Adding power to a naturally aspirated American V-twin is not cheap. Big bore bolt-on kits, head work, and cams can add up, and if all the work isn’t performed at the same time, the labor could cost you a small fortune. What if a person could keep their bike’s stock qualities and still have the ability to add 35 percent more horsepower at the touch of a button? Believe it or not, it’s more than possible with a “wet” nitrous system. Of course, we know where you can get one, too: Pingel Enterprise Inc. has a universal bolt-on kit that is far more affordable than any other power adder no matter how you look at it.
How does nitrous work? The proper terminology for nitrous/laughing gas is Nitrous Oxide or N2O (nitrogen + oxygen). We won’t get into the exact chemistry here, but basically, nitrous has approximately double the amount of oxygen than an equivalent amount of air, and therefore increases the potential energy in the finite area of the combustion chamber. So, what’s the difference between a “wet” or “dry” system? “Wet” simply implies that the nitrous oxide fed into the motor is supplemented with the correct amount of extra fuel. A “dry” nitrous system means that the nitrous is injected into the motor without any additional fuel, using the factory fuel system for enrichment. Most racers agree that the “wet” system is far more versatile and safer because a proper air/fuel ratio can be maintained while using nitrous. Otherwise, extensive damage can occur if the fuel mixture is too lean, while power may be lost if the mixture is too rich. “Dry” systems rely on a stock computer’s sensing ability to administer the correct amount of extra fuel; this is dangerous because most stock computers were not designed to compensate for a nitrous system.
There are other ways to make power, such as forcing additional air into the chamber with a supercharger or turbo charger, but none can do it for such little money, so little effort, and without taking power from the motor before adding it. We picked up a kit from Pingel for an upcoming install on a 2002 S&S-powered; Evo/Softail-style bike and the kit was only $1,196 where most turbo and Supercharger kits start at $3,000 and usually end up costing around $5,000 or more, plus labor. Extra belts and gears running off the crankshaft are necessary to power a supercharger, and a new, specific exhaust system is required for a turbo—the only part that has to be modified for a nitrous kit is the motor’s stock intake manifold (and the two nozzle holes can be plugged if the system is removed). Additionally, nitrous is the least intrusive of the three because the primary drive doesn’t need to be fiddled with, and the biggest parts of the system are the bottles (which can be small, like the 10-ouncers shown in this article). Lastly, nitrous is the only one of the three that is used only when you need it most and doesn’t rob the motor of power in order to work: superchargers create parasitic drag from on the crankshaft; while turbos create extra backpressure in an exhaust system. Nitrous is only used when the button is pushed, so a bike can be kept in an economical OEM state when not racing; turbos and superchargers can’t be turned on and off. Nitrous is basically a chemical-derived supercharger that costs a fraction of the price of other power adders, which allows the user to choose when to use it. The only real drawback is that the tanks are hard to keep full because you’ll want to use it all the time (which is why we ordered dual 10-ounce tanks)!
Pingel’s nitrous kits and components have been sold through the company since the early ’90s; meaning it’s comfortable with its products. Many of the company’s employees, such as technical wizard Troy Winters, had one on his old Buell (and now has the kit on a Hayabusa), and Donna Pingel’s (co-owner of Pingel) V-Rod has one installed on it, too. Pingel also sponsors a number of racers in the motorcycle world, in both H-D and metric arenas. These facts should relay a strong message to potential buyers: not only does Pingel understand the product it’s selling you, but it’s also had intimate experience with installing and using it and is therefore better able to help with an installation and answer any nitrous-related questions one might encounter before obtaining one of these kits.
We liked what a nitrous system could do and wanted to test Pingel/Nitrous Express’ universal H-D kit for ourselves. But first, we’ll describe the components included in the kit in this article, then in part two we will cover the installation and the before-and-after dyno results..** HB**
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