MotoMojo: Performance Upgrades

Nov 17, 2016 View Comments by


With the plethora of motorcycle styles and 
models available, for many two-wheel enthusiasts OEM motorcycles still merely serve as a starting 
point for building a unique machine. Given the performance-centric modifications in this 
MotoMojo, results are most useful for track 
riding. Depending on your motorcycle, usable street performance can also be improved.

Air Filter and Exhaust
K&N FilterK&N air filters are reusable and reduce air intake resistance, and Yoshimura’s RS-5 exhaust system is lighter and less restrictive. Installation is straightforward thanks to an easy to follow manual with lots of pictures, and can be completed by anyone with basic technical skills.

Fuel Management Controller
In fuel-injected bikes, the engine control unit (ECU) manages the air-fuel ratio (AFR) in the cylinders, which is optimized to be lean in order to achieve low fuel consumption and to meet strict emission standards. When changing parts of the aspiration or exhaust system of a motorcycle, the ECU no longer provides the optimal AFR. Not only does it help in getting the most out of any engine modification, it unlocks more power and allows for crisper and smoother throttle response on a bone stock motorcycle.

Aftermarket performance manufacturer Bazzaz offers two fuel management controller systems for a wide array of models ranging from sportbikes to cruisers. The Z-Fi provides fuel management only and the Z-Fi TC also offers traction control and a quick shift feature.

The fuel management controller resides between the ECU and fuel injectors, and it intercepts the signal that the ECU sends to the fuel injectors. Based on how the fuel map is set up, the signal will be adjusted to achieve the desired AFR.

BazzazA fuel map consists of adjustment values—more or less fuel—in a given engine rpm range and throttle position. The fuel map is unique for every bike and differs based on factors such as modifications, fuel type, and altitude. Typically, a custom map is built for a bike at a local tuning center on a dynamometer. Alternatively, the Bazzaz Z-AFM self-mapper add-on can be used to build a custom map for the desired AFR, while the bike is being ridden. The fuel map will be more accurate based on the real-world usage, as it utilizes data collected from a sensor in the exhaust pipe to calculate fuel map adjustments automatically. For any future modifications, a new map can be easily created using the self-mapper. A simple-to-use Windows application retrieves recorded data from the self-mapper via a USB cable, and suggested changes can be applied with the click of a few buttons.

The Z-Fi is installed by attaching the wiring harness to different connectors on the bike after removing the fairing, airbox, and fuel tank. Tools for disassembling the bike to access the fuel injectors, throttle position sensor, neutral sensor, speed sensor, and crank position sensor, as well as tools for trimming the excess on the cable ties, are required. The instruction manual includes pictures for every step. The level of difficulty is one step above detangling Christmas lights, though for someone who feels less comfortable taking the motorcycle apart I suggest having a professional complete the installation. There are a lot of wires and several steps, and the overall installation takes about four hours.

Traction Control
The Bazzaz Z-Fi TC unit provides traction control, which is a tremendous benefit for bikes that don’t come with that feature from the factory. As the fuel management system is already tapped into the motorcycle’s system, the only extra part required for traction control is the wiring into the ignition coils. The unit uses information about the throttle position, current gear, engine rpm, and an adjustable sensitivity level to respond to wheel spin. When the rear tire loses traction, the power is cut momentarily until traction is regained. An optional sensitivity dial can be mounted on the handlebar for on-the-fly adjustments.

Quick Shifter
On a motorcycle, upshifting can be accomplished without using the clutch if the rpms are matched. However, engine power needs to be briefly cut during shifts to take the torque off the gears and allow shifting to occur smoothly. The Z-Fi TC includes a so-called quick shifter, which allows upshifting with an open throttle. Using a sensor that is installed in-line with the shift-rod, the unit detects pressure at the start of an upshift and retards the ignition until the target gear is engaged.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a computer geek, so I absolutely enjoy connecting my bike to a computer and being able to tweak settings for the fuel controller, traction control sensitivity, and quick shifter timing. However, the friendly user interface is just as easy to use for the less technologically inclined, and still provides plenty of features for expert tuners.

Overall Impression
Using the aforementioned parts, I set out to turn my stock 2009 Honda CBR600RR into a dedicated track bike. After installing the Bazzaz Z-Fi TC, the first difference I felt was in the throttle response, as it was smoother, more consistent, and the power band appeared a lot wider. Fuel consumption decreased minimally due to the engine running richer.

With the quick shifter I’m now able to keep the throttle pinned while shifting through the gears on the straightaway and at the corner exits, which helped me shave off a few seconds of my lap time. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the traction control kept the rear tire in check with the setting halfway down from the most sensitive option.

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Text and Photography: Manuel Neuhauser


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