Which petrol to use / Normal unleaded vs Premium or power or speed petrol

Petrol prices are in ever increasing graph. In last 5 years they have went up from Rs. 42/45 mark to Rs. 65 mark. On top, the market research and analysts report of more increment in these numbers.

From yeah 2000 since when Government of India made it mandatory for oil PSU to sell only unleaded petrol, we have 3 category of petrol sold in India.

  • Normal (unleaded)
  • Premium petrol (Power -> HP / Speed -> BP / Extra Premium -> IOC)
  • High octane petrol (Speed octane 97 -> BP)

The difference of octane number between normal and these premium is really low, 91 or 93 compare to octane 89 for normal. However usually these premium petrol’s are around Rs. 5 extra per litter compare to the normal version.

So the big question comes in to all our mind is, which petrol (normal or premium) to use ? Will there be any benefit using premium or will there be any lose if using normal petrol ?

If we look at our current domestic market, we would find myths are more popular compare to the actual facts. Around the world, government and individual studies show, matter of fact most of our bikes and cars do not benefit from using Premium petrol. (Google for more information and links for such studies)

Only very very few super bikes and cars, like Hyabusa / Yamaha R1 or a Ducati 1198 would have an engine built for such high-grade petrol. Normal bikes which we use in Indian market be it Fi (fuel injected) or curb (carburetor), such as,

  • Yamaha YZF R15 / FZ-16 / FZ-S / Fazer
  • Hero Honda ZMR / Karizma (ZMA) / Hunk / CBZ
  • TVS Apache RTR 16 / 180
  • Bajaj Pulsar 150 / 180 / 200 / 220 DTSi / 220 DTS-Fi / Avenger 220 DTSi
  • Or any lower cc commuter models

has no benefit in mileage / power or engine protection using premium over normal. Simply the engines are not meant to use the extra octane.

So therefore,

ANS 1 -> Sorry, spending the extra buck for premium petrol wont give any extra benefit what’s so ever. On top, in certain extreme and unlucky condition and premium petrol may actually case problem or damage to theΒ  normal bikes !!

How can IOC extra premium / HP Power / BP Speed may cause damage to normal bikes ?

Most of the normal air cooled bikes like Hunk or Pulsar 180 have an air-cooled engine right on bellow the petrol tank, where as in case of R15 or ZMR, the engine is cover with fearing and sits enclosed and right below the petrol tank.

Most of the time, these extra premium petrol sold in India comes mixed with synthetic additives.

In certain extreme condition like when all these comes together,

  • A lot of riding in 40(deg)C plus heat in a busy metro or big city day riding with higher RPMs. Like from 10AM to 2PM in scorching heat where you run at low gear but higher RPM. Engine doesn’t get much air to cool down and heats up extensively. This engine heat rises up towards the petrol tank and thus warming it up.

  • The petrol tank is having low amount of fuel.

Due to extreme heat in petrol tank, the bond of these additives and petrol gets loosen up. Additives are heavier than petrol and when they are detached from petrol in liquid form, they subside. If your fuel level is low and bike is in reserve, it is possible that the petrol suction nostril suck-in the heavier additives rather than petrol and when engine try to burn the fuel, it actually ends up burning the additives instead of fuel.

This is very harmful for valves and piston rings. Similar to what would happen when burning poor quality petrol.

This said action is rare but when all these above mentioned factors comes together, it may create this situation for your machine.

Which petrol to use then ?

Unless you own a R1 or such bike which has an engine developed and meant to utilize the high-octane petrol, it is wastage of money for using premium petrol. Matter of fact, in some cases, it is possible that the bike’s engine may have harmful effect while using these additives mixed premium.

This article is application / valid for the all Indian bikes, like below,

  • Hero Honda Karizma (ZMA) / ZMR / Hunk / CBZ eXtreme
  • Bajaj Pulsar P150 / P180 / P200 / P220 DTS-i and DTS-Fi
  • Bajaj Avenger 220 DTS-i
  • TVS RTR Apache 180 / 160
  • Yamaha FZ-16 / Fazer / FZ-S / YZF R15
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50 comments

  1. Nice info man!!! Keep it up…

  2. thnx 4 da technical details

  3. hunky da i knew it …………………..

