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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A little while back I posted a thread about The end of ethanol blended gas? . One of the interesting things about the article in the thread states, "...But what the EPA failed to do was inform the public about the problems that ethanol can create. It didn’t mention that the fuel mix is only approved for certain vehicles. It didn’t mention that putting this fuel in your lawn mower, weed whacker, leaf blower, ATV or motorcycle also has the potential for damage."

This statement got me to thinking, what if some of the start up and performance problems of the Ninja 250 are caused by ethanol blended gas? So, I began to read more into ethanol and its affect on performance and gas mileage (two things that the Ninja does well at). But could it do better? I mean, who couldn't use a little extra umph out of their 250? So the research began and it did not take long to find out that most organizations, clubs, mechanics and race crews were all saying pretty much the same thing. Do Not Use Ethanol Gas, if possible.

I read one particular piece of info from Motorcycle Performance, Home of America's fastest Ducati website (Bad Gasoline) that basically states that 10% ethanol blend gas produces 3% less power than straight gas. Not only that, according to fueleconomy.gov, "...vehicles will typically go 3–4% fewer miles per gallon on E10 than on straight gasoline."

Having read all that, I decided to make the switch to pure gasoline (non-E10) and find out if there was in fact any benefit. First I had to find a station or two nearby that sold Non-ethanol gas, which was easy to do by going to Ethanol-free gas stations in the U.S. and Canada. I put in 2.5 gal. of 87 octane (non-E10) to start my small test. The first thing i did after fueling was let it sit a few days and not start or ride to bike. The weather has been a around the mid to low 50's so starting the bike should not be difficult (so you would think). Normally (w/E-10 blend) I would put on the choke, go thru a couple of short start cycles and nurse the throttle a lil bit to warm up, choke off and off I go. With pure gas the start cycle was simple, choke on, start, let it idle till rpms went up, warm up was quick, take the choke off and ready to go. OK, so no big deal on the start up as a number of factors could improve the procedure.

The next test was to see if there was any noticeable performance gain. Mind you the set up on my bike is simple (snorkel removed, 2 shims, Pipercross airfilter). Right away I could tell that the engine felt smoother than usual and at cruising speed (6th gear @ 6000 rpms) the engine felt effortless, more so than it did before. Even at hwy speed 75-80 mph the engine was not as buzzy and power seemed to come on a little easier than usual, but what really got me was a slight increase in low rpm response and acceleration when merging onto the interstate. Redline came quick, for a second I thought it was a different bike, but then again other factors could explain the slight increase in performance. Overall I think there maybe some improvement in the performance of the bike with pure gas, but I will have to see in the long run. As the temps get warmer and I ride longer distances, I'll be able to see more, if any, improvements in MPG. But for now all I can say is...hrmm.. interesting.

One small note; Depending on where you get pure gas, it may cost a little more than E10 blend, but the slight performance bump may be worth it. Of course you don't have to take my word for it, try it for yourself. If your bike is well tuned you might be surprised.
 

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BG, thanks for posting this since it is something that is not brought up very often. E-10 is less common here than regular petrol and I have only used it once with very noticable results.

This experience was not on my bike, in fact it was a few years before I started riding. It was in my 2002 Ford Falcon ute. Normally I would use regular 91RON fuel, but in the odd long trip I would use 95RON "premium".

I pulled into a station that had Premium on special, and it was 2c cheaper per litre than regular. It was not until I was almost finished filling up that I noticed it was ethanol blend(E-10). I thought bugger it, I'll give it a go, but I wasn't too sure if it was suitable for my car. At the time, I was selling cars, and I checked in with service department who told me I could get away with it, but not to use it on a regular basis since it was not compatible.

The following day I could tell that the car was not behaving 100%, and seemed breathless. A typical tank would give me about 650kms if I was steady on the throttle, this tank of E-10 only gave me about 470kms before the light came on!
I swore to never use it again, and have since found out that in cars not compatible, it will affect seals and o'rings in the engine and speed up the deterioration of the engine.

They have just started introducing E-85 blended fuel into Australia, and there is only one car sold that is compatible, how long this will last I don't know, but I think it is ridiculous. At the moment I believe that there is only a handfull of stations selling it on the mainland, but luckily the car can run on other blends of fuel.

They admit that is uses more fuel, but the emmissions are lower, so they are playing the "Green" card.

My advice, stay well clear of this fuel, especially for your bike if you can avoid it!
 

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I agree - if you have the option to not use Ethanol in you fuel - take it!

I'm lucky to have a station close-by that has Ethanol-free gas in all grades - though I only use/need 87 octane (standard).

When I switched over to Ethanol-free I saw an increase in mileage of about 4%. Cost increase per gal was 3% at the time, but that's not really a factor for me.

Ethanol-free gas is also better for your fuel system and especially a steel gas tank. Ethanol contains and holds water, and will accelerate rusting. Best thing to do, especially when temps are changing, is to use Ethanol-free gas and keep the tank as close to full as possible all the time to prevent condensation from forming.

Because Ethanol is leaning the gas mixture, it's making any lean running condition (like factory lean idle settings) worse. It's especially true for small 2-stroke engines that may be tuned lean from the factory, and why there were so many small engines sticking when E10 was introduced. I believe most companies now tune for E10, but generally you still are better to run non-Ethanol gas IMO.


Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Another small piece of info that I also found was interesting as well. It was about the stoich burn of E10 & 100% gas. Stoichiometric is when a fuel burns chemically ideal for the least amount of harmful emissions. According to sources 100% Gas = 14.7:1 stoich & E10 = 14.1:1 stoich.
"In reality, most fuels consist of a combination of heptane, octane, a handful of other alkanes, plus additives including detergents, and possibly oxygenators such as MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) or ethanol/methanol. These compounds all alter the stoichiometric ratio, with most of the additives pushing the ratio downward (oxygenators bring extra oxygen to the combustion event in liquid form that is released at time of combustions; for MTBE-laden fuel, a stoichiometric ratio can be as low as 14.1:1)" In naturally aspirated engines powered by octane, maximum power is frequently reached at AFRs ranging from 12.5 to 13.3:1
Air

A dyno chart of a stock 2008 Ninja 250 seems to confirm an peak stoich A/F ratio of about 14.1, this is assuming the bike was running E10 blended gas. To get a more efficient fuel burning and possibly smoother and faster bike, more fuel had to be added by installing a bigger main jet. See this dyno chart
 
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