ALL MAKES OF MOTORCYCLES SERVICED FAST FRIENDLY & SUPERB SERVICE
Here at MIS UK Limited we specialise in 70s and 80s motorcycles. I thought I would write a bit on modern fuels, well to be specific petrol as the nearest thing we get to diesel in our world is a two stroke ( Love them but that’s another tale). Take from it what you will some information is fact some is my opinion and there is a link you might like to view if you have a bit of time on your hands at the end.
Most modern fuels have Ethanol in them. Why you ask? It required under the Government's Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO). There is currently no requirement for renewable fuel (such as ethanol) to be present in super unleaded (97 grade petrol) but it does not stop the suppliers adding it!
Currently, the 'Standard' petrol sold in the UK is 95 octane E5 (95 E5). Many larger stations sell a 'Super' grade petrol as well. This is usually 97-99 octane E5, and is more expensive, by around 8-10p per litre.
What is Ethanol? Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel produced from the fermentation of a range of plants, including sugarcane and grains, along with their by-products
To be honest it bloody awful stuff for a few reasons.
1 It is hydroscopic, which means it absorbs water, incidentally so is brake fluid.
2 It is corrosive to aluminium when water gets in and makes a mess of your carburettors, the state of many carburettors I see is almost unbelievable.
3 A significant problem for most UK users really lies with rubber components. gaskets, O-rings, moulded inlet manifolds and even the tips of needle valves are all made of rubber. Depending on type, these can be badly affected by ethanol.
4 Dissipates oil, very very bad on a two strokes as it’s the oil is mixed with petrol to lube your bearings. Bottom end rebuilds are not cheap!.
I would also point out it is less efficient than 100% petrol which results in less miles per gallon typically 3 or 4 miles on a modern car. Other than Motorcycles it effects small engines the most like mowers for instance.
A lot of us don’t use our motorcycles in the winter season and this is when it is most likely to cause a non-starting problem. I used to think adding fuel stabiliser was the answer I am now not convinced, it might help but is nowhere a complete solution!
So you ask, “What do you suggest”? Put proper 100% petrol in your bike, simple; well it would be if you can get it? Also in the winter drain your carbs before laying up.
Esso super unleaded petrol (Synergy Supreme+ Unleaded 97), used to be Ethanol free, but having checked today it also now has E5 (5%) on pumps as well. So the only Ethanol free petrol I know of is Aspen long life fuel, but bloody expensive. However before laying bike up it is probably worth running bike dry then putting in Aspen long life fuel and running though before laying up for winter.
Like everything these days, nothing is simple. Pages can be written about batteries, types, technologies etc. The purpose of this little document is to aid you deciding if your battery is good or bad and needs replacing and what type of battery you should consider buying.
A perfect voltage with the engine running is between 13.7 and 14.7V.
With the engine off, you should get a reading of 12.6 volts. If the battery isn't fully charged, it will diminish to 12.4V at 75%, 12V when it's only operating at 25%, and down to 11.9V when it's completely discharged.
New batteries must be fully charged before placing them in service. Batteries should be recharged at a rate not exceeding 20% of their ampere-hour (A-H) rating, for example a 2-ampere maximum charge rate for a 10 A-H battery. Frequently discharging a battery below 50% of its capacity also shortens its life substantially.
Regular charging voltages should be
14.2-14.6 for wet cell,
13.8-14.0 for gel cell
14.1-14.4 for AGM.
Recommended float-charge voltages are 13.2-13.7 for wet cell, 13.2 for gel cell, and 13.2 -13.4 for AGM.
To properly test a battery it really needs to be load tested to measure the cranking amps ability. MIS can test your battery for just £3 price of a coffee if you bring it to us outside the motorcycle or can be easy accessed on the motorcycle.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are becoming more popular with modern vehicles as the demand for higher CCA (cold cranking amps) & RC (reserve charge) increases. AGM batteries are just like flooded lead acid batteries, except their electrolyte is absorbed and held in glass mats, as opposed to freely flooding the plates. There is no excess electrolyte in an AGM, so they are able to operate in any orientation (even upside down!), without ever having to worry about spillage.
All AGM batteries are VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) in design, and tend to run a slightly higher than atmospheric internal pressure. This pressure is controlled by an inbuilt valve regulator. When installed internally (in the boot or inside the cabin), a vent tube must be connected. Vent tubes must not be kinked in any way, and must vent outside the vehicle.
AGM (Spiral coil battery)
A spiral coil battery is an AGM battery, but with a different construction. Like conventional AGMs, it is a high output battery, and is often found in high performance or off road vehicles that require extra torque for starting. Positive and negative plates are rolled together with a thin layer of absorbed glass mat in between providing more surface area and therefore produce higher current carrying capacity. These batteries are more resistant to excessive vibration, heat and higher charge rates. The spiral battery can have a shelf life up to 18 months without affecting starting ability.
Gelled batteries, or "gel cells" contain acid that has been "gelled" by the addition of silica gel, turning the acid into a solid mass that looks like hard jelly. The advantage of these batteries is that it is impossible to spill acid even if they are broken. The disadvantage is that they must be charged at a slower charge rate to prevent overheating. Excess heat will turn the “gel” into a liquid, damaging the cells. Gel batteries are often found in golf buggies, back up for house alarms and electric toys. There is a caution - gel cell batteries cannot be fast charged on a conventional automotive charger or they may be permanently damaged.
Deep Cycle battery
A deep-cycle battery is a lead-acid battery designed to be regularly deeply discharged, using most of its capacity. In contrast, starter batteries (e.g. most automotive batteries) are designed to deliver short, high current bursts for cranking the engine, and to be frequently discharged of only a very small part of their capacity.
Deep cycle batteries have much thicker plates than a regular automotive battery and are designed to be discharged down as much as 80% time after time. The major difference between a true deep cycle battery and others is that the plates are solid lead plates - not sponge. This gives less surface area and therefore less "instant" power which starting batteries need.