What Kind Of Gas Do Motorcycles Use?

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Whether you are a new motorcycle owner or have just recently purchased a new motorcycle, it is never obvious which fuel type the motorcycle needs to run at its best performance. The fact that so many fuel types also does not make this decision any easier.

So if you are wondering what kind of gas do motorcycles use then according to the research I have done the motorcycles should use high octane gasoline with a rating of anywhere between 87-94. Not using the proper gas type can lead to a lot of issues, especially if the bike does not support the gas entirely.

In this article, I will try my best to help you figure this out and explain all the types of gas that you can get, along with which gas you should gravitate towards and which ones you should avoid, so if you have been having doubts on the fuel you are using, make sure to read this article.

Choosing The Best Gas for Your Motorcycle

Let's learn about what best fuel to use for your motorcycle

Choosing what gas works best for your motorcycle can involve a lot of experimentation if you are doing it by yourself.

Luckily for you, I already have everything you need to know, which will help you establish which gas is the most suitable for your motorcycle.

Before you go buy any type of gas, you should start by reading the motorcycle manual to see if it tells you which type of gas is most appropriate for your motorcycle.

Here are a few notable gas types which I will discuss that can easily go into your motorcycle. You can then assess which gas is for your motorcycle or is best according to your own needs.

Different fuel types have different costs, which can be uneconomical to maintain, which is why you should know the price of these gas types before you think of switching to them permanently:

  • Regular Gas
  • Premium Gas
  • Ethanol Gas
  • Leaded Gas
  • Unleaded Gas
  • Diesel

Higher Octane Gas Vs. Lower Octane GAS

The optimum octane count for your motorcycle can only be given by the manufacturer or the manual you get with the motorcycle.

Most motorcycles work well with octane ratings which lie between 87 to 94 octanes, and while you can easily go above or below this range, it is not recommended as it can cause various issues.

Fuels with lower octane ratings are much easier to ignite in the engine, devastating for motorcycles with high compression ratios.

The octane rating has no bearing on speed or performance. It simply refers to the compression the fuel can take before igniting.

Motorcycles with high compression will hence need high octane gas to avoid the fuel self-combusting prematurely, which can reduce the health of the motorcycle overall.

You can find gas with higher octane ratings, usually in premium fuels, which means that the more octanes you have in your fuel, the more it will cost.

Regular/Premium Gas Vs. Ethanol Gas

Regular fuel and premium fuel have little to differentiate themselves in cost and slightly better performance.

Most manufacturers recommend premium gas over regular gas as they have higher octanes and are better suited to the engines of the motorcycle, causing less damage to the internals of the motorcycle if it has higher compression ratios.

If you can afford it, go for premium gas. If not, regular gas should hold your motorcycle over just as good but with less fuel economy.

Ethanol Gas is a cheaper way to get high octane fuel but at the cost of less energy. Ethanol gas has a lot of disadvantages which I will go over later in the article.

Still, for now, you should know that you should typically avoid ethanol gas and fuels with ethanol mixed in with it as not only does it provide less energy, but it causes a flurry of other problems which can quickly become costly to repair.

Unleaded Gas Vs. Leaded Gas

Generally speaking, you should not be able to get your hands on leaded gas, and even if you do, it is highly recommended that you do not use it as fuel for your motorcycle.

Leaded fuel is mostly illegal and was a way to increase the octane rating of lower-end fuels. This was done by adding salts, which are often left behind inside when the fuel is combusted.

They stay behind in the form of salt deposits and can easily cause a lot of issues, not just to the engine but to the catalytic converter, and cause a lot of corrosion to the exhaust system.

Unleaded gas is the way to go as it avoids all of these problems and is more environmentally friendly as leaded fuel has much more harmful emissions.

Most fuel available today is unleaded, and you should do your best to avoid any leaded gas unless you want a lot of costly trips to the mechanic.


Most motorcycles you will encounter will typically be running on gasoline. This is because their engines are built around the consumption of gasoline, which has become the norm.

Some motorcycles, however, break this norm and use engines that require a lot more efficiency to prevent issues from arising. These motorcycles are typically off-road motorbikes or certain branded ones.

You should make sure that the engine is compatible with diesel as a source of fuel as diesel lets out a lot of heat when it combusts, which can significantly overheat the engine of a gasoline motorcycle.

You should also avoid diesel when you prioritize speed as it will not net you the speeds you desire as diesel engines typically have low RPM.

You may also be interested in my article: How Many Gallons Does A Motorcycle Hold?

Tips To Utilize The Best Fuel For Your Motorcycle

Now that you have a good grip on the types of gas you can get for your bike.

You should follow a string of habits and have a good bit of knowledge about the fuel you are about to buy and make the connection whether it is good for your specific motorcycle or not.

There are a lot of factors that can go into this, such as octane rating and any sort of additives in the fuel, and you should account for all of them when deciding on gas for your motorcycle.

Aside from following some major tips discussed below, here are a few smaller tips that will help you with any fuel-related issues with your motorcycle:

  • Read the motorcycle manual.
  • Avoid leaded Fuel.
  • Use summer and winter blends in their specific season.
  • Know the compression ratio of your motorcycle.

