WHAT’S IN AN AD­DI­TIVE?

Fuel additives come in many dis­tinct flavours:

Fast Bikes - - MASTERCLASS -

1 OC­TANE BOOST­ERS

These are de­signed to in­crease the oc­tane rat­ing of your fuel, as we found with the high oc­tane fuel test, un­less your engine has been tuned to take ad­van­tage of in­creased oc­tane lev­els, oc­tane boost­ers are un­likely to boost engine power out­put.

2 CHEM­I­CAL EN­ERGY BOOST­ERS

Petrol has a typ­i­cal en­ergy po­ten­tial of about 46.7 mega­joules per kg (around 35MJ/litre). The amount of heat re­leased from com­bus­tion is pro­por­tional to how hard it can push on the pis­ton. More en­ergy = more push = more power.

3 OXYGENATES

These are de­signed to im­prove com­bus­tion and lower ex­haust emis­sions. The most pop­u­lar petrol oxy­genate is ethanol. In fact, UK petrol con­tains at least 10% ethanol from the pumps. MTBE (Methyl Ter­tiary Butyl Ether) used to be the oxy­genate of choice by petrol dis­tillers, but ethanol is ‘green’ or some­thing. Much like oc­tane boost­ers, un­less your engine is specif­i­cally de­signed for highly oxy­genated fuel, power is likely to drop rather than in­crease.

4 DETERGENTS/CLEAN­ERS

If left for long enough, petrol can leave de­posits as it evap­o­rates. The worst place for this to hap­pen is on in­jec­tor noz­zles and ori­fice plates. Spe­cial detergents and sol­vents can break down these de­posits, help­ing to re­store an in­jec­tor’s abil­ity to spray fuel in a nice even mist, rather than a mis­er­able drib­ble.

5 STABILISERS

Over time, petrol can ab­sorb a cer­tain amount of mois­ture and ox­i­dise when ex­posed to air. This is the main rea­son in­sol­u­ble de­posits form in fuel sys­tems. All pump petrol sold in the UK con­tains some per­cent­age of stabilisers, which are de­signed to re­duce this de­grad­ing process. But if you in­tend to leave your bike fu­elled-up for a long pe­riod of time, con­sider splash­ing a bit more in for good mea­sure.

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