I was wondering when this topic would come up. I've been considering the same thing myself. I can't speak for the Kawi, but I've been running E85 in my Acura for two years with no troubles.
Well, I shouldn't say no troubles...every once in a while the charge pipe blows off the turbo... at about 15 psi boost, tire wear has definitely accelerated, and I've developed a pain on my right buttocks because my wallet is stuffed with cash that would have otherwise been paid out for premium gas.
As a general rule, it seems like there are the rumors of what E85 will do, then there is reality. If you want to tap into a big dose of reality, there is a good forum at:
I'm a member over there, too. But in general, just a bunch of guys - and a few gals who actually mod vehicles and run E85 - or other variants of ethanol / gasoline mix.
In short, the rules seem to be:
- Modern fuel systems and the polymers used in them are compatible with ethanol, up to E85 blend. If you have old cork gaskets, carburetors, natural leather seals, etc - these might need some work.
- You'll need to deliver about 20% more fuel. This can be done in various ways. An aftermarket controller can be used to widen the pulse width of the stock injectors if they have enough headroom in the duty cycle. Or larger injectors / higher fuel pressure can be used so that the ECU just dumps in more fuel at the same pulse width.
- Stock timing seems to be OK, although slight performance / economy gains can be had by tweaking it a bit.
- You will have a bit lower 'mpg' Generally high compression engines seem to do better with E85. I'd expect ~15% lower mpg with E85, although this will be somewhat made up, if not completely negated by the lower price.
- The door is wide open to engine mods that increase performance. Also expect a bit more low end torque due to E85's different burning characteristics.
- Cold starting can be a bit of an issue. I've started my car OK down into the teens, and generally E85 becomes E70 or so during the winter to ease starting. Although if your bike sets out in sub zero weather and you plan to ride, it might need a little more cranking to get started.