Adventure motorcycles are a popular choice for riders who enjoy the thrill of exploring off-road trails and backroads. These bikes are designed to handle rough terrain and provide a sense of freedom and adventure.
However, one important aspect of maintaining your adventure motorcycle is selecting the right type of octane fuel. In this article, we will discuss what octane is, the different types of octane fuel available, and which one is best for your adventure motorcycle.
We’ll also discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of using higher octane fuel compared to low octane fuel and how it can impact your motorcycle’s performance, mileage and overall working.
What is Octane?
Octane is a measure of a fuel’s ability to resist “knocking” or “pinging” during combustion, caused by the fuel-air mixture detonating prematurely in the engine.
Pre-ignition, also known as detonation, occurs when the air/fuel mixture ignites before the spark plug fires, causing engine damage. The higher the octane number, the more resistant the fuel is to pre-ignition.
Modern engines are designed to run on fuel with a specific octane rating, and using fuel with a lower octane rating can cause knocking or pinging, resulting in engine damage.
Engines with higher compression ratios are more prone to knocking or pinging and require high-octane gas. Compression ratio is the ratio of the volume of the cylinder and combustion chamber when the piston is at the bottom of its stroke to the volume when the piston is at the top of its stroke.
The octane rating of gasoline is a critical factor in maintaining the performance and longevity of internal combustion engines. Therefore correct fuel grade and octane rating must be used to prevent pre-ignition, knocking, and pinging, and to ensure optimal engine performance.
Types of Octane Fuel
Regular gasoline, also known as regular unleaded gasoline which generally has an octane rating of 87, is not typically recommended for adventure motorcycles.
These bikes have higher compression engines and require a higher octane fuel to prevent engine knock and damage. Using regular gasoline with an octane rating lower than what the engine is designed to handle can lead to engine knocking, which can cause damage to the engine and reduce performance.
Most Adventure motorcycles require premium gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher. It is important to consult the manufacturer or read the owner’s manual where the recommended octane rating fuel you should use is written.
It’s worth noting that regular gasoline is made from a blend of different types of crude oil, which are refined to remove impurities and create a consistent product. Regular gasoline may not contain as many additives as higher-octane fuels, such as premium.
Many of these additives are important for the maintenance of the engine, especially for adventure motorcycles that are designed for rough terrain, it’s important to make sure that the fuel you’re using is of high quality and contains the necessary additives.
Mid-grade gasoline, also known as mid-grade unleaded gasoline, is a type of fuel that falls in between regular and premium gasoline in terms of price and octane rating.
It has an octane rating of 89, which is higher than regular gasoline, but lower than premium gasoline.
Mid-grade gasoline is made from a blend of different types of crude oil, which are refined to remove impurities and create a consistent product.
The refining process also includes the addition of a small number of detergents and other additives that help to keep the motorcycle engine clean and improve its performance. But again it may not contain as many additives as premium gasoline.
Mid-grade gasoline is suitable for motorcycles that are designed to run on regular gasoline but can benefit from slightly higher octane ratings. It’s recommended for vehicles with moderate compression engine, which are less likely to experience knocking or pinging with regular gasoline but can benefit from a higher octane rating.
So, using mid-grade gasoline that has an octane rating lower than what your adventure motorcycle’s engine is designed to handle can lead to engine knocking, which can cause damage to the engine and reduce performance.
Now Mid-grade gasoline is not as common as regular or premium gasoline, so it’s offered by some gas stations but not all of them. Therefore, it’s important to check the availability of it in your area before you plan to use it.
Premium fuel, also known as premium unleaded gasoline, is a type of fuel that is typically much more expensive than regular gasoline and has a higher octane rating. It generally has an octane rating of 91 or higher, which means it can withstand a higher level of compression before detonating.
Premium gasoline is also made from a blend of different types of crude oil refined to remove impurities, create a consistent product, and then include the addition of detergents and other additives. Premium fuel generally has much more additives and detergents compared to regular and midgrade fuel.
Premium fuel is suitable for most adventure motorcycles that have higher compression engines and require a higher octane fuel to prevent engine knock and damage.
