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Is Premium bad for bikes?

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by Dee, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Hey there,

    Just want to know what the general consensus is. Is premium bad for your bike or not?


  2. Shell Optimax has a bad reputation in carbied bikes. Generally run what your manufacturer recomends. Some engines and fuel management systems are designed for premium petrol, some prefer standard. You will need to read your handbook for your particular bike.
  3. Newer bikes will generally recommend to run on 95oct or higher. Optimax has a high level of sulphur and causes a build up due to the small injection systems on bikes. So best to steer clear of it. But i am to believe on the some of the big bore machines like a hayabusa you can use it. Older generation bikes are built to run on normal unleaded, so premium is not needed and may also cause the bike not to run as well. Hope this helps. And just for your info, Mobil 8000 and BP Ultimate are blended in the same refinery, just a different colour added for respective companies.
  4. Why would they make Mobil 8000 at Kwinana :?.
  5. I used the run the old Balius on premium, didnt have any problems but then again didnt notice any difference either.
    On the weekend i mowed the lawn and ran out of petrol and only thing i had left was some premium unleaded so i put that in the mower and thats doing alright as well.
  6. I would have thought with higher octane your are getting a more efficient burn. I agree with steering clear of Optimax, but I have used Vortex 98 in my Cibby 250 and the SP2 and I thought it worked great.

    Higher octane even in carbies should still give you more performance and more effeciency, but it may burn hotter that's all. So I don't see why it would be a problem.
  7. whatever gets me there without pinging
  8. Thanks for all the feedback.

    I ask because a couple of weeks ago my almost brand new scooter stopped running and I had lots of different people giving me conflicting reasons as to why. A lot of people said not to premium in a bike with a carby as it clogs the fuel lines. The mechanic I eventually took it to said that premium damages spark plugs, but the performance you get out of your bike until that happens may make it worth using anyway.
  9. An engine will run best on whatever octane fuel it was designed for. Running a higher octane won't in itself cause any problems - the problem with Optimax is due to fuel density. However with a carbied engine there's no advantage to be gained from a higher octane fuel either, unless you manually re-tune the engine (fuel injected engines do this automatically).
  10. premium will make a bike tuned for regular run richer than it should, robbing you of power and spoiling plugs.
  11. We use Mobil Syn 8 when we can find a Mobil Servo!! Our bikes love it, doesn't matter that it is made in Singapore and shipped in, the bikes still love it! Otherwise we just buy regular Mobil fuel from our local servo, which the bikes don't mind but they don't get such good economy!!
  12. Optimax has been superseded by the new fuel shell are pushing named V-power.
  13. ^^Is it the same formula or is it just the same fuel with a different name?
  14. From the website, good to see they have a section for bikes.

    Shell V-Power is designed for bikers who want maximum power when it’s needed.

    Shell & Ducati have worked hard together to form a winning team. Nobody understands bikes like we do – and now you too can enjoy the same reliability and responsiveness as demanded by the Ducati team.

    New Shell V-Power is perfectly suited for motorbikes. Bikers are known to be discerning drivers and are likely to appreciate the improved performance that Shell V-Power can offer, compared to regular unleaded fuel.

    Shell V-Power is an unleaded, 98 octane fuel, designed to give your bike maximum power, just when you want it. Its exclusive formulation is designed to help your bike respond more quickly, no matter how rough it gets out there.


    Some bikes will be more suited to Shell V-Power than others, but generally all bikes that are designed to run on unleaded petrol are suitable for use with Shell V-Power.

    Although Shell V-Power is compatible with most bikes there may be a requirement in some cases to make slight adjustments to the engine such as changing spark plugs, and reducing the size of carburettor jets, or a combination of both. Bikes used mainly for city running (and therefore subject to considerable stop-start running) are likely to need such adjustments when changed to Shell V-Power. Some fine adjustments may also be required to ensure that when the bike is hot it runs smoother and with better overall performance and in particular there is more power at the top end.

    Bikes that run well on Shell V-Power without any of these changes are usually fitted with fuel injection and advanced fuelling systems.