  4. Why honda bikes are missing in your posts? Then I spotted some spelling mistakes in your mileage post and some errors here and there also.I think its typo errors.Try to correct it asap.

    • Dear NAGAMANI!!!

      Why dont you focus on the actual facts.., great information & knowledge rather than cribbing about spelling errors..
      Especially Honda bike ??? Hope you have a sense of understanding this matter.!! Whether its honda or hero honda or any bike atleast less than 300cc are considered in comparison.
      i think there is a spell mistake in your name, correct should be snakestone..!

      Have a courage to appreciate the info rather than wasting your / others time & brain.

      • Brother I gave it as my opinion to the blogger to develop.You know every opinion counts.Typo errors do happen for everyone.I really appreciate Mr.Hunky’s work.I think Hunky didn’t felt anything bad after reading my comment.
        Brother FYI: In the page elements all major bike manufacturers in india are present but honda and suzuki are missing,so only i asked hunky.
        Don’t hurt anyone with your comments before knowing the actual fact.

  5. This site is really informative. I dont know how did I miss this site for so much time…

  6. Hey Hunky..
    A good expression of idea over the fuel requirement in the engines.
    Meanwhile, I found some details in Hindustan Petroleum website. It may be useful for some better clarification of the higher octane fuel and benefits.
    Visit: http://www.hindustanpetroleum.com/En/UI/Power.aspx#

    • Hi,

      Not many bikes can use high octane but matter of fact, Duke 200 seems to be a bike coming with recommendation to use RON 95 fuel.

  7. I think bajaj pulsar 220, 200ns, avenger220 and duke have compressio ratio above 10, so high octane petrol should be used in these bikes. But other higher cc bikes such as karizma, r15 or any other 150 to 230 have compression ratio below 10.

    • Bajaj pulsar 220, 200ns, avenger220 and duke have compressio ratio above 10, so high octane petrol should be used in these bikes.

  8. probably a stupid and naive question, but am going to pick my R15 up from the showroom in about 10 days and so have tons of newbie questions (this is my first bike, hence the newbie-ness, sorry :D).

    there are three main petrol companies in india – HP, BP and indian oil. is there any one of them whose petrol is the best and most recommended/preferred one for R15 version 2.0 ? there are some differences in their petrol, hence the question.

    highly informative and simple site btw, thanks.

    • Hello Aditya,

      Mind you, no question is stupid as for every one of us, there was a day when we first picked up our bike and faced hundreds of questions. That is the main reason for us here at NexGenBikes.com to maintain this website in an attempt to share what ever we can.

      Coming to your point, well quality wise, state owned pumps are more or less the same. Its very hard to recommended a single name or brand since fuel quality depends more on local factors compare to a general brand. Dealers cheat with quantity, store old fuel (mind you, fuel too have expiry date :P) or mix it up with lower grade fuels. It happens with every company.

      Best things you can do is to try and attended company owned and company operated fuel (COCO Petrol Bunks / Pumps) stations. Also make sure that the said petrol station is a popular one so that you dont get petrol which is stored for longer period.

      Having said that, some people has their own fascination towards brands like Shell :p but in real world, its really hard to maintain dedication towards a single petrol brand..

      So practically speaking, one should avoid dealers and try to refill from coco fuel stations, also talk to your local friends, they too can recommend a suitable pump near by :)

      Thanks..

  9. thanks for the reply.

    friends and people around me are not into motorcycles in particular. so they dont much care and so for them any petrol station is fine. it’s been the same with me for my scooty all these years. but i am getting R15 now and for that i am going to be concerned about petrol stations’ qualities.

  10. and also, i searched and searched and it seems that there are no COCO petrol pumps in allahabad except possible one called HP centre that is near some village on NH 27 rewa road, about 42 kms from my place :(…but there are tons of other HP dealers in the city, many of them of course very busy since they are in the city so hopefully they store good petrol and dont impure it or anything.

    no BP apparently…quite a surprise and i think thats a wrong info, probably have to actually ride around every part of the city and find a BP one…this isn’t possible in a city of over 3.5 million people..but surely there’s no BP’s COCO pump.

    a good number of indian oil pumps too, and one of them happens to be the one i have used tons of times for my scooty..on the GT road just a few kms from my place..dont think there’s a COCO of IOCL here either..what a useless city of 3.5 million people.

    of course all this info about HP and BP and other IOCL pumps apart from the one i use all the time is from internet…couldnt find more credible looking websites that maybe has a list of COCO petrol pumps anywhere in india.

