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Thread: High Altitude Operation

  1. #1

    High Altitude Operation

    I plan on taking my Florida sea level based 2004 R 1150 GS to 14,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies. Do I need to make any changes or does everything automatically take care of itself as far as the engine functions ?

  2. #2
    25-MPH NEXT 1OO MILES PacWestGS's Avatar
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    Shouldn't have any problem. If your O2 sensor is working the electronics should figure out what your engine is doing. You will still feel a seat of the pants power loss and you may have some soot residue after you get back down the mountain but that is all self correcting. Also it's your choice to run higher octane fuel at high altitudes but IMHO it's not necessary to run the high stuff up high (or so I've heard) regular burns more complete than premium in the thin air. I regularly ride from sea-level to Mount Rainier's Paradise (5400') and the bike seams to eat up the difference.

    OTOH I had a carbureted '69 Camaro that hardly ran on top of Pike's Peak and was jetted for Colorado Springs, go figure...
    Russ
    "If you took the time to really get to know me...you'd be wasting your time, because I'm exactly who you think I am"

    (Life comes at you pretty fast "Pay it Forward" - Have no regrets when the end happens)

  3. #3
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFDOC
    Also it's your choice to run higher octane fuel at high altitudes but IMHO it's not necessary to run the high stuff up high (or so I've heard) regular burns more complete than premium in the thin air.
    The states and cities at higher elevation don't sell high octane fuel so forget about choice. Some are 89 octane as the premium grade.

    Your bike may not perform the same as it will at sea level, but the good news is all the cars and trucks have a far worse time climbing so you can really zoom up the roads and pass easily. It's really amazing the performance you still get compared to even the more powerful cars. Good way to make time and get ahead of the clusters of traffic especially if there's a passing lane in the mountains. Just be sensitive to the decending trucks as it's all about gravity heading down.

  4. #4
    This past summer I was in significant altitude at times and the bike ran fine, I was on between 87 and 89 octane depending upon availability. Mine has the open loop Techlusion but still ran fine.

  5. #5
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    high altitude operation

    Sebond:

    Ambient air pressure decreases by about 3 % per thousand feet of elevation, so engines operating at higher altitudes are doing much less work than at sea level, and, within limits, can run just fine on lower octane fuels. All gasolines, even racing gasolines, have essentially the same amount of energy per unit volume, and the main objective is to ensure that the fuel being used has anti-knock properties that are compatible with the compression ratio of the engine which is burning it.
    The ratio for your GS is, I believe, 10.3:1 (unless they changed it for the '04 twin spark model) and it should run just fine over those high Colorado passes on the local high octane fuels. I have been told by BMW Canada that the 1150's will even run on 85 octane, with some possible roughness, if you find yourself having to refuel in a small centre (don't we all) that has limited fuel selection. Just throw in enough to get you to the next major town or city. The twin spark engine combusts more efficiently than the earlier 1150's, and knock is less of an issue.

    Rinty

  6. #6
    Mine is an '04 1150 and I needed to use some of that 85 octane water while in AB this year. It ran okay although I wasn't punching it much due to the load.

  7. #7
    Rally Rat Kenny2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebond
    I plan on taking my Florida sea level based 2004 R 1150 GS to 14,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies. Do I need to make any changes or does everything automatically take care of itself as far as the engine functions ?
    I rode up to the top of Pike's Peak after the National. Had no problems riding, except, SLOW drivers and the dust is choking.

    Side bar:
    Stop in at BMW of Colorado Springs, (1394 South 21st Street), if in the area. They are VERY knowledgeable on the roads..including the Forest service ones, be sure to take a map.They can highlight the ones you want to ride.

  8. #8
    karasek
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    Oilheads also have a barometer to help adjust the mixture at various altitudes. I've done the Colorado Club's 100,000 foot pass ride. Never noticed my oilhead do anything different over the 10 summits. Gas mileage improved, but thats most likely due to the thin air.

  9. #9
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    Your oilhead will run just fine at altitude here in Colorado. You will note a power loss, as noted in earlier replies. As to gasoline/octane availability, premium at most Colorado mountain area stations (name brand ie Conoco) is usually 91 octane. As to the oilhead operator, remember to hydrate yourself much more than usual. High altitude, very low humidity, and intense sun will really dry you out.
    Have a great time.

  10. #10
    RIDERR1150GSADV
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    Talking

    Been in Colorado on both an 04 RT and an 05 LT and both bikes ran great. The engine managment computer keeps the bike purring like a kitten .
    Like others said get the highest octane gas and don't forget to drink a lot yourself.

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