Not as much as you think.
Now that Halloween has come and gone, there’s no escaping it: for those of us in the northern hemisphere, winter is most definitely on its way. While a hardy few of us may still choose to ride through the winter, plenty more of us are busy having one last ride for the season and then tucking our bikes in for a long winter’s nap.
Received moto wisdom tells us that, among other things, we should fill up our gas tanks and add our favorite fuel stabilizer as part of standard storage procedure. However, FortNine did what FortNine does, and ran several tests to compare how different fuel stabilizers stack up. The results, as any number of bad clickbait titles say, may surprise you.
It turns out that there’s more to fuel stabilizers than marketing. That said, not all products that bear such designation are created equal. All are meant to address the potentially harmful effects of storing our bikes for months at a time when most of our fuel contains ethanol. However, each tackles it with slightly different formulations. While a couple do a good (or at least passable) job at some protective aspects, the majority of the fuel stabilizers that Ryan F9 tested don't help.
Stabilizers tested included Sta-Bil, STP, Star-Tron, Sea Foam, Ipone, and K100. Naturally, F9 included a control sample of fuel on its own, with no stabilizers added. Tests performed include: evaporation, hydrophobic properties, ignition, antifreeze properties, and antioxidant properties. Notably, as Ryan F9 states, you can avoid all of these headaches almost entirely if you have a source for ethanol-free gasoline.
Of the stabilizers tested, K100 performed best at preventing oxidation from eating parts of your bike, with Sta-Bil not very far behind. Unfortunately for anyone in colder climes, K100 isn’t very good at preventing freezing—but if freezing isn’t a concern, and you’ll still be parking your bike for a few months, it could be a decent option. All other stabilizers failed pretty significantly, and two could even actively harm your bike—which definitely wouldn’t be a fun surprise to discover come spring.