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post #1 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 11:48 am Thread Starter
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Premium or Not

Here's a question that ought to match up with our oil discussions: Given that the compression ratio on the LT is 10.8:1 and the recommended fuel is premium (91 octane or better) is 89 octane ethanol acceptable for the long term or could it cause some problems given the bike's rather high compression ratio? I've been burning ethanol for a while with no detectable pinging, but I'm concerned about long term damage.

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post #2 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 12:39 pm
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I believe that BMW has made a statement that the use of gasoline containing ethanol voids their warranty........................

Allan..Illinois, Oregon, Arkansas, and tomorrow the Universe
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post #3 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 12:42 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STARFIGHTER
I believe that BMW has made a statement that the use of gasoline containing ethanol voids their warranty........................
I'm not aware of that but will research it further. I see you're in Patriot Guard. I ride with Rolling Thunder--Chapter 1 Sioux Falls.

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post #4 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 12:44 pm
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Personally, I wouldnt run anything but premium in my LT. Not only does the compression ratio demand the higher octane fuel, it is just the way the engine is setup to run. Some riders here do run regular gas with no complaints, but running regular will make the computer retard the ignition timing, resulting in lower performance, and even lower fuel economy.

I pay as much as 20 cents a gallon more than I would for regular gas, but on a 4 gallon fillup, the extra 80 cents aint gonna break the bank.

If I wanted a cheap bike, I would have bought a moped ( gonna catch some flak for this).

Why take the risk ?

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post #5 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 12:51 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STARFIGHTER
I believe that BMW has made a statement that the use of gasoline containing ethanol voids their warranty........................
Here's what I found out:

Fuels containing up to and including 10% ethanol or other oxygenates will not void the warranty.

Component damage/malfunctions, or any drivabilityp roblems caused by the use of fuels containing more than 10% ethanol (or other oxygenates) will not be covered under BMW warranties with respect to defects in material and workmanship.

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post #6 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 12:58 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K1200LTryder
Personally, I wouldnt run anything but premium in my LT. Not only does the compression ratio demand the higher octane fuel, it is just the way the engine is setup to run. Some riders here do run regular gas with no complaints, but running regular will make the computer retard the ignition timing, resulting in lower performance, and even lower fuel economy.

I pay as much as 20 cents a gallon more than I would for regular gas, but on a 4 gallon fillup, the extra 80 cents aint gonna break the bank.

If I wanted a cheap bike, I would have bought a moped ( gonna catch some flak for this).

Why take the risk ?
+1 for those comments.

Assuming you ride an average of say 10,000 miles per year. At 45 mpg that is 222 gallons of gas per year. At a difference of 20 cents per gallon that equates to $44 per year or $3.67 per month or 0.44 cents per mile. Not that tough of a call from where I sit.
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post #7 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 1:07 pm
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I read a few posts from guys that claimed they got as good, or better performance from regular gas. I did my own research a few months ago on a long weekend ride with my SO.

Click here to read all about it.

I run premium now...

Brian
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post #8 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 1:33 pm
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I have run mid grade gas a couple of times. I got very good mileage on both those tanks but I use premium as the cost isn't that much better. I try to stay away from alcohol in the gas but sooner or later we may not have a choice. Hopefully it isn't a problem for the motor but I can't say as I haven't tried it.
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post #9 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 2:46 pm
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Interesting info.

What compression ratio is the thresh hold for going from regular to more anti-knock compound? Compression to go from mid grade to higher amounts of anti-knock compound?

Why is the ignition advanced or retarded based upon the anti-knock compound if the engine doesn't knock?

Why does the miles change if the energy per gallon is the same?

I used to attribute slower acceleration during our summers to the air being less dense. But, recently I've been wondering if the lower density of gas during the summer might contribute also.

Bob
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post #10 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 2:52 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
Interesting info.

What compression ratio is the thresh hold for going from regular to more anti-knock compound? Compression to go from mid grade to higher amounts of anti-knock compound?

Why is the ignition advanced or retarded based upon the anti-knock compound if the engine doesn't knock?


Bob
These are the questions I'm seeking answers to, Bob. You managed to condense my rambling into a more succinct question(s).

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post #11 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 2:52 pm
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Bob, don't forget the "Buffet Factor". If I have lunch at a buffet, my mileage tends to be lowered due to increased weight on the bike.

Brian
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post #12 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 3:01 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
Interesting info.

What compression ratio is the thresh hold for going from regular to more anti-knock compound? Compression to go from mid grade to higher amounts of anti-knock compound?

Why is the ignition advanced or retarded based upon the anti-knock compound if the engine doesn't knock?

Why does the miles change if the energy per gallon is the same?

