How to make your motorcycle fast?

How to make your motorcycle fast

Have you ever come across a motorcyclist, who never thought of modifying his bike to increase its performance? It’s rare, isn’t it! Given that no bike is completely perfect, a rider may feel the need to tweak some changes as per his requirement. These can be changes in the suspension to accommodate his riding style, or tweaks in the carburetor to increase the engine performance. 

The desire to go fast, the thrill that only speed can give, and the pleasure of enjoying a high performance motorcycle often leaves the riders bewitched. They constantly dreams about building the most powerful motorcycle, but rarely works towards its actualization due to budget constraints. However, even with a tight budget, it is possible to significantly improve the performance of our bike by making it more suitable for the agonistic ambitions that haunt our sick minds. Often a small modification or a simple tweak can surprise you in terms of yield, more than the purchase of the hyper-technological and expensive aftermarket parts. Sometimes, the right advice and the right information, can give us the best satisfactions, without necessarily spending a fortune.

Performance wise, fastest production motorcycles that are carefully engineered in a factory are unbeatable. But the recent developments in the motorcycle accessories industry can help to build a comparable (if not better) performance engine. Besides, the aftermarket sector is loaded with high performing motorcycle parts that guarantee a rocket launch.

In today’s article, we will discuss various ways to increase motorcycle performance that will make it faster in comparison to similar make models.

But before we proceed, it is important to understand that any major upgrades or aftermarket installations should be strictly as per the rules and regulations of your state. Furthermore, the technical specifications of the motorcycle must not change in any way, as it should remain compliant with the details mentioned on the registration certificate.

Tips to make your motorcycle fast

Upgrade your tires

If you want to get the most out of your motorcycle in terms of performance, the first thing you need is a fresh pair of motorcycle tires. Most high speed motorcycle tires come with stiffer radial construction that increases the stability and increase their efficiency. A tire rated Z/ZR is the most ideal in this case, as it optimal for speed greater than 150 MPH.

ZR Motorcycle Tires
ZR indicates that the tire can be used for speeds in excess of 240 km/h (Image Credit: Michelin)

And by the way, for instant improvement, that too without spending a buck, check out the tire pressure more frequently.

Upgrade your brakes

The standard components perform as per your current motorcycle specs, however, post tuning, you may need to upgrade your original braking components with more performing aftermarket products, which can offer greater performance.

Another low cost modification, if your bike is not already equipped with it, is the installation of a steel braided hose kit. Unlike rubber hoses, the latter does not expand when subjected to high temperatures. The metal braided hoses also keep the braking efficiency constant, while the response to the brake control becomes faster and more precise.

Lower your suspension

Due to the dead weight of the machine and the rider, the springs at the front and rear are already compressed. Your motorcycle practically rests on the springs at a certain height which is referred to as ride height. Similar to a car, it is of course also possible to change the suspension when tuning a motorcycle. However, whether you want to increase or decrease, there are spatial limits with two-wheelers. Due to the smaller clearance between the body and the road, changes are usually only possible to a minimal extent.

Almost all motorcycles have an adjustable spring preload at least for one or both of the rear shock absorbers. This setting does not change the hardness of the spring, as is often assumed, but only the preload of the spring. With this setting you can practically lower the suspension to a certain extent.

From modifying the height to replacing the entire suspension, a certain amount of speed can definitely be achieved!

Reduce overall weight

The lighter your motorcycle, the faster it will go. Reducing the weight of your motorcycle pays off in terms of performance. A fairly profitable modification is to replace the lead-acid battery with a lithium-ion one. The latter is very light and therefore improves acceleration, braking and overall handling of the motorcycle.

There are many opportunities to save weight, but they are usually quite expensive; fenders and wheels can reduce the weight of a motorcycle by up to 20%. However, these lightweight components are expensive.

Important: Altering the weight changes the handling significantly. Therefore, the rear suspension and tire pressure should be adjusted and the headlights should be readjusted after reducing the weight.

Install fairing guards

A fast bike should definitely have a fairing guard to protect the delicate parts, as repairing motorcycle plastic is not easy and might burden you with unwanted expense in case of a crash.

