Octane Question - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-02-2018, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Octane Question

Having owned a Vulcan 900 for 10 years I've been involved in more tha a few discussions about octane. That bike called for 87 octane (USA Regular) and loads of owners wanted to burn 90+ because "motorcycles need premium gas". All of the research I've done indicates that you need to raise the octane once you hit around 11:1 compression. Since the 900 only developes 9.5:1, 87 octane works best. So my question is why does Kawi call out 90 octane for the 1700? I was surprised to see it also has a compression ratio of 9.5:1. Obviously I'm missing something.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-03-2018, 09:26 AM
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In germany the actual lowest gasoline is 95 octane with up 5% Ethanol (or the same called E10 with up to 10% Ethanol - never used it in any of my vehicles) , so I never thought about filling up with something more expensive.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 12:14 AM
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1700's require premium, or they can ping. Even more likely after your ECU is Ivanized.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 12:25 PM
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I ran 87 in my 900, but when I got my Voyager I saw in the manual where it said minimum 90, so I started using 93. I run 87 in my truck so a couple times I've accidentally put 87 in my bike. I can tell the difference when I do that, too. It pings and doesn't seem to have the usual power.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 12:43 PM
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My 750 runs on 87 just fine. I've put mid-range gas in it only once because the mom-n-pop gas station I stopped at while on a run long ago had apparently run out of its' 87.

The bike ran fine but I did notice a decided difference in how much my wallet weighed.

I haven't run premium in anything since the time I owned my Mustang.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 02:36 PM
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The octane rating is all about keeping your engine from developing a ping.
The higher the octane number the more resistant it is to ping.
The engine makers determine the best number to use.

That's it.
It doesn't do anything else.
Some would want to believe it makes the mpg's go up, it can't!


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 06:52 PM
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Run ethanol free 93,vader loves it,nothin else
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 06:59 PM
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from what I found SteveJB you are correct .Higher octane is needed for Higher compression ratios. For the most part there is no need to cool things down with a higher octane well at least when I grew up. Now however with the engines being leaned out so much and the timing being so advanced to get past the EPA some engines are calling for a higher octane than I would think is needed. They have the engineers so I follow the owners manual ( sometimes) Ride Safe

That which does not kill me tends to really piss me off.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2018, 12:58 AM
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My 1500 calls for 91 but it pings like shit on that and I have to run 94 - it'll ping on that too on hot days. Pisses me off that it won't run properly on 91. Took it back to Kawasaki many times to get them to fix but they always claimed there was nothing wrong (pretty sure that the standard Kawasaki warranty answer for every customer that comes through the door with a complaint).
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2018, 06:34 AM
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Yeah my 04 1500 Nomad wanted to ping with any acceleration. I put iridium plugs in and can run mid-grade fuel in the spring and fall. switch back to premium at the first ping though.

That which does not kill me tends to really piss me off.
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