E10 fuel

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Lower-carbon E10 petrol, which is made with 10% ethanol, is set to be introduced as standard at UK filling stations next month under plans by the government.

If your petrol vehicle or equipment is not compatible with E10 fuel, you will still be able to use E5 by purchasing the ‘super’ grade (97+ octane) petrol.

Motorcycle issues with ethanol

Motorcycle owners should also be aware of ethanol damage. Motorcycle manufacturers continued to use fuel system parts susceptible to ethanol damage after car manufactures changed over. Further, many more older motorcycles are still on the road, since motorcycles typically see less mileage and far less bad weather than cars do. Ethanol’s tendency to create higher cylinder head and exhaust temperatures are also a bigger issue with air-cooled and two-stroke motorcycles, many of the wear tendencies being observed in boat and small garden engines also apply to bikes.

Ethanol causes the degradation, softening, swelling and destruction of a number of polymers, elastomers, and thermoplastics. The Ethanol in E10, is a serious solvent / degreaser / cleaner.  Ethanol scours and scrubs varnish, gum, sludge and dirt deposits out of a fuel system.  The deposits will be “held” in suspension in the Ethanol fuel and will eventually wind up in the fuel filter / main jet / fuel injectors, and can choke off an engine’s fuel supply.  This cleaning effect will normally not be a problem, and will keep every fuel system component nice and clean.  Helpful tip is, take maintenance seriously by changing the pump filters regularly.  Before the use of ethanol, most of the gunk would sit on the bottom of your tank forever and adhere to the varnish / deposits in the bottom of the tank.  Now, with ethanol, any and all deposits will be lifted into the fuel, held in suspension, and will get to the fuel filter, pump, injectors, carburettor, etc.

It appears many say do not store ethanol petrol for long periods.  If you need to store a tank of ethanol fuel long term, use a high-quality non-alcohol-based fuel stabilizer / conditioner.  A fuel stabilizer will increase ethanol’s storage time.  

Here is list from the main manufacturers on which motorcycles that can run on E10 fuel. This list is not definitive and it’s your responsibility to make sure you use the right fuel for your vehicle. If you are uncertain check your owner’s manual or with your motorcycle dealer / manufacturer before you start using E10 fuel.

All Honda motorcycles and mopeds produced for the EU market since 1993 can use ethanol-blended gasoline up to 10% although carburettor-equipped models could experience poor driveability in cold weather conditions.

All Harley-Davidson models from Model Year 1980 are compatible with E10 fuel.

All models before this model year should use RON 98 fuel.

E10 fuel compatible Kawasaki motorcycle models:

KLX125 – 2010

D-Tracker 125 – 2010

KLX250 – 2008

Ninja 250R – 2008

Ninja ZX-6R – 2007

ER-6n – 2006

ER-6f – 2006

Versys – 2007

Z750 – 2007

W800 – 2011

VN900 – 2006

Z1000 – 2009

Z1000SX – 2011

Ninja ZX-10R – 2006

ZZR1400 – 2006

1400GTR – 2008

VN1700 – 2009

VN2000 – 2008

Suzuki E10 petrol is cleared for use in all current production models with petrol engines.

For older models: Please refer to Owner’s Manual

2002 Model Years and onwards – all motorcycles can use E10 with no problems.

1992-2001 Model Years – some models can use E10 fuels and some models cannot. The user should contact his national importer for clarification.

1991 Model Years and earlier – RON 98 (no bio-fuel content) must be used.

All Yamaha models from Model Year 1990 are compatible with E10.

BMW All petrol engine BMW models are cleared for the use of E10 petrol regardless of their year of manufacture but the minimum octane required should be observed according to the owner’s manual.

Ducati said that their Multistrada 620 and 1000 models were not compatible with E10 fuel, with tanks known to expand or leak in markets with ethanol-rich fuel.

Piaggio, who own Moto Guzzi and Aprilia, appear to be the least E10-friendly manufacturer, saying that all motorbikes built before 2011 would not be compatible with the fuel!

Unwanted side effects when using fuel with a higher ethanol content, especially for those with older bikes. Ethanol can damage plastic or fibreglass fuel tanks, cause old rubber hoses or inlet manifolds to swell or split and react with zinc, lead and aluminium components, too.

Ethanol is also hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs moisture from the air around it, and this can cause problems when fuel is left to rest in tanks for long periods.

If you ride an older bike this may cause issues, but most modern machines are perfectly capable of running on E10. The fuel is already sold in many European countries including Germany, France, Belgium and Spain.

E10 fuel checker