1 Whether it’s for repair or porting, Revolution has taken Brian’s cylinder head experience and best porting designs and implemented that knowledge into the software operating its two large five-axis CNC machines. The five-axis machines can operate within precise and constant accuracy and speeds not capable by the working hand. This machine can knock out the rough porting process on a set of heads in about 45 minutes, while the other machine is a little faster at about 20 minutes.
2 Revolution can handle just about any V-twin cylinder head thrown at it from XL to Evo, Twin Cam, and even S&S; and STD. At the valve seat station, precision machining is used to cut new larger valve seats. The seats get cut at a 45-degree angle and are radiused in. There is some human contact in the head process, as the ports will get sand rolled and blended and finished up with a Scotchbrite pad for a nice polished finish.
3 The heads are hand-assembled in a clean room and receive new high-quality seats, valves, and guides. Revolution offers its Stage Two and Stage Three performance heads. For the TC engines, the Stage Two features 1.900-inch intake and 1.615-inch exhaust valves while the Stage Three heads have 2.00-inch intake and 1.630-inch exhaust valves. The Stage Three heads are reassembled with high-quality cast alloy valve seats, chromium Silicon valve springs with titanium retainers, and 10-degree valve locks, and bronze manganese valve guides. Revolution will also do custom port designs upon request. You can either send in your heads to be ported or Revolution will do a core exchange.
4 Every head that goes through Revolution is put on the Superflow 600 flow bench and is tested to ensure it meets Revolution’s stringent requirements before being shipped out.
5 Along with being flow bench tested, every head that is shipped out comes with a Cylinder Head Spec Sheet so the owner will know all the ins and outs of his new heads.
6 Moving along, we came to the crankshaft repair and Dynamic balancing portion of the building facility. Vibration can wreak havoc on a motorcycle’s performance, reliability, and ridabilty. Revolution offers repair and/or balancing services for ’99-later Evo and Twin Cam crankshafts to bring crank runout within precision tolerances, helping to eliminate vibration and extend engine life. Upon receiving a crankshaft assembly, Revolution tears the components apart and inspects them to make sure they are in workable condition. Once satisfied, they then begin the balancing process. Here we see a flywheel assembly being spun on a Sunnen DB750 Dynamic Balancing Machine.
7 The machine spins the assembly up to about 500 rpm and then a display will show its findings. Here we see how much material needs to be removed from each flywheel to achieve proper balance.
8 The area where the material needs to be removed is identified with a black line and the amount to be removed is written next to it.
9 The flywheel is then placed in a fixture on a drill press and holes are drilled to remove the specified amount of weight/material.
10 When complete, the flywheel will be balanced to within 1 gram. Part of Revolution’s Balance services also includes welding of the crankpin to thoroughly secure the three-piece assembly together and prevent twisting. Final truing is also included.
11 Other services for the lower end include case boring for big bore kits that require machining of the cases. Revolution will also sturdy up the case by installing a Timken conversion kit. Here we see the Timken bearing sleeve installed on the left case half.
12 As far as their cylinders are concerned, Revolution does everything except for the initial casting. Made from aerospace-grade aluminum, the castings come looking like a cylinder but require a lot of work before they leave the facility.
13 One of the first things Revolution does is rough cut the bore. They start at the bottom by centering the bore, then make a rough cut half way up the inside of the cylinder. They then flip the cylinder over, center the bore again, and make a rough cut from the top all the way down through the bottom. This process ensures that the rough-cut bore is centered in the cylinder.
14 Here is a comparison of a raw cylinder (right) and one that is further along is the machining process (left). At this point, the cylinder on the left is pretty much ready for the NSC plating process.
15 I wanted to know the difference in weight between a raw casting and a cylinder once the majority of the machining was done. The raw casting weighed 11-1/4 pounds and this nearly finished cylinder weighed 8-1/2 pounds.
16 Revolution is very protective of its NSC plating process so they asked that we don’t show any pictures. Basically the process consists of a series of acid and water bathes and then the cylinders are placed on fixtures and dipped into tanks for the NSC plating. The thickness of the plating depends on how long the cylinders sit in the tanks. Here is a cylinder that has come out of the NSC process. After plating, the bore gets rough cut to 0.002-0.003 of the final bore size. Due to the hardness of the NSC plating, diamonds are used to finish the bore during the honing process.
17 Revolution offers its cylinders in either all black powdercoat, black with highlighted fins, or silver. They have a powdercoating facility in-house to handle all their black powdercoating needs. Here we see black being sprayed on a cylinder before its goes into the oven.
18 This is a black powdercoated cylinder with highlighted fins ready to be boxed up and sent out the door. According to Revolution it takes them about three days to create a cylinder from raw casting to ready-to-ship. Revolution offers bolt-on Big Bore 98-inch kits for ’99-06 TCs and 107ci kits for ’07-later TCs, as well as a host of other performance kits.