Replace fork oil

Refreshing your old fork oil with a new one should be a part of regular maintenance; however, if you are planning to make your motorcycle fast, refueling with thicker oil will make the system more rigid. So it is best to replace your old fork oil with a thinner fluid, which will flow faster and results in quicker, springier shock response.

Motul Fork Oil
Motul Fork Oil

Upgrade air filters

Upgrading your air filters significantly improves the energy efficiency of the engine. In fact, with an old or worn filter, amount of air actually needed by the engine is considerably increased (too lean). This causes the engine to produce less power than it was originally built for. Branded air filters by K&N, Arlen Ness, and Maxima should definitely be under your consideration while upgrading the air filter.

K&N Filter
Air filters from K&N provide more power and less wear and tear to the engine

Install tank grips

Tank grips are nothing but a useful accessory that provide a great grip to your legs while braking. Besides they act as a protective shield that prevents your motorcycle tank from getting scratched from your knee guards and motorcycle jacket. They are quite useful on the track, but it is advisable to use them on the road as well.

Inspect your engine

It goes without saying that modern day engines are truly ultra-performing. If your motorcycle is powered by electronic fuel injection, just keep it in a good state of maintenance and follow the service schedule suggested by the manufacturer. 

If, on the other hand, you have a motorcycle equipped with carburetors, have the stoichiometric ratio checked with the service personnel. In case the latter is out of norm, bring it back to an optimal value with an accurate carburetion procedure and remember to clean your carburetor regularly.

Lubricate your chain

Many motorcycles are driven by chain. There are other drive options such as shaft or belt, but these are more expensive to produce. In addition, they have a lower degree of efficiency, so that there is a greater loss of power. The chain connects the engine with the rear wheel and thus ensures the power transmission. In order for this power transmission to work optimally and smoothly, the chain should be clean and lubricated.

Optimize your carburetor bore

Boring your carburetor is an efficient but inexpensive option. It allows you to optimize the operation of your motorcycle without spending too much. Optimizing your bore increases the fuel supply that enters the combustion chamber.

However, this needs to be done electronically so as to ensure an ideal stoichiometry. You do not want to make your fuel too rich. Else, you can upgrade your carburetor that is specifically designed to provide a slightly richer mixture to the combustion chamber.

Replace your spark plugs

Spark plugs ensure that the air-fuel mixture is ignited and burnt completely. Depending on speed, a spark plug has to give off its ignition sparks to the engine between 500 and 5,000 times per minute. It is also exposed to strong thermal and pressure changes.

A bad spark plug can cause unsatisfactory engine operation or loss of performance. It also creates a negative impact on fuel consumption or starting behavior. In extreme cases, it can even lead to serious engine damage.

Iridium spark plugs
High-quality spark plugs have a very thin center electrode made of iridium. At 0.6 to 1 mm, this is much thinner than that of a standard spark plug

As an alternative to the standard spark plug, iridium spark plugs (technically higher quality) can be used for many motorcycle models. They have an iridium alloy on the tip of the center electrode. Iridium is one of the hardest metals in the world; it has a melting point of 2,450 °C which makes it resistant to high temperatures. This is why iridium spark plugs last twice as long as standard plugs on average!

Modify the gear ratio

Modifying the gear ratios involves a little math. There are two sprockets on every motorcycle; a small sprocket attached to the engine and the other attached to the wheel. Depending on the teeth ratios of the two, you can alter the acceleration of your bike.

For example; a rear sprocket with 49 teeth and a countershaft sprocket with 13 teeth will give a gear ratio of 3.76. The higher the gear ratio, the higher will be your acceleration. You can upgrade your rear sprocket with 52 teeth that will give you a higher gear ratio of 4. This will considerably increase the acceleration. Conversely, if you need to increase the top speed of your bike, you can reduce the teeth in your rear sprocket or increase the teeth of your camshaft sprocket.

Improve the aerodynamics

Wondered why superbikes are low and curvy from the front? Well it’s not for nothing, since superfast bikes have to cope with strong resistance from the air flowing in the opposite direction.

Increasing engine power isn’t the only way to improve a bike’s performance. Just as important is its aerodynamics. If you can improvise and modify your motorcycle to make it more aerodynamic, it can definitely improve its acceleration and top speed. Of course, this external body that you add should be made of carbon; you do not want to increase the weight of your bike, do you?

