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.
"There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't"