    • btw i said allahabad coz thats where i stay. but i guess you figured that out by now haha.

    • Irony is, being a PSU, there is no guarantee that even a COCO pump can be trusted 100%..

      If COCO pumps are really difficult to find, only option left is to try and look for a reputed pump.

      Frankly, most people are like fill and ride, not much bothering about fuel quality. Mind you, R15 is one strong vehicle, capable enough to handle anything.. lol… πŸ˜€

      • yes of course, if my tiny 10 yr old highly abused and raced (:D) scooty gives the same kinda performance on any random petrol from any random pump, surely a yamaha and that too R15 will easily handle fill-and-ride methodology…but i want to take its utmost care nevertheless, so, unless i have no choice, no fill-and-ride philosophy πŸ˜€

  11. Yes, it is hard to find a COCO petrol station near your home or every time you are on highway.
    But certainly there are something you can do to feed your ride with right quantity and good quality fuel.
    Firstly, check the popularity of the petrol pump – in a particular locality, you should find most of the two/three wheelers are feeling up and on highways, you can identify a good petrol pump with Trucks and Buses(mostly commercial vehicles) are filling up – that’s certainly a good petrol pump.
    Always prefer petrol pumps with MPDs (Multi-Product-dispensers) – its very hard to tamper with a MPD.

    • yes, i figure a busy pump is probably a decent pump.. thankfully, the indian oil pump that has been frequented by me a lot is always busy with all kinds of vehicles, being situated on gt road NH-2.

      will have to find a pump with MPDs…dont recall any of the pumps that i have been to several times had MPDs though…thanks for this tip.

      • Touch wood, lets hope you get a nice petrol pump where even if dealer steals, then steals in quantity not quality πŸ˜›

  12. Hi, thank you for sharing this useful information.. keep up the gud work…

    will keep all my friends and every one about the same….

  13. hey.. thanks buddy…
    I recently have bought my first bike.. Enfield thunderbird 350… Being strongly determined to maintain it in best in calss condition, i had been thinking to get the premium/ high octane petrol.
    I was totally confused whether to go ahead with that or not… Thanks for the information …
    You saved my pocket as well as my bike…. :)

  14. Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and
    tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums
    that deal with the same subjects? Thanks for your time!

    • Somnath Bhattacharya

      we appreciate your kindness..

      you should type your content in any search engine, that will help you better from us…[ i think so ]

      thnx for visiting our site .. :)

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  18. hey bro when i take my ktm duke 200 the technician said to use speed petrole . can i use normal petrole

  19. Awesome! Its actually awesome paragraph, I have got much
    clear idea about from this post.

  20. I am in fact thankful to the owner of this site
    who has shared this fantastic article at at this place.

  21. the review was very much useful nexgenbike but i have honda shine and i will never allow my bike to reserve and i’ll always keep my tank full so in that case is there any possibility of burning the additives instead of petrol (for the past few months i’m using power from hp)

  22. hello i need to know about the exact difference between speed and normal petrol

  23. Im having ktm duke 200
    Im really confused between normal and speed petrol
    Can u plz clarrify
    Whether i want to use speed or normal petrol for our Indian roads

  24. what about enfield 350 … what octane level is recommend for this bike….

  25. Ankit Anant: Hii bro,I’m using Pulsar 200 NS and I fill up my fuel from a COCO petrol pump…….there I found the best quality petrol…u can feel the difference the way engine sounds and increase in mileage……for a change I had switched to IOC’s Xtramile premium …….the only difference I found was the engine was running a bit more smoother…..but the performance was the same.

  26. Hi Hunky,

    I am getting new Yamaha R3, please suggest which petrol to use?

  27. What’s up mates, its wonderful paragraph concerning educationand completely
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