Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

When you fill up your bike you gen­er­ally get the choice of 95 or 97 fuel. Th­ese num­bers are the fu­elõs oc­tane rat­ing, which is shown in the in­dus­try stan­dard of RON, which stands for Re­search Oc­tane Num­ber. This num­ber is a fig­ure demon­strat­ing how much com­pres­sion the fuel can with­stand be­fore it ig­nites. High per­for­mance en­gines gen­er­ally have high com­pres­sion ra­tios and that means run­ning a fuel with a low RON fig­ure could lead to pre-ig­ni­tion (also called det­o­na­tion or knock­ing), which robs the mo­tor of power and can po­ten­tially cause dam­age, although mod­ern mo­tors au­to­mat­i­cally al­ter the ig­ni­tion tim­ing Ð within a range of pa­ram­e­ters Ð to pre­vent dam­age oc­cur­ring. The higher the RON num­ber, the more com­pres­sion the fuel can with­stand be­fore ig­nit­ing and that means high per­for­mance en­gines can run at their max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency, and there­fore make more power. Run­ning high oc­tane fuel in a low com­pres­sion en­gine is of no real ben­e­fit at all and costs more than a lower oc­tane fuel.

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