Using premium gasoline can provide several benefits for adventure motorcycles, such as improved engine performance, increased horsepower, and increased fuel efficiency. It’s not highly noticeable but you’ll feel it a little.
Additionally, using premium gasoline can help to extend the lifespan of the engine by reducing wear and tear.
Now while premium gasoline can provide benefits, using a higher octane fuel than the engine requires and is designed for may not provide any additional benefits and can be more expensive and harmful instead.
Which Octane Fuel to Use on Your Adventure Motorcycle?
Now when it comes to selecting the right octane fuel for your adventure motorcycle, it is important to consult your motorcycle manufacturer, read the owner’s manual and use the appropriate octane fuel recommended by them to ensure optimal performance and prevent engine damage.
Adventure bikes typically require premium gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher to prevent engine knock and damage. However, some lower-capacity adventure motorcycles can run on regular gasoline with an octane rating of 87.
These adventure bikes have lower compression engines and are less likely to experience knocking or pinging with regular gasoline or midgrade gasoline.
Before you decide to choose a certain octane fuel, make sure you first find out the availability of different types of fuel in your area, as some regions may not have access to high-octane premium fuel.
In such cases, use the highest octane fuel available.
One more thing you should know is that some modern motorcycles have knock sensors that adjust the ignition timing when using low or high-octane fuel than what the engine was designed for. This prevents engine damage and keeps running the engine smoothly.
List of Adventure Motorcycles with Recommended Octane Fuel
Here’s a table that lists some popular adventure motorcycles and the octane fuel recommended for them.
|Motorcycle||Compression Ratio||Recommended Octane Fuel|
|Aprilia Caponord 1200||12.0:1||91 RON or higher|
|BMW F 750 GS||12.7:1||91 RON or higher|
|BMW F 850 GS||12.7:1||91 RON or higher|
|BMW R 1200 GS||12.5:1||95 RON or higher|
|BMW R 1250 GS||12.5:1||95 RON or higher|
|Ducati Multistrada 950||12.6:1||95 RON or higher|
|Ducati Multistrada 1200||12.5:1||95 RON or higher|
|Ducati Multistrada 1260||13.0:1||95 RON or higher|
|Honda Africa Twin (CRF1000L)||10.0:1||91 RON or higher|
|Honda Africa Twin (CRF1100L)||10.1:1||87 RON or higher (R+M)/2|
|Kawasaki KLR 650||9.8:1||87 RON or higher|
|Kawasaki Versys 1000||10.3:1||91 RON or higher|
|KTM 790 Adventure R||12.7:1||95 RON or higher|
|KTM 1090 Adventure R||13.0:1||95 RON or higher|
|KTM 1290 Super Adventure R||13.2:1||95 RON or higher|
|Suzuki V-Strom 650||11.2:1||87 RON or higher|
|Suzuki V-Strom 1000||11.3:1||91 RON or higher|
|Suzuki V-Strom 1050||11.5:1||91 RON or higher|
|Triumph Tiger 800||11.3:1||91 RON or higher|
|Triumph Tiger 900||11.27:1||91 RON or higher|
|Triumph Tiger 1200||11.0:1||91 RON or higher|
|Yamaha Super Ténéré||11.0:1||91 RON or higher|
|Yamaha Tenere 700||11.5:1||91 RON or higher|
Benefits of Using High-Octane Fuel
Now let’s take a look at a few benefits and cons of using high-octane fuel. There are a few potential benefits of using premium high-octane fuel in your adventure motorcycle. Some of these benefits include:
- Improved Engine Performance: Higher octane fuel can improve engine performance by preventing engine knock and pinging, which can cause damage to the engine and reduce performance.
- Increased Horsepower: Using higher octane fuel can also increase horsepower, which can make your adventure motorcycle feel more responsive and accelerate more quickly.
- Increased Fuel Efficiency: Using higher octane fuel can also increase fuel efficiency, which can help to save money on fuel costs over time.
- Reduced Engine Wear and Tear: Higher octane fuel can also help to extend the lifespan of the engine by reducing the wear and tear of the engine.
