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I had a 2016 F700GS and I used 89octane (mid Grade) without any issues. I now have a R1200GS and at first I used the recommended 91 or better fuel. I have switched to 89 and have noticed a slight drop in power but almost negligible. Is this doing harm to the engine? The Manuel calls for 89 as a minimum. The difference in price here in NYC can be as much as 30cents a gallon.
 

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For me, I only use non ethanol premium grade. The price at the pump on a bike is not that much more to the better fuel. If the bike is going to set for any time do to weather or what not I add Seafoam. I also just came off of a F700GS. This new R1200GS is just amazing. Good luck with yours.
 

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If you have a 2013-2017 R1200GS BMW recommends 89 AKI/(R+M)2 or Mid-grade in most states.
For 2018 R1200GS BMW has lowered the requirement to 87 AKI/(R+M)2 which is regular in low elevation states.

I personally am of the opinion that the new recommendation was made without BMW modifying the engine or software, I'm sure it has more to to do with them not seeing any holes knocked in pistons over the years.
So no you are not doing any harm to your engine and could probably run regular and be just fine, many do.
There is also a software modification that dealers can do that enables the engine to run on regular gasoline, I tried it and didn't care for the reduction in power so I changed back.
 

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I'm not someone that worries much about saving <$2.00 on a tank of gas. I'm one of those guys that uses what the manual says to put in. If the manual says high test fuel, that's what goes in, motor oil 5-40W, gonna put that in, brake fluid should be DOT 4, I'm using that too. Maybe I'm anal but I have had pretty good luck when I just follow what the manual recommends. That said, I have bought gas out of a barrel in Baja, gas in a jug in Turkey, got it from a hose that is poked through a wall in Albania, from some guys back yard in a country I don't remember. Did I know what the octane was or care? Nope. Did the bike still run, yep. : )
 

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I'm one of those guys that uses what the manual says to put in.
What's in your manual? Mine has this. Note that all three are the same rating. 89 AKI is mid grade where I live. It is also called Super unleaded in some places in the english speaking world and 95 octane in others.
 

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When we ferried some '18 R1200GS bikes from Los Angeles to Anchorage I knew that early in the season there would be limited gas opportunities so I asked them if we should take care on what octane fuel we put in the bike. They said put the best gas available but otherwise don't worry about it. We did and the bikes ran fine for their first 4,200 miles.
 

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The higher the octane, the cooler the engine runs. If the outside temp is hot (say >90F), I tend to put in higher octane. The few times I've put in lower octane (87) when the ambient temp was high, the bike did seem to run hotter, once actually triggering a dash warning. In the cooler riding seasons I don't hesitate to use lower octane.
 

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What's in your manual? Mine has this. Note that all three are the same rating. 89 AKI is mid grade where I live. It is also called Super unleaded in some places in the english speaking world and 95 octane in others.
Marc, mine is the same with the inclusion that Jet referenced about having an adjustment by the dealer if only 87 is available.

When in Mexico it is common to only have 87 but it has no ethanol. I consistently get 20-25% better mileage per tank on regular grade south of the border sans ethanol. I wish the USA would stop putting corn syrup in our gas.
 
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In the Houston area ethanol free gas is hard to find, but not impossible. I've only been able to find it in regular grade. As I ride a 2018 GS, my preference would be to use the ethanol free "regular", however the place near me that sells it (Buc-ees in Katy) is not confirmed to be "top tier" certified.

There is a lot of benefit in the additives that top tier gas includes, particularly if you have high pressure fuel pumps that can't take much fouling. But it pains me no end to have to make a choice. I don't know why one chain can sell ethanol free and others can't (or won't) but I sure wish at least one of the majors would add top tier no ethanol fuel. I'd pay handsomely for it.

Until then I'll run the Chevron or Shell gas and pray that BMW has made these bikes tough enough to digest the 10% crap. If the farmers succeed in getting us to 15% corn I'll definitely go with the no name ethanol free and just run some Techron additive.

Dave.
 

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The higher the octane, the cooler the engine runs. If the outside temp is hot (say >90F), I tend to put in higher octane. The few times I've put in lower octane (87) when the ambient temp was high, the bike did seem to run hotter, once actually triggering a dash warning. In the cooler riding seasons I don't hesitate to use lower octane.
Do some research as "The higher the octane, the cooler the engine runs." is not a true statement. Octane is basically a resistance to detonation not burn rate. Lean vs. Rich is one of the things that can cause a big change in engine temps.
 

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A fuel station nearby has ethanol free 86 octane I tried it my 06 GS and it pinged so back to 91/93 octane w/ ethanol as anything lower pings under load.

Agreed octane has nothing to do with cooling. Also higher octane fuel is not better than lower octane fuels it just has more anti-knock additives in it. Gasoline is gasoline the additives package is what makes it different from grade to grade and supplier to supplier. The moral of the story is to get the most efficient is use the lowest grade fuel you engine will consume with out pinging aka pre-ignition/detonation
 

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I run 91 octane in my 16 GS and 18 k1600 with all the crap that is added or removed from fuel a higher octane is not going to hurt your GS. Yes it will run on 87 and 89 if you want all your performance and piece of mind spend the extra buck at the pump.
 

