitudes were 1500-3500'...my mileage went from my normal 35mpg to about 40mpg. Used high octane the whole trip where i could...i have always believed in avoiding carbon build up, but i think with todays blends that is not as typical...
skaboots is offline  
post #34 of 34 Old May 18th, 2007, 7:02 pm
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 173
I have never used anything buy 92 in this bike. Even so, on hot days under heavy load, it will still ping a little. I can't imagine running lower octane. Just not worth saving a buck or two/tank because peace of mind is worth more than that to me.

Strange thing is my FJR drinks 87 happily and I thrash the piss out of it. It's 10.8:1 just like the LT. Maybe a little less timing or I've got it richened up enough with the powercommander to cool things down.
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