Reviewed: VP T4E Race Fuel
By:
Kris Keefer

Mmmmmm, race gas....

 

VP has had T4 race fuel out for a while, but VP decided to come out with an updated version of the T4 and now it’s called T4E. What’s different? The VP employee couldn't tell me the specifics as it is a secret, but he said that I would notice a difference on the track from the standard T4. I was skeptical. 

 

Designed for stock or slightly modified four-stroke motorcycles and other off-road vehicles used in competition, unleaded/oxygenated and ethanol-free T4E (no the “E” doesn't mean ethanol) is a direct pour-in replacement for premium pump gas. Since pump gas has a short storage life and could cause greater need for repairs in the motorcycle industry due to its ethanol content, T4E’s 100 octane rating (R+M/2) provides greater protection against detonation. Compared with more expensive performance parts that increase power along only a small slice of the power curve, T4E claims to add 2-3 percent more power and better throttle response across the entire rpm range. I wanted to see if that “claim” was true and have been running it in several test bikes I have here. 

 

 

Liquid gold.

 

The biggest advantage of VP T4E over pump gas is our current pump gas (especially California pump fuel) contains ethanol, an alcohol-based alternative fuel manufactured by fermenting and distilling starch crops that have been converted to simple sugars. This is not good on the life span of the valve train, fuel pumps, and top end gaskets on small engines like a dirt bike. Ethanol in the fuel can leave a gummy substance that clogs fuel pumps (or jets on carbureted bikes) and causes early deterioration to head gaskets and O-rings and possibly shortening the life of your engine. Another major problem is phase separation; if water gets into the fuel this can cause the water/ethanol mixture to sink to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pick up is. Here’s a tip: If you are using pump fuel and you’re at a gas station and see a fuel truck filling the gas station’s tanks, go somewhere else, because chances are they are near the bottom of the reservoir. Water inside your engine can cause the fuel pump to stop working (seize up) and also can make your bike miss and sputter. 

 

Is their a on-track performance gain from T4E compared to the T4? Is the T4E worth the added cost instead of using pump fuel? For the average guy putting around on weekends, maybe not so much. Pump fuel is just fine. For the true enthusiast who rides hard and wants a reliable power gain, yes, it is. I ran five gallons of T4E in the Yamaha YZ450F and it took me less than three laps to feel the added throttle response (compared to pump fuel). Coming out of corners and rolling the throttle on in second gear I felt like the bike had more pulling power down low. Shifting in third gear I felt a better pull and the Yamaha actually ran slightly cleaner throughout the rpm range. I didn’t feel too much gain through the top end as most of what I felt was down on low rpm and up through the mid range. However, riding longer motos on a sandier-type track I noticed that the bike kept consistent power. Usually when I ride this type of track with this bike the power decreases a little as the bike gets very hot – but not so with the T4E. When comparing the T4 to the T4E the T4E does give me more bottom end than the T4. The mid range was close to the same. So if you’re looking for a little more bottom end snap/pull the T4E is the real deal. One thing you might have to deal with is a slightly different smell of the T4E. It is unique! My wife Heather thought a cat came into our garage and pissed all over the place, but to me it smells like race fuel. Just slightly different and I was fine with it! But……….You might want to find somewhere to store it, so the wife doesn't yell at you. If you’re in the market for a lower cost race fuel (versus some of VP’s higher-end products) that gives you power gains and helps your bike just run better, then the T4E is a good choice.