I used to attribute slower acceleration during our summers to the air being less dense. But, recently I've been wondering if the lower density of gas during the summer might contribute also.

Bob

I would say anything 9-1 would be fine for regular, 9-1 up to 10-1 for mid grade, 10-1 and over for premium.

If the knock sensor is in good working relationship with the ECM, you would not head your "traditional" knock before the computer picks it up and retards the timing.

The mileage changes due to retarded timing, which will not burn all the fuel in the combustion chamber, which makes the engine less efficient, requiring more fuel to produce the amout of power needed for load conditions on the engine.

Fuel density also has alot to do with power loss, or gain. Temperature can greatly effect the density ( that's why most of us old drag racers use "Cool Cans", which is nothing more than your fuel line coiled in a canister full of ice just before the fuel gets to the carberator). Denser fuel means more bang for the buck, as does higher octane.

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post #13 of 34 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 3:03 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hallzee
Bob, don't forget the "Buffet Factor". If I have lunch at a buffet, my mileage tends to be lowered due to increased weight on the bike.

But that only lasts until the next rest stop, just hope there is plenty of toilet paper and a clean and well vented restroom.

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post #14 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 2:42 am
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What does the knock sensor sense?
Where is it located?

It must being doing a great job; I run regular in the winter here, and in the summer high-test. However, this past summer, I continued with regular.

Thanks
Bob
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post #15 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 3:36 am
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The knock sensor resides in a threaded boss in the engine block. It senses the onset of engine knock (slight pinging) before the ear can detect it. The ECM will be programmed so that when it detects X number of knock counts it will retard the ignition timing by X degrees. If it continues to detcet knock counts it will further retard the timing. In an auto engine the final retard can be as much as 22*.
To know what the LT's computer is programmed to do you'd need to hack the .bin file used to program the ECM. This is done by doing what is called a .bin dump, which escentially dumps the info contained n the PROM chip to a laptop, in hexidecimal. From this you'd need to figure what each bit of data means and what it is supposed to do.
Clear as mud?

Due to the denser air charge you get with cold air entering the engine, you'd probably be OK running regular in winter, but if the outside air temp gets over 80* you are probably running into knock counts and loosing a little ignition timing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
What does the knock sensor sense?
Where is it located?

It must being doing a great job; I run regular in the winter here, and in the summer high-test. However, this past summer, I continued with regular.

Thanks
Bob
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post #16 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 7:18 am
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You guys know that the K1200LT doesn't use a knock sensor, don't you?

PMS came early this Fall.

Bill McAllister
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post #17 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 7:31 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reid
Here's a question that ought to match up with our oil discussions: Given that the compression ratio on the LT is 10.8:1 and the recommended fuel is premium (91 octane or better) is 89 octane ethanol acceptable for the long term or could it cause some problems given the bike's rather high compression ratio? I've been burning ethanol for a while with no detectable pinging, but I'm concerned about long term damage.
I have used mid grade 89 octane for over 100k miles in six years with no issues. Most of those miles have been in Texas.

Blessings!
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post #18 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 9:04 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munson
I have used mid grade 89 octane for over 100k miles in six years with no issues. Most of those miles have been in Texas.

I'm with ya' on that one.


I'm in the middle of a little experiment myself, more to determine whether or not to re-calibrate my "bc" computer than anything else, and am finding that I am getting noticably better mileage on 89 than on premium gas, which is surprising me. It does feel as though I have slightly less "oomph" when I crack the throttle, but no differences in performance.

(I ran 1,000 miles on premium, am 450 miles into the 89 octane test, will share my results when I have them...preliminary results on the premium was that over the TOTAL 1,000 miles, the BC miles per gallon figure on my bike was about 4 mpg off--I did not re-set for the entire 1,000 miles, but when I went back to re-setting it for each fill-up, it was off by as much as 14 MPG each tank--when I have the second 1,000 miles of data, this time on 89-octane I'll be soliciting advice).

Here in Texas, and if you're stuck in areas close to major metropolitan areas, you likely have no choice BUT to purchase gasoline with ethanol in it, regardless of the octane rating (take a close look at the side of the pump). Chicago area was worse because of the fact that corn is a primary crop for Illinois, but most states have the same issue...if you look carefully, even the most pricey will have a tiny sticker with "may contain up to 5% ethanol."

Those of you with subscriptions to Motorcycle Consumer News might have seen the blurb a couple months ago mentioning that the AMA pissed some people off but did something very GOOD for us by lobbying hard AGAINST proposed legislation that would have allowed (and in some cases MANDATED) an increase to 10% ethanol in fuel within a specified distance of major metro areas (known as "smog zones") that was, pardon the pun, "fueled" by american farmers.

