How To: Get More Power Without Touching Your Engine

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How To Get More Power Without Touching Your Engine

There are many ways to changing a bikes power character. Certainly a different silencer, fuel injection firmware or camshaft profile will affect power delivery. But there are simple and very effective ways of adjusting an engines’ power character without directly altering the engine.

Every bike has a unique power character, which is the nature of how the engine develops power. Some bikes, like a ported RD-350 two-stroke, needs to be rev’ed high to make horsepower. Once its’ on the pipe, watch out! Big interstate tourers make copious amounts of smooth power, developing huge torque off-idle like an electric motor. Knowing this, motorcyclists frequently want to move their bikes’ power band to suit the kind of riding they do.

Gearing

If you are fortunate enough to be riding a bike with a chain drive, you can quickly tailor the bikes’ power character by changing the final drive ratio. Simply removing or adding a tooth on the countershaft sprocket will have a noticeable effect upon power delivery. Removing a tooth makes for better hill climbing; adding a tooth makes for less vibration and better fuel mileage.

Renthal 288U 520 14 Gear

As an inexpensive and quick mod, off-road riders can keep multiple countershaft sprockets on hand for changes. Really serious guys will swap sprockets mid-ride. My Italian Husqvarna’s countershaft sprocket was held on with a circlip, once the rear wheel adjusters were backed-off, was quick to swap. I did carry an extra circlip should the original get damaged or flung into the weeds. Companies like Renthal or JT Sprockets offer several configurations of countershaft sprockets with varying numbers of teeth.

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  • Generic42

    All the links are broken, drop everything from the _rel onwards

    • http://www.rideapart.com/ Nolan Zandi

      fixed

  • Guest

    Would the G2 be able to make the throttle less twitchy off the line while leaving the rest of the power delivery unaffected? At low rpm/speed the throttle on my ’08 Sprint is like a switch.

    edit: I’m aware that this is exactly what the manufacturer says it does, but manufacturers say a lot of things, I find that if only one product exists in a niche then the company that makes it tends to be a bit fly-by-night.

    • Kirk Roy

      That is exactly what they do. G2 is not fly by night and their products are top quality. I’ve got their throttle on my kx250, which almost certainly is more like a switch at low rpm/speed than your sprint, and it tames the beast.

      • Victor Cohen

        I think you will be happy with this mod. Please report back the result.

    • KeithB

      I have an ’06 FJR with the “twitchy” throttle and the G2 made an appreciable difference but the real improvement came when adding the Power Commander 5 and changed the fueling map.

  • Jack McLovin

    Who the fuck changes sprockets mid ride?

    • Dennis Hightower

      Oh… like at the top of the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca…

    • Thomas Høj Jørgensen

      Anyone using a DRZ as a dual sport. At least they should.

    • Nathan Haley

      by “mid-ride” the author probably means at a lunch break or something.

  • max

    Italian Husqvarna? What?

    • Jai S.

      Husqvarna was owned by Cagiva for a while. Maybe that’s what the author was talking about.

      • max

        Ahh, that makes total sense.

      • Victor Cohen

        Correct!

  • zedro

    Neither of the two things (mods? Adjustments?) described will produce more power.

    • Tom Gabriele

      Yes they will, just not peak power. The sprocket will give you more acceleration for a given rpm, and the throttle adjustment will give you more power for a given throttle position.

      • William Connor

        Not exactly. The sprocket means the engine is turning at a higher RPM, when dropping a tooth, this in turn doesn’t give anymore power it simply changes how quickly you get into the power a motor already makes. If before the sprocket change a motor makes 50hp at 2500 rpm, changing the gear ratio will not change that, it will still make 50hp at 2500 RPM. The author is actually fairly clear that they are altering the character of the power but not the power itself. Changing the throttle cams is a similar action, larger cams means it takes less of a turn to achieve more throttle than it did before the change. It simply allows the rider to twist the grip faster, it adds no power. Ride by Wire programmed fuel maps do alter power because they make changes to the fuel map in side the ECU. That is a whole different animal and only available on a select few motorcycles. The article is a bit disingenuous and not written very well to articulate the information properly. It should be titled “How to change your engines power delivery.”

        • Tom Gabriele

          Yes, I understand how it works. Your proposed alternate title is more accurate though.

        • Victor Cohen

          Exactly.

        • KeithB

          Basic rule of thumb…
          Smaller front sprocket-faster acceleration but less top speed
          Larger front sprocket-slower acceleration but higher top speed.
          The reverse is true if changing rear sprocket.
          So on a race track with short straights you might go for a smaller front while on a track with long straights, a larger front sprocket.
          As indicated, power doesn’t change, just the delivery.

      • zedro

        I did say produce power, not shift power. The title is misleading at best.

        I perfectly understand the effects they/you describe, thats not the issue.

        • Tom Gabriele

          I think we are all in agreement here. Sorry for the combative response.

          • Victor Cohen

            I appreciate your comment. Thank you.

      • Victor Cohen

        Exactly!

  • Sentinel

    Yay! Another worthless web-traffic snaring fluff article!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/JakeManD Jacob D

    What an incredibly boring article to read.

  • akaaccount

    I was going to point out that the use of the sprocket stock images was a still insufficient attempt to make this into two pages, but upon further reflection it seems that anyone dumb enough to benefit from this article probably needs a picture to show them what a sprocket is.

  • labradog

    I improved speed, handling, and gas mileage, on my BMW R100S by losing 85 pounds.

  • xb12

    swapping sprockets does not change the power of your engine. All it does is give you more torque and less top speed or more top speed and less torque….. Power remains the same.

  • Alex DeSantiago

    lmao …. you can deffo tell spring is late to arrive this year. Everyone is so F@cking bitter. Tks for the article.