These are some basic and obvious tips you should follow when browsing for fuel for your motorcycle.

Now, let’s talk about some more significant tips.

1. Avoid Fuel With High Ethanol

As mentioned above, ethanol-based gas is bad for your motorcycle. It can easily cause corrosion in older model bikes and increase the chances of your motorcycle overheating.

Apart from this, the ethanol also absorbs water which can lead to a bad case of corrosion or damage to the various systems of the motorcycle, especially if you leave the motorcycle sitting around for a good chunk of time.

Make sure to avoid any traces of ethanol and go for pure gasoline or diesel, depending on your engine.

2. Know Which Octane Rating Is Best For Your Motorcycle

If you know the compression ratio of your motorcycle, you should be easily capable of identifying which range of octane rating is best for your motorcycle.

If you are too low, the motorcycle fuel will combust prematurely, damaging the motorcycle.

If you are too high, you will have significantly less performance on your motorcycle. You should maintain a perfect balance and get the optimum rating for your motorcycle in both ways.

3. Know The Gas Required By Your Motorcycle Engine

This should be a fairly obvious one, but you should know what engine you have in your motorcycle as well as the gas required. It makes no sense to put gasoline in a motorcycle that has a diesel engine and vice versa.

Keeping note of your engine type will prevent you from using the wrong type of fuel and having to get the entire system flushed out later.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Do Motorcycles Use Regular Gas?

It should be known that the fuel of your motorcycle will differ according to the model and engine it uses, but for the most part, motorcycles can use regular gas.

As long the motorcycle can accept the fuel, you should be good to add as much regular gas into your motorcycle.

This should be clearly stated in the manual of your motorcycle, which you should read if you want to use the proper fuel for your motorcycle to avoid issues.

Most manufacturers recommend premium gas, but regular gas can also just as easily get the job done at less cost.

Q2. What Happens If You Put Regular Gas In A Motorcycle?

If you have established, using the motorcycle’s manual, that the motorcycle can use regular gas, then you have nothing to fear as the motorcycle will run as it should normally.

However, if your motorcycle manual recommends premium gas, then you may have some issues later down the line.

Sometimes this can void the warranty of your bike. Other times it will result in lower performance as a result of decreased horsepower.

While there are no major drawbacks of using regular gas in your motorcycle, you should try to use premium gas for its many advantages.

Q3. Should I Put Premium Gas In My Motorcycle?

This question circles back to the first one; if your motorcycle can support premium gas and you can afford to buy it regularly, you should prefer using premium gas over regular gas.

While this option may be a bit more expensive than regular gas, you should see a significant rise in the fuel economy of the motorcycle.

Overall it should also be much healthier for the engine, reducing any sort of engine knocking or other fuel-related issues, all while optimizing the power and performance of the motorcycle, giving you a smooth biking experience.

Q4. What Gas Do I Put In A Dirt Bike?

Dirt bikes can easily make do with any fuel type, which ranges from the 87 to 92 octane range. This range covers both regular and premium gas, allowing you the choice to use whatever fuel type you want for your dirt bike.

That being said, it is highly recommended that you use gas that has higher octane, which is mostly in premium fuel. This will have many of the benefits stated above.

If you are using a two-stroke dirt bike, then you should avoid straight gas by all means, as the gas can easily damage sensitive parts of the dirt bike.

Q5. What Kind Of Gas Does A Harley Davidson Take?

Straight from the mouth of the manufacturer itself, Harley Davidson itself recommends the usage of pure gasoline for most of its bikes. Premium gas is the better way to go, especially if you value the health of your bike’s engine.

Due to the high compression ratios in most Harley Davidson motorcycle engines, regular or cheap gas can ignite prematurely, which can have serious effects on the engine and cause a lot of damage.

Always try to use premium gas with high octanes in your Harley Davidson. If you try and cheap out on fuel; it may cost you more in the form of repairs.

Q6. Is Racing Fuel Good For Motorcycles?

While the prospects of using racing fuel in your motorcycle may sound exciting, you can definitely use the fuel for your motorcycle.

There is little need to do so as the fuel will not provide you with many benefits when it comes to speed and performance.

In fact, most racing fuels are leaded, which can result in various issues forming in the motorcycle as the fuel can leave behind salts and other deposits inside the motorcycle’s engine, which can cause clogging, damage, or corrosion to occur which can significantly deteriorate the life of your motorcycle. It is also illegal in many states.


Even though there are a lot of different sources of fuel available for purchase when it comes to what kind of gas do motorcycles use.

It is your job as a responsible motorcycle owner to make sure that the fuel you are using is perfectly suited and provides the best performance for your motorcycle.

Many sources of fuel can actively hinder the performance of your motorcycle or straight up damage its internals which is why you must carefully read the manual of the motorcycle to assess which fuel source is perfect for your motorcycle.

For the most part, premium fuel is the best when it comes to most motorcycles which is why most manufacturers recommend it.

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