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Hello guys, I have been reading different stories about the type of gas I should be using in my bike. I have a 2012 vulcan 900 Lt classic. What do you guys recommend for octane, 87, 89, 93? And why? Thanks


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No disrespect intended, but there must be hundreds of previous posts on this topic. If you've read many of the posts already then you know here is the summary of the replies -

1. Run the lowest octane you can without having any recurrent pinging/knocking.
2. Run what the book says because that's what the book says (Kawasaki engineering says so).

Likely you already know which way you lean between the two, so just relax and go with it. ;)
 

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In the higher elevations to the northeast of here, they sell (or at least did sell) 85 octane gas. You could try that. Should get you more mpgs.
 

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Octane etc

Note, the Octane and th RON are not the same. I have run 87 since 07 and actually ger better mpg with it. I have ocassionaly run 89 oct. when on a trip in different states with diff. fuel available. I get better mpg on 87 and it seems to run a little cooler, but not sure about that.
 

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When I 1st bought my 900 I had thought that the higher 91 octane would make it run better. But it had a lot of popping on decel due to unburned fuel. Now run the 87 with no issues whatsoever. From what I have read here the manual calls for 91 octane but it is for Euro standard fuels not US, which I hear is different. So the Kawi manual is not always correct for us guys here in the US on that matter anyways.
 

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Okay, here are a few 'common' things that we always draw as conclusions on octane threads.

1) Remember that the 900 manual uses the international RON label, not the American RON+MON/2. That means that 91RON recommended in your manual is identical to 87 R+M/2 that we have here.

2) Performance increases from higher octane fuel are likely due to a lack of ethanol in premium grades, not the fuel.

3) Some of us get backfiring and popping with high octane fuel. Others swear by it's performance. You'll have to decide that one for yourself.

4) This is a 900. Folks with others bike always jump in. The 900 is a different bike than the 1500, 1600, 1700, etc. So what works for those bikes may not work for the 900, and vice versa. Every engine is different.

5) Because every engine is different, compression doesn't really matter these days. Lots of 12:1 compression car engines run 87 just fine. Likewise some lower compression engines demand high octane! The times. They are a changin'! (Well, it's not the 60's anymore anyway)

6) If you get pinging or 'knocking' then you need a higher octane. If you don't, then you don't necessarily.

7) While it can be ethanol free, or have additives, high octane fuel in itself is not higher performing, cleaner, or anything other than higher octane. The higher the octane, the better the resistance to pinging. To simplify, that's all you're doing when you pump gas; you are picking how much knock protection you want. In fact, the 'Octane' numbers are more correctly called "Anti-Knock Index".

8). No. That's the answer to "My buddy can get us 100 octane avgas, should I throw that in my tank?".

Don't think I forgot anything, but that's what usually comes up in these octane threads!

Always a good discussion. There are a few things we haven't been able to come up with a conclusion on (like, could running a higher octane actually be HARMFUL? Some say no, some say yes, some say they aren't sure). But; that's what we usually come up with after several pages of octane discussion.
 

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higher octane fuels actually generally have more ethanol in them. Ethanol and methanol are both higher octane than even racing fuel, so blending more into each gallon of lower grade gas nets you a higher octane for cheaper.
 

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I run 91 in mine with no issues, but I only do because its hard to find anything else thats near me thats ethanol free. Im a mechanic at a rental equipment shop where most of our equipment uses honda engines. There is nothing worse in a carb than ethanol.
 

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So that's really interesting. So, what I gather from that is;

1) If you are getting knocking or pinging from fuel that others with the same bike don't get (ex., 87 with the VN900); or in other words, if you are unable to run the minimum octane recommended by your manufacturer; try to get fuel elsewhere. Even IF you prefer higher octane, because chances are, there's moisture in the fuel!

2) We already knew that, but ethanol-laced fuel breaks down much faster. It said 90 days but how long has that fuel been in storage and transit before it hit your tank? That's exactly what Seafoam and Sta-Bil do, by the way, they trap water so it won't dillute the fuel (in addition to replenishing additives and stabilizing the fuel!)
 

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Just put a bit of methanol into your tank. It is heavier than gasoline and falls to the bottom, with the water and keeps it from causing problems if it is allowed to build up too long. You can buy it in quantity and save a good amount of money. I have a few 5 gallon buckets of the stuff since I utilize an alcohol injection system on my car.

Doesn't take much. Try not to exceed 10% of your fuel capacity unless you can add just a touch more fuel.

Methanol is the same stuff that is in the antifreeze/ water remover labeled "HEET". Yellow bottle, on the expensive side, but worth it if you want to be super anal and reduce the amount of water just sitting at the bottom of your tank.

but who really lets their fuel just sit in the tank for months? lol
 

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Just put a bit of methanol into your tank.

but who really lets their fuel just sit in the tank for months? lol
I used to work at a semi tanker washing facility. We always had 50 gallon drums of methanol laying around for certain wash procedures. One of the old guys there fed his beat up old ford taurus a mountain dew bottle of methanol once a week in the winter. Did it for the same reason. Though I don't think I'd do it to my bike.
Also up here in Wisconsin that damn white stuff in the winter leads to tanks of fuel sitting in the bikes a few months of the year. :(
 
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