Installing additional control units

The market for additional control units is quite large. However, one should definitely pay attention to brand quality here. There are numerous manufacturers (especially from China) who guarantee performance at a low price. However, installation of cheap control comes with risks. The power delivery is usually too much and too imprecise. Engine failure is only a matter of time with these cheap additional control units that are usually available on Alibaba.

Branded control units are priced around $400 and above and they are always road legal.

Tuning your motorcycle control chip to make it faster

In addition to mechanical changes, you can also opt for electronic tweaks that can make your motorcycle fast. The most efficient among them is chip tuning.

Numerous sensors that are distributed in the vehicle interact with a small electronic chip, called the control unit. This element is, to a certain extent, the brain of a bike.

The control unit receives all data streams, processes them and triggers other processes by generating pulses. In addition to activating auxiliary systems such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS), this also includes controlling engine output. As a general rule, the electronic systems are designed in such a way that the motorcycle will adhere to the recommended legal standards of the country. However, this also means that further optimization of the engine is possible through tuning. The engine and the bike can certainly do more after altering their factory settings.

Tuning the motorcycle ECU increases the performance considerably (IC: Bosch)

With sufficient know-how, it is possible to further optimize the motorcycle’s brain, and thus make it fast. However, for engine tuning via changes to the software, it is important that you seek professional help.

Exhaust tuning on a motorcycle

When tuning the exhaust, you basically have 2 options; either you opt for a completely new exhaust system or the so called slip-on solution. With slip on, you usually cannot expect a large increase in performance, and in order to get a noticeable difference in performance, you may need to completely upgrade the exhaust system starting from the outlets on the cylinder head to the silencer end cap.

Akropovic Exhaust System
Akropovic Exhaust System

Upgrading your motorcycle exhaust promises a similar increase in performance as with engine tuning. However, the performance of the engine should also be increased through greater air supply.

Upgrading the exhaust system with a sporty one increases around 5 horse powers of your engine. This injection of power is usually sufficient to guarantee the motorcyclist a reserve of sufficient power at times of overtaking. Contrary to the beliefs, a powerful motorcycle with a great exhaust system will actually be more stable, with evident positive repercussions on fuel consumption.

Furthermore, the replacement of the exhaust system with an aftermarket one, obviously legal for road use, is an operation within the reach of any mechanic, and often also possible by riders themselves. Of course, once the job is finished, we still recommend that you consult a mechanic to check the preciseness of installation.

5 Tips to increase engine performance and make it faster

  • Remap the ECU: The remapping of the control unit makes your motorcycle more efficient. Any value can be optimized, from the torque limiter to the amount of fuel entering the combustion chamber. You can take full advantage of the bike’s potential, for example by optimally managing both the air-fuel mixture and the ignition setting.
  • Use high performance fuels: These are generally fuels with higher octane content than normal and actually offer better performance especially in terms of speed and acceleration.
  • Keep the engine in perfect condition: It goes without saying that inspection, overhauls and other scheduled maintenance are essential for your motorcycle.
  • Choosing suitable tires: Tires are of the utmost importance to your motorcycle. It is a question of safety, as well as of performance. The tread width is proportional to the friction on the ground; greater friction has a positive effect on road grip, but increases resistance and reduces your acceleration.
  • Air filter: The greater the air flow in the combustion chamber, the higher is the possibility of a complete combustion. While the classic paper filter, once dirty, must be replaced, cotton filters such as sports filters can be cleaned with special cleaning kits. The duration of the latter, in fact, is much longer than that of the other filters.

Bottom line

Tuning is a magic word for motorcyclists, but often, we get lost between the theoretical and the practical part. Always remember that upgrading your motorcycle components technically or aesthetically does not necessarily add value to it. A bad tuning may result in a fault or in worse case completely destroy your motorcycle engine.

Most motorcycles with an engine displacement of 1,000 cc or more are factory-fitted with a speed limiter, which causes the engine to rev more slowly when it reaches a designated speed. By turning off this limiter, you can increase the top speed and make it faster!

As a biker, you have to get a feel of your bike again after modification. It is recommended to practice cornering, braking, and balancing before participating in any track race.