Try this first if you don't like how your bike runs

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by morfic, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    Want to keep your bike as stock as possible but want a smoother ride and/or hate it cuts out on you randomly?

    There might be a solution for you:

    *Switch to Shell gas.*

    I had switched from 93 Octane to 89 Octane when I started to use Shell gas (based on recommendation wife got for her BMW (car) and trusting Shell 89 more) so I could never gage just how much of the smoother ride was Shell.

    Was running late for work before Thanksgiving and didn't want to stop to put gas and at work then realized riding it to the closest Shell may be a gamble and went back to the Exxon by work, because it's probably fine anyway, right?
    Well, the longer I rode it the more I hated it, aside from riding rougher it sometimes cut out when I rolled behind people and pulled the clutch all the way in to disconnect power, something it hasn't done in the previous 10k miles.
    Back on Shell gas today, and it's much smoother again, nothing changed but gas, I can be sure of the difference now.
    #1
  2. zack753

    zack753 Adventurer

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    This is rather interesting. I know they advertise their "V-power" and whatnot, but I've always written all that off as a load of marketing wank.

    I'd really like to know what could cause a difference. Hopefully someone who knows more than I do chimes in.

    In the meantime, I'll have to experiment myself and see if I can notice a difference.

    EDIT: on second thought, could your local Shell station be offering ethanol free gas, and the local Exxon giving you E10? If that's the case, many of us use the af-xied for the same reason you use Shell.
    #2
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  3. bakercdb

    bakercdb Still searching

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    I’ve purchased fuel for my 2015 F800GSA in 50 countries over 3 years and 100k km.
    Majority developing countries, but full range from Premium USA to Africa whatever (albeit always from pump stations), to Premium Europe.

    I’m touring (ie, not riding hard) and certainly not a BMW test rider.
    But, I can’t say I’ve really noticed a measurable difference in My Type of riding (granted, I’m focused on a lot of other issues also and not riding the same route continuously)

    And, my engine still runs and starts flawlessly, so lack of these advertised super additives.....

    The BMW engine management system does an admirable job.
    Curious what an engineer in the field has to say.
    IMHO, YMMV.
    #3
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  4. vasuvius

    vasuvius wannabe something ... don't know what

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    Interesting. For over 20 years, I've always only used Mobil/Exxon gas in my motorcycles and cars. Always 93 in the motorcycles, and the Octane rating varies depending on the car e.g. Subaru Outback and Toyota Tundra get 87, the 335i gets 93.
    While on a road trip, the alternatives I prefer are Shell or BP. I try to avoid the rest.
    Does it really help? I don't know. I do know that in the old days, whenever I used some random brand of gasoline, I would have to clean the carbs more often.
    Perhaps there's a 'gas industry' person here who can chime in on the various additives the different brands claim improves performance.
    #4
  5. dpike

    dpike BeeKeeper Supporter

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    there's defiantly a difference.. my wife's mini runs like shit on anything but exxon 93. can there be other issues that exacerbate the fuel "quality" issue.. probably.
    #5
  6. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 Been here awhile

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    Okay, I did some research and came up with the following.

    The first place to check is at the pump. If it has ethanol, it may be call E10, it may say it contains at least 10% ethanol, or it may not have any information, but still have ethanol. Gas is typically distributed from the same refinery to various brand stations, but the brand additives get mixed into the truck doing the delivery. So, if you see a gas delivery truck with the same name at a Shell station and at a Mobil station, it isn’t necessarily the same gas. Also, reformulated gas typically has 10% or more ethanol in it. Reformulated gas requires more oxygen to burn cleaner. Ethanol is the most common oxygenator used for reformulating. So, if you buy gas where it’s required to be reformulated, it most likely has ethanol, even if it doesn’t say so at the pump. However, in most cases it will be labeled as such. I also read that ethanol can boost lower octane gas enough to qualify it to be sold as 87 octane.

    One way to try to avoid ethanol is to buy non-reformulated gas. This may require driving into the next county as in my case. To guarantee it’s ethanol free, fill up at a designated Pure Gas station. The following link shows all Pure Gas (ethanol free) stations in the country. Search also for Pure Gas suppliers in other parts of the world. There is a highlighted list of states to select from near the bottom of the link page.

    https://www.pure-gas.org/
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  7. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    FWIW, around here, Shell's premium is advertised as being ethanol free, and my wife now uses it exclusively in her Mini.