- Better Engine Protection: Higher octane fuel can also provide better engine protection, especially in high-performance adventure motorcycles which are designed for rough terrain, this can help to prevent damage to the engine and keep it running smoothly.
Cons of Using High-Octane Fuel
Along with having potential benefits of using higher-octane fuel, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Some of the cons of using high-octane fuel include:
- High Cost: Premium gasoline is more expensive than regular gasoline, which can add up over time. This can be a disadvantage for those who need to fill up their tank frequently.
- No benefit on engines not designed for high octane: Using a higher octane fuel than what is recommended for your adventure motorcycle will not necessarily provide any additional benefits in terms of performance or mileage. It can actually reduce your motorcycle’s fuel efficiency.
- Limited availability: High-octane fuel may not be available in some areas, making it difficult to find and purchase.
- Environmental impact: High-octane fuel may have a greater environmental impact than lower-octane fuels because it typically contains more additives and detergents.
- No additional power on lower-capacity engines: Using high-octane fuel on engines with lower compression ratios may not provide any additional power as the engine is not designed to handle the increased compression caused by the higher-octane fuel.
While there are few benefits of using higher octane fuel in your adventure motorcycle, you should also consider the cons, such as the cost, the potential lack of benefits on engines not designed for high octane, the limited availability, the environmental impact and the fact that using high octane on lower capacity engines may not provide any additional power.
Does it Give More Mileage?
The relationship between octane rating and fuel mileage is not straightforward and there are several factors that can affect the mileage of your adventure motorcycle.
Using a higher octane fuel than what is recommended for your adventure motorcycle may not necessarily provide any additional benefits in terms of mileage. But higher octane fuel like premium does seem to give you a little bit higher mileage on engines that are designed for it.
Some lower-compression engines may be unable to take full advantage of the higher octane fuel, resulting in no significant increase in fuel mileage.
Other factors such as engine condition, driving style, and vehicle maintenance can have a bigger impact on fuel mileage than the octane rating of the fuel.
What about performance?
Again just like mileage, it depends on the engine, if the engine of your adventure motorcycle can handle higher octane fuel then it can potentially increase its performance a little bit.
As mentioned in the benefits section of this post.
Can Higher Octane Hurt Your Engine?
Using a higher octane fuel than what is recommended for your adventure motorcycle can potentially harm your engine.
If the engine is not designed to handle the increased compression caused by the higher octane fuel, it can cause engine knock and pinging, which can cause damage to the engine and reduce performance.
Now using a higher octane fuel than what is recommended for your adventure motorcycle may not necessarily provide any additional benefits in terms of performance or mileage, and it can instead reduce your motorcycle’s fuel efficiency.
Moreover, using higher octane fuel than what is recommended could also cause other problems such as clogged fuel injectors, worn-out spark plugs, and even catalytic converter damage.
These issues can lead to poor fuel economy, reduced engine power, and even full engine damage in some cases.
Should you use Octane Boosters?
Octane boosters are fuel additives designed to increase the octane rating of gasoline. These additives are often used in high-performance engines that require high-octane gas, and in places where high-octane fuel is not available.
Octane boosters typically contain chemicals such as toluene, xylene, or ethanol, which have high octane ratings and can improve the fuel’s ability to resist pre-ignition.
The effectiveness of octane boosters can vary depending on the chemical composition of the fuel, and overuse of these additives may cause damage to the engine.
Whether you should use octane boosters depends on your need, if your motorcycle needs a high octane fuel and high-octane fuel is not available in your area, then go ahead and use it.
In conclusion, selecting the right octane fuel for your adventure motorcycle is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and preventing engine damage.
Most adventure motorcycles require premium gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher to prevent engine knock and damage.
However, lower-capacity adventure motorcycles can also run on regular gasoline. Still, it’s always recommended to check the owner’s manual or consult with a mechanic on what type of fuel is recommended for your specific motorcycle.
Using higher octane fuel can provide several benefits such as improved engine performance, increased horsepower, and increased fuel efficiency. But using a higher octane fuel than what the engine requires may not provide any additional benefits and can be harmful instead.