19 Revolution has an engine dyno room, which it uses for R&D.; It also used this room to develop its new Precision Engine Management System (EMS).
20 Around the corner from the engine dyno is another R&D; room with a Dynojet 250i motorcycle dyno. Here we see one of the engineers running a bike with the Precision Engine Management system on it. This room is used for real-world testing on the new EFI system.
21 Revolution’s new EMS is available for ’04-later Twin Cam motorcycles and according to Revolution, it is a self-optimizing system that once installed, adjusts almost instantly with very little further adjustment and provides improved throttle response and improved mileage. The EMS utilizes the factory ECU and is an adaptive learning system that will self-adjust when you upgrade other parts on the engine. It’s easy to install and requires no laptop or dyno tuning.
22 Finally, we ended our tour back where we started at the cylinder head machining department. Here owner Brain Nallin stands in front of one of his five-axis CNC machines that are used for cylinder head work.
If you’ve been following Jordan’s Sweet Tracker build, you’ll have noticed that he’s tackled everything from the wheels and suspension to the handlebars and foot controls. The project is moving along smoothly as he transforms a once-stock ’00 Sportster Hugger into a race-ready track bike. Well, almost race-ready. If the bike is to be in any contention on the street, strip, or track, a bump in displacement ought to help push it towards the head of the pack, barring Jordan’s riding skills of course. In our talks about beefing up the stock mill, the names of many companies and kits were tossed around but one kept coming up, Revolution Performance. While most 883 conversions will put displacement right around the 1,200cc range, Revolution Performance offers the ability to shoot up to 1,250cc with its cylinder kits. Following the mottos, “bigger is better,” and “there’s no replacement for displacement,” Jordan was all for the Revolution route. A few months after our discussion, while meandering the Midwest, I found myself right in Revolution’s backyard of Plymouth, Wisconsin, so I decided to pop in and get the nickel tour (that’s a pun that will come to light shortly).
According to Brian Nallin, Revolution Performance co-owner, the company was developed to function as the marketing and product development arm of its parent company Millennium Technologies. Established in 1997 by Chris Marnie and Jim Hackl, Millennium Technologies quickly became one of the leading companies in the US providing nickel-silicon-carbide (NSC) plating capabilities for automotive and power sports cylinders. Millennium’s NSC process is an electroplated composite coating made of silicon carbide and nickel. The nickel acts as the glue that holds the composite together while the silicon carbide provides the wear surface. Silicon carbide is second only to diamonds in hardness, which means the NSC process provides longer wear-resistance as well as other benefits. Unlike others in the V-twin industry that utilize a two-piece cylinder (often cast aluminum outer with a cast or pressed-in iron or steel sleeve), with its NSC coating process, Revolution Performance is able to offer a one-piece cylinder made of aerospace-grade aluminum. Due to the one-piece, all-aluminum design and NSC coating, some of the benefits Revolution has found with its cylinders are better heat dissipation, less friction (which improves the ability to make more power), reduced oil consumption, and the ability to offer larger displacement bolt-on, big-bore cylinder and piston kits. These benefits also allow them to provide a lifetime warranty on warpage and plating defects. While Millennium Technologies focuses on its NSC plating process, Revolution Performance functions in the capacity of ongoing product development and providing feedback to Millennium to help the product evolve. However, upon my arrival at the 30,000-square-foot facility, it quickly became evident that there was more to it than just NSC plated cylinders.
A true gear head to the core, Brian grew up tearing up the streets as a street racer in the ’80s. “It was the original Fast and Furious,” he commented. But like many, his passion eventually expanded from four wheels to two. “I started in hot rods and now I’m in Harleys. Hot rods and Harleys just go together.” Early on Brian found a cylinder head guru who became his secret mentor and taught him the theories and skills to squeeze every bit of performance out of a cylinder head. From his teachings and the results he achieved from applying his newfound knowledge and techniques, Brian gained a great appreciation for cylinder head science, “Cylinder heads are my first love and always will be,” he stated. When the opportunity arose to start Revolution Performance, Brian wanted to make sure it was a well-rounded performance company that offered more than just cylinder and piston kits, but also provided precision CNC-machine work, cylinder head porting and flow bench testing, valve jobs, case boring, crank shaft repair, and most recently an EFI management device. Operating as almost a fully self-contained facility, Revolution/Millennium is proud of the fact that aside from the cylinder castings, it performs everything in-house and offers American-made products and services.
One would think that with more than 80 dedicated and highly trained employees, Brian could put it on autopilot and just kick back and let the show run itself. But the opposite is actually true. “I am still just a gear head,” Brian commented. “I look at everything before it leaves, it’s part of the evaluation process. I never won’t be here. If I stop coming in, it won’t be fun anymore.”
The following is just a glimpse of some of the products and services I saw while touring the Millennium/Revolution Performance facility.