    Shell recommends that all bike and parts modifications suggested on this website are made in consultation with your bike’s manufacturer.

    Back to top


    The compression ratios of cars is usually around 9-1 or 10-1. The higher the compression ratio, the higher the octane number the engine requires to run without pinging or knocking.

    Bikes with high compression engines shouldn’t be more prone to misfiring than bikes with lower compression engines. However, this problem may be caused by the way the petrol is stored in a bike (i.e. incorrect storage can reduce fuel volatility and cause hesitation and stumble until the engine is warmed up).

    The problem may also be affected by the type of running the bike is used for (round town stop/start low speed operation can result in rich running and plug fouling).

    Knocking (Detonation, Pinging)

    The correct technical term for this phenomenon is ‘knocking’, which happens when an engine:

    a) Runs on fuel with an octane number that is too low, for the engine.

    b) Runs too lean (air-fuel mixture is incorrect).

    c) Has incorrect ignition timing.

    The effects of (a) and (b) shouldn’t occur using Shell V-Power because it has a high octane number (98) and as a result of the high density of Shell V-Power, it tends to enrich the air-fuel mixture.

    Generally the higher the engine compression ratio, the higher the fuel's octane number needed to ensure that the fuel burns evenly. If the octane requirement of an engine is greater than the octane number of the fuel used, then the petrol will burn unevenly, producing shock waves that cause the engine to knock.

    The ignition timing (c) should be checked and adjusted to comply with the engine manufacturer's specifications.

    Shell recommends that all bike and parts modifications suggested on this website are made in consultation with your bike’s manufacturer.

    Lean Seizures

    Shell V-Power should not cause any problems with lean seizure in engines as long as the engine is adjusted correctly. Lean seizing is caused by overheating due to an excess of oxygen in the combustion chamber (i.e. a lean air/fuel mixture). In two-stroke engines lean seizures are caused by a lack of oil in the fuel-oil mixture. In fact, due to its high density, Shell V-Power is more likely to run too rich rather than too lean. (See section on Rich Running).

    Back to top

    Cold Starting

    Cold starting problems are generally a result of a low volatility fuel causing a lean mixture or problems with petrol atomisation. Shell V-Power shouldn’t cause cold starting problems if an engine is well set up.

    If a bike has been left in warm conditions for several weeks, this may cause the petrol to lose some volatile components which can mean the engine suffers from poor fuel mixture distribution

    Older Bikes

    Shell V-Power has a higher density than regular unleaded petrol, and therefore provides more burning power in a given quantity and, with correct engine adjustments, better performance. The high density of Shell V-Power can cause some bikes to run rich (see section on Rich Running) unless changes are made to the engine or the bike can adjust the amount of fuel injected (i.e. it is fitted with fuel injection and a lambda sensor).

    Older bikes are generally fitted with carburettors (rather than fuel injection systems), which won’t actively adjust the volume of fuel injected into the engine. So if older bikes are running poorly on Shell V-Power it generally means they are running rich.

    Reducing the size of carburettor jets or simply switching to a slightly hotter grade of spark plug (always consult the engine manufacturer) can address this issue.

    Some older bikes were designed to run richer (because emissions and fuel consumption were less of a consideration) and using a high density fuel like Shell V-Power could lead to over-fuelling and consequently poor running. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean less power but if a bike was previously ‘enriched’, the further increase in fuel in the mixture might cause incomplete combustion.

    One way to reduce the problem is to change back to standard jets or reduce the jet size to ensure the engine mixture is leaner.

    Note: not all older bikes will suffer from poor running when changing to Shell V-Power. Shell recommends that all bike and parts modifications suggested on this website are made in consultation with your bike’s manufacturer.

    Spark Plugs

    Your bike’s engine running richer (i.e. the proportion of fuel to air is too high) may mean that incomplete combustion will occur and excessive carbon deposits can form on the spark plug. This situation is more likely to occur if the bike is used around town and subject to frequent stop-start and low speed operation. This type of operation exacerbates the situation as the engine and spark plug won’t get hot enough to allow the plug to reach its self cleaning temperature.

