Keeping Up With Tuning Technology

Speed Performance Plus Spotlight

tuning center

Keep up with the latest tuning technologies.

Joe Kress

The options Harley riders enjoy when it comes to choosing a tuning device for their bikes, or even not buying one as we recently detailed with mention of Dynojet’s Power Vision Tune License Program, are constantly expanding. Technology marches on. That Tune License Program, by the way, eliminates the need to actually purchase a Power Vision, a sweet deal and certainly the cost-effective route to a custom dyno tune.

But any tuning device chosen, be it a Power Commander, Power Vision, that licensing program, or something else, is only half the story of an up-to-date dyno tune and the custom map it creates. The other half, of course, is the equipment, both hardware and software, that the tuning specialist is using to interpret and manipulate all that engine-management information, turning it all into that custom-written map allowing a Harley to perform at its best.

“And we’re constantly upgrading our equipment toward that end,” says Jamie Hanson at Speed’s Performance Plus. Besides taking advantage of every advanced-user class and tuning seminar offered by the manufacturers of the actual dynamometers they use and the software packages those dynos require, the techs at SPP are careful to stay up to date with all that equipment and its software. Case in point, the next time you see that big black truck at an event you’ll see an all-new tuning center, a new truck, and new trailer. And inside that trailer there’s an all-new and totally up-to-date dynamometer, a Dynojet 250i with DynoWare RT electronics, and running the very latest software, Dynojet’s Power Core with WinPEP 8, the newest operating system.

What does all this mean to the rider of a motorcycle tuned with all this, the actual end-user of all this new technology? “Any custom map we write is going to be far more accurate now because it’ll be a map built off more accurate information to start with,” Jamie explains. With what result? “Don’t expect miracles” he says with a laugh, “like some tremendous difference in horsepower or torque numbers. It’s not like we’re now magically going to find 5 or 7 more horsepower that was previously hidden by an older dyno and its software.”

But what all this new equipment and tuning methods will find is a decidedly smoother-running motorcycle, a cooler-running motorcycle, and a motorcycle that’s just that little bit better all around—along with significantly increased data accuracy and the tighter tune it’ll produce, all of this can happen faster than ever too.

That new Power Core system, using an ether-cable connection in place of the old nine-pin setup, is able to better transfer and receive information with an added benefit of tuning the front and rear cylinders simultaneously. That comes thanks to the new AFR-2 Dual Air/Fuel Measuring System, a far more accurate method of measuring the motorcycle’s air/fuel ratio. In place of the old-style “sniffer tube” inserted up the tailpipe Power Core acquires its information from a set of specialized sensors screwed into the bike’s 18mm sensor ports if it’s so equipped. And if no port is available on the headpipes a “Stealth Extraction” setup takes its place. With this the dyno operator removes the motorcycle’s heatshields and drills two small holes in the headpipes to insert those Stealth fittings, fittings which are removed and the holes plugged after the tune is completed.

The benefit of all this, increased accuracy, comes from the location of those sensors. They’re now positioned much closer to the exhaust ports and far closer to the cylinder heads than any tailpipe sniffer could ever reach. The closer you are to the exhaust ports the more accurate the air/fuel ratio reading, and the more accurate the reading the more accurate the tune. There’s more, too, like the switch from “sweep testing” to “step testing” during the dyno tune, but suffice it to say, without getting too deep into the technical weeds here, the new equipment SPP is now using to tune bikes is head and shoulders above its predecessor.

Riders have options when it comes to choosing the device used to custom-tune their bike. But for the best results that’s only half the story. Just as important, maybe even more important to the eventual outcome, is the skill and knowledge of the technician doing that tune and the equipment, both hardware and software, he’s using. “It’s critical to keep up to date with all of that,” Jamie concludes. “That’s why we’re using what we’re using now. It’s the most comprehensive, sophisticated, and the most accurate system available. Bottom line, it just helps us do a better job.”

Next time that big SPP tuning center is at an event nearby, stop by and have a look for yourself. Technology in the right hands is a wonderful thing. HB

Speed Performance Plus
(605) 695-1401 - MN
(605) 695-2272 - SD