Motorcycle Tech Tips
Stage 1 Upgrade
Anyone with a motorcycle has a desire for more! The motorcycle is made by a manufacturer with standardized specifications. The manufacturers themselves offer performance packages for more money. What a surprise? More performance equals more money spent. Luckily, staging an engine is not always that difficult. The higher the stage the more involved and costly the package will cost.
Generally speaking, a Stage 1 upgrade performance package is more bolt on. In the first stage, the manufacturer wants to help the engine breathe better and get rid of exhaust faster. Due to many EPA restrictions and DOT laws, a manufacturer must build a restricted breathing motorcycle. Air filters are not free flowing and the exhaust is baffled to comply with noise standards. By doing a performance upgrade, the owner may void manufacturer warranties and break noise pollution laws. These upgrades are done at the risk of the owner of the motorcycle. DO NOT attempt to do a performance upgrade if you are not comfortable with that kind of work and if you do not wish to void a warranty or service contract.
More air, more fuel, more spark and faster evacuation of exhaust gasses mean more power. There are a bunch of easy ways to accomplish this without really digging into the motor of a motorcycle. Most upgrades are just replacements of external parts.
An air cleaner upgrade is as easy as swapping out a more free flowing air filter element. The whole air filter assembly itself can also be swapped for a more aerodynamic air filter. A velocity cone can be inserted in the air filter for air diversion for higher pressure. This allows intake air to flow into the motor at a much higher rate. Scoops and hyper-chargers can also force air into the intake.
Exhaust systems are also easily upgraded. Performance mufflers or slip-ons can be swapped in the rear tailpipe section. The entire exhaust can also be swapped for a larger diameter pipe with smooth radius bends. This allows the exhaust gases to escape faster from the engine. Equal length header pipes will produce the best performance. A less restrictive baffle will also produce more horsepower. Drag pipes would seem to be the logical choice for performance, but they actually are not. They have very little back pressure and it affects bottom end performance. They are great at high rpms, but off the line, drag pipes hurt performance. Not to mention, they also violate most noise pollution laws.