So why ECU remap a bike that should be perfect out of the box? Because they often aren’t, and it’s not the manufacturer’s fault…
So why should you have to spend money remapping your bike’s ECU – shouldn’t it be perfect straight out of the dealer? Er, well no. It could be – and some are – but generally a manufacturer builds an engine, V-twin, triple, four with all the power and torque you could ever want and then sets about strangling it to the best compromise that passes current (and possibly future, depending on the model’s life) noise and emissions regulations. Fuel-injection has replaced carbs over the last 15 years because it offers more management and control of the engine’s efficiency. Oh, and power output.
There’s a lot of cheating that goes on too – secondary air systems, exhaust flapper valves etc – but generally the ECU works with a lambda sensor in the exhaust downpipe to manage the mixture and protect the catalyser, especially at part throttle openings. Engines are often run as lean as possible and sometimes extra restrictions are placed in the lower gears (or in the secondary butterflies) to ‘manage’ the engine on your behalf. Or on the behalf of the testing authorities…
990 KTM V-twins are a case in point. So many owners come to us complaining of ‘switchy’ on/off throttle control that makes the bike impossible to ride smoothly. And it’s all down to KTM doing what they must to get the engine passed. So depending on what the owner’s specific request is we bin the lambda, dial in the ignition timing to suit, adjust the all-powerful Manifold Air Pressure (MAP) map – which has major control before the engine’s pumping hard – and also look at the timing of when the secondary butterflies open. All that before we adjust the fuelling to suit the stock, or otherwise, setup the bike’s brought in with. Everything we do we check on the Dyno and ‘feel’ out on the road.
And here’s the thing. Put an open end-can on your fuel-injected bike without some sort of adjustment to the fuelling and in time you may have problems. The lack of back pressure will cause issues, as will the lambda ‘hunting’ to solve what it thinks is a problem.
The truth is an ECU remap puts the engine into the state the manufacturer originally designed it. Triumph triples and twins are transformed, with creamy torque and crisp throttle control. Suzukis are riddled with restrictions – all easily dealt with and a remap injects power and torque where you want it. Kawasakis, too benefit greatly. Ducatis? We can treat each cylinder individually and provide a perfectly tailored power delivery. And as for 990 KTMs… whether it’s fine off-road throttle control or all-out power no problems. Either is possible.
Power Commanders still have a place and we still fit plenty of ‘em – and we can even modify them to fit bikes like the Hyosung GV650, which doesn’t have a specific unit. But we feel an ECU remap is generally the more cost effective, invisible and completely effective way of making sure a bike leaves our workshop the way the customer wants it. And the way the manufacturer originally designed it! If you’ve any questions or doubts give Gill a ring in the office or take a gander through our customers’ histories on this site. And don’t put up with a bike running like a bag of spanners – coz you don’t have to!