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In British Columbia Canada, all the Chevron stations carry 94 octane gas without ethanol. I use this in my bikes, cars and even my lawn mower. I never have a problem with injectors or carbs clogging up. This gas appears to be hard to find in the US.
 

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The "Cognitive Dissonance" associated with the "Octane Wars" rivals only the Oil and Tire threads for idiocracy. JSNS
Not sure I'd call it cognitive dissonance, maybe more Clarke's Law ("Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic") in action. BMW's technology has reached a level where a lot of it is mysterious even to a pretty advanced gearhead. Part of the reason is that an increasing amount of stuff is done in proprietary software, so the best we can do by way of understanding what's going on is to reverse-engineer a model of how the code might work. And with this comes a bit of "magical" thinking. Did the bike somehow seem to work "better" when I put no-ethanol premium into it? Somebody else said theirs did... and maybe this mysterious and expensive piece of technology will not smite me if I show it how much I care by putting in the most expensive fuel, or oil, or tires...

BTW: beware gasoline labeling in the corn belt. A lot of stations have taken to calling 87-octane with ethanol "SUPER":
 

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Best treatise I've seen on the subject. Factual and unopinionated discourse:

Thank you to my friend for posting elsewhere

Post by Pterodactyl » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:41 pm

Ethanol Info from an Expert

On another forum a lad posted a response he got to some questions he asked a SUNOCO technical guy. I thought them interesting:

Yes, all Sunoco pump fuels (87-93AKI) are Top Tier and have the same level of ultratech detergent. Sunoco Race Fuels that are unleaded (95-104AKI) also contain a high level of UltraTech detergent but are not officially Top Tier. Our Race fuels have always exceeded performance requirements of Top Tier but we have not submitted them for certification because Top Tier is directed at pump fuel issues. Sunoco Race Fuels have been tested to be about 10 times cleaner than pump fuels.

Octane is a measurement of resistance to pre-ignition, detonation or spontaneous combustion. There are many factors that influence the octane rating required for each engine. Some of those factors are compression ratio, engine operating temperature, Air/Fuel ratio and bore size. Following the manufactures octane recommendation will ensure that the engine isn’t damaged from octane related problems. Using a higher octane fuel won’t hurt performance and is like having more insurance than you need. Octane is only one of many important factors that control how a fuel performs in an engine. Since octane rating is how we choose different grades at the pump many people latch on to that being the only difference between the fuels.

Ethanol in fuels is an endless topic… Ethanol can be spun in many ways so I will try to only provide facts and not opinions.
Ethanol has a lower energy density(Btu/Pound) than gasoline (11,500 vs 18,600).
Ethanol has a higher liquid density(lbs/gallon) than gasoline (6.60 vs 6.08).
The above numbers can be rearranged to show energy density as Btu/gallon. Ethanol is lower than gasoline (75,900 vs 113,100) a 10% ethanol blend will have about 4% less energy per gallon and this can be seen in real life as fewer mpg.
Ethanol is about 35% oxygen by weight. Fuels with oxygen in them will increase efficiency of the engine and allow for overall better performance. A 10% ethanol blend will have better performance than a pure gasoline fuel. The difference in performance is about 1% for this case. 100 HP on gasoline would be 101 HP on an E10 blend.
Ethanol will readily absorb water from humid air and draw moisture into a fuel system. This is the reason lawnmowers and other small equipment will get water in the fuel. Modern cars have sealed fuel systems and don’t see this issue as much. Small equipment fuel systems will typically have a vent to atmosphere which allows water to find its way in.
Pure ethanol has an excellent storage life like many other pure chemicals when stored in a sealed container. Sunoco 260 GT is 100 octane, 10% ethanol fuel. We have tested this fuel stored in drums for over 2 years and the fuel still meets all our manufacturing specs. Ethanol doesn’t decrease the storage life but it can compromise fuel by bringing in water.
Pump gasoline components are not as stable as pure chemicals and stability tends to decrease with octane because lower octane fuels contain more low quality hydrocarbons. 87 octane, 10% ethanol fuel is 83 octane gasoline mixed with ethanol. The ethanol bumps the octane up to 87. Using regular grade 87 octane fuel in small equipment causes many of the issues blamed on ethanol. Small equipment is stored for months or seasons with low grade gasoline that is only designed for a storage life of a few months. This is what shows up as varnish and brown gunk in small equipment. Mix than with ethanol bringing in water and you have a situation that leads to corrosion and costly repairs.
Premium(91 or 93AKI) will have a better storage life than regular (87) and 89 is a mix of the 2 grades. Using a premium fuel will help keep the fuel system clean and reduce chances of fuel related issues. If the bike will be stored for long times like winter it would be a good idea to fill up with non-ethanol fuel with the highest octane you can find.

I hope this helps,

Zachary Santner
Technical Specialist
SUNOCO RACE FUELS
 

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In British Columbia Canada, all the Chevron stations carry 94 octane gas without ethanol. I use this in my bikes, cars and even my lawn mower. I never have a problem with injectors or carbs clogging up. This gas appears to be hard to find in the US.
In Texas we call Top Tier high octane no ethanol gas "Unicorn" !
 

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Doesn't seem to mater what fuel I use, it all works. FWIW, I run "76 Brand" premium, works great. I took a trip to Mexico and used "PMEX Magna Sin" supposedly 90 octane, lead free. Ran into no problems.

John
 
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