Though many motorcycle owners don’t realise it, their bikes may be equipped with electronics that detect engine knock. When the motorbike’s inbuilt computer adjusts ignition timing to eliminate engine knock, essentially altering the motorcycle engine tuning, the engine performance suffers.
What causes engine knock?
Understanding engine knock, also known as “detonation” or “pre-ignition”, requires an understanding of fuel octane. Fuel octane is a standard measure of gasoline performance. The three most common fuel octane ratings include:
• Anti-Knock Index (AKI)
• Research Octane Number (RON)
• Motor Octane Number (MON)
AKI is the rating most motorists are familiar with. It’s typically displayed on gas pumps as the average of the fuel’s RON and MON. RON, however, is the most common industry rating. AMSOIL, therefore, uses RON when conducting engine performance tests and product validation. Gasoline’s RON generally is a few numbers higher than the AKI posted on the gas pump (e.g. 87 octane fuel, or regular pump gas, has a RON of about 91-92).
The higher the fuel octane, the more compression the fuel can withstand before igniting. Low-octane gas is susceptible to uncontrolled and early ignition in the motorbike’s combustion chamber. It causes engine knocking or pinging, causes engine performance to deteriorate and, left unchecked, can cause catastrophic piston damage.
Engine tuning and detuning affect the motorbike engine’s performance
Some modern motorbikes are equipped with an engine knock sensor that adjusts timing to compensate for low-octane gasoline and eliminate engine knock – but detuning the engine in the process. Unfortunately, engine tuning plays an important part in the engine’s performance. Rough idling and lack of throttle response are the most common side-effects of the engine detuning to save itself from low-octane gasoline. As most motorbike engines do this automatically, many people don’t even know this is occurring. Engine knock may be eliminated by raising the fuel’s octane number.
Boost fuel octane to maximise power
By increasing fuel octane up to three numbers, which helps eliminate engine knock or ping and maximises engine performance, AMSOIL Motorcycle Octane Boost offers a low-cost solution to engine detuning and helps increase motorcycle performance.