While I support the american farmer as much or more than anyone--my Uncle raised corn and hay all his life--the point made by the AMA was that an increase in the ethanol content of fuels WITHOUT adequate investigation into the long-term effects on components of engine parts, particularly those in motorcycles which could lead to life-threatening catastrophic failures, needs to be postponed until its safety can be ensured.

Interestingly, the car I bought a year ago is a Chrysler 300C with an 8-cyl hemi engine. The owner's manual SPECIFICALLY says not to bother using premium fuel, that 89-octane is fine. (Yeah, I anticipate the "Your car is obviously calibrated for a lower octane fuel blablabla" responses...help yourself).

I cut the ol' brown wire, experimented with 87, 89 and 91 , and except for what I perceive to be a little more oomph on the pricy stuff, which may be all in my head, don't notice any difference, even after disconnecting the battery and re-setting the throttle before trying each.

Yeah, I had a lot of time on my hands this summer--not by choice.

For what it's worth, the BMW service manual on the brown wire cut, which I posted and which was removed--but if anyone wants a copy, drop me a line--specifically says "use 93 octane fuel" after the procedure, but I have yet to find this in the US except for $6/gallon racing fuel.

MCN, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Consumer Reports, and a number of others have written to the effect that "unless your vehicle demonstrates "pinging/detonation" there is no benefit to using higher grade gasoline, even the old scenario of higher grade gasoline having better detergent properties is no longer universally the case."

If the LT's tank takes about 6 gallons, and you re-fuel with 1 gal in reserve, then it costs you $.20 x 5 gallons = $1.00 more for the "good stuff" to put in premium each time you fill up. A dollar a tank is an awful small price to pay if it gives you peace of mind, particularly if your own field testing (like the great example shared by the forum member above) shows that you get a mpg benefit.

For some, go mid-grade. Others enjoy the comfort that the extra buck a tank buys. Some I suppose alternate.

I'll make my decision in another 600 miles or so when my spreadsheet is full.

Whichever way you go, there is one thing I CAN guarantee you...


SOMEONE on here is going to be critical of your decision!


Cheers!


Pete

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post #19 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 9:10 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munson
I have used mid grade 89 octane for over 100k miles in six years with no issues. Most of those miles have been in Texas.
I can't claim the time or mileage, but all I've ever run in mine is 89. No problems.
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post #20 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 9:20 am
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Around here, premium is 93 and mid-grade is 89 octane. If you want to do what BMW recommends, gas up every 150 miles and alternated between the two. You are running 91 octane as recommended. Go buy something off the Dollar Menu with the savings.
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post #21 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 9:21 am
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For those of you that use premium, do you only buy gas at service stations with a separate hose for each grade of gasoline?

It seems that my local stations are about evenly split between gas pumps with a single hose and those with 3 hoses. The single hose pumps have to dispense a measurable amount of gasoline of an unknown octane which makes it almost impossible to tell what you are actually getting. I have run a few unscientific tests using various grades of gasoline and could not tell any difference in performance or milage between the regular, mid-grade, and premium.

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post #22 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 10:14 am
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I have been using the 87 rating and at times I burn three to four tanks of 93. My mileage drops by 1-4 mpg when I use the high test stuff and no difference in the power.

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post #23 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 10:51 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McAllister
You guys know that the K1200LT doesn't use a knock sensor, don't you?

PMS came early this Fall.
I'm confused a bit. Are you joking or is it a fact that the LT doesn't use a knock sensor?

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post #24 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 11:14 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astuber
For those of you that use premium, do you only buy gas at service stations with a separate hose for each grade of gasoline?

It seems that my local stations are about evenly split between gas pumps with a single hose and those with 3 hoses. The single hose pumps have to dispense a measurable amount of gasoline of an unknown octane which makes it almost impossible to tell what you are actually getting. I have run a few unscientific tests using various grades of gasoline and could not tell any difference in performance or milage between the regular, mid-grade, and premium.
I SERIOUSLY doubt the residual gas would do a damn thing.
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post #25 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 11:53 am
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I have been running Mid grade (89) all summer, except when it has been really hot and riding two up. In those situations, I have been running 91 or higher. As far as I can tell, the performance is no different on the mid grade. Can't speak to the regular since I haven't used it.
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post #26 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 12:30 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McAllister
You guys know that the K1200LT doesn't use a knock sensor, don't you?

PMS came early this Fall.
Doesn't sound like that's a common understanding. I've never seen a knock sensor in the FM though. Yet some of the posts on this thread seem to be based on the premise that there is a knock sensor.