    I had a similar experience to the OP's but in a BMW car. I had been using 94 octane fuel from Sunoco, and my mechanic suggested that I switch to Shell after observing that the tailpipe was sooty. It turns out that ethanol is one way to raise the octane rating of a fuel so that higher octane claims can be made, but it doesn't mean the car's ECU is going to respond accordingly. I'll spare you the details, since the topic of octane can get people so wadded up, but I find this and the OP's observations credible.
    #7
  8. zack753

    zack753 Adventurer

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    If shell premium is ethanol free, that explains why op has better results.

    What's interesting is that while unmolested bikes seem to run better on Shell premium, aka ethanol free, those of us using af-xied devices may find their bikes prefer E10.

    Not that it's much of a difference, but a bike running that device should in theory run rich on shell (ethanol-free) gas.
    #8
  9. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 Been here awhile

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    I believe the OP, Morfic is running Af-Xied.
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  10. zack753

    zack753 Adventurer

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    Hmm just when I started to think I knew what was going on here.

    Interesting...
    #10
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  11. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 Been here awhile

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    No worries. Based on historical data from long ago. Lots of old posts from us Af-Xied converts.
    #11
  12. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    Correct.

    Setting 4
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  13. Arbolmano

    Arbolmano Not so Studly

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    One difference might just be the sample size of the experiment. The usual used Shell station might be well visited and have tanks that are clean and sound. Ethanol fuel goes stale quick and water is attracted to it sort of.
    I'd say increase the sample size by getting full tanks from other stations, maybe even Shell? Time for road trip. The more full tanks you go through, the accuracy is increased. Start a go fund me site and do some testing.
    Tonto
    #13
  14. SidewinderX

    SidewinderX Hey, watch this! Super Supporter

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    Interesting concept.
    I will have to try this out with both my bikes.

    I know that my daughters E350 Mercedes is very susceptible to fuel quality. It definitely matters to her car.
    #14
  15. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 Been here awhile

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    Just did more reading on brand comparisons. After reading a bunch of credible looking articles, this was what I ended up with. As mentioned before, all top tier brands meet minimum requirements for octanes and additives to guarantee a specified tier 1 level of quality. The first, and most important, guideline to use is the octane levels specified in our car and motorcycle manuals. Manufacturers specify these numbers based on compression ratios and individual engine design. The second factor in choosing which gas to pump is determined by the additives mixed into the gas for various gas stations loaded into their delivery trucks for the primary purpose of cleaning the engine components that it will be burned in. It’s highly unlikely that we can do any direct comparisons brand to brand since this is proprietary information and not publicly published. But, there are varied differences and some will not clean our engine components as well as others. So, yes, one top tier gas could very possibly make our engine run better than others. Multiple articles from different sources I read cited Shell V Power gas as having a higher level and concentration of cleaning additives than any other tier 1 supplier. Depending on how well our engines run and how clean the internals stay can determine which brand we choose to burn.
    #15
  16. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    The Shell is fairly busy, the Exxon is very busy, both are large stations with numerous pumps, so I don't see how one would have older gas than the other.

    I updated the OP "I had changed other things" vaguery was replaced with that I switched from 93 to 89 (finally remembered what "other thing" it was) and was because of that never sure if I liked Shell for Shell or because I gave it the correct Octane (I used 93 only because I read 89 is a mixed grade and wanted to have a consistent octane in tank)

    This recent change was from 89 Shell to 89 Exxon and back to 89 Shell, so no variation as when I originally started using Shell.
    #16
  17. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 Been here awhile

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    Just curious. Are either of the two 89 octane brands ethanol free?

    Since Shell V Power ranges from 91-93 octane, the Shell you were using does not contain the extra cleaning additives. But the fact that your F700 runs better on Shell gas sounds like they have a better mix, be it better cleaning agents or other versus Exxon.

    Also, I don’t know if you checked the Pure Gas site, but they list one location in San Antonio (Murphy USA) having Ethanol free gas.
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  18. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    Neither should be ethanol free, but I'd have to double check, to be certain.

    Murphy is listed as only having 87 octane and I'm not running that with the compression the engine has. (I keep forgetting why I never went there, just checked, for right now I know why )
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  19. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    I'm just envious seeing all these post talking about 92 and 93 octane! Here in California 91 is the highest you can find. There is an occasional station with a higher octane racing fuel pump (100-101 octane) that caters to hot rods and weekend race types, but those are extremely rare. Normal everyday "premium" is 91. Have to go to Oregon to get 92.

    On topic; I've run 89 when it was all I could get in four different bmw's, two F-bikes and two R-bikes, and never really noticed. But this was always loaded up while touring, not canyon racing.
    #19
  20. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    89 is what manual says, 89 is what it gets, no need to "all I can give it" really, that I put in higher at first was just me being me after Harvey getting me some bad gas.
    #20
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