    Ways to reduce this problem include changing the spark plug to a slightly hotter grade (always consult the engine manufacturer) or reducing the carburettor jets one size, to lean off the mixture. The latter is the preferred option.

    Shell recommends that all bike and parts modifications suggested on this website are made in consultation with your bike’s manufacturer.

    Two-Stroke Engines

    All petrol in Australia, including Shell V-Power, contains aromatics, which are a useful high octane component in petrol. The aromatics in petrol will not alter the effectiveness of two-stroke oil as an engine lubricant.

    Shell’s extensive testing in two stroke engines indicates that, like other Australian petrols, Shell V-Power is suitable for mixing with two stroke oils. In general a higher aromatic content of a fuel leads to better miscibility of fuel and 2-stroke-oil.

    Rich Running

    When a bike is not tuned correctly to handle the high density of Shell V-Power it may result in rich running. Not all bikes are affected but carburetted bikes are more likely to suffer from running too rich, especially if they are used frequently around town in stop-start situations.

    Some of the ways to overcome the bike running too rich include changing the plug to a slightly hotter grade (always consult the engine manufacturer), reducing the jet size on the carburettor, changing the carburettor needle, or a combination of the above. This will help the bike run well on Shell V-Power and allow the rider the benefits of the high octane fuel – more power (especially at the high end) and an advanced fuel additive to help maximise engine cleanliness.

    Shell recommends that all bike and parts modifications suggested on this website are made in consultation with your bike’s manufacturer.

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    Sulphur Content and Pistons

    The sulphur level in petrol is generally low compared with diesel and Shell V-Power sulphur levels are significantly lower than those specified by Australian Government legislation. Accordingly, the sulphur content in Shell V-Power should not damage fuel systems or engines that are correctly set up and designed for use with unleaded petrol.

    Any deposits in the piston ring area are usually caused by a combination of high combustion temperatures (due to a lean mixture or incorrect ignition timing) and unsuitable engine oil quality. We recommend checking the air-fuel mixture and using an appropriate Shell Advance engine lubricant.
  15. A particular petrol shouldn't stop a bike. If you run too low octane to the point of pinging for too long it will do damage.

    Some higher octane petrols in some bikes makes the bike run a bit rough (like mine for example), but others are different. It shouldn't make it stop.

    As to running better, well that depends on the bike too. My current bike gives the best performance and fuel economy on BP95 despite the fact that it was released on 91. It run like shit on optimax

    My previous bike gave me the worst economy on BP95 and run well on shell 91
  16. What fuel are netriders Hyo GT250 owners running? I tried Opticrap and it was horrible. The bike was non responisve and sluggish. Then tried BP Ultimate and it was heaps better. Ive always used premium in my SS ute and thought I would just use that in the bike too. This thread is leading me to think otherwise.
  17. hi all!!
    the main difference between regular unleaded and premium unleaded is the heat that is required to burn it. that is what octane rating means.
    if you run a regular unleaded in a bike that requires premium it will combust before it is meant to, i.e. pre-ignition, or ping.
    on the other hand, if you run premium in a bike designed for regular it will combust too late, which actually reduces the efficiency of the motor.
    So it is very important to run the fuel that the engine was designed for.

    The other difference between premium fuels and regular fuels is the density, premium fuels have more fuel molecules in a given volume than regular fuels, this is why in carby bikes premium fuel makes them run rich, which robs them of power and fouls up spark plugs.

    Bikes are temperamental things (like women) because they are designed for performance, not like cars which are designed for reliability. so they really dont like running on anything but the petrol that the manufacturer has designed them for.

    The moral of the story is, if you have a carby, run regular, if you have fuel injection and the manual says 95octane run 95octane, and if the manual says 98octane, run anything with 98octane except for optimax.

  18. still got a full tank of opticrap, sorry---- v-poWAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!
    won't use it again now but i haven't noticed any sluggishness
  19. If anyone cares to look into the issue. The fuel comes out of one pipe at the depots.

    I run 98 octain fuel in my bike - Optimax/VPower/8000/Ultimate (Caltex similar) - it's all the same sh!t. It's all good.

    Just get something that's free of ethnol and it should all be fine.