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post #27 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 12:31 pm
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Howdy. I usually regard such threads over gasoline octane preferences and oil brands akin to arguing over religion and politics. But in this particular instance I have a real world observation. A few years ago I was riding with another LT of the same vintage (post 2002 -- pre2005), both loaded 2 up on a very hot day. The other bike was running mid grad and I was running premium. I could clearly her his bike "ping" on initial departure from a standing start. He could not hear the "ping". The only difference was I was on premium. Also, I was loaded heavier than he was.

On a related subject, I owned a 2001 Chevrolet pick up equipped with a 4.8 liter v8 and automatic transmission. After it reached full operating water temperature, it would "ping" to beat the band. Especially bad at part throttle pulling the boat or a load in the bed. Summer heat was ungodly. Under warranty, I had the cylinders repeatedly decarboned and bore scoped to confirm no carbon build up in the cylinders. Finally, Chevrolet confirmed that the amount of "ping" was normal and not destructive. No matter, it drove me nuts. If I had kept the truck I was going to put a lower temp thermostat in it. In this case, running premium in the truck reduced the pinging, but could not eliminate. Even tried greatly overdosing several tankfulls of octane enhancer additive with no results.

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post #28 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 12:47 pm
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Wink Recommended Fuel...

My 2003 is has a sticker indicating minimum octane 89. What's the problem using mid-grade 89 octane? I do not believe the BMW recommends the use of premium fuel in the LT.

What am I missing? (nothing like some flame bait...)

Tom

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post #29 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 1:23 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McAllister
You guys know that the K1200LT doesn't use a knock sensor, don't you?

PMS came early this Fall.
Without one it has no way to "tell" what grade of fuel is being used and no way to determine that ignition retard is needed
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post #30 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 3:03 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petevandyke
I'm with ya' on that one.


I'm in the middle of a little experiment myself, more to determine whether or not to re-calibrate my "bc" computer than anything else, and am finding that I am getting noticably better mileage on 89 than on premium gas, which is surprising me. It does feel as though I have slightly less "oomph" when I crack the throttle, but no differences in performance.
Assuming that the poster who says the LT does not use a knock sensor is correct in that regard, it should not surprise you. The higher octane fuel essentially has a higher ignition temperature: the means by which that is accomplished can basically result in less thermal energy per unit volume as the octane number increases. Higher octane fuels are not, in other words, higher energy fuels. (They can be formulated that way but that is atypical.) It will typically take more of a less of a lower octane fuel to do the same amoutn of work i.e., you should expect optimal fuel mileage with the lowest octane rated fuel that will run without pinging.

(That matter of the knock sensor is important, though. In a system that does not adjust spark advance in response to ping, you would expect that the higher the octane, the lower the fuel mileage and the less power would be developed, as you are experiencing. WITH a knock sensor and spark timing adjusted in response to knock, you would expect that with higher octane fuel you would get more power although less mileage, since the specific energy per unit volume is still not effected by the spark adjustment.)

If you live in an area that is under an oxygenated fuel mandate for part of all of the year you should expect to get significantly less fuel mileage during those periods since the oxygenate most commonly used currently ethanol or ethanol derived, and it contains far less energy than gasoline.
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post #31 of 34 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 6:58 pm
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Anyone find the knock sensor in the LT? part number?

My memory for details, like a knock sensor on the LT is poor.

80F is winter temp here.

Bob
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post #32 of 34 Old Oct 12th, 2007, 7:58 pm
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Wow it just cost be 18 months of running premium to read all of these posts...

But seriously, at such a minimal cost, why would someone even consider not running premium in their LT?
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post #33 of 34 Old Oct 12th, 2007, 9:32 pm
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Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Posts: 3,522
Same reason I buy butter on sale--it all tastes the same to me.

Same reason I buy gas just down the road from my house instead of when I'm in a city or town, no city or town sales tax on gas at the gas stations near my house.

Ooooooh! I use Discover credit card cause they give me a 2% kick back. One year when my wife's medical bills were over $10K, I bough her a nice pendant with the 2% kick back.

Bob 00LT
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post #34 of 34 Old Oct 13th, 2007, 9:03 am
LAF
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Harrisburg , PA, USA
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Well through all this the important thing to remember is compression ratio.

10.8:1 NEEDS premium fuel. Since we are knowing there is not a knock knock sensor ALL the more reason to. Since detonation will destroy pistons, and rings you want to make sure you don't experience it. Detonation or knock is not always obvious, and easily heard and recognized. So with no knock sensor you are going to destroy your motor over time if you are not very conscious of pinging.

Run what you want but I run 93 Sunoco here in PA. Yes it is 15 cents or so more but at X 6 who cares. If you have to watch your pennies that close you are on the wrong bike.

Lee
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